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May 132016
 

The Divinyls

April 21, 2013 – Christine Joy “Chrissy” Amphlett was born on October 25, 1959. She grew up in Geelong, Australia as a singer and dancer and left home as a teenager to travel around England, France and Spain where she was imprisoned for three months for singing on the streets.

In 1976, Amphlett played the role of Linda Lips in the R-rated musical Let My People Come. In 1980 back in Australia, Amphlett met Mark McEntee at a concert at the Sydney Opera House in 1980 and they formed Divinyls with Jeremy Paul (Air Supply).

After several years performing in Sydney, they recorded several songs for the film Monkey Grip, in which Amphlett also acted. Amphlett made her film debut in Monkey Grip (1982) in a supporting role as the temperamental lead singer of a rock band. Monkey Grip’s author, Helen Garner, claimed that the film’s director preferred Amphlett in the role of Jane Clifton as “Clifton was neither good looking enough or a good enough singer to play herself.”

In 1988, she starred opposite Russell Crowe in the first Australian production of Willy Russell’s stage musical Blood Brothers. Amphlett played Judy Garland in the original touring production of The Boy from Oz, with Todd McKenney playing the role of Peter Allen. When the highly successful show transferred to Broadway in the year 2000, Garland was played by American performer Isabel Keating and Allen by Hugh Jackman. On its return to Australia as an arena spectacular, Amphlett resumed playing the role.

Divinyls consisted of an ever-changing line-up formed around Amphlett and McEntee, whose relationship was always volatile. Nevertheless, the band released six studio albums, with four of them reaching the Top 10 in Australia, and one, reaching No.15 in the US. Their biggest-selling single, “I Touch Myself” in 1991, achieved No.1 in Australia, No.4 in the US and No.10 in the UK.

Divinyls did not release another album for six years, breaking up around the time of Underworld’s release in Australia.

Then Amphlett lived in New York City with her husband, concentrating on a solo career and writing her autobiography, Pleasure and Pain: My Life.

Amphlett and McEntee barely spoke after the band broke up, but resumed contact when they were inducted in the 2006 ARIA Hall of Fame and eventually announced a new tour and album. They recorded and released a single, “Don’t Wanna Do This”, and toured Australia, but the proposed reunion album was never made.

Sadly Chrissy died fighting breast cancer and multiple sclerosis on April 21, 2013. She was 53.