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Spandau Ballet

 

Spandau Ballet are a popular British pop band most prominent during the 80s, at the beginning of which they were forerunners of the British new romantic movement. Its members are singer-songwriter Tony Hadley on vocals, brothers Gary Kemp and Martin Kemp on guitar and bass respectively, with Gary also supplying background vocals, Steve Norman on saxophone, and John Keeble on the drums. Gary Kemp also wrote or co-wrote most of the group’s music and lyrics.

 

Initially formed in 1976 in London, England, they didn’t reach a stable line-up or decide on the Spandau name until 1978. Their odd title allegedly came from a piece of bathroom graffiti observed during the members early days. Inspired by a mixture of avant-garde synth pop and slick funk. as typified by their early track “Chant No 1 (I Don’t Need This Pressure On)”, also known by other titles such as “Chant # 1”, the band commercially broke through with an artistic public image as remarked upon as their music. Said track reached the #2 spot in the U.K. and was notable for inclusion of the horn section from the group Beggar & Co, which proved a fruitful collaboration on record.

Spandau Ballet’s first two albums, 1981’s ‘Journeys To Glory’ and 1982’s ‘Diamond’, found them also mining their art rock and glam rock roots as their fan-base expanded, the group looking to the works of David Bowie and Roxy Music for inspiration. Both albums charted in the U.K.

Spandau Ballet /ˈspændaʊ ˈbæl.eɪ/ are a British new wave band formed in London in the late 1970s. The band initially was inspired by, and an integral part of, the New Romantic movement, becoming one of the most successful groups to emerge during the New Romantic era.

The group's debut single "To Cut a Long Story Short", which reached No. 5 in the UK in 1980, was the first of ten UK Top 10 hits, including a No. 1 single in 1983 with the song "True". The band also has had eight UK Top 10 albums, including three "greatest hits" compilations and an album of re-recorded material.

The band was called 'The Makers' in the early years, but profess to have changed their name after a friend’s (BBC London 94.9 DJ Robert Elms) visit to Spandau, a borough of Berlin, the inspiration being from graffiti he saw in the lavatory of a club there.

The term Spandau Ballet may have two likely origins: referring to the spasms of Nazi war prisoners as they "danced at the end of the rope", when they were hanged at Spandau Prison, or according to others, referring to lines of enemies being gunned down by the infamous WW2 German machine gun MG42 "Spandau" (both origins pointing anyway to the same macabre Nazi heritage). This is a contentious point. The more likely source of the name came in fact from graffiti on the wall of a lavatory in The Venue, London (Victoria) in 1978/9, where members of the originally named band worked. These members were; (Michael J) Mick Austin (now artist), David Wardill (later David Agar of The Passions), and Mark Robinson (now 3D artist/musician),and Gordon (Drums). They had been playing under the name Spandau Ballet since 1978 and had played in London once under this name at the Hope & Anchor, Islington, London on 6 May 1979 supporting The Softies. The new Spandau Ballet, with Martin Kemp and Tony Hadley, began performing with this name and generating a positive buzz around London. Their music prior to then was very R&B in the style of the early Rolling Stones or The Kinks, but became more electronic as they started to hang out in clubs such as Billys and Blitz nightclub, where they would listen to bands like Kraftwerk and Telex. The Blitz was regarded as the birthplace of a new 1980s music and fashion phenomenon called New Romanticism.

With a slicker, adult contemporary sound, the band released their third album True in (March 1983), produced by Tony Swain and Steve Jolley, who would go on to enjoy a couple of years as the "producers du jour" in Britain. In December 2007, unconfirmed reports indicated that the entire lineup of Spandau Ballet had agreed to reunite to perform a show at a Las Vegas luxury property for £2-million.

The band was formed in 1976 and was originally called The Cut, with Gary Kemp and Steve Norman on guitar, later saxophone and percussion. Kemp and Norman were both attending Dame Alice Owen's School, Potters Bar, and were close friends, as they shared a similar interest in music and a common desire to form a band. They were joined by fellow student John Keeble, who met Norman when he stored his drum kit in the school's music room; the three met regularly at lunchtimes to practice. Keeble was followed by bass player Michael Ellison. Tony Hadley, who knew Norman, then joined as lead singer. After a few months, Richard Miller replaced Michael Ellison on bass, before Kemp's younger brother, Martin Kemp, finally took over the role, joining the band a couple of years later. By this time, the band had already gained some live experience. Steve Dagger, a close school friend of the band members, was then asked by Steve Norman and Gary Kemp to manage them. He was to be an integral part of the band's success.

 

80's Hits

True

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