, OBE (born 25 December 1954) is a Scottish singer-songwriter, political activist and philanthropist. After achieving moderate success in the late 1970s as part of the new wave band The Tourists, she and fellow musician David A. Stewart went on to achieve major international success in the 1980s as Eurythmics, with the 1983 hit single "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" their commercial breakthrough. Lennox is the most recognised female artist at the Brit Awards, winning a total of eight awards. She has also been named the "Brits Champion of Champions".Lennox embarked on a solo career in 1992 with her debut album, Diva
, which produced several hit singles including "Why" and "Walking on Broken Glass". To date, she has released five solo studio albums and a compilation album, The Annie Lennox Collection
(2009). Aside from her eight Brit Awards, she has also collected four Grammy Awards and an MTV Video Music Award. In 2002, Lennox received a Billboard Century Award; the highest accolade from Billboard
Magazine. In 2004, she won both the Golden Globe and the Academy Award for Best Original Song for "Into the West", written for the soundtrack to the feature film The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
.In addition to her career as a musician, Lennox is also a political and social activist, notable for raising money and awareness for HIV/ AIDS as it affects women and children in Africa. In 2011, Lennox was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II for her "tireless charity campaigns and championing of humanitarian causes". On 4 June 2012, Lennox performed at the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Concert in front of Buckingham Palace, London. Lennox performed the song Little Bird
during the 2012 Summer Olympics closing ceremony in London on 12 Aug 2012.Lennox has been named "The Greatest White Soul Singer Alive" by VH1 and one of The 100 Greatest Singers of All Time by Rolling Stone
. In 2012, Lennox was listed at number 22 on VH1's 100 Greatest Women in Music. She has earned the distinction of "most successful female British artist in UK music history" due to her commercial success since the early 1980s. As of June 2008, including her work within Eurythmics, Lennox had sold over 80 million records worldwide.1976–1990: Dragon's Playground, The Tourists and EurythmicsIn 1976, Lennox was flautist with a band called Dragon's Playground, leaving before they appeared on TV's New Faces. Between 1977 and 1980, she was the lead singer of The Tourists (initially known as The Catch), a moderately successful British pop band and her first collaboration with Dave Stewart. During the time they were in The Tourists, Stewart and Lennox were involved in a relationship, though this had ended by the time they formed Eurythmics.Lennox and Stewart's second collaboration, the 1980s synthpop duo Eurythmics, resulted in her most notable fame, as the duo's alto, soul-tinged lead singer. Early in Eurythmics' career, Lennox was known for her androgyny, wearing suits and once impersonating Elvis Presley. Eurythmics released a long line of singles in the 1980s, including "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)", "Love Is A Stranger", "Here Comes the Rain Again", "Sisters Are Doin' It for Themselves", "Who's That Girl?", "Would I Lie to You?", "There Must Be an Angel (Playing with My Heart)", "Missionary Man", "You Have Placed a Chill in My Heart", "Thorn in My Side", "The Miracle of Love" and "Don't Ask Me Why". Though Eurythmics never officially disbanded, Lennox made a fairly clear break from Stewart in 1990. Thereafter, she began a long and equally-successful solo career.Lennox and Stewart reconvened Eurythmics in the late 1990s with the album Peace
, their first album of new material in ten years. A subsequent concert tour was completed, with profits going to Greenpeace and Amnesty International.Lennox has received eight BRIT Awards, the most of any female artist. Four of the awards were given during her time with Eurythmics, and another was given to the duo for Outstanding Contribution to Music in 1999.The 1988 single with Al Green, "Put a Little Love in Your Heart" (a cover version of Jackie DeShannon's 1969 hit), was recorded for the soundtrack of the movie Scrooged
. Though it was produced by Dave Stewart, it was credited to Lennox and Green. This one-off single peaked at No. 2 on the US Adult Contemporary chart, No. 9 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and was a top 40 hit in the UK. Lennox performed the song "Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye", a Cole Porter song, that same year for a cameo appearance in the Derek Jarman film Edward II
. She then made an appearance with David Bowie and the surviving members of Queen at 1992's Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert at London's Wembley Stadium, performing "Under Pressure".
Lennox began working with former Trevor Horn protégé Stephen Lipson, beginning with her 1992 solo début album, Diva
. It was a commercial and critical success, charting No. 1 in the UK, No. 6 in Germany, and No. 23 in the US where it went double platinum. Lennox's profile was boosted by Diva'
s singles, which included "Why" and "Walking on Broken Glass". "Why" won an MTV Award for Best Female Video at the 1992 MTV Video Music Awards, while the video for "Walking on Broken Glass" featured the actors Hugh Laurie and John Malkovich. "Little Bird" also formed a double A-side with "Love Song for a Vampire", a soundtrack cut for Francis Ford Coppola's 1992 movie Bram Stoker's Dracula
. The B-side of her single "Precious" was a self-penned song called "Step by Step", which was later a hit for Whitney Houston for the soundtrack of the film The Preacher's Wife
. The song "Keep Young and Beautiful" was included on the CD release as a bonus track (the original vinyl album had only ten tracks).The album entered the UK album chart at no.1 and has since sold over 1.2 million copies in the UK alone, being certified quadruple platinum. It was also a success in the US where it was a top 30 hit and has sold in excess of 2,700,000 copies. In 1993, the album was included in Q magazine
's list of the "50 Best Albums of 1992". Rolling Stone
magazine (25 June 1992, p. 41) described the album as "...state-of-the-art soul pop...
" and it is included in Rolling Stone's (13 May 1999, p. 56) "Essential Recordings of the 90's" list. The album won Best British Album at the 1993 Brit Awards.
1995–2000: Medusa and return to Eurythmics
Although Lennox's profile decreased for a period because of her desire to bring up her two children outside of the media's glare, she continued to record. Her second album, Medusa
, was released in March 1995. It consisted solely of cover songs, all originally recorded by male artists including Bob Marley and The Clash. It entered the UK album chart at No. 1 and peaked in the US at number 11, spending 60 weeks on the Billboard 200
chart and selling over 2,000,000 to date in the United States. It has achieved double platinum status in both the UK and the US. The album yielded four UK singles: "No More I Love You's" (which entered the UK singles chart at No. 2, Lennox's highest ever solo peak), "A Whiter Shade of Pale", "Waiting in Vain" and "Something So Right". The album was nominated for Best Pop Vocal Album at the Grammy Awards of 1996, losing to Turbulent Indigo
by Joni Mitchell, however, Lennox won the Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for the single "No More I Love You's". Though Lennox declined to tour for the album, she did perform a large scale one-off concert in New York's Central Park, which was filmed and later released on home video. Lennox also provided an extensive solo vocal performance (without lyrics) for the soundtrack score of the film Apollo 13
in 1995.In 1997, Lennox re-recorded the Eurythmics track "Angel" for the Diana, Princess of Wales tribute album, and also recorded the song "Mama" for The Avengers
soundtrack album. In 1998, following the death of a mutual friend (former Tourists member Peet Coombes), she re-united with Dave Stewart. Following their first performance together in eight years at a record company party, Stewart and Lennox began writing and recording together for the first time since 1989. This resulted in the album Peace
. The title was designed to reflect the duo's ongoing concern with global conflict and world peace. The record was promoted with a concert on the Greenpeace vessel Rainbow Warrior II, where they played a mixture of old and new songs. "I Saved the World Today" was the lead single, reaching number eleven on the UK singles chart. Another single, released at the beginning of 2000, "17 Again", made the UK top 40, and topped the US dance chart. In 2002, Lennox received a Billboard Century Award; the highest accolade from Billboard
Magazine, with Editor-in-Chief Timothy White describing her as one of "the most original and unforgettably affecting artists in the modern annals of popular music."
2003–2007: Bare and work in Africa
In 2003, Lennox released her third solo album, Bare
. The album peaked at No. 3 in the UK and No. 4 in the US – her highest charting album in the US to date. She embarked on her first tour as a solo artist to promote the album. The tour, simply titled Solo Tour, pre-dated the release of the album and visited both the US and Europe, with only a two-night stop in the UK at Saddler's Wells Theatre in London. The album has been certified Gold in both the UK and the US and was nominated for Best Pop Album at the 46th Grammy Awards. The album was released with a DVD which included interviews and acoustic versions of songs by Lennox. The Japanese edition of the album features a version of Lennox's earlier hit "Cold" recorded live in Toronto.In 2004, Lennox won the Academy Award for Best Song for "Into the West" from the film The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
, which she co-wrote with screenwriter Fran Walsh and composer Howard Shore. The song also won a Grammy award and a Golden Globe award. She had previously recorded "Use Well the Days" for the movie, which incorporates a number of quotations from Tolkien in its lyrics. This song was not used in the film, but it appears on a bonus DVD included with the "special edition" of the movie's soundtrack CD. In mid-2004, Lennox embarked on an extensive North American tour with Sting. In July 2005, Lennox performed at Live 8 in Hyde Park, London, along with Madonna, Sting, and other popular musicians.In 2005, Lennox and Stewart collaborated on two new songs for their Eurythmics compilation album, Ultimate Collection
, of which "I've Got a Life" was released as a single in October 2005. The promotional video for the song features Lennox and Stewart performing in the present day, with images of past Eurythmics videos playing on television screens behind them. The single peaked at number fourteen in the UK Singles Chart and was a number-one US Dance hit. On 14 November 2005, Sony BMG repackaged and released Eurythmics' back catalogue as 2005 Deluxe Edition Reissues. Lennox also collaborated with Herbie Hancock doing the song "Hush, Hush, Hush" on his collaboration album, Possibilities in August 2005.
2007–2008: Songs of Mass Destruction and AIDS activism
Ending her long association with Stephen Lipson, Lennox's fourth solo album, Songs of Mass Destruction
, was recorded in Los Angeles with veteran producer Glen Ballard (known for producing Alanis Morissette's album, Jagged Little Pill
). It was released on 1 October 2007, and was the last studio album of Lennox's contract with BMG. It peaked at No. 7 in the UK and No. 9 in the US. Lennox stated that she believed the album consisted of "twelve strong, powerful, really emotive songs that people can connect to". If she achieves that, she says, "I can feel proud of [it\], no matter if it sells ten copies or 50 million." Lennox described it as "a dark album, but the world is a dark place. It's fraught, it's turbulent. Most people's lives are underscored with dramas of all kinds: there's ups, there's downs – the flickering candle." She added, "Half the people are drinking or drugging themselves to numb it. A lot of people are in pain."The album's first single was "Dark Road", released on 24 September 2007. Another song on the album, "Sing", is a collaboration between Lennox and 23 prominent female artists: Anastacia, Isobel Campbell, Dido, Céline Dion, Melissa Etheridge, Fergie, Beth Gibbons, Faith Hill, Angelique Kidjo, Beverley Knight, Gladys Knight, k.d. lang, Madonna, Sarah McLachlan, Beth Orton, Pink, Kelis, Bonnie Raitt, Shakira, Shingai Shoniwa, Joss Stone, Sugababes, KT Tunstall, and Martha Wainwright. The song was recorded to raise money and awareness for the HIV/AIDS organisation Treatment Action Campaign. Included among the group of vocalists are TAC activist members' own vocal group known as The Generics, whose CD of music inspired Lennox to make "Sing".To promote Songs of Mass Destruction
, Lennox embarked on a primarily North American tour called Annie Lennox Sings, which lasted throughout October and November 2007. The tour had 18 stops: London, San Diego, New York City (two dates), Boston. The venues generally were at medium-size theatres, except in New York, where one of the dates was a United Nations fundraiser at the Midtown restaurant Cipriani.
2008–2009: The Annie Lennox Collection and departing from Sony
Finishing out her contract with Sony BMG, Lennox released the compilation album The Annie Lennox Collection
. Initially intended for release in September 2008, the release date was pushed back several months to allow Lennox to recuperate from a back injury. The compilation was eventually released in the US on 17 February 2009, and in the UK and Europe on 9 March 2009. Included on the track listing are songs from her four solo albums, one from the Bram Stoker's Dracula
soundtrack, and two new songs. One of these is a cover of Ash's single, "Shining Light". The other is a cover of a song by the English band Keane, originally the B-side of their first single in 2000. Lennox renamed the song from its original title "Closer Now" to "Pattern of My Life". A limited 3-disc edition of the album included a DVD compilation featuring most of Lennox's solo videos since 1992, and also featured a second CD of rarer songs including a version of R.E.M.'s "Everybody Hurts" with Alicia Keys and Lennox's Oscar winning "Into the West" from the third Lord of the Rings
film. The album entered the UK Album Chart at No. 2 and remained in the top 10 for seven weeks.Lennox's recording contract with Sony BMG concluded with the release of Songs of Mass Destruction
and the subsequent retrospective album The Collection
, and much was made in the press in late 2007/early 2008 about the apparent animosity between Lennox and the record company. Lennox stated that while on a trip to South Africa in December 2007 to appear at the 46664 campaign in Johannesburg, the regional company office of the label failed to return phone calls and e-mails she made to them for three weeks, and had completely failed to promote the Sing project as planned. Upon her return to the UK, Lennox met with the head of Sony BMG UK, Ged Docherty, who was "mortified" by the problems she had encountered with the South African branch. However, the debacle (partly inflamed when Lennox's dissatisfaction with the South African office was made public on her blog) led to press reports falsely stating that she was being dropped by Sony BMG. The record company themselves quickly refuted the rumour stating that Lennox's contract with them had merely been fulfilled and that they hoped she would consider remaining with them. The British tabloid, Daily Mirror
, subsequently printed a retraction of its story about her being dropped by the label.
2010–present: Island Records and A Christmas Cornucopia
In August 2010, Lennox signed a new contract with Island Records in the UK and Decca Records in the US (both part of the Universal Music Group). Her first release was a Christmas album entitled A Christmas Cornucopia
, issued on 15 November 2010. The album is a collection of Lennox's interpretations of traditional festive songs such as "Silent Night" and "The First Noel", along with one new composition, "Universal Child", which was released as a download-only single on 13 October 2010. Lennox had previously showcased the song on the American Idol Gives Back
TV show in April 2010. She sang the song "Angels from the Realms of Glory" from the album for the TNT special Christmas in Washington
.A music video was produced for a second single from the album, "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen". Lennox also performed the track on the UK chat show Loose Women
in December 2010, and was also interviewed.According to Metacritic, A Christmas Cornucopia
has gained "generally favourable reviews". Ian Wade of BBC Music gave the album a very positive review, saying "this collection could find itself becoming as much a part of the holiday season as arguments with loved ones." Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine awarded the album 3.5/5 and said "Lennox seems more inspired on A Christmas Cornucopia
than she has in years." John Hunt of Qatar Today
magazine gave the album 9/10 and said "in particular, the vocal work and musical arrangement of 'God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen' are impactful to the point of being intimidating."On 4 June 2012, Lennox performed as part of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Concert in front of Buckingham Palace, London.On 12 August 2012, Lennox performed "Little Bird" at the 2012 Summer Olympics Closing Ceremony.Charity and political workLennox appeared on stage at the 1988 Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Concert and commenced activist work with the Sing Foundation afterwards. In 1990, Lennox recorded a version of Cole Porter's "Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye" for the Cole Porter tribute album Red Hot + Blue
, a benefit for AIDS awareness. A video was also produced.Lennox has been a public supporter of Amnesty International and Greenpeace for many years, and she and Dave Stewart donated all of the profits from Eurythmics' 1999 Peacetour to both charities.Concerned by Tibet freedom, she supported Amnesty International campaigns for the release of Tibetan prisoners Palden Gyatso and Ngawang Choephel.In 2006, in response to her humanitarian work, Lennox became patron of the Master's Course in Humanitarian and Development Practice
for Oxford Brookes University. In October 2006, Lennox spoke at the British House of Commons about the need for children in the UK to help their counterparts in Africa.On 25 April 2007, Lennox performed "Bridge over Troubled Water" during the American Idol
"Idol Gives Back" fundraising drive.Lennox's 2007 song "Sing" was born out of her involvement with Nelson Mandela's 46664 campaign and Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), both of which are human rights groups which seek education and health care for those affected by HIV. In December 2007, Lennox established The SING Campaign, an organisation dedicated to raising funds and awareness for women and children affected by HIV and AIDS.On 11 December 2007, she performed in the Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Oslo, Norway together with a variety of artists, which was broadcast to over 100 countries. Lennox appeared at the Nelson Mandela 90th Birthday Tribute in June 2008 and then led a rally against the Gaza War in London on 3 January 2009.Lennox opened the 2009 Edinburgh Festival of Politics with commentary on Pope Benedict XVI's approach to HIV/AIDS prevention in Africa. She said that the Pope's denunciation of condoms on his recent tour of Africa had caused "tremendous harm" and she criticised the Roman Catholic Church for causing widespread confusion on the continent. Lennox also condemned the media's obsession with "celebrity culture" for keeping the AIDS pandemic off the front page. During her address, Lennox wore a t-shirt emblazoned with the words "HIV positive". Lennox wore similar t-shirts at the 25th Anniversary Rock & Roll Hall of Fame concert at Madison Square Garden on 30 October 2009, during her appearance on The Graham Norton Show
on 30 November 2009 (where she performed the new song "Full Steam", a duet with singer David Gray), during a recorded performance for American Idol
during a 21 April 2010 fundraiser, entitled Idol Gives Back, and during a performance on the live Comic Relief show on 18 March 2011.In June 2010, Lennox was named as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for AIDS, a role that continues as of August 2013. Lennox also works with other organisations such as Oxfam, Amnesty International and the British Red Cross in regard to the issue.Lennox also supports the Burma Campaign UK, a non-governmental organisation that addresses the suffering in Burma and promotes democratisation.In December 2010, it was confirmed that Lennox was in the New Years Honours List and would become an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in recognition of her humanitarian work. She received the award from Queen Elizabeth II on 28 June 2011.
Lennox has garnered a significant following within the LGBT community. According to The Advocate
, "her distinctive voice and provocative stage persona have made Lennox a longtime gay icon." With Eurythmics' music videos earning regular rotation on MTV in the 1980s, Lennox took part in the shaping of popular culture alongside other gay icons such as Boy George, Madonna, Morrissey, and Michael Stipe.
'The House of Annie Lennox' Exhibition 2011 – 2012
In conjunction with the Victoria and Albert Museum (V+A), Lennox has put many items of her collection of costumes, accessories, photographs, awards, ephemera from her political campaigns, and personal belongings on display. This collection, which spans her entire career along with music videos and interviews, became The House of Annie Lennox
at the V+A from 15 September 2011 to 26 February 2012. An even larger version of the exhibit was then installed at The Lowry in Salford from 17 March 2012 to 17 June, before moving on to Aberdeen for twelve weeks.
Both as part of Eurythmics and in her solo career, Lennox has made over 60 music promo videos. The 1987 Eurythmics album Savage
and her 1992 solo album Diva
were both accompanied by video albums, both directed by Sophie Muller. Actors Hugh Laurie and John Malkovich appeared in the music video for "Walking on Broken Glass", while the video for "Little Bird" paid homage to the different images and personas that have appeared in some of Lennox's previous videos. The clip features Lennox performing on stage with several lookalikes (male and female) that represent her personas from "Why", "Walking on Broken Glass", "Sweet Dreams", "Beethoven", "I Need a Man", "Thorn in My Side", "There Must Be an Angel", and even her stage image from the 1992 Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert.
Lennox has been married three times. Her first marriage, from 1984 to 1985, was to German Hare Krishna devotee Radha Raman. From 1988 to 2000, she was married to Israeli film and record producer Uri Fruchtmann. The couple have two daughters: Lola and Tali. On 15 September 2012, Lennox married South African gynaecologist Dr Mitch Besser, in London, in a private ceremony. Guests included Colin Firth and Ruby Wax. Lennox met Besser, who has two teenage sons, in 2009 after becoming involved in his charity mothers2mothers which helps children and single mothers with AIDS.Both of Lennox's parents died of cancer.In September 2012, Lennox featured in Series 9 of the BBC's Who Do You Think You Are?
, in which she discovered that her great-great-grandmother Jessie Fraser worked, at the age of 13, at the Broadford Flax Mill in Aberdeen. Her maternal grandmother, Dora Paton, was a dairy maid at the Balmoral Royal Estate and her maternal grandfather, William Ferguson, was a gamekeeper also at Balmoral, who on one occasion danced with the then queen consort of the United Kingdom, Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon.Lennox describes herself as an agnostic. She is a vegetarian and supporter of animal rights.Lennox was estimated to have a fortune of £30 million in the Sunday Times Rich List