David Vanian

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Dave Vanian
David Vanian of the Damned after the band's concert at the Fillmore in San Francisco, March 1986
Background information
Birth name David Lett
Born (1956-10-12) 12 October 1956 (age 58)
Origin Hemel Hempstead, England
Genres Punk rock, gothic rock, rockabilly
Occupation(s) Gravedigger, singer-songwriter, musician
Instruments Vocals, keyboards
Years active 1976–present
Labels Nitro Records
Big Beat Records
Associated acts

The Damned
David Vanian & the Phantom Chords

Captain Sensible
Website officialdamned.com

Dave Vanian (born David Lett, 12 October 1956) is a rock musician and lead singer of the punk rock band the Damned. Formed in 1976 in London, the Damned were the first British punk band to release a single, an album, have a record hit the UK charts, and tour the United States. Despite a fluid line-up since their founding, Vanian has been ever-present, the only member to have been so.


Born in Hemel Hempstead, Vanian changed his name from Lett to Vanian in early life after a previous stint as a gravedigger – Vanian being a play on "Transylvanian". He remains one of the early influencers of gothic fashion, wearing dark and otherworldly clothing both on stage and off. He is known to be a fan of renaissance art, film noir and horror movies, all of which manifest in his stage appearance.[citation needed] In November 1976, the British music magazine NME stated that Vanian "resembles a runaway from The Addams Family".[1]

In 1978, was guest in the song "Don't Panic England", from the band Doctors of Madness.[citation needed]

In 2004, he and Captain Sensible turned on the Christmas lights in Cambridge, causing some controversy.[2]

Vanian sang with the MC5 for their 40th anniversary singing "Looking at You", which was released as part of Revolution: A Celebration of the MC5. In 2008, with the band The Throb, played "Let's Get Lost (Sailor Jerry's Story)" to the compilation The Original Sailor Jerry Rum – Music To ........... To.

Outside of the Damned he has led the rockabilly band David Vanian & the Phantom Chords, hosted Dave Vanian's Dark Screen on the UK-based television channel Rockworld TV and composed the soundtrack for the 2009 film, The Perfect Sleep.[3]

Personal life[edit]

Vanian in 2006

Vanian has kept his personal life out of the limelight, even opting out of any input towards the Damned biography The Light at the End of the Tunnel by Carol Clerk. He married his first wife Laurie in 1977, the year after he joined the Damned, but they separated in the mid-1990s.

Vanian later married Patricia Morrison in Las Vegas after The Damned had performed an Australian tour.[4]

In 2004 Morrison gave birth to daughter Emily Vanian.[citation needed]



  1. ^ Tobler, John (1992). NME Rock 'N' Roll Years (1st ed.). London: Reed International Books Ltd. p. 294. CN 5585. 
  2. ^ BBC News Online – Church fury at Damned's switch-on
  3. ^ The Perfect Sleep Official Movie Website
  4. ^ "Official Damned.com". OfficialDamned.com. Archived from the original on February 18, 2004. Retrieved July 16, 2015. 

External links[edit]