When I first met Nick Rhodes in 1982 I mentioned the one thing I would love to do, but couldn’t, was sing. Intent on impressing me, he said “oh, I can get anyone in a modern day studio, and make them sound great.” That line (along with his unyielding self-confidence and his refusal to go without me) obviously worked, because off I flew into the sunset with him on the red eye to Kansas City – in my swimsuit and cover-up!

Julie Anne & Nick Rhodes on the yacht

Promises promises! Photo by Mike Owens

A few months later we were all singing happy birthday to Simon LeBon when I looked up to find Nick staring at me as though he’d just seen an axe nurderer. “You’re right, you can’t sing!” There were a couple more stabs at sampling my voice into his Fairlight, so he could play me in tune, but those failed miserably too. I couldn’t hit a single note on key. I was forevermore banned from singing Happy Birthday in our home.

Jewels in the studio in 1983

Jewels in the studio in 1983 hitting quarter notes, but not the note

To this day I cringe when called upon to do so. In fact, I actually quit acting due to my phobia of singing! To coax me past my mental block, my coach kept insisting that I must sing Happy Birthday with the house lights up, looking directly into each persons’ eyes (a room full of extremely gifted actors – one of whom was nominated for an Oscar at the time) as I did so. The “fight or flight” instinct got the better of me. I ran straight into the kitchen and a career I knew I could master without singing, and never looked back. BOK, bok, bok!

Julie Anne singing Happy Birthday on Nick Rhodes 50th birthday

Julie Anne singing Happy Birthday on Nick Rhodes 50th birthday

Well in honor of your hitting the half century mark today, dear ex, I’m facing my terror head on, and singing HAPPY BIRTHDAY to you at the top of my lungs. I even found what would have been “a modern day studio” at the time to record it for you. Many happy, healthy returns of the day, Nick. Don’t worry the volume is off.


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