Wilde World: Lena Zavaroni

Kim Wilde’s first records were written and produced by her father and brother, Marty and Ricky. The three of them have had a great influence on the music world, as this regular series ‘Wilde World’ shows.

Lena Hilda Zavaroni was born on November 4, 1963 in Greenock Scotland. Going through her biography you’ll find lots of highs: she entered a TV talent show when she was just 10 years old and won. She recorded an album called ‘Ma! He’s Making Eyes At Me’, which reached number 8 in the UK albums chart. She is still the youngest person to have an album in the UK top 10 and she is also the youngest person ever to appear on Top Of The Pops. In 1974 she took America by storm, appearing in various TV shows and a Hollywood charity event which starred Frank Sinatra and Lucille Ball. She even performed at the White House for President Gerald Ford. She released six more albums and more than a dozen singles.

However, there are lows too: she suffered from depression and anorexia from the age of 13. She married her only boyfriend Peter Wiltshire in 1989, but the marriage only lasted 18 months and the couple parted not long after Lena’s mother Hilda died of a tranquilliser overdose and a fire destroyed all of her show business mementos. She died a month before her 36th birthday after undergoing an operation to relieve her depression. She developed a chest infection and died from bronchial pneumonia on 1 October.

Lena never actually recorded ‘Love me, love my dog’ – a song written by Marty Wilde and Peter Shelley – but she did perform it in a TV special in 1977, as you can see below.

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