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Carole Pope

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Carole Pope (born August 6, 1950 in Manchester, England) is a Canadian rock singer, whose provocative blend of hard-edged New Wave rock with explicit homoerotic and BDSM-themed lyrics made her one of the first openly bisexual pop stars in the world. She is the sister of Emmy Award-winning television producer and screenwriter Elaine Pope.

Pope was raised in Scarborough, Ontario, where she met her longtime musical partner, Kevan Staples at an audition for another band. In 1968, they began performing together as a duo in Yorkville, which was Toronto’s live music and arts district at the time. In 1970, they adopted the name O, changing it to The Bullwhip Brothers the following year.

In 1975, they added several other musicians to the lineup, changing the band name to Rough Trade. Pope often performed in black leather pants and bondage attire. She was for an extended time romantically involved (although privately) with Dusty Springfield, Elvira Kurt, and more briefly with Bob Ezrin and Andrea Martin.

Pope won the Juno Award for Most Promising Female Vocalist in 1981, and subsequently won the Juno Award for Best Female vocalist in 1982 and 1983. She and Staples co-wrote the 1983 single Transformation, recorded by Nona Hendryx. During the 1980s Rough Trade won a Genie Award, and earned four Gold and two Platinum records.

Rough Trade broke up in 1986, after its final Deep Six in ‘86 tour. Three years later Pope moved to Los Angeles to pursue film and television soundtrack work. Although she has recorded and toured to promote several solo albums, and has played reunion shows with Rough Trade, her solo career has been lower-profile than her time with the band.

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