I want to be Free
Toyah Willcox is a highly successful, creative and incredibly diverse woman. Her major hit records and many prestigious stage and screen roles have made her one of Britain's biggest household names.
Her musical career spans three decades and highlights include 13 UK top 40 singles, over 30 albums and she is considered one of the greatest women in British music. More recently, she formed a new band called The Humans with Bill Rieflin (also in REM), Chris Wong and special guest appearances by rocker husband, Robert Fripp of King Crimson fame.
Willcox began life in Birmingham where she started out in acting school. She had a role in the classic, Quadrophenia. She played the brash and blonde Monkey which launched her as belligerent and anti-establishment figure.
Meanwhile, she had also started up her own band, simply called Toyah. By 1979, the band released its first EP called Sheep Farming in Barnet. The second album, The Blue Meaning, slipped into the Top 40 and with the critical acclaim of her previous release, she was heralded as an up-and-coming talent.
By 1981, the track It’s a Mystery helped to secure her appearances on hit TV shows like Top of the Pops and The Old Grey Whistle Test Christmas Special. This was followed by several other hits including Thunder In The Mountains (#4) and I Want to Be Free (#8). The following year, she was awarded Best Female Singer in the Rock & Pop Awards (known today as the BRITs).
Although 1981 was the last year she had any top 10 hits, her EPs and albums continued to do well.
In the mid-80s, Willcox went solo and had some modest hits with Don’t Fall in Love (I Said) and a version of Echo Beach.
After concentrating mainly on her acting career, Willcox returned with avengence in 2007 with a digital release called Latex Messiah and two years later, she formed The Humans and released a cover of Nancy Sinatra’s These Boots Are Made For Walking.
Toyah continues to work in music, writing and performing, whilst refusing to compromise any aspect of her multi-faceted and varied career.
Source: Juanita Appleby
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