Deborah came to prominence in the late 1970's as the slightly scary lead vocalist with ‘the Flying Lizards' whose stripped down version of the Berry Gordy song ‘Money' – produced at a cost of only £6.50 – whizzed up the charts in 1979.
Since that time ‘Money' has remained in the public consciousness, being initially an anthem associated with Thatcher's policy of monetarism. In this context it was regularly used on the BBC ‘Money Programme' in the 80's and 90's. As a song, performed in this way ‘Money' was used in other documentaries, sometimes in celebration of wealth and sometimes in a satirical way.
Ironically it has been used by Gordon Brown in his election campaign, and other Labour Party political campaigns. At the same time ‘Money' has been used on documentaries as diverse as one on Monet and another on the Kabbalah. Commercially ‘Money' has been used to advertise DFS sofas, Telewest Broadband, Vodafone one to one and has featured in four film soundtracks including ‘Empire records', ‘the Wedding Singer', ‘Lord of War' and ‘Charlie's Angels'.
Deborah has recorded material as diverse as ‘I just want to make love to you' – amongst other classic songs – for a Blues album in 1999 and ‘Walk on by' in collaboration with Richard X. Deborah also took part in a live performance of ‘Windmills of you Mind' at the ICA during Bleepfest in October 2006.
The most recent advertising campaign has been a six month television and radio campaign for Telewest Broadband where Deborah was the voice of Ellie West, who also appeared as a cartoon character on television adverts.
Deborah has a voice that is quintessentially English. It is distinctive and although often taken for a voice that is speaking in BBC English, there is an undercurrent or irreverent humour tinged with an undoubted sincerity.
Apart from her forays into the world of music, Deborah has had a successful career as a psychotherapist and has founded the Outside-In Pathways charity. She is therefore a performing artist with a conscience and this shines through in the tone of her voice. She can be informative, sincere and entertaining at the same time – a very useful combination where the power of an individual voice is so important.
As a woman Deborah has a strong personality and her voice carries an authority which makes her an equal to any male voice, but also has a femininity that is at the same time engaging and beguiling.
Where Deborah's voice may be used to great effect in the future is on documentary work as her voice has an authority which is at the same time tempered with uncommon humanity, and in parts not a little levity.
Deborah could read the news, voice a documentary on Darfur , or equally do a monograph on the perils of the pop industry. That Deborah has a memorable voice is born out by the plain fact that her voice has never been out of the public domain since she recorded “Money” in 1978 for which she received a gold record in 1979. The voice has been used for many purposes: film soundtracks, commercials, television documentaries and has been sampled in garage and house music.
Deborah's voice has a universal appeal and most people if questioned would have heard it at some time. This web site pays tribute to that voice and sets the record straight about the person behind Deborah Evans-Stickland.
Journalist 'Blues In Britain'
More about The Flying Lizards:
The Flying Lizards was an exercise in pop absurdism. The debut album featured a Brecht-Weill cover, Sanskrit chants, found sounds and unlikely instrumental textures.
In the autumn of 1979 The Flying Lizards’ cover of ‘Money (That’s What I Want)’ took the avant-classical sound of ‘prepared instruments’ into the UK Top 5. The record’s bass drum isn’t a drum but a bass guitar being hit with a stick. The banjo-like piano sound was created by throwing an assortment of objects – rubber toys, a glass ashtray, a telephone directory, a cassette-recorder, sheet music – inside the piano. Originally co-written by Berry Gordy Jr, ‘Money’ is probably most famous in its Beatles version. The Flying Lizards’ cover sounds like the Fab Four decided to rerecord it circa ‘I Am the Walrus’. The distortion-overloaded guitar solo gesticulates wildly, like an overexcited man, and the backing vocals sound like tribesfolk chanting in the rain forest. In the Beatles version, John Lennon’s prole-on-the-make insolence thrills because the ‘cynicism’ (valuing material wealth over love) feels bracingly unsentimental and the song shakes with a working-class hunger and confidence that won’t be contained. The Lizards’ remake subverts The Beatles’ subversion. All icily enunciated hauteur and blue-blooded sang-froid, singer Deborah Evans replaces Lennon’s lust rasp with the dead-eyed disdain of the ruling class. It’s no coincidence that ‘Money’ was released a few months after the election of Margaret Thatcher, who spoke in a fake-posh voice not a million miles from Evans’ exaggeratedly aristocratic tones and who championed a callous economic theory known as monetarism.
This unlikely fusion of avant-garde tomfoolery and subtle political satire became a massive novelty hit in the UK and a New Wave dance-floor cult smash in America.
'Rip it up and Start Again' - Post Punk 1978-1984
Simon Reynolds (Faber and Faber 2005)
"...A stand-out track is Walk On By with vocals spoken in slow, impeccable BBC received pronunciation by Deborah Evans-Stickland..."
Trash Magazine, July/Aug 03
"...her voice has an authority which is at the same time tempered with uncommon humanity..."
Journalist 'Blues in Britain'
"...informative, sincere and entertaining at the same time..."
Bill Smith, Journalist 'Blues in Britain'