A veteran of the punk, post-punk/new wave, and reggae scenes since the 1970s, Vivien Goldman is a renowned writer, musician, and educator. Through her music and her journalism, she has played a significant role in merging punk and new wave with African and Caribbean rhythms, writing about numerous styles of music, and recording with countless musicians ranging from reggae legend Prince Far I to Soft Machine co-founder Robert Wyatt. Born in London in 1954, she spent time in the '70s working for Island Records as a public relations officer for artists including Bob Marley & the Wailers. She then became a journalist, writing for British weeklies such as NME, Sounds, and Melody Maker about the emerging punk and reggae scenes, eventually covering new wave and hip-hop during the following decade. Musically, she provided backup vocals on Adrian Sherwood-produced reggae recordings, and contributed to the 1979 debut album by new wave/dub minimalists the Flying Lizards, as well as both albums by experimental collective the 49 Americans. In 1981, she released an EP titled Dirty Washing on legendary New York City label 99 Records. Edited down to a 7" single, with the A-side being single, "Launderette" (co-produced by Public Image Ltd.'s John Lydon and Keith Levene), the record was released on U.K. label Window and by Virgin Records in France. That same year, Goldman published Bob Marley, Soul Rebel - Natural Mystic, the first book ever written about the late reggae icon.
Goldman moved to Paris for a year-and-a-half, forming duo Chantage with singer Eve Blouin. Containing more of an Afro-pop influence than Goldman's previous work, Chantage's single "It's Only Money" was released by Celluloid in 1982. Goldman spent most of the '80s writing rather than recording; her second book, published in 1984, was about Kid Creole & the Coconuts. During the '90s, she moved to Manhattan and co-wrote songs for Massive Attack and Ryuichi Sakamoto in addition to the book The Black Chord: Visions of the Groove: Connections Between Afro-Beats, Rhythm and Blues, Hip Hop, and More. In the 2000s, she began teaching classes at New York University's Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music. With courses focused on topics such as punk, Jamaican music, and Fela Kuti, she earned the nickname "Punk Professor." She also wrote another book about Marley in 2006, this time focusing on the classic album Exodus.
By this time, "Launderette" had become a cult classic, appearing on several post-punk compilations. Gomma featured it on 2001's Anti NY, Chicks on Speed Records included it on their 2006 three-CD Girl Monster collection, and it also appeared on Strut's Disco Not Disco: Post Punk, Electro & Leftfield Disco Classics 1974-1986 in 2008. Goldman sang on a 2010 remix of New York house DJ Dennis Ferrer's club hit "Hey Hey." She also wrote liner notes for several compilations and reissues, including Luaka Bop's anthology of Nigerian musician William Onyeabor and Light in the Attic's series of Lizzy Mercier Descloux reissues. In 2016, German experimental label Staubgold issued Resolutionary (Songs 1979-1982), a compilation including Goldman's solo EP, Chantage's single, and both of her songs from the first Flying Lizards album. ~ Paul Simpson