Amanda Lear was the cover girl to the second Roxy Music album.
From Q Magazine:
Was she or wasn't she? In April Ashley's autobiography, Odyssey, Britain's first publicly confessed transsexual wrote
about one "Peki d'Oslo, otherwise Alain Tapp, later Amanda Lear." In one of Lear's own trash disco classics, Fabulous Lover, Love Me, she purrs, "the surgeon made me so well that you could not tell that I was not somebody else", while Roxy's PR at the time, Simon Puxley, confirms that it was commonly known at the time that she was once a he.
Lear was 25 and, like Kari-Ann Muller, a fashion model, when Ferry saw her on stage at an Ossie Clarke show. "Bryan and Anthony Price thought I'd be the right girl with the right attitude, because the girl had to be way before her time. 1973 was too early for the black leather, dominatrix look, but I was right, probably because I was very tall. They wanted a girl who looked like a Hitchcock movie, a little bit dangerous but arrogant at the same time. I had to be able to carry off that ridiculous shiny dress look."
Lear had never heard of Roxy, "but Bryan was very charming. He took me out and offered me the job, but never mentioned the black panther." When it came to the photo shoot in an empty South London street, "it was a bit frightening. They overdid the Valium though, and the poor
animal couldn't get up, poor thing. It was lying flat on its stomach. I was looking fierce though. When it came to it, they had to paint the eyes open on the sleeve."
Through Marianne Faithfull, she met David Bowie, "who had fallen in love with the girl on the sleeve. I think he was a little disappointed when we met because I looked nothing like the sleeve, but he lived with me for a year. He originated my singing career, paid for my singing and dancing lessons and my first demo. Everyone, Elton John, Freddie Mercury, they all said, You must sing." So a Euro-disco queen was born, although Lear
quickly tired of the role. "It went downhill after the first record! I was the first face of disco music, and I was very good at the part, because I had a beautiful presence..."
In 1981, she landed an Italian cable TV chat show which, in 1991, extended to French TV - "It's called Watch Out For Blondes. I show guests sexy film clips and see how they react to them." She also plays a lawyer-cum-murderer in the forthcoming psych-thriller A Woman For Me, "which will show people another side of me." So will her domestic scenario: "I live in the South of France, with goats and other animals. I make my own olive oil."
The record career continued. In 1986, she cut a single with Trevor Horn, called Where Are They Now? "It was the best thing lever did, and my first rap record, all about the big showbiz names now shining in the firmament. But the record company hated it, so that was the end of that."
Lear does the occasional show, the gay/drag ball Kinky Gerlinky and the Chelsea Arts Club Ball AIDS benefit at the Albert Hall being her last London engagements, "but just for the money. I get panicky on stage." Divine Delirium, her tenth album - "and hopefully my last; it's bloody awful"
- is to be released in France. "People want a revival of my '70s period. I don't know why people have so much interest in such bad records."
But what of those rumours? "Hah hah! That was bullshit, a phony publicity stunt in order to sell records. No-one wanted a boring girl like any other. But it was the time of the Rocky Horror Show, and I was around, looking glamorous, and people always dream, don't they? The lady is a girl, and that's it."