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Though they never found widespread success, the London-based quintet Girl provided a tenuous link between the '70s glam movement and its heavier but no less sleazy late-'80s counterpart. Their brief existence and uneven output notwithstanding, Girl are now best remembered as the starting point for a pair of illustrious musicians who would go on to greater fame and fortune with other acts. Girl were formed in 1979 by vocalist Philip Lewis, guitarists Phil Collen and Gerry Laffy, bassist Simon Laffy, and drummer Dave Gaynor. Dressed in sharp clothes, covered in makeup, and boldly announcing they wanted to be England's answer to the New York Dolls, the bandmembers were a bit of an oddity at a time when dirty punk was giving way to even dirtier heavy metal (the New Wave of British Heavy Metal was about to take off). As it happened, though, their counterintuitive image and direction were exactly what they needed to get themselves noticed, and a videotaped performance would get them signed by Jet Records (home to Ozzy Osbourne and ELO). A pair of singles preceded their enthusiastic but uneven first album, Sheer Greed, which was released in January 1980, climbed to a respectable number 33 on the U.K. charts, and found even greater success in Japan (as one would expect). A U.K. tour supporting UFO followed, but Girl's live show needed work and they were regularly victimized by a less than sympathetic press, already growing tired of the band's novelty aspect. A new drummer with an improbable name, Pete Barnacle (ex-Gillan), replaced Gaynor prior to the recording of Girl's belated second album, 1982's Wasted Youth, by which time the band's reputation was in the crapper and its forward momentum all but spent. A Japanese tour only delayed the inevitable, and Girl finally disintegrated when Collen joined Def Leppard later that year. Gerry Laffy would go on to a barely public solo career and, after short stints in the London Cowboys and Airrace, Philip Lewis finally hit it big as frontman of California sleaze kings L.A. Guns. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia

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1979 in England

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