Lene Lovich: A Fairy Godmother of Modern Rock

FairyRoom continues our Fairy Godmothers of Modern Rock series, celebrating fantasy’s most influential women, their muses and the spells they cast upon us.

Steampunk adventurers frequently transport themselves between Victorian and Edwardian times, the distant future, and modern day, but they also made some notable pit stops along the way. And all it takes is one mistakenly entered digit on the time machine and you wind up in 1980 instead of 1880. How else can I explain the photographic and phonographic evidence of Lene Lovich living among the disco queens and punk rockers of late 1970’s/early 80’s New York and London? Lene’s Post-Apocalyptic Victorian Bride fashions recalled a young Miss Havisham had Charles Dickens banished her to Mad Max’s Thunderdome. Lovich and cohort Thomas Dolby wore aviator goggles and countless accessories plucked from other eras; they blazed the way for Steampunk as we know it today.

Before Dolby’s famous utterance: “Science!” was heard around the world on MTV**, he played keyboards in Lovich’s touring band. And whereas Kate Bush broke through to the mainstream (at least in Europe), Lovich and cohort Nina Hagen merrily ruled the underground for more than a decade, blurring the lines between reality and what could be with creative impunity.

“The weirdness and wonder of other worlds has been with me for a long time,” Lene said in an interview about the supernatural themes in her music. “There is a great deal of freedom in the world of the unusual.”

I always imagined that one of her biggest hits, “Angels” (1980), was as much about enchanting fairies and devilish sprites as it was a tale white winged ghosts at the gates of heaven:

The angels are watching over me, constantly they say
The angles are always close to me in every game I play
And if I win or lose, I know they’ll see me through
The angels watch my every move

In an easy visual example of this, even the motorcycle lights dance around like Midnight pixies in the “Angles” video:


“Angels” Lene Lovich (1980)

Lene’s songs are madcap fairy tales you can dance to. Sleeping Beauty, The Wicked Witch and other supernatural natural beauties made memorable appearances in her gothic, bombastic and otherworldly theatrical stories. Her song “Gothica” (Shadows and Dust, 2005) perhaps sums up her otherworldly view best: “Everybody needs a refuge from the ordinary.”

** For reference: “She Blinded Me with Science” Thomas Dolby (1982):