Bow Wow Wow was born when the remaining members of Adam and the Ants, Leigh Gorman, Dave Barbarossa and Matthew Ashman, sought the advice of Sex Pistols‘ manager Malcolm McLaren, who for £1,000 inspired them to form Bow Wow Wow.
McLaren discovered Rangoon-born Myant Myant Aye (Burmese for “Cool Cool High”) in a London dry cleaners, christened her Annabella Lwin, put her in front of a microphone, and the line-up was complete.
Recording began, highlighted by the band’s unique sound of a twangy Duane Eddy-like guitar and an African tribal drum rhythm.
In 1981, Bow Wow Wow released their first LP titled See Jungle! See Jungle! Go Join Your Gang, Yeah! City All Over! Go Ape Crazy!
The album cover (pictured above) featured a nude 15-year-old Annabella in the infamous recreation of Manet’s 1863 Dejeuner Sur L’Herbe (“Lunch on the Grass”).
The cover caused more of a splash than the record itself, but the track Go Wild in the Country did become a huge hit in the UK.
In 1982 the band released two EP’s –Last of the Mohicans and I Want Candy followed by a second LP, also titled, of course, I Want Candy, and then a third, titled 12 Original Recordings. The final LP, 1983’s When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going, was a slicker effort that drove the fans away.
Despite a catchy first single, Do You Wanna Hold Me? and an appearance on the US TV show Solid Gold, the sound was too over-produced for original fans and it marked the end of Bow Wow Wow.
Annabella embarked on a solo career, scoring a modest hit in 1986 with Peggy Lee’s Fever while Gorman, Ashman and Barbarossa formed a band called Chiefs of Relief.
Matthew Ashman died from diabetes in 1995. The group reformed in 1998 to record a greatest hits remix album.
Lwin now lives in Los Angeles and plays sporadic live shows in the US with a new version of Bow Wow Wow.