You want candy? Bow Wow Wow reform for Doggedly Wild UK tour in 2012

Posted: 5th December 2011
Adam Ant - Image:

In 1980, Sex Pistols maverick and business partner to designer Vivienne Westwood, Malcolm McLaren chose to use a band to plug the fashion icon's clothing lines. He chose to persuade various Adam and the Ants members, including David Barbarossa, Leigh Gorman and the late Matthew Ashman, to hook up with singer Annabella Lwin. Bow Wow Wow were formed, job done. Except that it wasn't.

In just three short years, McLaren's protégés probably caused more controversy, more consternation and subsequent tut-tutting than perhaps the Pistols did. Perhaps. For a start, their lead singer, the diminutive Lwin was just 14 when she scribbled on the dotted-line. No real issue there then. Until you listen to some of the songs from their first batch of releases, that is.

"Sexy Eiffel Towers" is a sexually-charged moan-fest, the band actively promoted home-taping (which was apparently killing music, back in the '80s - think Napster on a crap format) and Lwin appeared stark-bottom naked on the cover of their debut album, "See Jungle! See Jungle! Go Join Your Gang, Yeah. City All Over! Go Ape Crazy!" (a title which accurately describes their music better than any critical analysis has done). Scotland Yard (and her mother) were understandably concerned about this apparent exploitation and threatened action. The picture was 'parked' and the band were allowed to leave for a US tour - Clarkson's no comparison to this scandal, by the way. The group were also accused of ripping off Burundi rhythms and Zulu jives - so, not unlike Adam and the Ants or, latterly, Peter Gabriel.

They fell out with EMI about that aforementioned home-taping episode - strangely enough, the world's first flip-top cassette single-cum-EP, "C30 C60 C90 Go" was issued by the label some months before - signed to RCA and had hits with the tribal-surf classic, "Go Wild in the Country" and the sugar-tongued rock n' roller, "I Want Candy". Top of the Pops became an event whenever Bow Wow Wow appeared on it - that trademark Lwin squeal raising a few testosterone levels in the process - before the band imploded in 1983.

After a few restarts in the last twenty years or so, 2012 will see Lwin and revitalised musicians back on the road for a string of UK shows. It's been 30 years since "I Want Candy" and "Go Wild" roared up the charts, so why not?

The first confirmed shows include Oxford, Birmingham, York, Glasgow, Newcastle, Sheffield, London and Leamington Spa this April,with more dates possibly to be added. Tickets for York and Leamington Spa are now on sale, costing £16, while remaining shows will start at £14, with Leamington Spa coming out at the most expensive at £18 (London tickets will also cost £16) and will be available here from Wednesday morning (7th Dec) at 9am.

Paul Pledger