You may remember this British band from the 1980s. Well, they were pretty much a one hit wonder, but oh, what a hit they had with I Want Candy. What you may not know (and what makes that song’s lyrics so ironic) is that the band’s vocalist, Annabella Lwin, was only fourteen years old when she joined the band in 1980. Bow Wow Wow may not have been a brilliant musical act, but they had their day in the sun and with no shortage of controversy, given the singer’s youth. Thus, when the fourteen year old Lwin—who certainly looked much older than her years—posed nude for the cover art for the band’s first LP See Jungle! See Jungle! Go Join Your Gang, Yeah. City All Over! Go Ape Crazy (the image was a parody of Édouard Manet’s Luncheon on the Grass, which was itself controversial in its own day), Lwin’s mother flipped her lid and alleged sexual exploitation, resulting in a full-blown investigation by Scotland Yard. As a result the cover was scrapped in the U.S. and England, though it did appear in many European countries where the album was released. No big surprise there. Even so, the image reappeared on the cover of the band’s EP The Last of the Mohicans a year later and went out without a problem. In fact,The Last of the Mohicans turned out to be the band’s best-selling album stateside. And Bow Wow Wow’s sexually provocative cover art featuring the gorgeous Ms. Lwin didn’t stop there. Not only did this not hurt the band’s sales, in all likelihood it probably helped. Nevertheless, Lwin was ousted from the band a couple years later, owing, I expect, to all sorts of complications and burdens put on the band by having an underage singer.
Annabella Lwin (Official Site)
Thanks so much for posting this! I LOVE Bow Wow Wow; their songs (co-written by Malcolm Mclaren, their manager) were some of the most sonically compelling and lyrically imaginative of the 1980’s. Annabella Lwin is one of the unsung heroines of rock ‘n’ roll.
I was a big fan of this band. Of couse i got their album with that great cover.