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Christina Amphlett has died

If you were ever into 80s pop, you’d know Christina Amphlett, the lead singer of the Australian band, the Divinyls. She’s had some rough years since, dealing with breast cancer and multiple sclerosis, which finally did her in this past weekend, at the too-young age of 53. (Cancer sucks, and so do progressive neurological disorders, and she suffered through both.)

Americans mainly know her for just one song, “I Touch Myself,” but she actually did a number of successful albums in her own country, so I thought rather than playing the most obvious one, I’d put up a different song.

Comments

  1. k_machine says

    The video for “I Touch Myself” was directed by the Michael Bay, trivia-wise.

  2. OptimalCynic says

    She’s requested that I Touch Myself be used to promote breast cancer self-exams.

  3. Alverant says

    I heard the line was repeated because you don’t believe it the first time she says it.

    “When I think of you, I touch myself.”
    YOU WHAT?
    “I touch myself.”

  4. Holms says

    As an Australian whose childhood was in the 80s, I can assure the rest of you that even her homeland only remembers her for that one song as well.

  5. WharGarbl says

    @Holms
    #5

    As an Australian whose childhood was in the 80s, I can assure the rest of you that even her homeland only remembers her for that one song as well.

    Nothing to be sad about.
    Johann Pachelbel is also remembered for that one song of his. That one song that puts cellist to sleep, which is nice if you’re drunk and/or sleepy. With enough practice, you can literally play it while dozing off.

  6. llyris says

    @Holms #5 … that might be all *you* remember, as another Aussie child of the 80′s I feel I must remind you of Pleasure and Pain, Boys in Town, Sleeping Beauty. And of course Science Fiction :)

  7. WharGarbl says

    @k_machine
    #1

    The video for “I Touch Myself” was directed by the Michael Bay, trivia-wise.

    Despite what all critics claimed, Michael Bay do seems to know how to cater to his audience.

  8. kage says

    Ilyris #8 – I’m with you, all those songs were popular at the time and many Australians around in that era would recognise every one of them just a few bars into the song.

    I was about 18 (and already a huge fan of hers) when I Touch Myself was released. This song was HUGE in Australia and received mixed reactions (as you can probably imagine). I was subjected to policing comments about her image and influence on me and, although I didn’t have the awareness to articulate it at the time, I could see a double standard in judging this awesome front woman harshly for behaviour and lyrics that would have been given a pass if practiced by any male rock singer.

    Chrissy Amplett was a woman I looked up to, and wanted to emulate. I felt shocked and saddened when I heard the news of her death. RIP Chrissy.

    I was about 18 (and already a huge fan of hers) when I Touch Myself was released. This song was HUGE in Australia and received mixed reactions (as you can probably imagine). I was subjected to policing comments about her image and influence on me and, although I didn’t have the awareness to articulate it at the time, I could see a double standard in judging this awesome front woman harshly for behaviour and lyrics that would have been given a pass if practiced by any male rock singer.

    Chrissy Amplett was a woman I looked up to, and wanted to emulate. I felt shocked and saddened when I heard the news of her death. RIP Chrissy.

  9. Holms says

    Nothing to be sad about.
    Johann Pachelbel is also remembered for that one song of his. That one song that puts cellist to sleep, which is nice if you’re drunk and/or sleepy. With enough practice, you can literally play it while dozing off.

    The keywords ‘cellist’ and ‘sleepy’ were a cue to get googling on a hunch… and it turns out, yes that’s exactly the piece I’ve been hunting for for goddamn years. Cheers!

  10. Krasnaya Koshka says

    I was extremely sad to hear this as I loved the Divinyls in my younger days, especially her voice. “Pleasure and Pain” was also a big hit for them. I have all their music and had the pleasure of meeting Christina Amphlett at the Warfield many years ago. She was a lovely woman with a great talent and I’ll miss her.

  11. llyris says

    @Kage #10 – I guess we’re around the same age. I think I was 17 when I touch myself was released, but I was a metalhead and born-again xian at the time so I somewhat missed it. I do remember the outrage about some hussy flaunting herself and being indelicate. Ahem. And there are thousands of Australian men who look back fondly on that time. When I finally caught up with it I so wanted to look like her :)
    Pleasure and pain loomed large for me because it was being played a lot in around ’85 when my brother was allowed a clock/radio and we got music for the first time.

  12. says

    Science Fiction, Get Me Out Of Here, Pleasure and Pain, all awesome tracks and all a part of my childhood soundtrack. Chrissy was a pioneering rock goddess – a thorough badass like Joan Jett or Suzi Quattro, she showed that Oz rock girls didn’t have to be squeaky clean to be mainstream-acceptable.

    Nerdnote: “I Touch Myself” was the single from the soundtrack to the motion picture “Buffy The Vampire Slayer”. In addition to just being awesome, Chrissy’s an indelible part of the Buffyverse.

  13. Krasnaya Koshka says

    “Dear Diary”, “Punxie” and “Love School” are my favorite songs by the Divinyls.

  14. says

    I’ve been at a lot of shows, but one of the best live concerts I’ve ever seen was The Divinyls in 1986 in Syracuse, New York. Even though they were stuck playing the banquet room of a golf club, Christina Amphlett was really having a fun time, and her attitude got the whole crowd on her side — even though most were there to see The Cult and weren’t familiar with the Divinyls’ music. Amphlett was an excellent front-woman with a big half-raspy half-sweet voice, kind of like if Tina Turner had decided to go alternative-rock. The attitude of the band’s music in those days was old-school punk like Joan Jett, but Christina had the most adorable smile, even during the harder, edgier tunes.

    The Divinyls came along right after Blondie and a few years before Shirley Manson and Garbage. They were similar to both, almost as good, and fans of both those groups should definitely check out all 5 of The Divinyls’ albums. Their music was initially punk, pop and goth-rock all mixed together. “Pleasure and Pain” was a hit, but most rock radio stations stopped playing it after a few months — very common during the anti-new artist attitude of ’80s rock radio. Radio wanted a big ‘Pop’ sound, but the Divinyls refused to go synth-pop until the early ’90s, when they finally gave in and let “professional” hit songwriters co-write their big hit “I Touch Myself” — which pigeonholed them as a one-hit wonder and basically killed their career.

    Two of my favorite Alt-rock songs of the ’80s are “Motion” – from their “What a Life !” album, and the dark, haunting 6-minute Goth ballad “Elsie” — from the “Desperate” album. “Motion” just kicks ass with an accelerating beat, a killer growl from Amphlett and some Stones-style guitar riffs. “Elsie” has unforgettable lyrics about a desperate, suicidal prostitute who lives in poverty-ridden squalor with intense, slow-grinding music and Christina’s voice wailing banshee-like out of the reverberating wall of sound. They really make you feel it on “Elsie” — it’s downright scary. Christina Amphlett was one of the great unsung female rockers of the ’80s. It’s so unfair that ’80s radio found the Divinyls too “edgy.” Thanks, Christina – I’ll miss ya. — Dean Orff

  15. shadow says

    Now I need to riff through all my vinyl to find the one album I had of theirs that I got when single.

  16. Colin Grace says

    “What a Life” brilliant album. Saw the Divinyls at the Uni of Adelaide O-week in ’84 – Amazing performance.