Ellen Foley is an actress and singer who first gained recognition singing opposite Meat Loaf on his epic song, “Paradise by the Dashboard Light.” This led her to a record contract with Epic Records and the release of three albums which were influenced by Foley’s boyfriend of the time, Mick Jones of the Clash, who produced and wrote much of the second, Spirit of St. Louis. From The Ellen Foley fansite…
“Ellen met Mick Jones from The Clash at ‘The Venue’ in London a couple of days before her own gig. For the next two years, Ellen was romantically involved with Mick Jones, who was a founding member of The Clash, and she would work with him on records and films for the best part of that period.‘He was there (at ‘The Venue’), so I started to talk to him. Then I had to go away, and he came to America just as I was leaving for Japan and Australia, so I didn’t see him for about a month. I really liked him instantaneously. I saw a unique person from another country, someone with a whole new set of ideas, from the way he looked to the way he thought. The whole style that he had was really attractive to me.’ Mick Jones caused a radical change in Ellen’s life. They spent a lot of time together, Ellen said, ‘I saw the real Jamaica, and spent a lot of time in England and was exposed to ideas and attitudes I’d never known. We decided to record an album together.’ They called the album The Spirit Of St. Louis, and recording evolved round the same time of the final Sandinista! sessions (the new Clash album on which Ellen contributed both lead and back-up vocals), in the summer of 1980. Sandinista! was released in December 1980 (March 1981 in US), and it was followed by ‘Hitsville UK’, a single with a duet vocal from Ellen and Mick. The same duet vocal were utilized on several tracks on Ellen’s album, which Mick Jones produced in North London’s Wessex Studios (which were under siege earlier that year from recordings which fostered the completed Sandinista!, a Pearl Harbour album, several Mickey Dread cuts and Ellen’s album. Clash personnel were involved in them all). “Spirit of St. Louis” credits as backing players all four members of The Clash, as well as several of Ian Dury’s Blockheads and Tymon Dogg. Dogg in fact also wrote three of the songs on the album, while Joe Strummer and Mick Jones collaborated on another half a dozen.”
Foley lives on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and continues an active career in music and has appeared on Broadway in such shows as Me and My Girl and the revival of Hair and off-Broadway in Beehive. She originated the role of The Witch in Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods at the Old Globe Theater in San Diego and eventually played the Witch on Broadway in 1989. Her best known television acting role is of Billie Young on Night Court. She had parts in Miloš Forman’s 1979 film adaptation of the stage musical Hair, as well as the films Cocktail, Fatal Attraction and Married to the Mob.
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