Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music
(b Toyah Willcox, 18 May '58, Birmingham) UK new wave singer/actress. Graduated from drama school and made first TV appearance '76; appeared in films, notably musicals Jubilee '78, Quadrophenia '79; first single 'Victims Of The Riddle' '79 on indie Safari label, six-track EP Sheep Farming In Barnet. Diminutive stature, lisp and flame-red hair marked her out as an individual to follow Siouxsie, Lene Lovich and Poly Styrene (X-Ray Specs) as colourful new wave female character. The Blue Meaning '80 was top 40 LP; timely TV documentary Toyah! Toyah! Toyah! yielded soundtrack which made no. 22. Revamped her band '81, retaining guitarist Joel Bogen, recruiting Original Mirrors bassist Phil Spalding, plus keyboardist Adrian Lee, drummer Nigel Glockler; hits 'Thunder In The Mountains', 'I Want To Be Free' (both top ten), EPs Four From Toyah (no. 4), Four More (14) had accent on the anthemic with scope for theatrics; third LP suitably titled Anthem, all '81. The Changeling and Warrior Rock -- Toyah On Tour '82, two top 30 singles; return to acting '83 in Clare Luckham's wrestling play Trafford Tanzi, impressive for the physical effort involved (Blondie's Debbie Harry did it on Broadway). Album Love Is The Law '83 ventured into electronics, new keyboardist Simon Darlow writing with Willcox and Bogen; she signed with CBS/Portrait '85 for single 'Don't Fall In Love (I Said)' and LP Minx, looking to a major label to boost music career to another level, but The Lady Or The Tiger '87 was on Editions EG with consort Robert Fripp. She continued on stage in London revival of Cabaret '87, shut down by the behaviour of the musicians in pit: they were sacked and it ran for a few nights as the first musical in history without accompaniment. Further albums were Prostitute '88 (still with Fripp) and Ophelia's Shadow '91, still on EG, and Dreamchild on Cryptic Enterprises.