MacColl, daughter of folk singer/songwriter Ewan MacColl, began
her own musical career while still in her teens, singing in a
band called the Addix, and eventually signed to the legendary
Stiff Records. Her first single, the modern girl group gem, "They
Don't Know," was released in 1979. Though it failed in the charts,
it was later a major hit for Tracey Ullman. Kirsty MacColl switched
to Polydor in the '80s and landed a U.K. Top 40 hit with the novelty
song "There's a Guy Works Down the Chip Shop (Swears He's Elvis)."
She followed the single with her first LP, Desperate Character,
in 1981. In 1984, she married producer Steve Lillywhite and put
her solo career on hold, raising their two children and working
as a backup singer. MacColl returned in 1989 with a more mature
effort, Kite, which reached the U.K. Top 40. Two more albums,
Electric Landlady (1991) and Titanic Days (1993), displayed great
talent and diversity and, above all, good pop sensibilities. After
a lengthy hiatus, MacColl resurfaced in 2000 with Tropical Brainstorm.
Shortly after, on December 18, 2000, MacColl was killed by a speedboat
while swimming off of the coast of Mexico.