Los Angeles’ favorite cult celebrity, best known for her 1980s self-promotional billboards and an iconic pink Corvette returns to her musical roots
by Scott Hennig
Before those now iconic billboards became part of the L.A. skyline — as recognizable an image of Los Angeles as the Hollywood sign, — Angelyne began her career in a punk rock band. During the era that birthed contemporaries such as The Cramps, The Germs, The Go Gos and Exene Cervenka, she played Hollywood clubs, including The Masque, Madame Wong’s and The Whisky a Go Go.
Bands of the late 1970s and early 1980s promoted themselves commando-raid-style, by putting up flyers, posters and pictures wherever they could — usually done well after midnight. Angelyne was a leader in this style of promotion and quickly became known as the poster girl of Sunset Strip. Then came the first billboard and the rest, as they say, was history.
Her first single “Rock and Roll Rebel” was released in 1978 under the band name Baby Blue. Most copies of this record were distributed in England and are now ultra-rare and highly sought-after collectibles.
Her increasingly high profile led to her dropping the Baby Blue name in favor of the solo moniker Angelyne. Her next single was “Mystified,” co-written with lead guitarist Jordan Michaels. She followed this up with 1979’s “Too Much To Touch.”
Each of these three records was released on a different label. All subsequent U.S. recordings were released by Erika Records, and by Angelyne’s own label, Pink Kitten Records.
In 1982, Angelyne released her first album, the self-titled Angelyne Picture Disc. Featured tracks include “Still On My Mind,” “Only Love,” “Heartthrob” and “Kiss Me L.A.” — the power-driven title track.
“Kiss Me L.A.” was played in heavy rotation on L.A.’s KROQ and was so popular that the station asked Angelyne to record an on-air promo — singing the line “K-K-K-Kiss Me KROQ.” The record was sent mainly to radio stations across the U.S. and England. It’s rare to find copy today, and they’re very pricey.
At Rainbow Records where the LP was pressed, they also did a few test copies of singles. Angelyne visited the record plant to meet with owner Steve Sheldon on a day when they were pressing the Monkees’ first picture disc. One record was grabbed from the production line and Angelyne’s picture was pressed onto one side to show her what her picture disc would look like. Rainbow gave it to her as a gift — and it is quite possibly the rarest record in the entire Monkees catalog, because only one exists!
A 5-inch promotional-only picture disc featuring the song “My List” followed the Angelyne Picture Disc. She also released a 7-inch version with a picture sleeve featuring her in her famous pink and white outfit and wrap-around sunglasses, posing in front of her pink corvette. Angelyne also performed “My List” in her first music video.
At this point, Angelyne was appearing on TV and the video was extensively featured to coincide with the upcoming release of her second album Driven To Fantasy. The cover of this album features her first billboard photo, which eventually became a 10-story mural on the side of the old Broadway department store building in Hollywood. Driven To Fantasy was simultaneously released in Italy on pink vinyl.
The Italian version features a different B-side and a different back cover photo — making it another rare and expensive record from the Angelyne catalog! The single from this album, “Dreamin’ About You,” also received extensive airplay.
Angelyne appeared in the 1988 cult classic film Earth Girls Are Easy with Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis and Jim Carrey. Her song, “Animal Attraction,” that can be heard during her scenes does not appear on the soundtrack album because the singer planned to release it herself as a 12-inch maxi single in Europe. Available in Italy, Germany, France, and Spain and distributed by BMG Ariola on the Smash One label, it became a dance club favorite in Europe.
The last two decades have found Angelyne concentrating on film, television and magazines. Two CDs were released during this time. “Beauty And The Pink” (2000) and “I’m So Lucky” (2003).
Currently, Angelyne plans to re-release “Kiss Me LA” — this time as a silhouette picture shaped disc, once again through the good people at Erika Records. The B-side is titled “Bubble Bath,” and features Angelyne actually talking from her bubble bath. It was recorded by Eric Hurst of Big Arm Recordings.
Angelyne is also working with producer and songwriter Henrik Bech Poulsen on his new song for her album, “Heart.”
The Angelyne Movie, by Maggie Milstein and Brian Scofield, currently in production, is a fantasy/reality journey into the world of Angelyne and beyond — with her music prominently featured.
Watch for these.