Baby’s Head Soft Spot #7 — Chrissy Amphlett

In Your Face

In Your Face

I’ve been extra nostalgic about my twenties this week. Nothing will do that to you like turning fifty. Anyway, I’ve been going through music that I was obsessed with back then and a funny thing has happened — I’ve become entranced all over again with Chrissy Amphlett of the Divinyls. While much of the 80s music hasn’t held up well, old videos from the Divinyls still kick ass. The reasons are plain and simple.  Mark McEntee was a severely underrated guitar player. And no woman has ever commanded the stage like Chrissy Amphlett.

When my brother brought their first album home, I knew that Chrissy was fearless when I heard the lyrics, “I was just a red brassiere to all the boys in town…get me out of here.” That immediately gave her a vulnerability that you only understand if you’ve felt used or alienated. You could tell by her stance on the cover that she was in your face. There’s a story that Chrysalis Records wanted her to get her teeth fixed and she refused. Thumbing her nose at someone else’s idea of sex appeal. And then we saw the Divinyls on some tv broadcast of an outdoor concert in the early 80s. Chrissy was dressed in a school uniform and torn panty hose. She roamed the stage like a crazed middle schooler, simultaneously sneering and throwing her body around with abandon. It was totally exhilarating.

The Divinyls put out some great music throughout the 80s and then they had the smash hit “I Touch Myself” in 1991. Even though I wasn’t a huge fan of that song –maybe because it made me a little nervous — it was great to see them finally get some recognition in America. Here’s “Punxsie” from around 1988.

The Divinyls disbanded  — or maybe disintegrated because it was never an official breakup — somewhere in the mid-90s. Chrissy went on to play the part of Judy Garland on stage with Hugh Jackman in Boy from Oz. And a couple of years ago, she went public with the news that she had had multiple sclerosis for at least five years and symptoms for around twenty years. In an interview she said that some days she can’t even get out of bed. What does she live for? The music. Always the music. So check this out — an almost 50-year-old Chrissy singing “I Touch Myself”. To you few jerks out there who have been making nasty comments about how she doesn’t look like she did twenty years ago, eff off. She’s still absolutely fearless.


Published in: on April 16, 2009 at 6:26 pm  Comments (6)  
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6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Crafted like a true admirer, just like me.Chrissy symbolizes the true sense of life thru art… a true performer, the likes of which are hard to mimic…
    Thanks for the write up

  2. You’re right, Vince — Chrissy is impossible to mimic. I think she’s the most passionate rocker ever. And passion is one thing that you just can’t fake.

  3. I miss the Australian music scene from that era, there is nothing like it now. Chrissy is an amazing entertainer and I always loved that after singing her rough rock, her accent in interviews was very “Private Girls School!” I still have Divinyls on my Ipod and sing badly to them!

  4. “Private Girls School” accent — Does that mean a posh accent?

    • Yes, very well spoken and rounded vowels, not at all nasally or ‘Strine (Aussie twang)! 🙂

      • I have a couple of friends who are Australian. I can’t wait to ask them if they are “Private Girls School” or “Strine.” I wonder if Aussie twang and Texas twang are similar.

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