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Friday, May 2, 2008

The Importance of Being Bozzio.

When it comes to 80's female musical icons, Missing Persons lead singer Dale Bozzio seems to get the short end of the stick. 

Debbie Harry, is rightfully remembered as the Godmother of the punk and New Wave movement. Cyndi Lauper is remembered for being a unique voice of feminism whose signature style made her an international superstar. Madonna is remembered for being, well, Madonna. Other than being a former Playboy model with BombPop colored hair, Bozzio is rarely remembered at all, which I think is a shame.

 Sure she didn't reinvent the wheel but her contributions are worth noticing.
Before her plastic bikini days, Dale performed with Frank Zappa and even appears on Joe's Garage, his now classic rock opera. She cowrote some of Missing Persons best songs like "Destination Unknown","Tears" and " I Like Boys". But it's Dale's unforgettable look and quirky vocals that continue to be copied by current artists. Take Gwen Stefani, for example, who clearly found both a personal vocal and style icon in Dale Bozzio. Other artists like Sweden's The Sounds have tweaked The Missing Persons formula to sound fresh.  And most recently, Ashlee Simpson shamelessly aped Bozzio on tracks from her new album.
Not just an influence, I'd go as far as to say that Bozio darn near created "Bimbo Electro" the genre that consists of a trampy blonde girl singing along to synthed out tracks.

About 10 years ago, I was working at an edgy clothing/record store here in LA and Dale stopped in to do some shopping. Her sons we're helping her pick out clothes for a club appearance. One of the boys approached her with a large, lacy Gothic dress and she replied in her thick East Coast accent "Oh no honey. I'm not Stevie Fricking Nicks. Put that back and find something sexy." No she's not Stevie Nicks and yeah she has to play smaller gigs these days and she can't pull off the plastic bikinis anymore.
But she is Dale Bozzio and somehow that's enough.

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