"Sex always sells, and if you're still called a sex symbol, you're a surefire success," Kim Wilde, one of the biggest pop stars of the 80s, once commented. On another occasion, she added: "I believe that a woman's sex appeal is the greatest force in the world. My clothes show who I really am."
Poles may remember the blonde-haired singer (she actually has dark hair) especially from her performance at the Sopot festival in 1988. On the stage of the Forest Opera, during the performance of the hit "Cambodia", two gentlemen appeared who wanted to give their idol flowers and express their appreciation. The title of the video, which has almost 800,000 views, leaves no doubt: "Two Dummies and Kim Wilde".
A mustachioed gentleman in a pink shirt and waistcoat started dancing, next to him in white socks was dancing his younger friend, and the singer's face was curiously mixed with embarrassment.
Kim Wilde: She has been involved in music since she was a child
Kim Wilde was born on November 18, 1960 in a musical family. The singer's father is Marty Wilde (real name Reginald Leonard Smith), one of the most popular rock and roll performers of the 1950s in the British Isles next to Cliff Richard and Tommy Steel. Marty's wife and mother Kim - Joyce Baker - sang in the vocal group The Vernons Girls.
The dyed blonde's career began in earnest with the release of her debut single "Kids In America". The composition, written for Kim by her brother Ricky Wilde (she initially sang backing vocals with him) and father Marty Wilde, became a new wave classic and the biggest success in her home country.
"Kids In America" has several covers, and among the performers who took the song to the workshop, there were m.in. grunge star Nirvana, girl group Atomic Kitten, mockers Bloodhound Gang, danceable Cascada, punks Toy Dolls and Pennywise, and teen favorites Jonas Brothers (with modified lyrics and title "Kids Of The Future").
The album, simply titled "Kim Wilde", featured songs written by the singer's father and younger brother (Ricky also produced). Kim's recordings were accompanied by musicians from the prog-rock group The Enid, but the cover featured Ricky Wilde, guitarist James Stevenson and Kim's later boyfriend - keyboardist Calvin Hayes.
Years later, the singer revealed that the presence of the supporting band on the cover was due to the trends of the time (women's solo career in pop music was not so fashionable). The creator of the photo was Gered Mankowitz, who has collaborated with, among others, The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Elton John, Kate Bush and many rock stars of the 70s. The Stranglers.
The album debuted at number 10 on the UK charts, and was promoted to number 3 after a week. The album quickly went gold for sales of 100,000. copies in the UK alone.
Kim Wilde and her records
The album "Kim Wilde" brought another well-received singles "Chequered Love" and "Water On Glass". Musically, it was a mix of new wave and rock with elements of reggae. Some critics saw in Kim Wilde the answer to Blondie - a cross-Atlantic group led by another blonde singer, Debbie Harry.
Although the album was very successful in Europe (including Germany, Sweden, Finland, the Netherlands), America was not conquered by Kim at that time. This was achieved only in 1987, thanks to the cover of "You Keep Me Hangin' On" by The Supremes. In this way, Kim Wilde became only the fifth British female soloist in history to top the US Hot 100 chart - a record she held for the next 20 years.
Kim Wilde sex symbol of the 80s
"To be a pop star, you need more than just a good voice," the singer said years later. That's why in the mid-80s we saw a new Kim - no longer a good daddy's girl, but a predatory vamp.
It seemed that the conquest of America was at hand. But something was missing in the end: "I don't know if I ever had the ambition to reach the same level of fame as Madonna. I never really wanted it," Kim later admitted.
However, she spied a bit on the Queen of Pop. It has been known for a long time that nothing helps like a scandal. Several British TV stations shook with indignation when the video for the single "Say You Really Want Me" appeared. The singer was criticized for demoralizing children with scenes of group sex with strangers. "Sex always sells, and if you're still called a sex symbol, it's a surefire success," she commented. On another occasion, she added: "I believe that a woman's sex appeal is the greatest force in the world. With my clothes, I show who I really am."
Not everyone remembers that Kim Wilde has also performed alongside the King of Pop. Michael Jackson invited her to concerts during the European leg of the "Bad Tour" (1988). However, the singer only met Jackson in person once. In her opinion, he seemed to live in his own world.
In the UK in the 1980s, the singer had no equal, because in that decade she placed as many as 17 singles in the Top 40 of the British charts, thus setting a record among British female artists.
Kim Wilde in the garden in panties and wedges
The failure of the album "Love Moves" (1990) overlapped with personal problems; after the breakup of her relationship with Calvin Hayes, she had a nervous breakdown. She was pulled out of her depression by moving to an estate in Hertfordshire, where she took up gardening. Gardening soon became her second great passion. "I don't take myself seriously. Sometimes I go to work in the garden in just panties and wedges," Kim laughed.
Attempts to return to the stage in the 90s were reheating chops (greatest hits compilation) or went completely unnoticed (the album "Now & Forever" contained music in the style of dance and soul). Wilde focused on her personal life (she married actor Hal Fowler, soon had two children) and garden design - as an expert she made her way to television, hosting the programs "Better Gardens" and "Garden Invaders". The singer also entered the Guinness Book of Records for transplanting the largest tree in the world.
Over time, her attempts to return to the music scene on the wave of nostalgia for the 80s became more and more daring. In the 21st century, she released a total of five albums - "Never Say Never" (2006), "Come Out and Play" (2010), "Snapshots" with covers (2011), "Wilde Winter Songbook" with classic Christmas songs and premiere tracks (2013) and "Here Come the Aliens" (2018).
In the 80s she was a real sex bomb. What does Kim Wilde look like today?
At the end of 2022, the singer reminded herself of European fans during her greatest hits tour. The singer still enjoys a lot of interest - her songs were played over 66 million times last year, and she willingly shared information about her performances on social media.
In turn, in the latest entry on Instagram, she revealed that at the end of the year she divorced Hal Fowler, and their separation was supposed to take place in a "friendly atmosphere". The couple have been married since 1996 - they have a 25-year-old son, Harry Tristan, and a 23-year-old daughter, Rose Elisabeth.