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Encyclopedia > Wendy Orlean Williams
Wendy O. Williams
Wendy O. Williams

Wendy Orlean Williams (May 28, 1949April 6, 1998), better known as Wendy O. Williams, was the lead singer for the punk band the Plasmatics, whose stage theatrics included blowing-up equipment, near nudity and chain-sawing guitars. Image File history File links Cover3299_21910. ... Image File history File links Cover3299_21910. ... May 28 is the 148th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (149th in leap years). ... 1949 (MCMXLIX) is a common year starting on Saturday. ... April 6 is the 96th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (97th in leap years). ... 1998 (MCMXCVIII) is a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar, and was designated the International Year of the Ocean. ... Punk rock is an anti-establishment music movement beginning around 1976 (although precursors can be found several years earlier), exemplified and popularised by The Ramones, the Sex Pistols, The Clash and The Damned. ... The Plasmatics were an American punk band, formed by Yale graduate and radical anti-artist Rod Swenson, around the late Wendy O. Williams. ... A chainsaw (also spelled chain saw) is a portable mechanical, motorized saw. ... A guitar is a stringed musical instrument. ...

Dubbed "The Queen of Shock Rock," Williams was widely considered the most controversial and radical female singer of her day. She sported a trademark Mohawk haircut, the first person to do so on American television. The famous Mohawk leader Joseph Brant wearing a scalp lock. ...

Williams was nominated in 1985 for a Grammy in the Best Female Rock Vocal category during the height of her band's popularity. Grammy Award statuette The Grammy Awards, presented by the Recording Academy (an association of Americans professionally involved in the recorded music industry) for outstanding achievements in the recording industry, is one of four major music awards shows held annually in the United States (the Billboard Music Awards, the American Music... The Grammy Award for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance has been awarded since 1980. ...



Williams was born in Webster, New York. She dropped out of high school in the ninth grade. At the age of sixteen she hitch-hiked her way to Colorado where she earned money selling crocheted string bikinis. She headed for Florida and then to Europe, where she worked as a stripper. By 1978, she was regularly performing in live sex shows, and soon began appearing in pornographic films, among them 1979's Candy Goes to Hollywood. Around that time, would-be Svengali Rod Swenson, also known as Captain Kink, recruited her to front his punk concept band, the Plasmatics. With their debut in New York City clubs in 1978, Williams quickly developed a reputation for obscenity and unruliness. Webster is a town located in Monroe County, New York. ... State nickname: Sunshine State Official languages English Capital Tallahassee Largest city Jacksonville Governor Jeb Bush (R) Senators Bill Nelson (D) Mel Martinez (R) Area  - Total  - % water Ranked 22nd 170,451 km² 17. ... A satellite composite image of Europe // Etymology Picture of Europa, carried away by bull-shaped Zeus. ... Svengali is the name of a fictional hypnotist in George Du Mauriers 1894 novel, Trilby. ...

In Milwaukee, police arrested her in 1981 for simulating sex on stage. Charged with battery to an officer and obscene conduct, she was later cleared.

Later that same year in Cleveland, Williams was acquitted of an obscenity charge for simulating sex on stage wearing only shaving cream. Then, in November, an Illinois judge sentenced her to one year supervision and fined her $35 for roughing up a freelance photographer who had attempted to take her picture as she jogged along the Chicago lakefront.

Meanwhile, the Plasmatics toured the world, once getting banned in London, where the press dubbed them "anarchists."

Wendy O. Williams and Lemmy Kilmister in Stand By Your Man EP, 1982
Wendy O. Williams and Lemmy Kilmister in Stand By Your Man EP, 1982

During shooting of an appearance on NBC's SCTV comedy program in 1981, studio heads said they would not air Williams unless she changed out of a stage costume that revealed her nipples. Williams refused. The show's make-up artists found a compromise and painted her breasts black. ImageMetadata File history File links Download high resolution version (1205x1217, 321 KB) {{Albumcover]] Cover of Wendy O Williams and Motorheads EP Stand By Your Man. Alf 02:19, 13 July 2005 (UTC) File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to... ImageMetadata File history File links Download high resolution version (1205x1217, 321 KB) {{Albumcover]] Cover of Wendy O Williams and Motorheads EP Stand By Your Man. Alf 02:19, 13 July 2005 (UTC) File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to... Ian Lemmy Kilmister (born Ian Fraser Kilmister, December 24, 1945, also known as Ian Fraser Willis) is an English bass player and singer. ... Stand By Your Man is an EP by Wendy O. Williams and Motörhead, recorded and released in 1982 Tammy Wynettes country standard Stand by your Man is given a surprising and brutal rendition in this collaboration by hard rocks legend Lemmy Kilmister and the porn star/queen... Second City Television, or SCTV, was a Canadian television sketch comedy show offshoot from the Toronto troupe of The Second City. ...

The Plasmatics last tour was in 1988. In 1991, Williams moved to Storrs, Connecticut, where she lived with her long-time companion and former manager, Rod Swenson, and worked as animal rehabilitator. Storrs is a census-designated place and part of the town of Mansfield, Connecticut located in eastern Tolland County. ...

Williams died in at age 48 in 1998, in a wooded area near her home, of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. While some argued she committed suicide rather than compromise her art, Swenson reportedly described her as "despondent" at the time of her death. Suicide (from Latin sui caedere, to kill oneself) is the act of willfully ending ones own life; it is sometimes a noun for one who has committed or attempted the act. ...

"I don't believe that people should take their own lives without deep and thoughtful reflection over a considerable period of time," she is said to have written in a suicide note. "I do believe strongly, however, that the right to do so is one of the most fundamental rights that anyone in a free society should have. For me much of the world makes no sense, but my feelings about what I am doing ring loud and clear to an inner ear and a place where there is no self, only calm."

"The empty place she leaves in the world with her passing," said at her memorial service, "will never be replaced".

Video Game Link

Wendy O. Koopa, one of the Koopa Kids in the Super Mario gaming series, is named after her. Larry, the youngest of the brood, shows off the Koopa Kids trademark upright hairdo. ... For nearly two decades, Mario has been the official video game mascot for Nintendo. ...


With the Plasmatics

  • Butcher Baby/Fast Food Service (Live)/Concrete Shoes (Live) (7" single, 1978)
  • Meet The Plasmatics (12" EP, 1979)
  • Dream Lover/Corruption/Want You Baby (7" single, 1979)
  • Butcher Baby/Tight Black Pants (Live) (7" single, 1980)
  • Butcher Baby EP (12" EP, 1980)
  • Monkey Suit/Squirm (Live) (7" single, 1980)
  • New Hope For The Wretched (LP, 1980)
  • Beyond The Valley Of 1984 (LP, 1981)
  • Metal Priestess (12" EP, 1981)
  • Coup D'Etat (LP, 1982)
  • Maggots: The Record (LP, 1987)
  • Coup De Grace (LP, 2000)
  • Put Your Love In Me: Love Songs For The Apocalypse (LP, 2002)
  • Final Days: Anthems For The Apocalypse (LP, 2002)


  • Wendy And Lemmy (7" single, 1982)
  • W.O.W. (LP, 1984)
  • It's My Life/Priestess (7" single, 1984)
  • Fuck 'N' Roll (Live) (Cassette EP, 1985)
  • Kommander Of Kaos (LP, 1986)
  • Deffest And Baddest (with Ultrafly And The Hometown Girls) (LP, 1987)
  • Fuck You!!! And Loving It: A Retrospective (LP, 1988)

External links

  Results from FactBites:
VIBE.com: Music Search (484 words)
As the lead singer of the infamous Plasmatics, Wendy O. Williams emerged as one of the most notorious figures on the American punk scene; dubbed "the queen of shock rock," her on-stage theatrics were the stuff of underground legend.
Born in Rochester, NY, in 1949, Wendy Orlean Williams studied tap-dancing as a child, and made her television debut at the age of six on The Howdy Doody Show; after quitting school during the ninth grade, she spent some time wandering through Europe before returning the U.S. and settling in New York City.
Most notoriously, in 1981 Williams was arrested in Milwaukee for allegedly simulating sex acts in concert, and was also charged with obstructing justice; she was later cleared on all counts.
  More results at FactBites »



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