Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Perri Lister


OK, I admit it; after blogging about Visage and watching their videos, I'm now totally obsessed with Perri Lister, one of the two sleek-boned dancers (the other was Lorraine) who always appeared alongside Steve Strange in Visage's early videos and TV appearances. No doubt I saw her in countless '80s music videos, but never connected the name with the face. She was a Blitz Kid, the sang froid chick who sang the sexy French lyrics in Visage's "Fade To Grey" song and video, a "Hot Gossip" dancer on a '70s British TV production called Kenny Everett's Video Show, a member of Boomerang (an all-girl offshoot of Kid Creole and The Coconuts), and famously Billy Idol's girlfriend and mother of his son Willem. As such, she naturally appeared in Billy Idol videos, playing the bride in "White Wedding" and singing the "Les yeux sans visage" line in "Eyes Without a Face." People have compared her looks to Uma Thurman (hopefully without the ugly man feet, which were exposed throughout Kill Bill!) She's still only 48 and looks fab. Or maybe it's just me, obsessing over Baby Boomer Babes that are still age-appropriate "Flesh for Fantasy" like Perri, Kate Garner and their high-cheekbone ilk.

Here's her MySpace profile:

I'm Perri Lister. I started dancing with Hot Gossip on the Kenny Everett show in the late 70's in England. Organized by disco choreographer Arlene Philips, Hot Gossip were featured as a part of DJ Kenny Everett's music video and comedy TV series. We were not confined to each week's top hits, instead picking from whatever full-length songs and pop artists we felt like highlighting. The dances were risque, wild, over-the-top, and immediately popular, as you can see in this video to The Village People's "Sleazy"

Sleazy-Hot Gossip

Of course, the biggest star to emerge from Hot Gossip was future London & Broadway musical diva (and Andrew Lloyd Webber missus) Sarah Brightman (Cats, Phantom of the Opera, etc.).

As Perri tells it:

Sarah Brightman joined the group at the tender age of 18, and became the breakout star thanks in part to her resemblance to Kate Bush (both in look and dance style.) "I Lost My Heart To a Starship Trooper" was immensely danceable and cracked the UK top ten in 1978.

View my profile video below to see this wonderfully cheesy Euro-disco track (a genre we know and love) that was inspired by the late 70's sci-fi mania and you'll see me dancing and singing along with Sarah Brightman and Hot Gossip... I am the one with the dog collar ;)

Would you like to know more?: Watch this great remix mash-up video of this song that merges footage from the movie Starship Troopers.

Back to Perri's profile...

When the 1980's came along, I was one of the original Blitz Kids along with Steve Strange. We were the beginning of the New Romantic scene who frequented the Blitz Nightclub.

We made a music video for Visage and then flew to Italy to perform "Fade To Grey" on TV.

Perri and Lorraine also danced to "Mind of a Toy" on British and German TV.

Perri also appeared in Visage's "Visage" music video in her trademark black cabellero ensemble:


Her Visage exposure augered well for perri, and she proceeded to embark on a career as a video vixen. After all, she met the first criterion ("at least one babe") of the what Rio Rhodes called the "Ten Criteria" for an '80s music video. The full "Ten Commandments" of '80s music videos is provided in its entirety below:

1. At least one babe
2. Poofy hair
3. Torn clothing
4. Cheesy keyboards
5. At least one change of clothing
6. Stage effects (smoke, lasers, etc.) or visual effects (artist jumping through a TV, disappearing, etc.)
7. Wild instrumental or record scratch solo
8. A storyline
9. A cool car (although any kind of transportation is acceptable, like a plane or a car or a motorcycle)
10. Sunglasses
OK, I'll let Perri get back to telling her story:
When music videos came on the scene, I became a 'video vixen' in the early 1980's.

You may remember me as the Chauffeur dancing in the infamously banned from MTV Duran Duran video for "The Chauffeur":

The Chauffeur-Duran Duran

I was also the girl playing the harp in Def Leppard's "Foolin" video

Foolin'-Def Leppard

Digging way back into the vaults... I made an appearance in a 1980 Sparks video for "When I'm With You", perhaps slightly lesser known in the US, it scored them a massive hit single in France that year.

When I'm With You-Sparks

Probably my most famous music video appearance was the part of the bride in Billy Idol's "White Wedding" video. Placing the bloody ring on my finger was my idea, but MTV chose to ban that part from the video. Here is the original unedited version of the "White Wedding" video which unsurprisingly no longer remains banned by MTV.

White Wedding-Billy Idol

I sang backing vocals on Billy Idol's "Eyes Without A Face" and appeared live on Top of The Pops as well as in the videos for "Rebel Yell", "Eyes Without A Face" and "Hot In The City".

I was also a backing vocalist on Kid Creole's 'Fresh Fruit In Foreign Places' album and one of the original Coconuts in Kid Creole and the Coconuts.

In 1986, two of my fellow Coconuts and I created an 80's girl group called Boomerang which was short-lived, but we made a video for our remake of Nancy Sinatra's "These Boots Are Made For Walkin'."

These Boots-Boomerang

I can also be seen as Billy Idol's Former Girlfriend on his Behind The Music episode filmed exclusively for VH1. Here is a short excerpt from the one hour video.

Behind The Music-Billy Idol

I have appeared as the lead role in Gypsy Rose Lee and Wuthering Heights amongst other productions and in many movies from Can't Stop The Music and Bad Influence to a larger role in The Apostate aka Michael Angel.

OK, that's all. I'm somewhat sated with my Lister-ine flavored flashbacks for now. In closing, Perri isn't in this clip, but this lingerie-propelled song is clearly the hottest of the Hot Gossip videos:

Hot Gossip - "We Are the Girls"


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Strange!! I am sitting with Perri Lister right now in her Hollywood Hills home (March 2011)..and she is amazed as she did not write ANY commentary for this site..
However, Perri is very pleased with the content and sends her regards..

4:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I recommend the straight to video movie "The Apostate" which features Lister as a Satan-lite art dealer. Also starring Dennis Hopper and Richard Grieco - so you KNOW it's good!

4:24 PM  
Blogger tintin said...

It's a shame that Perri and Billy aren't still together? Recently watched a doc were both had been interviewed and you can still see the love they have for each other when talking about each.... It would be great if they could rekindle that love they truly hold for one another before they leave this earth.

I also read Billy's book "Dancing with myself" You could read the love he still feels for her.. He also said the book had been written for the love of his life Perri, Willem and Bonny-Blue. Why would he still include Perri if he wasn't still in love with her... It's a real shame that they don't get back together as from what I read she was his one and only true LOVE...

3:49 AM  

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