Shakespear's Sister Biography

Formed by Siobhan Marie Fahey-Stewart (10 September 1958, Dublin, Eire) who was better known simply as Siobhan Fahey, and Marcella Detroit (b. Marcella Levy, 21 June 1959, Detroit, Michigan, USA) with producer and writer Richard Feldman keeping a low profile as third member. Fahey, who had left Ireland for the UK to become a press officer at Decca Records, was a member of the top 80s female band Bananarama. She left in early 1988, although Detroit, too, had previously released solo material and worked as songwriter to Al Jarreau and Chaka Khan (having co-penned ‘Lay Down Sally’ with Eric Clapton while touring as his backing singer).

Taking their name from a Smiths’ song and keeping the spelling mistake made by a designer, one of the first gigs by Shakespear’s Sister (sometimes written as Shakespears Sister) took place in Leningrad, USSR, in January 1989. Their debut, ‘Break My Heart (You Really)’, was not a hit. However, ‘You’re History’ reached the UK Top 10, while the debut album made number 9. The follow-up, Hormonally Yours, was recorded while both participants were pregnant: ‘It’s self-deprecating but yet its very female without being militant or apologetic. Its just... what we are.’ The band recorded in Los Angeles where Fahey lived with husband David A. Stewart. In February 1992, Shakespear’s Sister achieved a spectacular UK number 1 coup with ‘Stay’ (remaining there for eight weeks, ostensibly through a powerful, melodramatic hookline and video) and followed it with ‘I Don’t Care’ (number 7), a reissued ‘Goodbye Cruel World’ (number 32) and ‘Hello (Turn Your Radio On)’ (number 14).

Seemingly destined for great things, Shakespear’s Sister was nevertheless disbanded by Fahey, without warning to Detroit, live on stage at an awards ceremony in 1993. Detroit (reportedly ‘not bitter’) was the first to launch a solo career.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.