Annie Lennox stage outfits exhibited in V & A museum

Annie Lennox has sold millions of records. That much is true but does that make an exhibition of her stage-wear relevant.

A Manchester museum thinks so and has decided to do a special display of her outfits. This is quite strange, Lennox may have sold lots of records but she is hardly iconic, few can remember what she wore, even fewer dressed like her, she is famous for a clutch of songs and been one of the millionaires against poverty club, most of the outfits I can remember her wearing looked a bit rubbish like those dreadful union jack jackets she and Dave Stewart once wore for the Brits awards, there was the not very convincing androgynous look and a series of expensive looking pop star threads that hardly stand out.

Some claim that her short spiky ginger hair was a style invented by her but surely punk had already done that look 4 years before, some claim that her wearing of men’s suits was a BIG statement, but again that had already been done.

How this can be the spine of an exhibition, it’s not like Mick Jones from the Clash and his outfits which were much loved and copied, it’s not like Poly Styrene’s self designed iconic looks, it’s not like the massively influential Siouxsie Sioux whose look was copied endlessly, it’s not the Sex shop clothes, it’s not even Noddy Holder’s iconic mirrored hat, it’s not like anything atall…

Has anyone ever really given a toss about what Annie Lennox wore? And who would go to a museum to look at it? It would be like having an exhibition of Bob Geldof’s stage gear…

What do you think?

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Award winning journalist and boss of Louder Than War. In a 30 year music writing career, John was the first to write about bands such as Stone Roses and Nirvana and has several best selling music books to his name. He constantly tours the world with Goldblade and the Membranes playing gigs or doing spoken word and speaking at music conferences.


  1. Seems to me that the media are always pretending that Annie Lennox is a bigger star that she actual is…..Sheena Easton next?

    • Had mention of your ignorant drivel not found its way to a Facebook page I frequent, I wouldn’t have responded to your question.

      Like many Style Channel adherents, you’re clearly too ignorant to comment on Annie Lennox when it comes to judging her; especially for being relevant, trend-setting and iconic which, ironically, you would only be able to aspire to if you ever find out what most of the terms in this single sentence actually mean.

  2. Did Annie Lennox shoot your dog or something? Fair enough you didn’t care for the exhibition. I’ll give you that, as I thought there could have been much more to it, but to try and say she’s not an iconic figure of the 80s makes you sound mentally ill. While I personally would love a Joe Strummer, Poly Strene or Siouxsie exhibition, none of those artists are as well remembered or as recognisable as Annie and you’d be hard pressed to find anyone familiar with Poly Strene or Siouxsie outside of the UK. As far as Joe Strummer is concerned his name cannot be mentioned without immediately saying ‘The Clash’ right behind it, nor was there a signature song that had the global success of Sweet Dreams.

  3. I think you’re wrong and you don’t have the idea of the influence of this woman has had in several generations… I’m talking about of the 80s indeed but also the 90’s and 2000’s and nowadays.

    It’s not only about the dress she wore, it’s a whole topic about one of the strongest and genuine woman in the music scene… that includes a singular style that nobody else has— things that you even can’t distingue.

    I bet the singers you name, don’t have the reputation like Annie Lennox because she’s an ejemplar human being and she represents well the talent and empowerment of many women and men and now somehow she is close to the people, and I doubt the others singers you mentioned, do the same.

    And finally I want to tell you that I know people who has went from other countrties to London to visit the gallery exclusively.

  4. You don’t sell 80 million records and perform on international stages for more than three decades and earn every award that can be given without becoming an icon. annie Lennox influenced not only fans but other artists, as well. My wife and I live in the United States, and we’d love to see the exhibit. And from what I understand about the exhibit, it’s not simply about her clothes. It’s about the artist, the singer, the performer, the campaigner. To say Annie Lennox isn’t an icon is ridiculous. But don’t take our word for it, ask Mick Jones or Siouxsie Sioux. Both will tell you Annie Lennox is most certainly an icon.

  5. I guess winning an Oscar, several Grammy’s, an OBE and more Brit awards than any artist in history is not enough for you?

  6. I was always baffled by how many Brit awards Annie Lennox won. It was like they didn’t know any other women singers, like she was the token women singer from the Smashey and Nicey old school types who picked who was going to win the award.
    Annie Lennox is so establishment it’s no wonder she won an OBE, why not Kate Melue, Spice Girls or Sade who have sold far more records? Or the whole host of female recording artists who have been far more influential and iconic?
    Annie Lennox sold records but she has never been iconic, no-one was influenced by her, she was not original, she was not even the best selling artist of her time.

    • Katrina, are you really that stupid? You’re not allowed an opinion until you get your facts straight. The Spice Girls did not outsell Annie Lennox and are hardly iconic apart from Big, Fat Redheaded Spice’s Union Jack mini dress. They had to cancel their reunion tour due to poor sales. More than half their shows well undersold. There was little to no interest. And trying to put Sade or Katie Melua into the equation is just laughable. I’d give you more facts but, clearly, you wouldn’t understand them.

  7. ‘Brendan’ and your other Troll names on here

    I hate arguing with silly little boys but you are out of order.
    Your sexism is leaking out in your reply with references to ‘big’ and ‘fat’ in your banal Spice Girls comment.

    You are deluded and you are bending the facts to suit your non argument.

    Sade was the best selling British female artist of the eighties, Spice Girls were huge in the nineties and their comeback tour may not have sold out but I doubt Annie Lennox could sell a stadium out- she doesn’t even seem to tour.

    You still haven’t put up any argument for her being influential or iconic- she is neither. No-one has ever been influenced by her unlike Kate Bush or many other female artists and no-one has ever wanted to look like her unlike Siouxsie Sioux. She is a music business pet, wheeled out in the eighties when they had to give out awards, her records were bought by people who don’t like music and didn’t know of all the better singers that were out there but never got heard because people like Simon Bates were playing the records on national radio.

    • If you want to say that Annie Lennox is not popular like the others, because Annie is not a very comercial singer. Yes you’re agree.

      Annie Lennox is beyond that you can imagine.

  8. Dearest John Rob,
    welcome to the internet, a place where ANYONE can write about ANYthing, making judgements without even remotely understanding the topics one is dealing with.

    As to Katrina: Sorry, but your enthusiasm for the Spice Girls disqualifies you in a discussion about musicianship.

  9. You’re clearly just jealous of Annie Lennox for whatever sad little reason you have. The fact that you’re a Spice Girls fan shows me you need your head examined. Eurythmics were a real band who wrote all of their own material. The Spice Girls were a load of models and sub-par singers who were put together solely for the purpose of making money, not for the love of music. They were huge in the 90s in the UK with Chav culture. They’re a footnote worldwide and are mentioned in the same breath as Vanilla Ice or Hammertime. When their fans grew up they were forgotten.

    Posh Spice is one of the most loathesome creatures to ever walk the earth. Annie Lennox created her own AIDS charity for African women and children and works tirelessly for a cure and to help people who cannot help themselves. Same cannot be said for ole Posh who sits home counting her moeny and not eating.

    While Sade, Kate Bush and Siouxsie are each fabulous in their own right, they are nowhere near Annie Lennox in terms of global success. Sade was soon forgotten after Smooth Operator and Kate Bush and Siouxsie have only ever been big stars in the UK. Do you really think Siouxsie could fill a stadium in 2012? I dobut it. Your precious Kate Bush wouldn’t fill up a phone booth outside of the UK.

    It seems to escape your narrow little mind that Sweet Dreams is a well know song the world over that still receives regular airplay and still wins awards. Wikipedia is back online, I suggest you go visit.

  10. 1. Annie Lennox can’t fill a stadium either.
    2. Katrina is not saying she is a Spice Girls fan- you seem to be too stupid to understand this- she is pointing out that there have been many female artists who have outsold and continue to outsell Annie Lennox.
    3. That annoying bloke who looks like a poodle wrote Annie Lennox’s songs for her.
    4. She is the type of singer that 80’s daytime radio one DJ”s like and play all the time and the sort of people who only have 10 CDs buy.
    5. there is nothing worse than multi millionaires doing public charity- good for getting that OBE though.
    6. getting regular airplay is meaningless- music on the radio is always terrible and a reflection of the mediocre taste of the programmers.
    7. What awards does Annie lennox still win?
    8. She is not iconic! if she was iconic there would be hordes of people dressed like her and loads of singers influenced by her- go one name ONE i dare you.
    9. ‘mathias’ welcome to the internet where anyone with a made up name cn pretend to be as many people as they want and comment about things they know nothing about. You clearly have not got a clue about music- just a blinkered fanboy devotion to a mediocre singer that most people have forgotten about.
    10. we are still waiting for an argument about how influential or important she is

    • Ha! HAHAHAHAHA! Isn’t it wonderful how SPITEFUL the whole discussion in here is. Besides, i always only use one name – my real one.

      I guess you never ever heard about the SING campaign and made the effort to check out what Lennox achieved here?

    • … as to the addition of a few Lennox outfits to that exhibition: I don’t think they were added in order to state that Lennox is/has been/was a fashion icon? This whole discussion including the article is totally sick.

      I’ll make myself more clear: The whole article misses out on what the music and imagery Annie Lennox came up with is about! The number of followers and sales figures don’t say anything about quality, do they?

      I am sorry, but i will not participate any longer in this dicussion with people being so MEAN to each other about an article which totally misunderstands its’ topic!

    • hahahaha this makes me laugh a lot…

      Just take a look she has won several Grammies, A golden globe, an oscar, an OBE, a honorary degree by the Oxford Univ, etc.

      Just take a look all the concerts she made with DAve Stewart: 5 continents, even, in Mexico in 2004 she had to open other date at the Sports Palace.

      Just take a look all the programs she’s been, not only on the radio, TV also. A&E, people and arts, BBC, ABC, American Network, CNN, etc…

      Just take a look to Lady Gaga, Mika, Shirley Manson, and look all the fashion week 2006 of Louis Vuitton inspired in the look of Annie…

      You see… now who is right?

      • lalo, i know who you are and you obviously do not get me … i am totally pro-Lennox!

        So, yes, YOU ARE RIGHT, as you are the biggest eurythmics fan in the world and discovered them before anybody else did!

        Do you feel better now? SIGH!

  11. Being old enough to remember the 80s – and I loved her work then – I’m perplexed too. She was never all that ground-breaking – unlike, as you say Siouxsie Sioux. And yes, Sweet Dreams is a great pop song , one of the all time greats. But what has she done lately?

  12. Siouxsie trumps Lennox in all respects apart from mass appeal,but mass appeal is no indicator of artistic success alone.Poly styrem was groundbreaking as were the Slits.

  13. Bruce = Chav.
    Good God, where to begin with a moron such as yourself?
    1. Annie may not be able to fill a stadium anymore but there’s certainly a hell of a lot more interest in her than Sade.
    2. Katrina should pick someone other than the Spice Girls if she doesn’t want to sound like a complete moron. Spice Girls were created by music moguls for 100% profit, not for creativity’s sake.
    3. Annie and Dave (the poodle) co-wrote everything. Dave had no hand in Diva and that CD was a massive global hit. Why is as much of a signature song as Sweet Dreams is.
    4. I have over 1,000 CDs so have a nice glass of water to wash down your foot, fool. Who would you rather those DJs play? Oasis? Robbie Williams? Eminem?
    5. Yeah, trying to find a cure for AIDS is such a terrible thing.
    6. Sweet Dreams has never left the airwaves in almost 30 years. If it was as truly terrible as you say, it would have been long forgotten like The Spice Girls. Sweet Dreams has been copied over and over again by many imitators. Sunglasses At Night by Corey Hart and Send Me An Angel by Real Life were direct Sweet Dreams rip off in the same era. The song has also been used in hundreds upon hundreds of mash up and has been covered by too many artists to list here.
    7. An ASCAP award in 2010 for Sweet Dreams. Pretty impressive for a song released in 1983.
    8. I guess you conveniently forgot about that androgyny thing that was all over the 80s? While she certainly didn’t create it, she absolutely was a big part of it.
    9. Matthias is not me.
    10. Lady Gaga famously ripped off Annie’s man in drag recently at an award show. It was practically the identical costume she wore in the Who’s That Girl video. I suppose you missed that as well in your desperately sad attempt to justify your jealousy? La Roux clearly has been lifting pages out of Annie’s diary as well.

  14. @Dean – Siouxsie’s greatest claim to fame is a Beatles cover. I love Siouxsie but as far as the history of pop music is concerned she’s a footnote and when was the last time you heard her on the radio?

  15. Siouxsie Sioux, Kate Bush and PJ Harvey have all made great records that have influenced generations of musicians and have a style that has been much copied- this makes them iconic.

    Annie Lennox, Spice Girls, Sade etc sell loads of records and get endlessly played on Humdrum FM radio stations where music is in the background to innane DJ banter and weather reports- none of them are influential and nobody have ever been influenced by their music and style- this makes them not iconic.

    Can it be any easier to understand. Even for a 15 year old fanboy?

  16. Sorry about my unreliabilty, but i had to get back. Yes, Brendan, now that you mentioned it, that Katrina and Bruce definitely are equally rude. Interesting how Bruce attacks me for disagreeing with the articles author (hello “Bruce”, nice to meet you too.Are you a relative of the author or a co-worker?”) and how he is quick in defending Katrina AND in assuming that my name is not my real name.

  17. Jhon RObb: To critic something, you have to know it.

    So this pseudo “writer” leaves a lot to be desired with his culture and his musician references.

  18. I’m having a very good laugh reading through these comments, the Annie Lennox fan writing under several different pseudonyms is funny.
    We all like some musicians more than others but making claims for their greatness is a bit much.
    I do not doubt that Annie Lennox can sing but she is certainly not an icon. She may have sold lots of records and get endlessly played on dead air radio shows but disinterested DJs but she is not a true original and her influence on pop culture is negligible.
    The influence on the artist you mention is only in your imagination.
    And back to the original blog, the writer is correct in their assumption that her clothes and style are not iconic, androgynous had already been done several times and much better, she looked like she had been dressed by the record company.
    She wins awards because the people that give awards have no idea, didn’t Eddi Reader win the Brits as well?
    people like Kate Bush and PJ Harvey change the way we listen to music- they are iconic artists, people like Annie Lennox and the Spice Girls sell millions of records and are landfill pop for people who don’t have the time to listen any further.
    Now that i too have joined this silly debate about a half remembered pop star I’m looking forward to your badly spelled reply that reads like it was written in crayon and will be under another assumed name

  19. Lennox has received a variety of major awards during her career:[72]
    American Music Awards[73]
    2008 – AMA Award of Merit for her work and her humanitarian efforts
    Academy Awards[74]
    2004 – Best Original Song (“Into the West”)
    Grammy Awards[75]
    1984 – Best New Artist (Eurythmics) (nominated)
    1986 – Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal (Eurythmics, “Would I Lie to You?”) (nominated)
    1987 – Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal (Eurythmics, “Missionary Man”) (Won)
    1993 – Album of the Year (Diva) (nominated)
    1993 – Best Female Pop Vocal Performance (Diva) (nominated)
    1993 – Best Music Video – Long Form (Diva) (Won)
    1996 – Best Pop Album (Medusa) (nominated)
    1996 – Best Female Pop Vocal Performance (“No More I Love You’s”) (Won)
    2004 – Best Pop Album (Bare) (nominated)
    2005 – Best Song Written For a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media (“Into the West”) (Won)
    Ivor Novello Awards[76]
    1984 – Songwriter of the Year for Lennox and Dave Stewart
    1987 – Songwriter of the Year for Lennox and Dave Stewart
    1987 – Best contemporary song (“Its Alright, (Baby’s Coming Back)”)
    1993 – Best Song (“Why”)
    BRIT Awards[77]
    1984 – Best British Female Artist
    1986 – Best British Female Artist
    1989 – Best British Female Artist
    1990 – Best British Female Artist
    1993 – Best British Female Solo Artist
    1993 – Best British Album (Diva)
    1996 – Best British Female Solo Artist
    1999 – Outstanding Contribution to British Music (Eurythmics)
    MTV Video Music Awards[19]
    1992 – Best Female Video (“Why”)
    Golden Globe Awards[78]
    2004 – Best Original Song – Motion Picture (“Into the West”)
    Honorary degrees and awards[79]
    1986 – Associate – Royal Academy of Music London
    1997 – Fellowship – Royal Academy of Music London
    2006 – Honorary Doctor of Music – The Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama
    2006 – Fellowship – Edinburgh College of Art
    2009 – Honorary Doctorate at the University of Edinburgh (awarded 20 October 2009), in recognition of her work in the field of HIV/AIDS, and her success as a recording artist.[80]
    Other awards / titles / ambassadorships[81]
    2002 – Billboard Century Award by Billboard
    2008 – OUT magazine honoured Lennox for her work in the HIV and Aids field. The top 100 most influential people in Gay Culture.
    2008 – The British Red Cross Services to Humanity Award
    2008 – Glamour Magazine’s Inspirational Woman of the Year Award
    2008 – Honoured at the 2008 Youth AIDS Gala, for her contribution in helping the fight against HIV and AIDS
    2008 – The German Sustainability “special achievement” award for her commitment in the fight against HIV and AIDS
    2008 – Webby Award for official website[82]
    2009 – Save the Children “Amigo de los Niños” Award
    2009 – Awarded the “Freedom of the City of London” by the British Red Cross for services to humanity in the field of HIV and AIDS
    2009 – Nobel Peace Laureates for services to humanity
    2010 – Patron of the Elton John Aids Foundation
    2010 – Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Scotland
    2010 – Ambassador for HIV/AIDS in London
    2010 – UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador
    2010 – Barclays Women of the Year Award
    2010 – [International Service Award] for Global Defence of Human Rights
    2010 – GQ Charity Woman of the Year Award
    2010 – Harper’s Bazaar Lifetime Achievement Award
    2010 – OBE – Order of the British Empire for her work fighting AIDS and poverty in Africa

  20. To say that Lennox is not iconic defies logic. To say that Lennox didn’t influence others is moronic. Annie Lennox has sung side by side with Aretha Franklin who says that Annie is the only voice that she has ever worked with that could out sing her. David Bowie has bowed to Miss Lennox in respect. Every orange brush cut punk in the 80’s would laugh at you. I adore all of the artists mentioned, even the Spice Girls who had a moment and worth. One last thing to consider………Annie Lennox has enough pull to gather these 23 women to add their voices to her song: Madonna, Anastacia, Isobel Campbell, Dido, Céline Dion, Melissa Etheridge, Fergie, Beth Gibbons, Faith Hill, Angélique Kidjo, Beverley Knight, Gladys Knight, k.d. lang, Sarah McLachlan, Beth Orton, P!nk, Bonnie Raitt, Shakira, Shingai Shoniwa, Joss Stone, Sugababes, KT Tunstall, and Martha Wainwright……That she has influence is beyond a doubt.

  21. Where do you start with this!
    No wonder everyone else gave up, it’s like arguing with a child.

    The Brit awards is chosen by a panel of experts who always choose a music biz insider. they are a bit of a joke.

    Robbie Williams has won 17 Brit awards, this makes him the greatest male singer of all time by your reckoning.- more iconic than Elvis!

    ‘every orange brush cut on the eighties would laugh at you…’
    Are you serious about this? for a start that haircut had been around for years, punks of both sexes had their hair like that for years before Annie Lennox, often with a suit and often androgynous, some people are leaders- some are followers and many of these punk dressed like this because they wanted to and not because they were told to do by an image consultant.

    Really rich people who do very public charity work is always a bit suspect isn’t it?

    Duets are well known record company devices to try and make an artist without any credibility and without an iconic status seem more happening.

    Still waiting to see who has been influenced by AL apart from a made up idea of punks dying their hair orange because of her- do you know nothing about youth culture?

  22. Isn’t it funny how Petra is claiming all the pro-Lennox comments are coming from the same person? Meanwhile ‘she’ keeps coming back under different MOs to say the exact same thing over and over again.
    Katrina then Bruce then Flo Chambers? No one outside of the UK gives a shit about PJ Harvey, No one. And Kate Bush’s name means nothing to anyone who doesn’t come from the UK. The crazy fan who broke into her house and got deported is typical of the average Kate Bush fan mindset. Is it any wonder she hides from the world? Your mindless hatred and jealousy toward Annie Lennox borders on insanity. Just because you say she isn’t iconic and stamp your little hoof over it, not unlike Nellie Oleson, doesn’t make it so. At least you gave up on the Spice Girls argument.

  23. Annie Lennox is a true icon.
    Without the Tourists there would have been no punk movement, they were one of the most important bands of that time and were much admired and much copied.
    With Eurythmics she created a whole style that was copied by the whole new romantic movement, without here there would have been no Madoona. it’s obvious that madonna copied everything from her- the idea o being a woman singer and singing songs as a woman was invented by Annie Lennox.
    Madonna stole her whole look and so did Boy George and the new romantics. Before Annie lennox no-one had the adronjinous look, she came up with that first. people like David Bowie copied her hair style.
    She has won the Brit awards many times, deservedly so and if this is not proof that she is not the most iconic pop star of all time then I don’t know what is. The brits are the most important award you can win in music and she owned them.
    Her songs are still on the radio all the time and the UK’s most important DJ’s like Simon bates still play her all the time. She has given all her money away to charity and is very important in those kind of circles which is proof of her charityness.
    No pop star of these modern times would exist without her, she invented the idea of being a solo woman singer, before Annie Lennox there was nothing like her, women didn’t sing much. Without her there would be no punk, no new romantic, no eighties pop and no Lady Gaga, no Kylie Minogue.

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