David Corio

Bow Wow Wow

Starlight Rooms, Hammersmith, London, UK

The now derelict Starlight Rooms was a small dilapidated ballroom located next to the vast Hammersmith Palais. This was the secret venue decided on by former Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren to launch his new act Bow Wow Wow. After persuading guitarist Matthew Ashman, bassist Leigh Gorman and percussionist David Barbarossa to leave Adam & The Ants, 14 year old Anna Lwin was drafted in as lead singer after being discovered working in a dry cleaners in Liverpool. Their highly energetic pop sounds used a thunderous Burundi drummers beat, twangy rock and roll guitar and Anna’s squealing to create a very infectious sound. It wasn’t easy to dance let alone take photos however as this was a roller-disco and everyone was on roller skates.

The band achieved cult status almost immediately after doing a weekly residency for a month and modelling the latest clothing designs of McLaren’s business partner Vivienne Westwood. Although the band had a number of minor hits, several controversies – Anna Lwin’s mother had instigated a Scotland Yard investigation after her daughter posed nude for a record cover imitating Manet’s ‘Luncheon In The Grass’, and their debut single ‘C30,C60,C90, Go’ was meant to advocate pirating records – overshadowed the group’s musical talent and ‘musical differences’ saw them split up before they found any great recognition. Lwin and Gorman reformed the group in 1997 and they have performed and recorded sporadically since then.

Bow Wow Wow