Amanda Lear's life is one of the most amazing one of this century. As the "Sunday Times Magazine " wrote it in 1985 about her : It's a dream come true by her unique will.
Born in 1946 in Hong Kong from an English/French father who served for the French army in Indochina and an Asian/Russian mother, Amanda was raised in the South of France and in Switzerland. In addition to two mother languages ( French and English ) she also learnt German, Spanish and Italian before she reached 18, making her a talented young polyglot. Her passion is Art and at the tender age of 16 she went to Paris to study painting before joining in 1964 the famous St Martins School in London. She became chums with Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones and a wild child of the London nights. Her stunning Eurasian features attracted attention of Catherine Harlé, head of the most famous European model agency.
In 1965 she returned to Paris to catwalk for Paco Rabanne and Yves St Laurent. During this staying she met Salvador Dali who wanted her as a model. She became his muse and closest friend for over 15 years. She has told this period in her book "My life with Dali" published worldwide in 1985.:Dali is a genius who likes ambiguity and he tends to talk to women as they were men. From this will come the legend and rumour about the transexuality of Amanda Lear.
In 1973 while pursuing a successfull model career (she was featured as covers for Marie France or Elle magazines but just pages in Vogue because of the rumour ! ), her long time fan Bryan Ferry asked her to pose for the cover of their LP "For Your Pleasure". The cover became as famous as the record himself!. David Bowie then the Top UK Rock artist falls in love with her and they will stay together for over a year . He wanted her to sing and she actually participatesd in his "Midnight Special" shown on NBC in 1974. De Fries ,Bowie producer, signed her but nothing happened.
In 1975 she signed with Strum production and released her 1st single on legendary UK record company: Creole Records. "Trouble" was a cover of the Presley song. The "B" side is written by Amanda and La Bionda( who became famous as a disco band with "One for you" and as producer of "Vamos a la playa" righeira in the 80 's ). The single was released in France in French language version by Polydor. It is this latter version that was released by Ariola in March 76. It was an unexpected success in DISCO while the title has nothing to do with disco! It leaded Ariola to propose Amanda to do a real DISCO single with German producer Anthony Monn recorded in Munich . This single featured what will be Lear's trademark :intellectual lyrics written by Amanda herself, music written by Monn, luxious arrangements by Charly Ricaneck, back up vocalists for the chorus and her deep voice even deeper with the help of dozens of cigarettes and a glass of whisky as she revealed later!. Released for Xmas 76 , the single tops the disco chart and goes to n°12 on the Sales chart, in Italy it will go to N°4. Ariola signed her for 7 year and 6 albums for a figure considered as astronomic by Amanda herself. She wanted to become a rock singer and Disco will make her immensely wealthy
Her 1 st album "I Am A Photograph" reffered to her model career, stayed 33 weeks in the German charts and produced 2 mega hits,"Tomorrow" and the N°1 single "Queen of Chinatown" which will go gold in Japan a very rare feast for foreign artist in this country. The production team included in addition of Monn and Charly Ricaneck, Rainer Pietch and Harold Faltemeier. Three countries remained immune to Lear invasion : England, US and France. Not for long for the latter. Her next single the symphonic and Kraftwerk inspired "Follow-Me" from her forthcoming album "Sweet Revenge" was an instant smash in all continental Europe including France. In September 78 she gives an unforgettable concert at the Palace in Paris with 5000 people inside and 15000 outside !. The album which portraited an all leather and whip Amanda was sold in excess of 4 millions copies and was featured in charts in 41 countries including Chile, South Africa, India and Thailand where it stayed number one for 16 weeks !. Signed to Chrysalis Records in the US and despite a promotional tour the record did not sell well. "Gold", "Run Baby Run" and "Enigma" were also released in singles.
Her audience mixed young teenagers, housewifes and gays! The third album recorded at Musicland with Monn and Keith Forsey (D.Summer, B.Idol ) is more openly DISCO and much better arranged. The album "Never Trust A Pretty Face" was relased in March 79. .The hits were numerous : "Fashion Pack", "The Sphinx" (happened to be my favorite). Many fans consider this album as her best ever released. She became in all Europe the incarnation of disco and she intensely toured . In April of 1979 she married French diva Sylvie Vartan's producer Alain Philippe Malagnac, son of Gay writer Roger Peyrefitte. This and her posing nude for Playboy deceived her fans who praised her mystery.
In 1980 her 4th album was released and was openly marketed for scandinavian countries where Amanda has become a huge star. Still produced by Monn it's a mix of DISCO and POP tracks. Two hits were subsequently released "Fabulous" and "Diamonds" while some countries picked up "When" and "Japan". The Monn formula with Pietch and Ricaneck started however to become a bit old .The album just went to N°43 in Germany but was a major seller in Scandinavia ( n°4 ) and Italy. She toured Europe that year from Greece to Finland. The album was released by RCA in Italy, with 3 songs in Italian . In Italy she became a superstar doing TV ads for Fiat cars! In 1981 after having sold an estimated 15 millions singles and 8 millions albums, she wanted to return to her first love: ROCK music. She started recording demos with Trevor Horn (Frankie Goes to Hollywwood, Tina Turner , Buggles ) in London. Ariola was not impressed and obliged her to record another album with Monn called "Incognito". The Spanish version of this album with 3 Spanish language songs was a big hit in South America but the "regular" version floped in Europe. To show her lack of interest she posed with dark glasses on the cover!In 1982 she recorded her final single with Monn ("Fever") and sued Ariola to be released from her contract. Funny enough "Fever" was a smash hit in South America and she went on tour in these countries and did concerts in the US ("Saint" disco in NY ) and in London. The only country where she was free of recording was Italy. She recorded a single "Incredibly Woman" in all Italian tradition and it was a hit ! It lead TV magnat Berlusconi to propose her to host a prime time variety show. She stayed 4 years and becames a top TV star ! Her carreer as a recording artist was affected by her TV popularity in Italy then in France and Germany. At the same time Monn were producing the highly successful Fancy
She had to decline to tour Eastern countries in 1982 where she has become a huge star (in a Russian poll she was the Top foreign artist with Streisand and Pink Floyd). After a last single recorded in Münich ("Love Your Body"), her sixth album "Tam Tam" was produced in Italy and last on Ariola. It was a flop everywhere else. In 1984 she signed with Warner for a single marketed by a video directed by Bolognini "Assassino". In 1985 she returned to the DISCO floor with the High Energy track produced by Merack "No credit card". It was a big disco hit. Her recording following was mainly gay while her TV audience was very family orientated.
Since 1981 she has returned to exhibit her own paintings and from then she was doing between 2 and 4 exhibitions a year, mainly in Europe. A Lear painting cost $10000! Her inspiration comes from Provence where she lives most of the year. In 1987 she released an album " Secret Passion" produced by american producer Christian de Walden on Carrere Records. It featured a cover of the Trogs "Wild thing" and was released in the US by Hot tracks and in Canada. Unfortunately, a car accident prevented Amanda from promoting it correctly. While she was staying in hospital she wrote a novell "The Immortal" published in France the same year !. In 1988 she records with italian rock band "CCCP" and filmed concert for Italian TV in San Remo. In 1989 and 1990 she recorded successful French and Italian albums while she started new TV and radios shows for the same countries. The same year Ian Levine remixed for Ariola "Follow Me" and "Gold".In 1992 she made a french TV film acclaimed by critics "A woman For Me" and started participating in the most popular French show "The Big Heads" (a talk show with little plays within and actors cracking jokes) before getting her famous sex show "Beware of the Blondes"/"PEEP" (in Germany ) which got over 50% of market share ! and is still shown every sunday evening in Germany. In 1993 she recorded "Cadavrexquis" an album which marked her return to Dance music. The single "Fantasy" produced by German "Bass Bumpers" was a big hit and welcomed return to her best works. In 1995 she recorded in Münich for the 1st time in over 12 years the album "ALTER EGO" produced on the top dance label ZYX . It's full of dance goodies ! In june 1995 she participated to a Disco reunion concert in Paris in front of 5000 people with Boney M , Grace Jones and Gloria Gaynor
The disco phenemenon is in full swing in Europe and dozens of compilations host "Follow Me" which has remained her anthem ! Multi talented Amanda has proved successful in different territories like art, TV and writing but has never forgot her fans who loves her music by recording real gems for them. The music of Amanda Lear will touch every disco heart ! Her fan club is in Nice, France and publishes 3 times a year a glossy magazine trying to trace the facts and projects of the lady. These latter ones include a videotape of microwave cooking, a new book inspired by her mentor Louise Hay ("Positive Thinking"), an exhibition in Germany , a cover of "Walk on the Wild Side"!!