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Ellen Foley

Doe-eyed St Louis singer/actress Ellen Foley was at the musical mercy of men in the late 70s and early 80s.

Jim Steinman plucked her from Broadway to be Meat Loaf‘s foil on Bat Out Of Hell but put another woman in the videos.

Her 1979 Springsteen-lite solo debut, Night Out, saw Ian Hunter and Mick Ronson force her to channel Jagger’s rampant misogyny on a pub-punk version of The Stones‘ Stupid Girl. Ian and Mick constructed a massive, neo-Spector cathedral of sound which reduced Foley’s voice to just another part of the symphony.

Commercial disaster was finally assured when her then-boyfriend Mick Jones took the helm for Spirit of St Louis (1981), pulled in the rest of The Clash plus sundry Blockheads and English singer-songwriter Tymon Dogg, and tied Foley’s melodramatic and occasionally pitchy voice to a deliciously strange mix of folk-pop, cabaret, Roy Orbison and Joe Strummer-written surrealisms like The Death Of The Psychoanalyst Of Salvador Dali.

Epic washed their hands, Meat Loaf fans were bewildered and Clash punks recoiled in horror at the album’s girlie sweetness and unabashed Americanisms.