Seven-piece all-girl ska/reggae band, The Bodysnatchers, were brought together in September 1979 by bass player Nicky – then a part-time veg seller in Berwick Street market – via adverts in the music press: “Rude Girls Wanted” (she says she got a lot of dirty phone calls).
Along came dark toffee coloured singer and employee of the Brixton dole office, Rhoda; Lead guitarist SJ, (a fashion lecturer); Freelance illustrator without any work but with a chopped and channelled trilby, Penny, on keyboards and songwriting; Scunthorpe-raised rhythm guitarist Stella; drummer on the dole Jane; and schoolgirl sax-player, Miranda.
They made their first public appearance at the Windsor Castle in November 1979 and their debut disc, a pleasant arrangement of the old Dandy Livingstone tune Let’s Do Rock Steady made the Top Ten.
They secured a two singles deal with 2-Tone in February 1980 and played on tour with The Selecter the same month. Support slots with The Specials followed, but a second single released later in the year (Easy Life) failed to capture the big hit status of Rock Steady.
The band appeared in the 2-Tone movie, Dance Craze, but had broken up by the time the film was released. Their short-lived career came to an end in November, with most of the girls moving on to form The Belle Stars.
Sarah-Jane (SJ) Owen