“I’m going to stick my neck out and say that we were the best live British band of the Eighties. Spandau Ballet’s records are an important part of the evolution of British pop music, and I’m enormously proud of them. We were part of the golden age of pop. We were a gang who made records.”
— Gary Kemp on Spandau Ballet in their heyday
➢ Read today’s bold interview with Spandau’s songwriter Gary Kemp in the Mail on Sunday … In the zoot-suited shadows of Le Beat Route club, student journalist Dylan Jones — today the editor of GQ magazine — watched Kemp shoot the video that would launch Spandau Ballet to stardom. Thirty years later, they meet again
Kemp’s band was more than just timely – the music they made was genuinely groundbreaking. No, the critics were not kind, painting them as dim, inner-city mannequins, yet their songs resonated with a generation of young men and women who were determined to explore social mobility in much the same way that their parents did in the 60s. Their most important record from this early period was Chant No 1 (I Don’t Need This Pressure On), a song that mirrored Ghost Town by the Specials.
“Chant No 1 was all about urban paranoia,” says Kemp. “I wanted to make a Soho film-noir song, something that was evocative of an urban experience. Dark shadows, dark corners. A fear of living on the edge in an urban environment as a young man. The early 80s were rough for most people, and I wanted to reflect that in the song. It’s a very dark track and one that mirrored the economic plight of the time.”