Britain from the sixties to the eighties sprogged out some fantastic grrl bands and The Slits were no exception.
Formed from the ashes of several broken bands, Ari Up, Kate Korus, Suzy Gutsy and Palmolive founded The Slits in 1976. Damn, I wish I had a name as funky as that. But okay, if we’re going to get technical, The Slits weren’t an all-girl band from the offset. The line-up has changed so many times over the past few decades that you couldn’t keep up with it if it was hogtied to slow it down, but the important thing is that they have always been promoted as an all-girl band. The Slits supported The Clash AND the Buzzcocks, and this is all you really need to know to like them.
Their first single ‘Typical Girls’ was a massive hit, and has influenced several generations of girls to pick up a guitar and release their anger and frustration through the thrumming power of music. The track definitely spoke to me the first time I heard it. The lyrics are so punchy and catchy, and Ari’s voice has a Grace Slick-ish element to it; raw and unaltered. Definitely no lip synching here.
Their first album ‘Cut’ came 15th in the 20 Sexiest Album Covers Ever. Who could blame the voters – three gorgeous women wearing nothing but loincloths and caked from head to toe in mud – as you do.
If you haven’t heard their version of ‘I Heard it through the Grapevine’ then shame on you. The intro is epic; acapella harmonies which segue into what can only be described as an orgasmic bass line. Thrum, thrum, thrum. You really can’t help but bob your head in time to the beat, doing the scrunchy lip-pout face (you all know the one I mean).
Up until 20 October 2010, The Slits were still touring. Sadly, the German born lead singer – Ari Up – died after a long struggle with cancer. She will always be remembered as the feisty dreadlocked singer of a fearsome grrl band that rocked the world.
– The Slits were an absolutely marvellous band that have had an incredible impact on society since the moment they first walked out on stage. They were very far from being Typical Girls.