Amanda Lear ‘Sweet Revenge’ (Ariola, 1978)

Amanda Lear’s ‘Sweet Revenge’ sold remarkably well on the continent when eurodisco was in its infancy in 1978, even if it made little headway in the UK. Lear penned the lyrics on the Moog-y disco concept album (recorded with the German Schlager singer-turned-producer Tony Monn), loosely based on the Faust legend and presented as a burlesque musical fantasia. There’s a lot to commend it, namely the decadently camp disco banger ‘Follow Me’, and ‘Gold’, which bears a striking resemblance to Sparks and Giorgio Moroder’s ‘La Dolce Vita’. Throw in Lear’s Bobby Pickett-like deep voice and it all adds up to a riot of spooky glam.

The French proto-supermodel shared a similar milieu to Grace Jones, who was also pursuing a breakout disco career at the time. Jones has had more longevity, though it was first blood to Lear – the album went Top 10 in France, German, Italy, the Netherlands and Austria. The pair even shared a split single of Jones’ ‘Do Or Die’ and Lear’s ‘Run Baby Run’ for a promotional push in Spain. That rare Island/Areola white label collaboration is worth a few bob now, unlike ‘Sweet Revenge’.

I came across the LP thumbing through the five-euro floor crates at Superfly, my favourite Paris record shop.

Lear on the cover, all in black in dominatrix pose, rang some bells – namely on Roxy Music’s ‘For Your Pleasure’ where she’s impossibly rangy, stalking a crepuscular city with a black panther on a leash. If the images both exert mystery, then Lear herself is a fascinating cultural figure whose life remains a riddle. Now either 83 or 84 years old, there are plenty of biographical discrepancies that she remains evasive about, such as her parentage and place of birth.

Lear was famously Salvador Dalí’s muse, and a rumour about a change in her assigned gender at birth – which she and Dalí most likely cooked up – has never deserted her.

Furthermore, Lear’s place in rock ’n’ roll is assured – she’s The Rolling Stones’ ‘Miss Amanda Jones’ from 1966, written by Jagger and Richards when she was dating Brian Jones. She was also briefly engaged to Bryan Ferry, and she had a relationship with David Bowie, which is deceptively significant to the path of electronic music. It was Lear who took Bowie to see Fritz Lang’s ‘Metropolis’, sparking his lifelong fascination with German Expressionism. Arguably, no Lear – no Berlin trilogy.

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