Annabella Lwin

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Annabella Lwin
Lwin performing with Bow Wow Wow in Kant-Kino, Berlin in 1982
Lwin performing with Bow Wow Wow in Kant-Kino, Berlin in 1982
Background information
Birth nameMyant Myant Aye[1]
Born (1966-10-31) 31 October 1966 (age 56)[2]
Rangoon, Burma
OriginLondon, England
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • record producer
Years active1979–present

Annabella Lwin (born Myant Myant Aye, Burmese: မြတ်မြတ်အေး; MLCTS: myat myat e:, 31 October 1966) is an Anglo-Burmese singer, songwriter and record producer best known as the lead singer of Bow Wow Wow.

Early life, family and education[edit]

Lwin was born in Rangoon, Burma to a Burmese father and an English mother.[3][4]

Bow Wow Wow[edit]

EMI records[edit]

After recording Dirk Wears White Sox as members of Adam and the Ants, Matthew Ashman and Dave Barbarossa plus new Ants bassist Leigh Gorman (who had replaced Andy Warren since the sessions) were persuaded by former Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren to leave Adam Ant to form a new band under his management.[5] Liverpool session musician, music director and talent scout Dave Fishel heard thirteen year old Lwin singing along to the radio in a West Hampstead dry cleaners where she worked and he convinced McLaren to audition her.[6][7] Following her successful audition, he had her transfer from a mixed comprehensive school in London to the Sylvia Young Theatre School.

Bow Wow Wow signed with EMI Records in July 1980, and released their first single, "C·30 C·60 C·90 Go!", shortly afterwards.[7] Originally only released on cassette, it was the world's first-ever cassette single.[8] EMI did not promote the cassingle due to lyrics ("Off the radio I get constant flow/Hit it, pause it, record and play/Turn it, rewind and rub it away") that promoted home taping[7] during an era when music piracy was a hot button issue and the use of cassette recorders to record music from the radio was still a controversial practice.[9] The B-side, "Sun, Sea and Piracy", also promoted home taping, then lying on a beach and enjoying the fruits of this labour.[citation needed] Both tracks were on side 1 of the tape, making the second side blank, apparently so that the listener could follow Lwin's lead.[10]

RCA Records[edit]

When Bow Wow Wow moved to RCA Records, controversy followed them over to their new label. The album cover of their debut album, See Jungle! See Jungle! Go Join Your Gang Yeah, City All Over! Go Ape Crazy! depicted the band recreating Édouard Manet’s Le Déjeuner sur l'herbe (1863), with a then fourteen-year-old Lwin posing nude. Photographed by Andy Earl, the cover caused outrage that led to an investigation by Scotland Yard, instigated by Lwin's mother.[11] Undeterred, the band used the same photo on the cover of their follow-up EP The Last of the Mohicans, and the sleeve of the "Go Wild in the Country" single. This picture is now part of the National Portrait Gallery collection

Another nude photo of Lwin was used for the cover of I Want Candy less than a year later. The title track, a cover of the Strangeloves' 1965 hit originally on The Last of the Mohicans. The single reached No. 9 in the UK Singles Charts in June 1982.[12]

At the behest of Ashman, Lwin began writing for Bow Wow Wow's follow up, When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going.[13] When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going contained the hit "Do You Wanna Hold Me?", which received heavy rotation on MTV.

During a hiatus following an intense US tour, Lwin was suddenly fired from the band in September 1983.[14] She found out about her firing by reading it in NME.

Reunion to the present[edit]

Lwin and former Bow Wow Wow bass player Leigh Gorman reunited in 1997 for a US tour. The reunion included appearances by a range of musicians from the young up and coming, such as Eshan Khadaroo of Beat Kitchen, (Blue Man), and the established, including Adrian Young of No Doubt, both playing drums in place of original member Dave Barbarossa. The original guitarist of Bow Wow Wow, Matthew Ashman, had died of complications from diabetes in 1995, and various guitarists filled in. The tour began in December 1997, and ended in March 1998.[15] Two shows, the 10 January 1998 show at the Bluebird Theater in Denver, Colorado, and the 7 March 1998 show at the Drama Club in Santa Fe, New Mexico, were used for a live CD, Wild in the U.S.A. on Cleopatra Records.[16]

In 1998, Bow Wow Wow collaborated with DJ Swedish Egil on the track "Eastern Promise", released as part of Egil's Groove Radio Presents: Alternative Mix CD on Priority Records.[17] They contributed the song "A Thousand Tears" to the 1999 film Desperate But Not Serious (retitled Reckless + Wild in the US), starring Christine Taylor and Claudia Schiffer, and appeared in the film.

In 2006, Bow Wow Wow recorded a cover of the Smiths' "I Started Something I Couldn't Finish", which appeared on three 2007 releases: a new three-track I Want Candy EP (Cleopatra), compilation album Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before: A Tribute to the Smiths (Cleopatra) and the Blood & Chocolate: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Lakeshore Records).

On 21 November 2010, the 15th anniversary of Ashman's death, Barbarossa joined Lwin and Gorman at the Scala in London in a tribute concert for Ashman. The show was headlined by Adam Ant, and also featured Ashman's other bands, Chiefs of Relief and Agent Provocateur.[18]

With a new guitarist (Jimmy Magoon) and drummer (Dylan Thomas), Bow Wow Wow played shows in California, US and toured the UK during 2011–2012.[19] In December 2012, Gorman began performing under the name "Bow Wow Wow" with Chloe Demetria of the band Vigilant on vocals, and launched a new Bow Wow Wow Facebook page.[20][21] All of which was done without Lwin's consent. Lwin has continued to perform billed as "Annabella Lwin of the original Bow Wow Wow".[22]

Bow Wow Wow songs "Aphrodisiac", "I Want Candy" and "Fools Rush In" (the latter two remixed by Kevin Shields of My Bloody Valentine) were included on the soundtrack of the 2006 Sofia Coppola film Marie Antoinette. Lwin was also the inspiration for how Coppola had lead actress Kirsten Dunst portray the title character.[23] The band performed on 2 November 2006 at the Maritime Hotel's Hiro Lounge in New York City to promote the film.

Solo and other ventures[edit]

Lwin has recorded original material as a solo artist, and is a featured vocalist on numerous transatlantic dance tracks with producers/DJs, such as Tony B of Groove Radio, Jason Nevins, and the Utah Saints. Lwin's songwriting also brought her into partnerships with producers such as Guy Chambers and Michael Lattanzi.

Simply calling herself "Annabella", she remained with RCA Records. Her first solo release was the 1985 single "Don't Dance With Strangers", produced by the System.[24] She followed that up with the album Fever in 1986. The title track, a cover of the Peggy Lee classic, was produced by and recorded with multi-instrumentalist Jim Lea of Slade. Another single from the album, "War Boys", produced by John Robie, spent six weeks on the US Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart, peaking at No. 28. "Don't Dance With Strangers" and "Fever" were included on The Best of Bow Wow Wow, released on 29 October 1996 by BMI.[25]

She formed a new band, Naked Experience, and collaborated across the Atlantic with seasoned musicians and songwriters such as Billy Steinberg and Ellen Shipley. In 1994, Sony Soho Square released two singles, "Car Sex" and "Do What You Do", for which, she was billed as "Annabella Lwin". "Car Sex" made the Top 10 in the UK Dance Chart, while the re-mixed dance follow-up "Do What You Do" (1995), produced by Steve Lironi, spent one week at No.61 in the UK Singles Chart.[26] In 1999, Cleopatra released Virgin Voices: A Tribute To Madonna, Volume One. It contained a cover of "Like a Virgin" credited to "Annabella Lwin of Bow Wow Wow."[27]

In 2005, Lwin was a featured vocalist, with Camp Freddy members Dave Navarro and Billy Morrison, during a fund raising concert for victims of the tsunami caused by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake. Lwin co-wrote and co-produced a solo song with record producer Carey Beare, which was donated exclusively to the Hands and Hearts Organization for Tsunami Relief in spring 2006.

Amongst a couple of her own shows in 2010, Lwin appeared on stage with Kathy Valentine and Charlotte Caffey (Go-Go's), Billy Corgan (Smashing Pumpkins), and other prominent artists for a MusiCares Musicians Assistance Program (MAP) Benefit concert called 'Women in Recovery', as well as participating in animal charity related concerts.[28]

On 10 July 2012, Lwin released Super Boom on Secret Records.[29] It was a fourteen-track collection of unreleased demo and studio recordings from 1984 through to 1987. In 2016, she released a new EP, entitled Willow Tree, on which she wrote all four tracks.[13] Later in the year, she contributed a cover of "Cheer Up" to One Heart: A Tribute to Bob Marley & the Wailers, a benefit for teens and young adults with cancer or who are living in difficult circumstances.[30]

Personal life[edit]

Lwin is a practising Soka Gakkai International Buddhist.[31]


With Bow Wow Wow[edit]


  • Fever (1986)
  • Super Boom!! (2012)
  • Willow Tree (2016)


  1. ^ Trunk, Russell A. (2005). "'80s – Bow Wow Wow (2006)". Exclusive Magazine.
  2. ^ Whiteley, Sheila (2005). Too Much Too Young: Popular Music, Age and Gender. Routledge. p. 45. ISBN 0-415-31029-6.
  3. ^ "A History of Bow Wow Wow (1980–2003)". Archived from the original on 9 October 2002. Retrieved 6 September 2009.
  4. ^ Medina, Maximillian Mark. "The Unwitting Pop Music Pioneer". Archived from the original on 5 July 2013. Retrieved 4 December 2006.
  5. ^ Trunk, Russell A. "'80s – Bow Wow Wow (2006)". Anne Carlini.
  6. ^ Adams, Leigh (6 June 2016). "Bow Wow Wow singer Annabella Lwin: 'I was scouted at a West Hampstead dry cleaners'". Ham & High. Retrieved 11 September 2021.
  7. ^ a b c Kellman, Andy. "Bow Wow Wow". AllMusic.
  8. ^ Johnson, Bobbie (19 October 2006). "CDs, downloads ... and now band launches the memory-stick single". The Guardian. London.
  9. ^ Fried, Joseph P. (1 March 1981). "Sam Goody Company Accused As 'Pirate'". The New York Times.
  10. ^ Jones, Rob (15 April 2013). "Bow Wow Wow Play 'C30 C60 C90 Go'". The Delete Bin.
  11. ^ McLean, Craig (19 April 2012). "Bow Wow Wow haven't lost their bite". The Guardian.
  12. ^ "Bow Wow Wow". Official Charts Company. 2019. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  13. ^ a b Shapiro, Eileen (16 July 2016). "Annabella Lwin". Get Out! Magazine.
  14. ^ Tobler, John (1992). NME Rock 'N' Roll Years (1st ed.). London: Reed International Books Ltd. p. 384. CN 5585.
  15. ^ "Bow Wow Wow: Wild In The USA". Onion, Inc. 19 April 2002.
  16. ^ Freydkin, Donna (27 January 1999). "Living in the Past Lane: Indie Label Cleopatra Brings '80s Sound Back to Forefront". CNN.
  17. ^ Bush, John. "Groove Radio Presents: Alternative Mix". AllMusic.
  18. ^ "Matthew Ashman tribute show". 21 November 2010.
  19. ^ "Bow Wow Wow Full Concert Listings on". Retrieved 4 May 2012.
  20. ^ "Bow Wow Wow".
  21. ^ Whiteside, Jonny (12 April 2016). "The Great Rock & Roll Swindle: 8 Touring Bands with Barely Recognizable Lineups". L.A. Weekly. Retrieved 12 August 2016.
  22. ^ "Annabella Lwin (Bow Wow Wow)". 8 April 2014.
  23. ^ Cills, Hazel (10 October 2016). "How Marie Antoinette Soundtrack Became a Classic". MTV.
  24. ^ "Annabella – Don't Dance With Strangers".
  25. ^ "The Best Of Bow Wow Wow". discogs. 29 October 1996.
  26. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 334. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  27. ^ "Virgin Voices: A Tribute To Madonna, Volume One". discogs.
  28. ^ Gray, Christine (31 October 2015). "Celebrities Attend Last Chance For Animals Gala in Beverly Hills". Vegan Magazine.
  29. ^ "Annabella – Super Boom". Secret Records.
  30. ^ "One Heart: A Tribute to Bob Marley & the Wailers". Specialized Project.
  31. ^ Annabella Lewin – About, Retrieved 27 June 2019: "working behind the scenes for global charities like UNICEF and Save the Children Fund, through Buddhist organization SGI" and "Her ongoing Buddhist practice continues to enhance and inform her artistic sensibilities"

External links[edit]