It’s agreed that there is a sort of post- punky musical drift into new wave bands. If you were in the thick of it at the time, the categories and sub-connections are probably really important and we apologise if some of our punkgirldiaries stuff is not ‘real’ punk. But as young kids at the time, everything new was exciting to us, and in our minds, it was all ‘punk’. Looking back, trying to find the definitions, it seems that the new wave bands tended to wear thin ties and have keyboards.
Marion Valentine is a punkgirl who in 1977 joined North London band The Doll as singer and guitarist. Many of the songs feature punk-style singing over increasingly rich full backing instrumentation as new wave became the acceptable face of punk. This may be a result of signing to Beggar’s Banquet and teaming up with producer Steve Lillywhite (later known for his award-winning work with Siouxsie and The Banshees, Peter Gabriel and U2).
The Doll released ‘Trash’ on a BB compilation and their first official single was ‘Don’t Tango on the Heart’
Hassan Mahamdallie, writing for the excellent ‘Dream Deferred’ Website recalls a Dolls gig:
“I saw The Doll perform at the Nashville pub in West Kensington, sharing the bill with Beggar’s Banquet stablemates, The Lurkers. The Doll had a well-crafted set performed at breakneck speed.”
Whether due to pressure from the record company, or Marion’s own ambition for success, The Doll’s next release was full-on new wave ‘Desire Me’. The gatefold 7″ featured a full length photo of Marion (aka Baby Doll).
An album ‘Listen to the Silence’ was recorded but, with little success, the band spilt up in 1980. Due to continued interest from worldwide fans, Cherry Red Records released a double CD in 2011 which contains the album, singles and other unreleased material.
Many commentators have declared that Valentine was an artist who never reached her great potential. Much admired, and described as ‘effervescent’, Marion Valentine worked as a sole female in a ‘particular kind of male culture’* and we suspect that this in itself may have led to her premature retirement from music. It’s hard to find any details about Marion’s life at that time or since, but we wonder whether The Dolls would have had more staying power with another ‘doll’ in the band.
Here at punkgirldiaries, we’d love to hear from anyone who knows what became of Marion, but in the meantime, here’s the very ‘new-wave’ The Dolls on Top of The Pops in 1979.