“ Nobody can agree on who invented the blues or birthed rock & roll, but there is no question that house music came from Frankie Knuckles, who died Monday afternoon of as-yet-undisclosed causes at age 59. One of the 80s and 90s’ most prolific house music producers and remixers, Knuckles is, hands down, one of the dozen most important deejays of all time.
The Chicago block where the Warehouse stood
“ At his Chicago clubs the Warehouse (1977-82) and Power Plant (1983-85), Knuckles’ marathon sets, typically featuring his own extended edits of a wide selection of tracks from disco to post-punk, R&B to synth-heavy Eurodisco, laid the groundwork for electronic dance music culture — all of it.
“ Knuckles made an abundant number of dance classics, including early Jamie Principle collaborations Your Love (1986) and Baby Wants to Ride (1987); Tears (1989), with Satoshi Tomiiee and Robert Owens; The Whistle Song (1991); and his remixes of Chaka Khan’s Ain’t Nobody (1989), Sounds of Blackness’s The Pressure (1992), and Hercules and Love Affair’s Blind (2008) … ” / Continued at Rolling Stone
August 25, 2004: declared Frankie Knuckles Day in Chicago by the then-senator Barack Obama
Update April 17, 2014: letter of condolence from the Obamas
3D cover by Kraftwerk: view with blue-red glasses supplied with the mag
❚ THE ELECTRONIC BAND KRAFTWERK exploded into the hippy haze of 1970 and filled the air with an insistent machine-made beat that spoke of the future. Indisputably, the German four-piece formulated a revolutionary kind of non-guitar music that reshaped the thinking of musicians as diverse as Bowie, Afrika Bambaataa, Coldplay, New Order, Johnny Marr, Franz Ferdinand and Radiohead. New genres such as house, synth-pop and techno were heralded by the 1974 hit album Autobahn.
Today, however, the pioneering Ralf Hütter (a Beach Boys fan) and his usually reclusive pals slip out of their comfort zone to become guest editors on the October issue of Wallpaper magazine, which features a new portfolio of Kraftwerk imagery in 3D. Oops!
Of necessity in print, they have chosen the vintage blue-red 3D technology from the 50s to create ten graphics as double-page spreads. Yet however hard you try to flatten the glossy and flexible magazine, the deep gulley down the middle beams out its own distracting reflections! (The images might well improve if viewed on the iPad edition.) Successful, they are not: 70s minimalism always teetered tinglingly on the brink of being boring, and creatively Kraftwerk’s bland graphic renderings of autobahn, calculator, PC, pills, robots, cyclists and the band themselves say nothing new. They wouldn’t guarantee a pass degree at a British art school. Disappointingly, the 3D effects grab you in only two illustrations — one of breaking glass, another of a car’s dashboard radio — prompting the message to Ralf, especially at the age of 65, that, as graphic artists, his band may have seen better days.
There’s much more value in a brief evaluation by the leading British designer Peter Saville of how Kraftwerk opened his horizons to the European cultural canon. The advantages of the analogue era, he reasons convincingly, can be fully appreciated only now, from the perspective of the digital age.
➢ Electronic Sound Pictures — It could be that Kraftwerk’s specially developed multi-channel 3D video installation may offer a more immersive gallery experience. Fans will have to travel to Germany, to the Kunstbau at the Lenbachhaus, Munich, where the exhibition runs Oct 15–Nov 13. There’s also an accompanying book, Kraftwerk 3D, with 3D-glasses.
❏ Incidentally, the October issue of Wallpaper also interviews Ian Schrager, notorious partner behind Studio 54, the definitive New York nightclub of the 70s, who was jailed for income tax evasion. He later went on to invent the “boutique hotel” along with its “lobby socialising” and philosophy of “hotel as lifestyle” that has been ripped off by hoteliers across the globe.
At 65, with millions in the bank, he is about to launch his new Public hotel chain in Chicago. Business writer John Arlidge reports that “the master tastemaker senses the universe is turning on its axis again, just as it did when old-fashioned class divisions that ruled New York nightlife were swept away, enabling him to create Studio 54”. Schrager insists that there’s “a new simplicity” and “it’s structural”. He argues that many big hotel chains have failed to keep up with the consumer. The essential-services-only Public brand, he says, “will be an entirely new class of hotel that will be a big wake-up call to the industry”.
Chant No 1 by special request: Tony Hadley onstage last night in New York with Richie Barrett on guitar (verbalalchemy video)
❚ LAST NIGHT AT IRVING PLAZA IN NYC Tony Hadley rattled through a 17-strong set list on which seven were Spandau Ballet hits, and this reviewer, The G, was impressed with the rockiness of the other numbers he covered …
John Keeble: laying down the tempo last night in NYC (verbalalchemy)
“ I had a blast seeing Tony Hadley’s first ever solo show in the United States! The former lead singer of Spandau Ballet has just launched his first solo tour of America and it kicked off at New York’s Irving Plaza on August 13, 2011.
“ Tony Hadley looks and sounds great. He hits all the high notes and sounds as great as he did in the 1980s when Spandau Ballet ruled the airwaves. Over the course of his show, he played quite a few covers of some of his favorite songs, performed some beloved Spandau Ballet songs and also performed a new song called My Imagination. As Tony promised in a recent interview with According2g, the song is a rocker.
“ In between, the crowd was shouting “We love you Tony” and there was a lot of love in the room… ”
❏ At Tony’s Facebook page Hoory Kajajian-Yeganeh writes: “Great show @ Irving Plaza last night. What a voice! What a fabulous performance! Thank you :) ” ❏ Terry Hunter writes: “He was BRILLIANT. No one like Tony…anywhere, EVER.” ❏ Tony Thomas writes: “Tony knocked it out of the park that night. Great show.”
+++ ❏ At Tony’s Facebook page Heather Ann Cummings writes: “Hi Tony, Saw your WONDERFUL concert at North Halsted Market Days, Chicago, Sunday afternoon. The best! Your group was so good too. Thank you for taking the time to sign your photo and interview that appeared in this week’s Windy City Times. Your song choice was amazing and Through the Baricades had me with tears in my eyes. I’ve also adopted your song Live, Let Live and Love as my mantra and am passing it on.” ❏ Heidi Herman writes: “Tony, you were scorching in Chicago today. Your voice is so beautiful and powerful and the same time — amazing! I still can’t believe I saw you perform after all these years of being one of your most adoring fans. My friend and I were impressed with your charm, wit, and sincerity. You are classy gentleman and so very humble for someone so talented and well-known. Thank you, Tony.”
AUG 16, THAT’S LIFE: A BLISTERING CLOSE TO TONY’S SHOW AT HOUSE OF BLUES, HOLLYWOOD
+++ ❏ At Tony’s Facebook page Glenisha Jones writes:“Iam floating on a cloud after seeing Tony Hadley perform for the first time! It was amazing, fun, brilliant & it will be in my heart forever :) Tony hasn’t changed. He is still handsome & his voice is even more beautiful. Thank you Tony for coming to LA.”
Setlist for Tony Hadley at House of Blues Los Angeles, Aug 16 (posted at Facebook by Rissa Dodson)
❏ Kedric Hubbert writes: “Saw u last nite in Los Angeles. U were amazing. I got my 2 fave songs To cut a long story short & Lifeline. My friend marc were in the front singing all the words. Come back soon & bring john (again) & maybe even steve, martin & gary along for the ride… brilliant show. Thank u!” ❏ Jill Bonnell writes: “Fabulous show last night at House of Blues Sunset Strip” ❏ Richard Peacock writes: “Thank you again for coming back to the States to spend a night with your true fans. I can’t believe I had the honor of seeing one of my teen idols live on stage… for me it was exactly like seeing Elvis live and in person. Only in a very English way. We love ya Tony.” ❏ Cleo Dla writes: “You definitely rocked tonite at the HOB show in LA. Loved the set but wished you could have played another hour. You still sound incredible after all these years. I hope you return soon. Have a kick ass rest of the tour” =)
Tony Hadley in Las Vegas: wowing them at the Fremont Experience on his US tour, Aug 20. Picture from T’s Facebook album
❏ Wendy Chouinard writes at Facebook: “Thank you for such a great show in downtown Las Vegas, Tony. Remember to use a humidifier when you come back into town.” ❏ Michael Vigil writes:“Tony, thanks for your fantastic, heart-felt performance in Las Vegas last night. You were amazing. Good to see John Keeble as well. You guys didn’t disappoint despite the Las Vegas heat. A memorable hot August night. Thanks so much.”
JK signing after the Vegas show: video grab by patiently88 who also shot the Suspicious Mind vid in Ramona
❏ Nils Arvidsson writes: “Thank you for a fantastic show in Vegas last night. Tony, you are the man. You kept your suit on in spite of the temp being right around 100 degrees. You sir, are one debonair guy! Next time you come to Vegas I hope it’s a bit cooler for you. Cheers.” ❏ Anna Prado-Frias writes: “Amazing show in Vegas. Thank you so much for the chat w/my husband and I. Also for the picture. Can’t wait for the next performance and CD. Best of luck on your future shows.” ❏ Tim Mancuso writes: “Great show — caught Tony Hadley in Las Vegas — WOW, what a talented singer and performer. 1st time back to the States since 1986 with Spandau Ballet — was blessed to hear him and see the show. Thanks for giving it all you had Tony, was most excellent.” ❏ Lisette Garcia-Kohler writes: “Yes, Las Vegas really loved you. What an amazing night! One I will never forget since so many memories were relived with your songs. Thank you, thank you, thank you.”
AUG 21, RED DEVIL LOUNGE, SAN FRANCISCO
❏ Shivaun O’Neill writes: “Awesome show at Red Devil Lounge tonight; thank you for playing in San Francisco.” ❏ Phyllis Mesquita writes: “Great show at Red Devil last night, hope you return.” ❏ Stu Sperling writes: “Saw the concert last night at Red Devil Lounge. They put on a great show. Tony has an amazing voice. Side note, my wife and I were walking around Union Square this afternoon and spotted drummer John Keeble. We walked over to tell him how great the show was. He could not have been nicer. Hope they come back to the states soon.” ❏ Nellie Jones writes: “Thank you for being so kind to your fans and letting us take pictures with you. You have barely aged — you wouldn’t be another Dorian Gray would you? Hope to see you back at the Red Devil Lounge soon. Feel free to bring the other band members as well.”
➢ NEXT STOPS — Sep 2, Rewind Scarborough UK… Sep 4, Cantazaro, Italy… Oct 26–Nov 4, various dates in Australia… Nov 12, Abu Dhabi
➢ Choose “View full site” – then in the blue bar atop your mobile page, click the three horizontal lines linking to many blue themed pages with background articles.
MORE INTERESTING THAN MOST PEOPLE’S FANTASIES — THE SWINGING EIGHTIES 1978-1984
They didn’t call themselves New Romantics, or the Blitz Kids – but other people did.
“I’d find people at the Blitz who were possible only in my imagination. But they were real” — Stephen Jones, hatmaker, 1983. (Illustration courtesy Iain R Webb, 1983)
“The truth about those Blitz club people was more interesting than most people’s fantasies” — Steve Dagger, pop group manager, 1983
“See David Johnson’s fabulously detailed website Shapers of the 80s to which I am hugely indebted” – Political historian Dominic Sandbrook, in his book Who Dares Wins, 2019
“The (velvet) goldmine that is Shapers of the 80s” – Verdict of Chris O’Leary, respected author and blogger who analyses Bowie song by song at Pushing Ahead of the Dame
“The rather brilliant Shapers of the 80s website” – Dylan Jones in his Sweet Dreams paperback, 2021
A UNIQUE HISTORY
➢ WELCOME to the Swinging 80s ➢ THE BLOG POSTS on this front page report topical updates ➢ ROLL OVER THE MENU at page top to go deeper into the past ➢ FOR NEWS & MONTH BY MONTH SEARCH scroll down this sidebar
❏ Header artwork by Kat Starchild shows Blitz Kids Darla Jane Gilroy, Elise Brazier, Judi Frankland and Steve Strange, with David Bowie at centre in his 1980 video for Ashes to Ashes
VINCENT ON AIR 2022
✱ Deejay legend Robbie Vincent returned to JazzFM on Sundays 1-3pm in 2021… Catch Robbie’s JazzFM August Bank Holiday 2020 session thanks to AhhhhhSoul with four hours of “nothing but essential rhythms of soul, jazz and funk”.
SEARCH our 800 posts or ZOOM DOWN TO THE ARCHIVE INDEX
UNTOLD BLITZ STORIES
✱ If you thought there was no more to know about the birth of Blitz culture in 1980 then get your hands on a sensational book by an obsessive music fan called David Barrat. It is gripping, original and epic – a spooky tale of coincidence and parallel lives as mind-tingling as a Sherlock Holmes yarn. Titled both New Romantics Who Never Were and The Untold Story of Spandau Ballet! Sample this initial taster here at Shapers of the 80s
CHEWING THE FAT
✱ Jawing at Soho Radio on the 80s clubland revolution (from 32 mins) and on art (@55 mins) is probably the most influential shaper of the 80s, former Wag-club director Chris Sullivan (pictured) with editor of this website David Johnson
LANDMARK FAREWELLS. . . HIT THE INDEX TAB UP TOP FOR EVERYTHING ELSE
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