“I Touch Myself” singer proved a strong role model for female rockers across the globe.
By Fred Mills
Those lips; those hips; those sassy, sensual, sticky, self-stimulations: Chrissy Amphlett of Australian New Wave hitmakers Divinyls (“I Touch Myself”) passed away Sunday at her home in New York City, following a lengthy battle with MS (diagnosed in 2007) as well as breast cancer (since 2010). She was only 53, but during her lifetime she inspired legions of female singers – perhaps not on the order of, say, Patti Smith, Debbie Harry or Joan Jett, but if you were anywhere near a television screen that received MTV during the ‘80s, you couldn’t escape Amphlett’s rock ‘n’ roll ministrations. To wit:
The Divinyls formed in ’80 and racked up a string of hits both in their homeland and internationally (the aforementioned ode to masturbation “I Touch Myself” hit #4 on the Billboard charts, in fact) well into the ‘90s, eventually being inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in Australia. The band got back together from 2006 to 2009 and toured successfully, Amphlett additionally publishing an autobiography, Pleasure and Pain: My Life in 2005.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, a statement was issued by the family’s Patricia Thompson:
“Our beloved Chrissy peacefully made her transition this morning. Christine Joy Amphlett succumbed to the effects of breast cancer and multiple sclerosis, diseases she vigorously fought with exceptional bravery and dignity. She passed gently, in her sleep, surrounded by close friends and family, including husband of 14 years, musician Charley Drayton, her sister Leigh, nephew Matt, and cousin Patricia Thompson (“Little Pattie”).
“Chrissy’s light burns so very brightly. Hers was a life of passion and creativity; she always lived it to the fullest. With her force of character and vocal strength, she paved the way for strong, sexy, outspoken women. Best remembered as the lead singer of the ARIA Hall of Fame inductee Divinyls, last month she was named one of Australia’s top 10 singers of all time. Chrissy expressed hope that her worldwide hit I Touch Myself would remind women to perform annual breast examinations. Chrissy was a true pioneer and a treasure to all whose lives her music and spirit touched.”