22/1/81. Steve Strange (Visage) on cover of Smash Hits (UK)

On 21 January 1981 a new issue of Smash Hits appeared in newsagents around the UK with a startling picture of Visage front-man Steve Strange on the cover.

pic:Like Punk Never Happened

Steve Strange (b. Stephen John Harrington , 1959) had been at the spearhead of the new fashion and music movement which had grown out of the London club scene in the late 70s. After performing in various post-punk bands, he eventually formed the studio based outfit Visage in 1979 along with Midge Ure and rusty Egan formerly of the Rich kids, and Barry Adamson, John McGeoch and Dave Formula of Magazine. They released their first eponymous album at the end of 1980 and eventually reached the singles charts at the beginning of 1981 with the single Fade to Grey which would become an 'eighties' standard and anthem of the 'New Romantic' movement.  

The iconic video for Fade to Grey, directed by Godley and Creme, was also shown on Top of the Pops for the first time on the evening of 21 September. (watch it here)

Strange would continue to record and publish music under the name of Visage with various degrees of success throughout the early 80s. In his autobiography Blitzed! published in 2002, Strange openly talks about his sexuality and heroin addiction. He made critically acclaimed musical comeback in 2013 with the Visage album Hearts and Knives, although died in February 2015 from a heart attack.

Sources: Popscene, Musicbrainz, wikipedia

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