Annabella Lwin is an Anglo-Burmese singer, songwriter and record producer who is best known as the original lead singer of the English new wave band 'Bow Wow Wow'. She began performing as a 13-year-old and courted a lot of controversy for the band's objectionable lyrics and provocative covers before being fired from the band abruptly years later. With the band, she released two full albums, one mini album, and tracks such as 'C·30 C·60 C·90 Go!', 'Sexy Eiffel Tower', 'Go Wild in the Country', 'I Want Candy', and 'Do You Wanna Hold Me?' As a solo artist, she has released singles like 'Don't Dance With Strangers', 'Car Sex' and 'Do What You Do', as well as two albums and an EP, the last of which came in 2016.
T Rise to Stardom
13-and-a-half-year-old Annabella Lwin was working a Saturday job at a Northwest London dry cleaners when she was heard singing along to the radio by Liverpool session musician, music director and talent scout Dave Fishel. He convinced Malcolm McLaren, former 'Sex Pistols' manager, to let her audition for the lead singer for a new band he was putting together with guitarist Matthew Ashman, bassist Leigh Gorman and percussionist David Barbarossa from the 'Adam & the Ants'.
Annabella Lwin joined the band, 'Bow Wow Wow', ending a six-month-long audition process. The band signed with EMI Records in July 1980 and soon after released their debut single, 'C·30 C·60 C·90 Go!', as the first-ever cassette single. The track, which encouraged home taping, was not promoted by the label, but still stayed on the UK Singles Chart for seven weeks and peaked at No.34. In November 1980, the band released a mini-album titled 'Your Cassette Pet', which contained the notoriously controversial track 'Sexy Eiffel Tower' with excitedly heavy breathing and moans.
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Controversies & Scandals
Annabella Lwin's band 'Bow Wow Wow' was dropped by EMI Records after their second single failed to chart, following which they signed with RCA Records. Their first full-length album, 'See Jungle! See Jungle! Go Join Your Gang, Yeah. City All Over! Go Ape Crazy', released in October 1981, created outrage as the cover photo by Andy Earl, recreating Édouard Manet’s painting 'Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe', had 14-year-old Lwin posing nude.
Despite allegations from her mother of exploitation of a minor for immoral purposes and involvement of the Scotland Yard, the band used the same cover for their follow-up EP 'The Last of the Mohicans'. The track 'Go Wild in the Country' from the album became their first UK Top 10 hit, while the single 'I Want Candy' from the EP, a cover of the 'Strangeloves' hit from 1965, became No. 9 on the UK Singles Charts (2)and was played heavily on MTV. She was asked to write for their second studio album 'When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going', which contained another hit song, 'Do You Wanna Hold Me?' Her time with the band also ended controversially as following an US tour, she was suddenly fired in September 1983, which she read about in 'NME'.
Still contractually bound to RCA Records, Annabella Lwin released the solo single 'Don't Dance With Strangers' in 1985, followed by the album 'Fever' in 1986. Forming a new band, 'Naked Experience', she collaborated with songwriters like Billy Steinberg and Ellen Shipley, and released the singles 'Car Sex' and 'Do What You Do'. She toured the US with former 'Bow Wow Wow' bassist Leigh Gorman in 1997, but the reunion "wasn’t the same" as original guitarist Matthew Ashman had passed away in 1995. They collaborated with DJ Swedish Egil on the 1998 track 'Eastern Promise' and contributed 'A Thousand Tears' to the 1999 film 'Desperate But Not Serious'. The soundtrack of 2006 Sofia Coppola film 'Marie Antoinette' featured several 'Bow Wow Wow' songs and Lwin was reportedly an inspiration for the lead character. After Gorman began performing under the band's name without Lwin's consent in 2012, she updated her website with a formal warning to her fans against performances without her. As a solo artist, she released the album 'Super Boom' in 2012 and the EP 'Willow Tree' in 2016.
Family & Personal Life
Annabella Lwin was born on October 31, 1966, in Rangoon, Burma (now Yangon, Myanmar) to a Burmese father and an English mother. When she got her ears pierced as per Buddhist tradition, a Burmese priest gave her the name Myant Myant Aye, which literally means 'cool, cool, high' in Burmese. After her parents divorced, her mother took her back to England.
Annabella originally "wanted to be an air stewardess". After she successfully auditioned for 'Bow Wow Wow', she was transferred from a mixed comprehensive school in London to the Sylvia Young Theatre School. Much later, she relocated to Los Angles because she felt that her life as a singer in England seemed to stop.