PASSINGS: Poly Styrene, Huey P. Meaux, Morty Jacobs, Nawang Gombu

Poly Styrene

Singer in the punk band X-Ray Spex

Poly Styrene, 53, the braces-wearing singer who belted out “Oh bondage, up yours!” with the punk band X-Ray Spex, died Monday, according to a statement on her website.


Styrene, whose real name was Marion Elliott-Said, was in hospice care in St. Leonards-on-Sea, England, after having been diagnosed with cancer.

X-Ray Spex released just one album, 1978’s “Germ Free Adolescents.” But its aggressively catchy single “Oh Bondage, Up Yours!” became an enduring punk anthem.

“Some people think that little girls should be seen and not heard,” Styrene sang in the gleeful nonconformist shout-out — before letting everyone know exactly what she thought of that idea.

Of British and Somali heritage, Styrene was born July 3, 1957, in the London suburb of Bromley — also the childhood home of David Bowie, Billy Idol and Siouxsie Sioux.

As a teenager, Styrene released a reggae single before being inspired to form a punk band after seeing the Sex Pistols play in 1976. X-Ray Spex stood out from the punk crowd during its short career, both because of its female singer and for including a saxophone player in the lineup.

Styrene’s attitude and energy inspired other female singers, and she often was cited as a precursor of the 1990s “riot grrrl” movement.

Styrene recorded a solo album, “Translucence,” in 1980 before fading from public view and joining the Hare Krishna movement. She later returned to making music and last month released a solo album, “Generation Indigo.”

Huey P. Meaux

Music producer had several hits

Huey P. Meaux, 82, a music producer who revived Freddy Fender’s recording career and launched that of Texas rocker Doug Sahm and his band, the Sir Douglas Quintet, died of multiple organ failure Saturday at his home in Winnie, Texas, Meaux’s nephew, Larry Meaux Jr., told the Associated Press.

Meaux produced “Before the Next Teardrop Falls,” which was a No. 1 country song for Fender in 1975, along with Fender’s follow-up, “Wasted Days and Wasted Nights.” He also launched B.J. Thomas’ career with the Hank Williams song “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.”

Meaux was born March 10, 1929, in Kaplan, La. One of his early successes was the 1962 Barbara Lynn hit “You’ll Lose a Good Thing.”

In 1996, police raided Meaux’s studio in Houston and found hundreds of videotapes and photos of him having sex with underage girls. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to molesting a teenage girl and other charges. He was released four years ago.

Morty Jacobs

Musical director for George Burns

Morty Jacobs, 93, who spent more than 30 years as musical director and pianist for comedian George Burns, died Friday at Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center of complications after surgery, said his son, Stephen. Jacobs had injured his neck in a fall at home.

During his long career, Jacobs worked with a variety of performers, including Louis Armstrong, Dorothy Dandridge, Ethel Merman, Frank Sinatra and Margaret Whiting.

But he is perhaps best known for his association with Burns, the legendary entertainer who died in 1996 at 100.

Burns hired Jacobs because of their shared experience on the vaudeville circuit, Jacobs’ son said. “He knew dad knew all of the old vaudeville songs,” which were a staple of Burns’ nightclub act, Stephen Jacobs said.

Morton Philip Jacobs was born Dec. 17, 1917, in New York, the youngest of three children. His musical abilities were recognized early, his son said, and he was about 6 when started performing as a pianist.

As a teenager he spent about two years in the merchant marine and later served in the Army during World War II.

Jacobs also was a composer, arranger and a longtime activist in the Professional Musicians Local 47 in Los Angeles.

Nawang Gombu

Youngest sherpa on Hillary’s Everest climb

Sherpa mountaineer Nawang Gombu, 79, the youngest of Sir Edmund Hillary’s climbing team that first scaled Mount Everest in 1953 and the first person to scale Everest twice, died Sunday at his home at the foot of the Himalayas after a brief illness, his son Kursung Phinjo Gombu told the Associated Press.

Gombu joined his uncle Tenzing Norgay and Hillary on the famous 1953 expedition, but he did not reach the top of the world’s highest mountain until 10 years later when he guided the first American expedition led by mountaineer Jim Whittaker to the summit.

Gombu achieved fame two years later as the first to scale Everest twice, guiding an Indian team to the top.

Gombu was born in Tibet and migrated with his family to neighboring Nepal before finally settling in Darjeeling. He began working as a Mountaineering Institute instructor when the adventure school was set up in 1954 and later served as director of field training when his uncle retired.

Times staff and wire reports