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Christine Joy Amphlett (born 25 October 1959 Geelong, Victoria, Australia) was the lead singer of Australian rock band Divinyls. She is also known as Chrissy Amphlett.
She grew up in Geelong as a singer and dancer. She left home as a teenager and travelled to England, France and Spain where she was imprisoned for three months for singing on the streets.
In May 2001, Divinyls' "Science Fiction", written by Amphlett and lead guitarist Mark McEntee, was selected by Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) as one of the Top 30 Australian songs of all time. Amphlett and McEntee barely spoke after the band had separated in 1996, but resumed contact when they were inducted in the 2006 ARIA Hall of Fame, eventually announcing a new tour and album.
Amphlett met Mark McEntee at a concert at the Sydney Opera House in 1980, and the pair formed the Divinyls shortly after. After several years of live gigs in Sydney, they recorded several songs to be used on the soundtrack of the film Monkey Grip.
Divinyls consisted of an ever-changing lineup around the core of Amphlett and McEntee, whose relationship was volatile throughout their career. Nonetheless, the band released six albums between 1982 and 1996, peaking in 1991 with the success of the single "I Touch Myself" which reached Number 1 in Australia, 10 in the UK and 4 in the US. Divinyls did not release another album for nearly six years, splitting up around the time of Underworld's release in Australia. 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 split up, but resumed contact when they were inducted in the 2006 ARIA Hall of Fame, eventually announcing a new tour and album.
Amphlett has also worked as an actress. She made her film debut in the 1982 film Monkey Grip, in which she had a supporting role as the temperamental lead singer of a rock band. (Jane Clifton - later of "Neighbours" fame writes in her autobiography that Monkey Grip author Helen Garner wrote of Clifton in the book. The film's director preferred Amphlett in the Clifton role because "Clifton was neither good looking enough or a good enough singer to play herself".
In 1988, Amphlett starred alongside Russell Crowe in the first Australian production of Will Russell's stage musical Blood Brothers.
Amphlett was originally cast to play Judy Garland opposite Todd McKenney in the original touring production of The Boy from Oz, about the life of Peter Allen. However, Amphlett was replaced in the role by Isabel Keating when the show made its Broadway debut in 2003, but she resumed the role in the Australian tour.
Amphlett grew up in Geelong and was a student at Belmont High School.
She is a cousin of Australian singer Little Pattie (Patricia Amphlett).
Since 1999 Amphlett has been married to US drummer Charley Drayton who played drums on the Divinyls eponymous album and was the drummer in the reformed group. Prior to her marriage to Drayton, Amphlett had an affair with Mark McEntee.
In an interview on the Nine Network program A Current Affair on 7 December 2007 Amphlett revealed she was battling multiple sclerosis. She also announced that Divinyls are no longer together and that she has a new band in New York.
Amphlett performed Divinyls songs and others with a thirty piece orchestra for the "Australian Rock Symphony" through January 2010.
Amphlett revealed on 20 October 2010 that she has breast cancer. She was treated in New York where she lives with her husband. She said her sister is a breast cancer survivor. On 24 January 2011 she claimed to be free of cancer.
Divinyls were an Australian rock band formed in Sydney in 1980 and featuring vocalist Christina Amphlett and guitarist Mark McEntee. As the focal point, Amphlett performed on stage wearing a school uniform and fishnet stockings, often using an illuminated neon tube as a prop and displaying aggression towards band members and the audience. The band, originally a five-piece, underwent numerous lineup changes with Amphlett and McEntee as the core members, before breaking up in 1996.
In May 2001 the Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA), as part of its 75th Anniversary celebrations, named "Science Fiction" as one of the Top 30 Australian songs of all time. The band was inducted into the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Hall of Fame in 2006 and in late 2007 Amphlett and McEntee reconvened to record a new single and begin working on a new album. The band played a short series of live gigs in Australia in late 2007 and early 2008.
Divinyls have released five studio albums, with four of them reaching the Top 10 in Australia and one, Divinyls, reaching No. 15 in the US. Their biggest-selling single, "I Touch Myself" (1991) achieved No. 1 in Australia, No. 4 in the US and No. 10 in the UK.
Amphlett is the cousin of 1960s Australian pop icon Patricia "Little Pattie" Amphlett, who had been married to Keith Jacobsen—younger brother of pioneer rocker Col Joye and leading promoter Kevin Jacobsen. In her autobiography Pleasure and Pain (2005), Amphlett described breaking into the music scene from the age of fourteen, being arrested for busking when seventeen and travelling in Spain, and how her performances drew upon childhood pain.
Amphlett and McEntee (ex-Air Supply were introduced by Jeremy Paul (ex-Air Supply) in the car park of a small music venue in Collaroy, Sydney, after Amphlett and Paul had finished a gig with their then band, Batonrouge. Amphlett and McEntee met again at the Sydney Opera House where Amphlett and Paul were singing in a choral concert in 1980. They recruited Bjarne Ohlin and Richard Harvey, and for almost two years they performed in pubs and clubs in Sydney's Kings Cross. During this time, Paul negotiated publishing and recording agreements that led to the band signing with WEA. Australian film director Ken Cameron saw Divinyls performing in a club. This led to them providing the soundtrack for his 1982 film Monkey Grip and also gave Amphlett, Paul and McEntee supporting roles in the movie. The group released two singles from the soundtrack, Music from Monkey Grip EP, "Boys in Town", which reached No. 8 on the national singles chart, and "Only Lonely". After the bands initial success, original manager and bassist Jeremy Paul left. He was replaced on bass, briefly by Ken Firth (ex-The Ferrets) and more permanently by Rick Grossman (ex Matt Finish). Grossman left in 1987 to replace Clyde Bramley in Hoodoo Gurus. By early 1988, Divinyls consisted of Amphlett and McEntee with augmentation by additional musicians when recording or touring.
Over the decade Divinyls released four albums, Music from Monkey Grip EP on WEA in 1982, Desperate on Chrysalis Records in 1983, What a Life! in 1985 and Temperamental in 1988. The latter two albums were also released by Chrysalis in the US. They had hit singles in Australia with, "Science Fiction" No. 13 in 1983, "Good Die Young" No. 32 in 1984 and "Pleasure and Pain")No. 1 in 1985. Their later manager Vince Lovegrove organised Divinyls' transfer from WEA to Chrysalis and their first tours of United States. They established a fan base there, without achieving major commercial success. Divinyls also had Australian hits with cover versions of The Easybeats' "I'll Make You Happy", and Syndicate of Sound's "Hey Little Boy" ("Hey Little Girl" with the gender switched) which reached No. 25 in 1988. Amphlett became a controversial and highly visible celebrity for her brash, overtly sexual persona and subversive humour in lyrics, performances and media interviews.
In 1991 Divinyls released diVINYLS on Virgin Records and the single "I Touch Myself" which became their only Australian No.1 single. The song reached No. 4 in the US and No. 10 in the UK. The majority of Divinyls' hits were co-written by Amphlett and McEntee, but in this case they wrote with Thomas Kelly and Billy Steinberg. diVINYLS reached No. 5 on the Australian album charts and No. 15 on Billboard Top 200. The drummer for the diVINYLS sessions was Charley Drayton, who became romantically involved with Amphlett and from 2000 they have lived together in New York. A disagreement with Virgin Records stifled future development outside Australia where they released popular albums and achieved two more top twenty singles with "I Ain't Gonna Eat Out My Heart Anymore" No. 19 in 1992 and "I'm Jealous" No. 14 in 1995. During the 1980s and 1990s Amphlett collaborated as a songwriter with other artists including Chrissie Hynde and Cyndi Lauper, and both Amphlett and McEntee worked on solo projects.
A live album, Divinyls Live, was released in 1991 but Divinyls did not provide another studio album for five years. In the early 1990s they recorded a series of cover songs for various movie soundtracks, including the Young Rascals' "I Ain't Gonna Eat Out My Heart Anymore" for Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992), the Wild Ones' "Wild Thing" for Reckless Kelly (1993), and Roxy Music's "Love Is the Drug" for Super Mario Brothers (1993).
The song "I Touch Myself" caused such a controversy it had trouble getting airplay in many U.S.A. area markets; so much to the point that while performing their song live in Texas at Austin Aqua Fest 1991 the plug was pulled on the band mid set by organizers.
It wasn't until 1996 that Underworld, their fifth studio album, was released in Australia by BMG. Despite the success of diVINYLS Virgin had not kept them under contract and BMG did not release Underworld in the US. As with What A Life! they worked with three producers, beginning with Peter Collins recording "I'm Jealous" in Nashville, followed by Keith Forsey for "Sex Will Keep Us Together" and "Heart Of Steel". Although "Heart of Steel" was chosen as a single, Divinyls discontinued with Forsey because according to Amphlett "he was a bit too 'pop' for us" and remaining tracks were produced by their drummer Drayton. In early 1997, Amphlett and McEntee had a falling out and separated without formally disbanding Divinyls.
Following Underworld Amphlett pursued a stage career, in 1998 she played the role of Judy Garland in the Australian stage production of the life story of entertainer Peter Allen, titled The Boy from Oz. The production was a success and Amphlett's interpretation of Garland, during her final troubled years, brought her critical acclaim: she was nominated for the Helpmann Award for 'Best Female Actor in a Musical'.
Amphlett and McEntee concentrated on solo projects and collaborations with other artists. Amphlett and Drayton lived in New York City from 2000, while McEntee ran a clothing label, Wheels and Doll Baby, in Perth with his partner, Melanie Greensmith. In November 2005 Amphlett published her autobiography Pleasure and Pain: My Life co-written with Larry Writer; she detailed her achievements, drug and alcohol abuse, love affairs and triumphs while a member of Divinyls.
On 16 August 2006 Divinyls were inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame and had their first performance for 10 years at the award ceremony. They reformed shortly afterwards and a compilation, Greatest Hits, was released by EMI Music Australia in August 2006. A single, "Don't Wanna Do This", was released in November 2007 and an album recorded in Las Vegas was expected to be released in 2008; however its non-appearance may be due to Amphlett's Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
They performed during the Australian Idol grand final at the Sydney Opera House, on 25 November 2007, although their performance of "Boys in Town" (also performed by Idol winner Natalie Gauci) had to be repeated after Network Ten's transmission feed was interrupted. A national tour of Australia followed in December 2007 with a touring band featuring Drayton on drums, Jerome Smith on bass, Charlie Owen on guitar and newest member Clayton Doley on keyboards. Amphlett revealed on 7 December 2007 that she had multiple sclerosis in an interview with Richard Wilkins on Network Nine's A Current Affair nevertheless she was looking forward to touring with Divinyls. The next day Divinyls headlined the Homebake music festival where Amphlett displayed an emotional fragility when attempting to get the crowd to sing along with her. In August 2009, Amphlett announced that Divinyls were finished and she had a new band in New York.
Chi town 52, May 24, 2009
By Renee Saint-James "Renee Saint-James" (Heaven here on earth) - See all my reviewsAmazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Divinyls (Audio CD)
I can not believe I found this CD. It is in mint condition. when I am 90 I will still be playing it.sharing the love of Jesus.
5.0 out of 5 stars over 15 years and still a fave..., November 11, 2008
By Heather Gibson "hdale04" (sf, ca) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME) This review is from: Divinyls (Audio Cassette)
a friend gave me a copy of this audio tape when the album first came out, from the first listen i was entranced! now i'm going on 35 and not only do i still listen to it, but i know it backwards and forwards...it's original, sexy, dark without being depressing, entertaining, fun, fantastic lyrically AND musically. there's not much else out there like it, and even though "i touch myself" is a fun song, it's by far not the best on the album...
do yourself a favor, get this album!
4.0 out of 5 stars Not only "I Touch Myself"..., August 15, 2008
By Camilo Rueda Lopez (Madrid, España) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME) Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Divinyls (Audio CD)
Though it seems at a first glance that the only good song of the whole album would be "I Touch Myself" this is actually a complete work, filled up with a few good cuts, carefully produced and arranged, appart from the smashing hit single mentioned which, however, makes it worth enough.
Christina Amphlett's voice is astonishingly unique, which surely made her one of the most important vocalists from Australia, if not the most relevant.
And it is fully demonstrated in this album...
3.0 out of 5 stars Good CD, April 22, 2008
By Mark Dylan "Makt" (New Jersey) - See all my reviewsAmazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Divinyls (Audio CD)
I bought this on cassette when it first came out and I have to admit it was definitely because I thought Christina was killer in the video and singing "I Touch Myself". I think it's great she has the courage to not worry about being seen as some kind of sexual whore for singing something so easily known for self-pleasure but instead for embracing it and actually giving it the true "touch" it needs with relation to actually singing the song - it's something that some American idols could watch on the women's side to realize that singing doesn't always mean you have to be belting out notes to prove you have a strong instrument. Other songs that really stand out on this CD are "Make Out Alright," "Bullet," "I'm On Your Side", "Love School," and "If Love Was a GUN." All connotations aside this CD is really very good and Mark McEntee on the guitar has a good feel for Stones like hooks that add to the songs. I know most of the song titles sound like they have a sexual connotation but the only one that really portrays that outright is "I Touch Myself". Many of them are very well thought out as just relationship type tunes with some tongue-in-cheek lyrics.
4.0 out of 5 stars Great rock band, PERIOD!, July 25, 2007
By Beandog (Clinton, IA) - See all my reviewsThis review is from: Divinyls (Audio CD)
The Divinyls released 4 very good to great albums up till 1990. This release has the "hit" I Touch Myself on it and the fact that the song was so overplayed is probably what hurt this album and possibly any further success the band may have had. Their earlier albums usually had 1 or 2 songs that got at least some airplay and showed the diversity of Christina Amphlett and Mark McEntee. With musical styles ranging from punk/pop rock to ballads the Divinyls could please a wide range of music fans. This album is a good, not great release - my favorite being What A Life, but it is solid with some very good moments.
The songs themselves are mostly mid-tempo/ballads with a couple of more straight ahead rockers as well.
Song Highlights include: Make Out Alright, I Touch Myself, Bless My Soul(It's Rock-n-Roll), If Love Was A Gun, Need A Lover and Bullet.
While a number of bands from this era fall into the "should have been bigger" category, the Divinyls really should have been. They had great songs and NOBODY sang or performed like Christina Amphlett(arguably the "sexiest chick" in rock at the time). This album is well worth the price and may introduce you to a very good, underrated band.
0 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
2.0 out of 5 stars Ya I gave it two stars, January 20, 2007
By Marlon Seppala "The Flying Finnlander" (Black Canyon City,ARIZONA,U.S.A.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME) Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Divinyls (Audio CD)
The only song I was interested in was "I touch myself ".
Seems this CD was more an experiment.
You most likely would like only one tune as well.
I feel someone should have played with Her Lyrics a bit more.
The Band members sounded like Robots with no spirit or Soul.
But I really Liked her voice just wished the rest of the tunes Bounced as well as " I Touch My Self "
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful:
5.0 out of 5 stars Different, but a success, January 24, 2005
By FLK6677 (IL, United States) - See all my reviewsThis review is from: Divinyls (Audio CD)
By the time this album came out, gone were the days of Christina Amphlett wearing rat pins, frumpy schoolgirl outfits and a mass of seemingly unwashed hair. She was now a full-fledged sexpot, and wasn't afraid to show it.
That is why it was hard to dive into this album without expecting disappointment. The band worked so well before that this one, with all of its changes, had to be a step down, right? Not really.
While it's not as good as "Desperate," "What a Life" and "Temperamental," "diVINYLS" is a stellar collection of music. The songs are sleeker and sexier than before, really giving Christina a chance to show off her rocker babe charm.
"I Touch Myself," the one everybody knows, is a perfectly crafted pop song. It is disappointing, though, that this is the one they're known for as it is rather unrepresentative of their overall sound.
"If Love Was a Gun" is a beautiful slow song in which Christina goes from sounding fragile and on the verge of tears to like an enraged siren. "I hope there's an angel watching over you," she repeats with conviction, and you can't help but wonder whether she means it as a heartfelt prayer or a bitter warning.
"Follow Through" is a song that really grows on you -- at first it seems rather unexciting but after a few listens you start to feel it. It's got a mellow vibe that's complimented perfectly by Christina's pensive lyrics and subtle vocal delivery.
"Bless My Soul" is the closest thing to a real rocker here, and with its tongue-in-cheek rock-n'-roll-is-sin-lyrics, it is a lot of fun.
"Love School" and "Lay Your Body Down" are melodic, moody and sexy. If you never saw Ms. Amphlett as a temptress, take a listen to these.
"Make Out Alright" and "Bullet" are smooth mid-tempo numbers, while "Need a Lover" has a toe-tapping groove set to whimsical lyrics regarding Christina's search for romance through fairy-tale circumstances.
There is nothing here that has the urgency of "Boys in Town," the new wave melody of "Only Lonely," or the hard-hitting rock of "Temperamental," but it is nevertheless an essential Divinyls recording. The other albums are Christina straddling the line between holding your hand and spitting in your face. Here, she is giving you a nice big kiss.