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Richard Hell - JPop.com
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Richard Hell

Richard Hell

Richard Hell


Richard Hell (born Richard Meyers; October 2, 1949 in Lexington, Kentucky) is an American singer, songwriter, bass guitarist, and writer. Hell was an originator of the punk fashion look, the first to spike his hair and wear torn, cut and drawn-on shirts, often held together with safety pins. Malcolm McLaren, manager of the Sex Pistols, has said Hell was an important inspiration for the Sex Pistols' look and attitude, as well as the safety-pin accessorized clothing McLaren sold in his London shop, Sex. Read more on Last.fm
Richard Hell (born Richard Meyers; October 2, 1949 in Lexington, Kentucky) is an American singer, songwriter, bass guitarist, and writer. Hell was an originator of the punk fashion look, the first to spike his hair and wear torn, cut and drawn-on shirts, often held together with safety pins. Malcolm McLaren, manager of the Sex Pistols, has said Hell was an important inspiration for the Sex Pistols' look and attitude, as well as the safety-pin accessorized clothing McLaren sold in his London shop, Sex. (Some members of the Sex Pistols dispute this.) Hell attended Sanford Preparatory in Delaware for one year (the 11th grade) where he became friends with Tom Miller (later Tom Verlaine). They ran away from school together and were arrested in Alabama for arson and vandalism a short time later. Hell never finished high school but moved to New York City to make his way as a poet.

In New York he bought a used table-top offset printing press and began publishing books and magazines under the imprints Genesis: Grasp and then Dot Books. Before he was twenty-one his own poems were published in numerous periodicals, ranging from Rolling Stone to the New Directions Annuals. Along with Tom Verlaine, in 1971 Hell also published under the pseudonym Theresa Stern, a female poet whose photo was actually a combination of both his and Verlaine's faces, in makeup and a female wig, superimposed over one another to create a new identity. In 1969, Verlaine joined Hell in New York and they eventually formed the Neon Boys. Their 1973 demo tracks of "Love Comes in Spurts" and "That's All I Know (Right Now)", later released by Shake Records, were arguably the first punk recordings.

In 1974 the band added a second guitar player and changed their name to Television. Television's performances at CBGB helped kick-start the first wave of punk bands, inspiring a number of different artists including Patti Smith, who wrote the first press review of Television for the Soho Weekly News in June 1974. She had an affair with Tom Verlaine, and formed a highly successful band of her own (the Patti Smith Group). Television was the band that convinced CBGB owner Hilly Kristal to book rock bands at his club, and they built its first stage. Hell started playing his song "Blank Generation" during his stint in Television. In 1975, Hell quit (or was fired from) Television after a dispute over creative control.

Hell claimed that he and Verlaine had originally divided the songwriting evenly but later Verlaine favored his own songs. Verlaine remains characteristically silent on the subject. Hell left Television the same week that Jerry Nolan and Johnny Thunders quit the New York Dolls and the three of them formed a band called The Heartbreakers in May 1975 (not to be confused with Tom Petty's band, which adopted the same name the following year). After a few shows Walter Lure joined The Heartbreakers as a second guitar player. A year later, in early 1976, Hell quit The Heartbreakers and started Richard Hell & the Voidoids with Robert Quine, Ivan Julian and Marc Bell. The band released two albums, though the second, Destiny Street, was a less successful lineup that retained only Quine from the original group, and suffered from Hell's distractions, narcotics especially, during recording, as he himself has described.

Hell's best known songs with the Voidoids were "Blank Generation" (the title track of the group's original album), "Love Comes in Spurts", "The Kid With the Replaceable Head" and "Time". Hell was married to Scandal's Patty Smyth for two years, 1985–86, and they have a daughter, Ruby. Hell married Sheelagh Bevan in 2002 and lives with her in the East Village, New York City. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..

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