Before there was Madonna, Lady Gaga, or any other who was considered to be a 'shock rocker' female pop star, there was a force to be reckoned with and her name was Wendy O Williams. If you were growing up in the late seventies to early eighties, you know exactly who I'm talking about! In July of 1978, her band 'The Plasmatics' gave it's debut performance at the infamous CBGB in New York. Williams instantly became a punk rock cult icon for the ages and had a consistent following during her career thereafter.
If you think today's female musicians have pushed the envelope in regards to what's considered controversial or taboo, Wendy O puts them in the rank of saints compared to her on stage antics. Williams was an intense personality on every level and it came through in her lyrics, her persona and most of all her wardrobe which was mostly 'skin'. She was big on strategically placed electrical tape. In the early 80's she was arrested several times for simulating sex on stage, attempting battery on an officer and for perpetrating obscene conduct. She even went as far as to perform in nothing but shaving cream on one occasion! This chick was off the hook crazy and the crowds ate it up!
After The Plasmatics went their separate ways, Williams attempted a solo career in 1984 when she released an album titled "W.O.W" that was produced by Kiss members Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley & Ace Frehley. She also gave a shot at acting appearing in the 1986 indie film, 'Reform School Girls'. She ended up retiring all together in 1991 and toned it down quite a bit ending up working in a health food store, citing that she was just sick of people!
Unfortunately, Wendy O Williams stage act was not an act at all, the brash & hardcore personality she portrayed to the public, was really who she was on the inside. In 1993 she attempted suicide by hammering a knife into her chest but she changed her mind when it just lodged in her sternum. Another attempt occurred in 1997 with an ephedrine overdose and finally she succeeded on April 6th 1998 when she went into the woods near her home and shot herself. She was only 48. This vintage music vixen was the epitome of a bad girl style icon and definitely paved the way for those who followed in her footsteps, so f.y.i. it wasn't a big revelation when Amy Whinehouse, Lady Gaga or Pink rocked the tape, as the punk rock vixen queen of 'shock & awe', Wendy O Williams had 'been there and done that' when they were still in diapers!
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