2017 ➤ So who can fill Tony Hadley’s big Ballet shoes?

Spandau Ballet , pop music,Gary Kemp, Martin Kemp, John Keeble, Steve Norman

Face wanted in the Spandau Ballet lineup: from left, Gary Kemp, Martin Kemp, John Keeble, Steve Norman. Might the new singer even be female?

AFTER YEARS OF HINTING that his career as Spandau Ballet’s frontman was over, both during and after two world tours – all of his bombshells reported here at Shapersofthe80s – today Tony Hadley finally quit with a single tweet. Immediately, the Spandau management declared that the other four resting band members will rise like Lazarus to “move on as a band”. Er, well, perhaps, but Big Tone’s suave 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) frame leaves not only a physical hole in the five-piece line-up, none of them especially noted for their singing voices, but an inevitable audible gap too. The four Spandau remainers provide the complementary blue-eyed soul music to a big balladeering voice, albeit described as a “dramatic warble” by Dan LeRoy at AllMusic, or that of a “top crooner” by somebody at BBC Somerset.

➢ Earlier at Shapersofthe80s:
Today’s Hadley bombshell

So who’s in the frame for the key job without which Spandau’s legacy will remain all behind them? It has to be either a dead ringer who plays to fans’ expectations, or a radical candidate who will set a new direction. One obvious contender is Paul Young as a singer who built a strong reputation for vocal interpretation during the same renaissance of British pop music that made Spandau an international supergroup. His covers of Marvyn Gaye and Jimmy Ruffin well qualify him at 61 to become the big brother of the Spandau dad-band.

Click any pic below to launch slideshow

Less obvious but no less talented is Brandon Flowers, 36, former frontman of the Killers with whom he helped repopularise the sounds of the 80s in the noughties. His charismatic presence and fashion sense would sit comfortably with the Spandau heritage.

Amazingly, Will Young has reached the ripe old age of 38 in minutes seemingly, but as a respected vocalist and former Pop Idol winner he can claim four UK number-one albums and two Brit awards, while his recently acclaimed stage experience in Cabaret might bring a fresh note of theatre to Spandau performances.

Olly Alexander, pop music,

Olly Alexander at Glastonbury (Getty)

But if Spandau really want to inject some millennial youth into their daddy line-up they could consider the chirpy presence of actor-vocalist Olly Alexander, 26, whose sheer energy would trigger a mighty refresh. Olly describes himself as a “real left-winger” which should sit well with the millionaire Spands whose working-class roots reach back to Islington.

Of course, they could just as easily invite on-board one of those Hadley impersonators who wowed viewers of the Saturday night talent show Stars in Their Eyes – such as Martin Lewis who sang Gold brilliantly in 1997 or Steven Houghton who sang the same number in 1998.


❏ Who would you like to see as the next vocalist with Spandau Ballet? Many fans today have been wailing how irreplaceable Big Tone is, while others have condemned him harshly for robbing his former schoolmates of their pensions. Clearly the band believe they have one more album and tour ahead of them, but who will lead them on through the barricades? Please leave your comment below.


8 responses to “2017 ➤ So who can fill Tony Hadley’s big Ballet shoes?

  1. Miranda Philippen

    Paul Young would be cool !!

    • They toured Australia together a few years ago and were both fantastic. But Paul’s voice has suffered over the years (imho!) and I don’t think he would have the staying power of the awesome Tone :)

  2. Paul Weller? ….good fit …. Wish Tony would rethink his decision….. does not give me pleasure to say this as a Spandau fan since 1980

  3. In my opinion nobody can replace Tony Hadley!! There is only one Tony Hadley.

  4. judith frankland

    Mo from The Voice !

    Shapersofthe80s writes: Wow, yes, Judi, what an earthquaker! He’d send the Spands off into a great new future.
    View Mo’s first Voice appearance here

  5. Liam Payne – classy, great voice and stage presence, could attract a new younger audience to the band. Look what Adam Lambert has done for Queen – FANTASTIC!

  6. I think it’s time for Spandau to knock it on the head, change name, form a new group using different guest vocals and new material! X

  7. Mauricette PONCHEL

    Personne ne peut remplacer Tony. Il a une telle voix puissante et de la présence sur scène, sans compter sur sa classe et son élégance naturelles.
    A mon avis, si Spandau Ballet a eu tant de succès par le passé, c’est grâce à lui et sans lui il n’y a plus de Spandau.

    C’est quand même Gary Kemp qui a décidé en 1989 de dissoudre le groupe Spandau Ballet. Alors qu’ils ne viennent pas (lui et ses camarades) se lamenter sur ce que va devenir le groupe sans Tony. A titre indicatif (pour ceux qui ne seraient pas au courant), la dissolution du groupe ne n’a pas empêché Gary Kemp de faire un album SOLO en 1995, ce que je ne trouve pas très fair-play pour les autres membres. En tout cas, Tony a trouvé sa voie en solo et j’en suis ravie car il a une voix vraiment exceptionnelle. Bon courage Spandau Ballet pour lui trouver un remplaçant à la hauteur!

    Nobody can replace Tony. He has such a powerful voice and presence on stage, without counting its natural class and its elegance. In my opinion, if Spandau Ballet had such success in the past, it is thanks to him and without him there is no more Spandau.

    Nevertheless, it is Gary Kemp who decided in 1989 to dissolve the group Spandau Ballet, while he and his comrades do not come to deplore what the group will become without Tony. It is indicative that the dissolution of the group did not prevent Gary Kemp from making an album SOLO in 1995, which I do not find very fair-play for the other members. In any case, Tony has found his way as a soloist and I am delighted because he has a really exceptional voice. Good luck Spandau Ballet in finding a substitute of his stature.

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