Steve Strange, the Welsh pop singer who was quite literally the face of the New Romantic Movement, who also fronted ’80s new wave group Visage, has died. Strange, whose real name is Steven John Harrington, is renowned for Visage’s 1980 synth-pop hit “Fade To Grey,” his appearance in the David Bowie video for “Ashes to Ashes”, and was also a celebrated nightclub entertainer in the United Kingdom.
As the doorman for the legendary Blitz Club in London, Steve Strange and the Blitz kids helped launch the subcultural movement known as the New Romantics. The New Romantics were the opposite of punk: soft, colorful and androgynous. It was an elitist group of fashionable people (including Boy George and Marilyn) who dressed to the nines with inspiration from their mothers’ closets, John Waters and the glam movement. With a focus on androgyny, glitter, excessiveness and theatrics, Steve Strange was a major player in the New Romantic movement and, certainly, Visage’s “Fade to Grey” was its anthem.
He was 55 years old.
This past December, BBC News reported that Strange was hospitalized with an unknown medical condition. “His record label said he has been admitted to Princess of Wales Hospital in Bridgend with a bronchial infection and an intestinal blockage,” they wrote. “August Day Recordings said his hospital admission follows a long illness which has left him ‘virtually bed ridden.’ He is undergoing an exploratory operation.”
Here’s Strange’s alleged last tweet:
After reforming in 2004, Visage released their sixth album, Orchestral, this past December.