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Poly Styrene, X-Ray Spex singer, dies

LONDON -- Poly Styrene, the braces-wearing singer with the band X-Ray Spex, has died at the age of 53.

Styrene, whose real name was Marion Elliott-Said, had been suffering from cancer.

X-Ray Spex released just one album, 1978's "Germ Free Adolescents."

"Some people think that little girls should be seen and not heard," Styrene sang in one of the group's songs -- before letting everyone know exactly what she thought of that idea.

Of British and Somali heritage, Styrene was born in 1957 in the London suburb of Bromley -- a quiet corner backwater with a strong rock 'n' roll streak that was also the childhood home of David Bowie, Billy Idol and Siouxsie Sioux.

As a teenager she released a reggae single before being inspired to form a punk band after seeing the Sex Pistols play in 1976. X-Ray Spex stood out from the punk crowd during its short career, both because of its female singer and for including a saxophone player in the lineup.

Styrene's attitude and energy inspired other female singers, and she was often cited as a precursor of the 1990s "riot grrrl" movement.

She is survived by her daughter, Celeste Bell-Dos Santos, who fronts the band Debutant Disco.

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