Young Chris Hamill was not popular at school. Expelled for disrupting class, the teen boy transferred to a new school, where the kids pointed out his effeminacy. Always the last one picked in sports, Hamill’s confidence level dropped. Discovering he was gay didn’t help. Unhappy at school, he became a loner, escaping into his music.
After leaving school Hamill pursued acting. He landed a few roles, but music was where his passion truly lied. Hamill reinvented himself. He rearranged the letters of his last name and became Limahl, the cutieface pop singer. He was recruited by a band named Art Nouveau. With Limahl on board, the group changed their name to KajaGooGoo.
While working as a waiter at London’s Embassy Club, Limahl met Nick Rhodes of Duran Duran. He gave Rhodes the group’s demo tape. Rhodes took it to his record label, EMI, who signed them.
In January 1983, EMI released the group’s Rhodes-produced debut single, “Too Shy.” It went to #1 in the UK and reached #5 in the US. At this time, Limahl kept his sexual orientation secret. “I wasn’t embarrassed about being gay, but my role as Limahl, my pop star role, had to be more enigmatic. I didn’t want to start talking about gay sex and gays in 1983 when most of our following was teenage girls.”
While “Too Shy” was on the US charts, the band completed a successful tour playing to 40,000 people in Finland. The following day, Limahl was fired from the group by its other members. About Limahl, KajaGooGoo guitarist Steve Askew said “His lifestyle is so different from ours. We’re very normal people whereas Limahl likes the bright lights.” Limahl, shocked by his dismissal, felt he was let go for being too cute and turning the group into a pop band solely for teens.
Following his sacking from KajaGooGoo, Limahl had a solo hit in 1985 with the theme from the film The NeverEnding Story. That song will kick off the dance playlist for today, Limahl’s 56th birthday.
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