Richard Hell (born Richard Lester Meyers; October 2, 1949) is a singer, songwriter, bass guitarist, and writer.
Hell is probably best known as frontman for the early punk rock band Richard Hell & The Voidoids. Their 1977 album, Blank Generation, influenced many other punk bands. Its title song was named "One of the 500 Songs That Shaped Rock" by music writers in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame listing, and, for instance, is ranked as one of the all-time top-ten punk songs by a 2006 poll of original British punk figures, as reported in the Rough Guide to Punk.
Hell was an originator of the punk fashion look, the first to spike his hair and wear torn, cut and drawn-on shirts, often held together with safety pins. Malcolm McLaren, manager of the Sex Pistols, has said Hell was an important inspiration for the Sex Pistols' look and attitude, as well as the safety-pin accessorized clothing McLaren sold in his London shop, Sex. (Some members of the Sex Pistols dispute this.)
Since the late 1980s Hell has devoted himself primarily to writing, publishing two novels, as well as several other books. He was the film critic for BlackBook magazine from 2004–2006.
Early life and career
Hell grew up in Lexington, Kentucky, in the 1950s. His father was an experimental psychologist, researching animal behavior. He died when Hell was seven years old. Hell was raised by his mother, who, after her husband's death, returned to school and eventually became a professor.
Hell attended Sanford Preparatory in Delaware for one year (the 11th grade) where he became friends with Tom Miller (later Tom Verlaine). They ran away from school together and were arrested in Alabama for arson and vandalism a short time later.
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