Artist News Obituaries

Steve Strange 1959-2015

By | Published on Monday 16 February 2015

Steve Strange

Musician and former club promoter Steve Strange died on 12 Feb, aged 55. He suffered a heart attack while on holiday in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt and passed away later that day in hospital.

Born Steven Harrington in 1959, Strange began putting on punk gigs in his home town of Newbridge in 1976, prior to moving to London, where he initially worked for Malcolm McLaren and joined a number of punk bands.

In 1978, he also began promoting club nights with Rusty Egan of The Rich Kids, dubbed ‘Bowie nights’, first in Soho and then at Covent Garden’s Blitz club. A door policy to only admit “the weird and wonderful” – strictly enforced by Strange himself, who once famously turned away Mick Jagger – made the club the centre of the New Romantic scene, particularly after Strange appeared in the video for David Bowie’s ‘Ashes To Ashes’.

Jagger aside, it was attended by many people who were already famous, and others who would become famous – Boy George worked in the cloakroom, while Spandau Ballet became the house band. Strange’s success as a promoter eventually saw him move up to the 2000 capacity Camden Palace (now Koko).

While still putting on the club night in Soho, Strange formed Visage with Egan and fellow Rich Kids member Midge Ure, plus Barry Adamson, John McGeoch and Dave Formula of Magazine. They released their first single, ‘Tar’, in 1979, following it up later that year with ‘Fade To Grey’, which became a top ten hit. The band eventually split up in 1985, after two albums.

Strange also struggled with drug addiction, and after a number of periods living in Ibiza during the 80s, fell on harder times in the late 90s back in the UK. This came to public attention in 1999 when he was found guilty of shoplifting.

More recently, he returned to music, reforming Visage with different line-ups twice since 2004. Then in 2013, he released the band’s first new album for 29 years, ‘Hearts And Knives’. And in December last year, they released ‘Orchestral’, an album of Visage songs re-recorded with a symphony orchestra.

Also in December, Strange received hospital treatment in Wales for a bronchial infection and an intestinal blockage. He then travelled to Egypt in January, before falling ill there this month.

Steve Strange is survived by his sister Tanya Harrington, who told ITV News last week: “He was a proper charmer. Very loving, very sensitive. We’ve had some brilliant times. He is my world. It’s going to be awfully hard without him – but he’ll be remembered by everybody”.