Today Siouxsie Sioux, born Susan Janet Ballion, turns 54 years old. Sioux is one of the undisputed originators of the post-punk and goth genres. Whether you're talking about her work with the Banshees or the strange, dark world music that defined the Creatures, you can be on firm ground saying she defined a genre.
Our favorite story about Sioux is this. Keep in mind this is a recollection from the woefully-out of print Banshees biography by Mark Paytress that we lost in Hurricane Ike, so please forgive any fuzziness.
For a while, Cure front man Robert Smith was a touring member of the Banshees after guitarist John McKay and drummer Kenny Morris abruptly quit. The band was on their way up after some nice buzz had been generated by The Scream and Join Hands, and the Cure was serving as their opening act.
Smith, not wanting to lose the chance to tour with the high-profile act if the tour was cancelled, opted to replace McKay while Budgie, later Siouxsie's husband, replaced Morris.
Smith returned to the Cure after the tour, but joined up with the Banshees again in the early '80s to tour and record the album Hyaena. By then Smith had become quite a success in his own right, recording the landmark album Pornography in '82, and was now a full on rock and roll lifestyler.
One day, when the band was due at the airport, Smith simply refused to leave the bed. The band had already missed a flight due to Smith's hangover-induced comas, and Sioux had had quite enough of it.
"We're not missing another flight because of his nibs," she screamed, proceeded into Smith's room and then beat him awake with his own boots. An act that is simultaneously the most goth and most punk act we've ever heard at the same time.
So here's to you, Siouxsie. In honor of many years of goth perfection, we present eight of her best songs.
"Shadowtime": The second single from 1991's Superstition is one of Sioux's best set of lyrics. We've always wondered if it had some kind of connection to Anne Rice's Witching Hour because of the line "It all begins beneath the skin."
"Catwalk": The B-side from "Peek-a-Boo," one of Sioux's most definitive singles. It's a fun song on its own, but if you listen to it while watching your cats act like fools it's even better.
"Song From the Edge of the World": The 12" version of this 1987 single is the better version, but any way you look at it it's a very beautiful song.
"Are You Still Dying, Darling?": A B-side from The Killing Jar, the song was written about their manager Dave Wood, who began stealing from them to support a drug habit before disappearing.
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"Mad-Eyed Screamer": The only Creatures track on our list, and the first song on their debut EP Wild Things, it's just so damned catchy. It weasels into your head without becoming annoying.
"Voodoo Dolly"The last track from 1981's Juju, "Voodoo Dolly" is just delightfully creepy, and some of the work that John McGeoch ever did as a Banshee guitarist.
"Switch": Proving that Sioux was doing music more than 30 years ago that most bands still can't do.
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"The Last Beat of My Heart":More for the beauty of the video than for the song, though it is a really beautiful song. The art of the simplistic video is a hard one to master, and acts like Coldplay and Alanis Morrisette have failed at it. For our money it's never been done better than "The Last Beat of My Heart."