James, former lead singer of rock group Transvision Vamp and one
of the originators of the ‘girl power’ movement, was born on January
21, 1966. Wendy spent her teenage years growing up in the British
seaside town of Brighton. It was here, when she was 17, that Wendy
first met future partner (personal and professional) Nick Christian
Sayer. Wendy was covering Patti Smith songs in an after hours club.
At the end of her set, Nick stepped forward to introduce himself
and inquired whether Wendy would be interested in singing some songs
he'd been writing.
For the next
18 months, Wendy and Nick wrote and recorded songs for a screen
play they had written. Titled "Saturn 5", the film was
to be set sometime in future and was centered around youth rebellion.
The demo tape for Saturn 5 had six tracks, and served as their first
demo to start flogging to record companies. Wendy and Nick moved
to London, full of confidence in thier aptly named new band "Transvision
Vamp", and were signed to MCA by the winter of 1986.
Vamp set about recording their first album titled "Pop Art,"
which would provide
the public with four awesome singles. The first single, "Revolution
Baby," did not do as well as MCA hoped, so it was followed
up by a cover version of the old Holly and the Italians classic
"Tell That Girl To Shut Up". The second single did fair
a bit better, but it took the ‘arrogant and brattish noise’ of the
amazing third single, "I Want You Love," to really get
the band noticed. This song reached the Top 5 and catapulted Wendy
into the limelight. Wendy
was everywhere - radio, TV, and magazines. It was about this time
that Wendy started to get herself a reputation as a bit of a loudmouth.
Pop Art dove straight into the charts at number 4, and Wendy proudly
announced that fact to the crowd Transvision Vamp were playing the
night the charts came out.
was a hectic year for Wendy and the Vamps. After releasing a remix
of "Revolution Baby" and "Sister Moon", Transvision
Vamp unleashed thier sophomore album, "Velveteen," to
the world. This album landed on the top of the charts in the number
one position. As soon as the opening riffs of "Baby I Don’t
Care" hit the airwaves you knew the charts were screaming 'Welcome
Back’. Wendy was everywhere. Promotion for the album saw Wendy and
the boys travel through Europe, Japan and Australia. Subsequent
singles included "The Only One", "Landslide Of Love"
and "Born To Be Sold." Wendy and the boys set off on a
world tour which had the band playing sold out tours in England
and Australia. The tabloids went crazy over Wendy, especially her
on-again-off-again romance with comic Roland Rivron. The
end of 1989 saw Wendy James and the band take a well earned break
that was meant to last only short time, but ended up with the band
not releasing anything for 18 months.
was meant to start off with a huge Transvision bang. Wendy had been
extremely busy co-writing songs with Nick for the new album which
was to be called "Little Magnets Versus The Bubble Of Babble".
The first single off the album, "(I Just Wanna) B With U,"
was released in the UK around April 1991, but flopped badly and
was savaged by the critics. A second single, "If Looks Could
Kill, " did not fair much better. It was a shame really as
both these singles still had the old Vamp sound as well as having
a more mature sound to it. The British Press just couldn't see the
music through thier hatred of the lead singer. It was around this
time that Wendy caused a huge uproar by appearing semi nude on the
cover of Britain’s "The FACE" magazine. Wendy’s public
image was crumbling. Magazines were baiting Wendy into saying something
controversial, and more often than not they got it. Comments such
as “I’ll lay a $100,000 bet with any journalist anywhere that there
won't be a point in my career where I win an Oscar,” and “Imagine
the controversy when I am more famous than Madonna," layed
waste to thier credibility. Towards
the end of 1991, MCA announced that the Transvision Vamp's third
album would never see the light of day in the UK.
and the boys embarked on what could end up being described as the
bands farewell tour in the USA. They played a handful of dates in
support of The Buzzcocks. It
was while playing in Washington D.C., that Wendy sat down and wrote
a now famous letter to Elvis Costello about her frustrations. When
Transvision Vamp’s tour ended in San Diego, in what Wendy described
as a flea pit, Transvision Vamp called it quits and went back to
a package waiting for her. It was a tape of demo songs that Elvis
Costello had written in collaboration with his wife that would soon
form Wendy's solo album, "Now Aint The Time For Your Tears."
Released in 1993, Wendy had spent five weeks recording the album
in the South Of France. The first single, "The Nameless One,"
jumped feet first into the Top 40 before slipping out, never to
make a recovery. The next two singles, "London’s Brilliant"
and "Do You Know What I am Saying" both failed to chart,
and Wendy was quietly dropped by MCA. It is said that Wendy had
one of the shortest record deals, from the time she was signed to
the time she was dropped, it was only about 15 months.
1995 however, Wendy James was signed by One Little Indian Records
in London. She wrote, recorded and had plans to release an album
titled “Lies In Chinatown.” She was even participated in a small
interview for a UK newspaper promoting the album. Unfortunately
record company politics got in the way, and only a small handful
of copies of “Lies In Chinatown" are known to exist. The first single
that was to be released is called "Without You ( I Want To Be Abused
)." It is a very emotional piece of work, one that was going to
give Wendy the song writing credibility she so rightfully deserves.
After the "Now
Ain't The Time For Your Tears" and "Lies In Chinatown" fiascoes,
Wendy was still determined to get her music to out to her fans.
In 1997, she recorded yet another entire albums-worth of material
in New York. This tape is still in demo form, and has never been
heard by any of her fans. Around then, Wendy also tried collaborating
again with Nick. The two of them worked on a few songs together,
but Wendy felt they had grown apart musically. The sessions were
scrapped, and these songs only exist on a tape in Nick or Wendy’s
find out even more about Wendy and her solo career, check out the
explosive site-within-a-site: World
Of Wendy. WOW is brought to you by Steve Hughes who created
the World of Wendy fanzine in the UK, Jimmie Matsson who had "Wendy
James, The Homepage" from Sweden, and of course Cam McAra and Jay
Whyte, your humble WATV slaves! :)