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Dave Vanian (born David Lett, 12 October 1956) is an English rock musician, and lead singer of the punk rock band The Damned. Formed in 1976 in London, The Damned were the first British punk band to release a single, an album, have a record hit the UK charts, and tour the United States. With a fluid line-up since their founding, Vanian has been the only ever-present member. His rich baritone voice has been described as "impressively sonorous".[1][2]

Dave Vanian
Dave Vanian.jpg
Vanian in 2006
Background information
Birth nameDavid Lett
Born (1956-10-12) 12 October 1956 (age 62)
OriginHemel Hempstead, England
GenresPunk rock, gothic rock, rockabilly
Occupation(s)Gravedigger, singer-songwriter, musician
InstrumentsVocals, keyboards, guitar
Years active1976–present
LabelsNitro Records
Big Beat Records
Raw Power Records
Associated actsThe Damned
David Vanian & the Phantom Chords
Naz Nomad and the Nightmares Captain Sensible


Born in Hemel Hempstead, Vanian changed his name from Lett to Vanian in early life after a stint as a gravedigger – Vanian being a play on "Transylvanian". He remains one of the early influencers of gothic fashion, wearing dark and otherworldly clothing both on stage and off. He is known to be a fan of renaissance art, film noir and horror movies, all of which manifest in his stage appearance.[citation needed] In November 1976, the British music magazine NME stated that Vanian "resembles a runaway from the Addams Family".[3]

In 1978, he was guest in the song "Don't Panic England", from the band Doctors of Madness.

In 2004, he and Captain Sensible turned on the Christmas lights in Cambridge, causing some controversy.[4]

Vanian sang with MC5 for their 40th anniversary singing "Looking at You", which was released as part of Revolution: A Celebration of the MC5. In 2008, Vanian with the band the Throb, performed on "Let's Get Lost (Sailor Jerry's Story)" for the compilation album, The Original Sailor Jerry Rum – Music To.... Outside of the Damned, Vanian has led the rockabilly band David Vanian & the Phantom Chords, hosted Dave Vanian's Dark Screen on the UK-based television channel Rockworld TV and composed the soundtrack for the 2009 film, The Perfect Sleep.[5]

Personal lifeEdit

Vanian has kept his personal life out of the limelight, opting out of any input into the Damned biography, The Light at the End of the Tunnel, by Carol Clerk. He married his first wife Laurie in 1977, but they separated in the mid-1990s. He married Patricia Morrison in Las Vegas in 1996, after The Damned had performed an Australian tour. The couple have one child and live in Islington, London.[6]



  1. ^ Ireland, Will (1 May 2018). "The Damned". Classic Rock.
  2. ^ O'Connor, Roisin (22 February 2018). "The Damned, review, KOKO, London: Devilishly good fun". The Independent.
  3. ^ Tobler, John (1992). NME Rock 'N' Roll Years (1st ed.). London, UK: Reed International Books Ltd. p. 294. CN 5585.
  4. ^ Church fury at Damned's switch-on,; accessed 12 September 2015.
  5. ^ Profile,; accessed 12 September 2015.
  6. ^ "Official". Archived from the original on 23 April 2003. Retrieved 16 July 2015.

External linksEdit