Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Chrissy Amphlett dies at 53 after losing breast cancer battle ...

Lead singer of legendary Aussie band Divinyls, Chrissy Amphlett, has lost her battle with breast cancer at age 53.

AUSTRALIAN rock singer Chrissy Amphlett has been remembered as a musical pioneer.

Amphlett, 53, passed away in her adopted home of New York after fighting dual battles with breast cancer and multiple sclerosis.

Her cousin, Patricia `Little Pattie' Thompson and family were with the singer, who fronted rock band Divinyls.

Her husband, musician Charley Drayton, who was due to support Aerosmith in Australia with the band Dead Daisies, cancelled the trip to be with his wife.

The family's statement read: "Our beloved Chrissy peacefully made her transition this morning. Christine Joy Amphlett succumbed to the effects of breast cancer and multiple sclerosis, diseases she vigorously fought with exceptional bravery and dignity. She passed gently, in her sleep, surrounded by close friends and family, including husband of fourteen years, musician Charley Drayton, her sister, Leigh, nephew, Matt, and cousin Patricia Thompson.

"Chrissy's light burns so very brightly. Hers was a life of passion and creativity; she always lived it to the fullest. With her force of character and vocal strength she paved the way for strong, sexy, outspoken women. Best remembered as the lead singer of the ARIA Hall of Fame inductee, Divinyls, last month she was named one of Australia's top ten singers of all time. Chrissy expressed hope that her worldwide hit I Touch Myself would remind women to perform annual breast examinations. Chrissy was a true pioneer and a treasure to all whose lives her music and spirit touched."

Singer Chrissy Amphlett, who has passed away after losing her battle with breast cancer. Photo: Supplied by the Amphlett Family

Countdown host Ian `Molly' Meldrum was a friend of Amphlett and Drayton.

"It's devastating news," Meldrum said yesterday.

" Chrissy was just such a wonderful person and so, so talented. It's incredibly sad news."

"She broke ground for women in Australian music, she was amazing and fearless," Meldrum said.

"Divinyls were an incredible band, they helped open the doors for Australian acts to tour America in the '80s.

"I absolutely adored her. And she terrified me. But right at the start, around Boys in Town, I remember going to see them at the Prince of Wales and Chrissy did this whole thing on stage of looking me straight in the eye and lifting her skirt. We became good friends after that. I became friends with her mother as well. Chrissie was really into football, so we'd occasionally have fights over that.

"She was a wonderful person, and so, so talented it didn?t matter. She had such a powerful voice and wrote such great songs with Mark (McEntee) in the Divinyls, some real classics that have stood the test of time. And Chrissy was one of the best on stage performers Australia has produced.

"She'd come around to my house with her husband Charley and she'd go and make herself a cup of tea. It was just odd to see Chrissy Amphlett from the Divinyls in my kitchen, making tea. Because she had that wild persona.

"I remember once I said to her 'Chrissie, you had this amazing persona with the Divinyls, you use to frighten the hell out of me. How can you go from that to playing Judy Garland in The Boy From Oz?' And she said 'They're both the same character Molly'."

Her death brought sadness to the local music industry. Her peers voted her the No.9 best Australian singer of all time in a News Limited poll last month.

The Australian music legend and Divinyls lead singer Chrissy Amphlett has died, aged 53.

Melbourne singer Kate Ceberano said Amphlett was her all-time favourite singer, songwriter and performing artist, and a huge influence on her career.

"The news about Chrissy has hit me like a punch in the chest," Ceberano said yesterday.

"She was such a high-voltage Amazon that it's hard for me to imagine that she's gone. I remember sitting side of stage watching her as a teenager and was attracted and frightened in equal measure, as one minute she would spit on the crowd and in the very next minute turn them all on. She was a masterclass in womanhood. I absolutely worshipped her."

Icehouse's Iva Davies remembered Amphlett as a pioneer and a great spirit.

"Chrissy and the Divinyls played with us on scores and scores of occasions and I was always a great admirer of her as both a writer and a performer," Davies said. "Chrissy did me the great honour of recording her version of one of my songs, Love in Motion, in the early nineties. She made the song distinctively hers, with her own smoking, seductive and unmistakable style. I was recently asked to nominate my choice of the Top 10 Australian singers of all time. Chrissy was among my choices, of course."

Divinyls' breakthrough hit Boys in Town made No.8 in 1982. A string of hits followed, including Science Fiction, The Good Die Young, Pleasure and Pain, Sleeping Beauty, Back to the Wall and I'm Jealous. Their biggest hit, 1990's I Touch Myself, made No.1 in Australia, No.4 in America and No.10 in the UK.

Amphlett was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in 2006 with Divinyls band mate Mark McEntee. The band, who had split acrimoniously in 1997, reformed for a tour in 2007 before finally disbanding in 2009.

Amphlett flew into Melbourne in 2009 to induct her cousin Little Pattie into the ARIA Hall of Fame.

"I think Divinyls is done," she said at the time. "Mark (McEntee) isn't into playing and Divinyls is Mark and I. It's about time I did something on my own."

The singer was working on new music in New York, where she was receiving medical treatment.

Last month Amphlett took to her Facebook page to update fans on her health.

"Unfortunately the last 18 months have been a real challenge for me having breast cancer and MS and all the new places that will take you. You become sadly a patient in a world of waiting rooms, waiting sometimes hours for a result or an appointment and you spend a lot time in cold machines like MRI, CT machines,hospital beds,on your knees praying for miracles, operating rooms, tests after tests, looking at healthy people skip down the street like you once did and you took it all for granted and now wish you could do that."

The singer said she still planned to make a return to music and had been working with songwriter Kraig Jarret.

"My illnesses have really exhausted this little body of mine that I have thrown from one end of a stage to another and performed thousands of shows that's sadly some of you missed. With that said I am getting stronger but there is still some fine tuning and work to be done on myself. It's a different self but my voice is strong and not affected by the MS as some reviewers have cruelly reported. I can walk although sometimes I wobble but try to wobble with the beat. I look after myself and my husband has been through this with me every part of the way and I cannot imagine what I would have done without him and his kindness. I did something right.

Hoodoo Gurus singer Dave Faulkner referred to Amphlett as "the Divine Miss A" and a "musical force of nature".


In tribute, ABC-TV has broadcast an episode of the musical quiz show Spicks & Specks featuring the late star.

During the show, Amphlett, who also suffered from multiple sclerosis, was helped to and from the microphone by comedienne Denise Scott.

The episode, on ABC 2, had Amphlett as a contestant on the team of Scott and Myf Warhurst.

On the show, Amphlett talks of being "shy" and "vulnerable" before her legendary performances on stage in a school uniform and fishnet stockings.

Amphlett had declared herself cancer-free two years ago, telling fans "I was given a chance to reflect on my own mortality; given a chance to choose life over the fear of death. Thank you to those who have given their support and love. Now let's celebrate Life!!!!!!"

The singer was diagnosed with MS in 1998 and would appear on stage with a cane. She revealed her battle with MS in 2007, and in 2011 announced she was also fighting breast cancer.

Amphlett was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in 2006 with Divinyls band mate Mark McEntee

Her was documented by Channel 7's Sunday Night program in which she revealed she would be a "warrior" and not a victim.

The Divinyls hits include I Touch Myself, Pleasure and Pain and Boys in Town.

Tributes have already begun flooding social media networks.

?Other celebrities and fans have also posted their tributes online.











Back in 2012, Amphlett kept her Facebook fans informed of her struggles with cancer and MS. She was always honest and open about what she was facing.

A Facebook message to fans sent by Chrissy Amphlett in 2012. Photo: Facebook Source: Supplied

Born in October, 1959, Chrissy Amphlett will be best-remembered for her hit single I Touch Myself and for singing on stage dressed in a school uniform and fishnet stockings.

Released in 1991, I Touch Myself reached Number 1 in Australia, 10 in the UK and 4 in the US.

Her skill as a songwriter is underlined by Science Fiction, which the Australian Performing Rights Association (APRA) selected in 2001 as one of the top Australian songs of all time.

Amphlett wrote the song with Divinyls front man Mark McEntee, with whom she had a volatile relationship over the 16 year life of the band.

The cousin of 1960s Australian pop icon, Patricia "Little Pattie" Amphlett, Chrissy Amphlett was a hugely talented, if untamed free spirit who started out young on the road and had occasional brushes with the law, once ending up in jail in Europe for singing on the streets.

In 1999, Chrissy married drummer Charley Drayton, who played on the Divinyls? eponymous album and who now plays with Cold Chisel.

Amphlett moved to New York, where she concentrated on a solo career and writing her autobiography Pleasure and Pain: My Life.

In 2007, she revealed she was suffering from multiple sclerosis.

Three years later, she announced she had been diagnosed with breast cancer, but was thought to have since beaten the disease.

Listen to Chrissy Amphlett's famous hits here:



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