Released today in 1986: Fever

RCA BELLA1

RCA BELLA1

It’s easy to forget that Annabella Lwin was still a teenager when she recorded her cover of Peggy Lee’s Fever, given that she’d been part of the pop music scene since almost the beginning of the decade.

She was spotted in 1980 by a member of Malcolm McLaren’s office singing in a dry cleaner’s where she was a Saturday girl. McLaren had in mind a new band for three former members of The Ants, Adam Ant’s group, and recruited Lwin to sing lead for them, naming them Bow Wow Wow. Early releases focussed on the cassette format, although vinyl versions typically followed over concerns that tapes were ineligible for the singles chart. Regardless, there was limited chart success until the first half of 1982, when they scored a pair of Top 10 singles with Go Wild In The Country and I Want Candy, both songs playing to Lwin’s strengths: full of a defiant attitude, with confident, brash vocals. Things fell apart quickly and messily the following year. A punishing schedule during an American tour exhausted them, producing a third album in just over two years took up all their creative energy, and personality clashes resulted in Lwin being abruptly ousted by the rest of the band; she said that reading a report in the NME that she had been sacked was the first she’d heard of it. The former Ants became Chiefs of Release and Lwin went solo.

Her first single was issued in the autumn of 1985 but it flopped. The next, War Boys was set for release on 24 February 1986, but the date was put back to the end of March and then to 11 April. At some point it was decided to go with the title track of Lwin’s now-completed album, Fever, as its lead single instead and War Boys relegated to the B-side. Smash Hits thought Lwin’s cover of Fever was a mess, and put the blame on producer Jimmy Lea, claiming he’d thrown in every trick in the book to liven it up: “ZTT/Propaganda electric shocks, Van Halen squiggling guitars, Sade-type “sophisticated” flutings, Slade-type unsophisticated clonking…” The album never made it to record stop racks in the UK, although it released in the US, Japan and elsewhere in Europe. Lwin decided to take some time out to consider her next career move.

NEW SINGLES on sale from Apr. 18
1980
ECHO AND THE BUNNYMEN (Ian McCulloch) Rescue (Korova KOW1)
1983
The UNDERTONES Chain Of Love (Ardeck ARDS13)
1986
ANNABELLA Fever (RCA PB40541)
1988
Peter MURPHY Indigo Eyes (Beggars Banquet BEG210)
The PRIMITIVES (Tracy Tracy) Out Of Reach (RCA PB42011)

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