■ THE YEAR WAS 1982. Spandau’s seventh single Instinction had put them on Top of the Pops during Easter week and sales were rocketing. The night of May 8, towards the end of Spandau’s first nationwide tour, with stand-up comedian Peter Capaldi in support, has become known as The Return of the Scream. The moment the house lights dimmed, a mighty roar lifted the roof off the Empire, the city’s legendary music venue. It didn’t stop for 75 minutes. The band hadn’t heard anything so intense and were visibly shaken when they came offstage. Guitarist Gary Kemp said in disbelief: “I had to stop playing. I couldn’t hear my own monitor.” ➢ Click through to read all about 8 May 1982 – the return of The Scream to British pop
Yes says Jan: that’s me shinning up
the drainpipe in 1982
■ A 30 YEAR-OLD MYSTERY HAS BEEN SOLVED. At the climax to Spandau Ballet’s first national tour in 1982 fan mania broke out on a level comparable to the 1960s. When their single Instinction crashed into the UK charts with freshly injected energy from producer Trevor Horn, three extra tour dates were added in May. After the show in Liverpool, the creative birthplace of British pop music, a crowd of about 500 fans mobbed the stage door at the fabled Empire theatre. A shadow had only to fall across the band’s dressing room window for screams to erupt in the street. Two girls then decided to shin the drainpipe and beat the window with their handbags until they were let in…
Gary Kemp at 61: new suit too on his taster for the solo single
“Don’t you love it when your heart isn’t making sense? Running on the power of innocence…”
❚ TODAY WE GOT TO HEAR Ahead Of The Game, the new single from singer-songwriter Gary Kemp who goes solo more than two years after his pioneering 80s band Spandau Ballet last performed live. At the age of 61, Kemp describes the song as a love-song for his wife, inspired by Yacht Rock – previously known in the 1970s-80s as West Coast AOR – in other words yuppy escapism with a lush orchestral presence. “I wanted to write a big feelgood song. I unashamedly love elements of Yacht Rock. I don’t like writing songs unless I feel they’ve got a hook in there somewhere so they’ve got hooks. There is a big sound on the album.”
The single was premiered today before Kemp was interviewed by Steve Wright during In The Afternoon on BBC Radio 2 (fast forward online to 2h40m). An album titled InSolo follows on in July on the Columbia label, only Kemp’s second since Little Bruises in 1995.
LISTEN HERE TO Ahead Of The Game
TWEET FROM CRITIC NEIL MCCORMICK
❏ That was a really lovely dive into Gary Kemp’s very long awaited forthcoming sophomore solo album (just 26 years after the first). Shades of Steely Dan, Pink Floyd & Gary Moore mixing it up with the smooth Spandau prog soul. Lush.
In a Marks & Spencer window: Father and son Martin and Roman Kemp model shirts
In the Waitrose Weekend magazine: Gary Kemp at home in his library
Posted on 21 June 2021 ❚ FROM HUMBLE WORKING-CLASS BOYS to self-made taste-makers. . . Above, we see Martin Kemp looking snappy in the window of Marks & Spencer with his Capital Radio deejay son Roman, while their own unique double act finds other outlets advertising Volkswagen cars, chatting on their Weekend Best show for ITV and Channel 4’s Celebrity Gogglebox. . . Further along the high street Mart’s brother Gary Kemp marks his 60th year with an intensely personal solo album and this interview in the current Waitrose Weekend magazine, pictured here at home in his library. . . Onwards and upwards.
GARY KEMP SEES HIS SOLO ALBUM AS SEVERING THE PAST
Gary Kemp today: “If I write lyrics first then they’re for me”
Posted on 7 July 2021 ❚ INTERVIEWED ON TODAY’S BBC Breakfast show Gary Kemp – essentially promoting his new album InSolo – explained why it’s been 25 years since his last solo album:
“ I didn’t feel the need to do that… I always felt connected with Spandau Ballet, and even though we went through all those troubles and fights then getting back together, everything I was writing was put away for them. And it wasn’t until I started working with Nick Mason from Pink Floyd that I really felt I could sever the past and while on that tour I started writing lots of lyrics and if I write lyrics first then they’re for me and they were about me. Then when I got back from tour I set them to music. I wasn’t going to make the album but when lockdown came it was, Right I’d better finish this.
I was at home working remotely and getting in touch with artists which no one had ever done before – Roger Taylor from Queen said Yes I’ll play on one of your tracks. So I worked remotely with him and other bass players and started to build the album and when the studios reopened in the summer we managed to get in and do a lot of stuff for real. ” ➢ Watch today’s nine-minute interview with
Gary Kemp on BBC Breakfast
Spandau Ballet in 1985: dressed to impress for their Parade World Tour
❚ THIS WEEK 40 YEARS AGO Spandau Ballet’s first single peaked at No 5 in the UK chart three weeks after its release and exactly one year after the unknown band’s debut at the legendary Blitz Club. More amazingly, in their first year Spandau had been booked to play live on only 10 occasions (two of those on TV, the last being Top of The Pops)! That’s how sudden was their rise during 1980. That’s how phenomenal was their fan base powered by the New Romantics movement.
Tonight at 8pm GMT the band celebrate by premiering online the video Rockpop In Concert which evokes the Parade Tour of 1984-85, their biggest globally, launched with five nights in Tokyo and its UK leg culminating in December ’84 with six nights at London’s Wembley Arena (one more than Duran Duran achieved). These were Spandau’s international glory years, fronted by the dazzling vocals of Tony Hadley. This rare 45-minute video captures their taste for flamboyant designer-fashion in their performance at Dortmund’s Westfalenhalle arena, filmed for the German TV show Rockpop and aired in January 1985.
Also marking their 40th anniversary, Spandau have released a choice new compilation album titled 40 Years – The Greatest Hits, as a triple CD set and as double vinyl LPs.
Sax-player Steve Norman says: “I hadn’t heard these mixes for almost 40 years. I’d actually forgotten that we did two 12-inch mixes of ‘Story’. The band’s energy is all over it, which is how I remembered it sounding.” In a promo vid drummer John Keeble notes: “Oh, and I’ve got a credit for backing vocals… about time too!”
In The Kemps spoof TV doc: this portrait was supposedly painted by Gary Kemp (BBC)
❚ ANOTHER SUN EXCLUSIVE WENT ONLINE simultaneously with last night’s TV “mockumentary” about the Kemp brothers of Spandau Ballet, The Kemps: All True. It saw brothers Martin and Gary mock themselves and featured a portrait supposedly painted by Gary Kemp of Hadley with red eyes, red horns and fangs. Their former singer who reported quitting three years ago declared that he’d rather watch Broadchurch than their TV show. The Sun Online reports Hadley as saying:
Big Tone: “I’m done.” (Photo: Rex)
“ I wasn’t approached and would not have anything to do with it. I’m done. They want me back for good but it ain’t going to happen. I’d rather be happy on my own than be in that band again. If they want another lead singer, that’s their choice. But if you want to hear those songs sung by the original singer then you can only really see one bloke – and that’s me. ”
The Sun reports Hadley’s reaction to the Kemps using their hit Gold last month for a cheesy TV advert for the washing powder Bold. It saw Gold’s lyrics changed to “Bold”:
“ It’s embarrassing. I posted a social media disclaimer saying, ‘This was nothing to do with me’. Gary wrote Gold. It’s anthemic. When I sing it live, the audience sing back. To change the title is just weird. I thought it was in bad taste.”
June 2018: Spandau Ballet showcase their new recruit, vocalist Ross William Wild at their debut gig in Subterania
◼ TODAY’S SUN RUNS A GRIM ACCOUNT of how singer Ross William Wild was pushed into attempting suicide after being frozen out of Spandau Ballet last year. Only 11 months after he took over from frontman Tony Hadley, Ross took some pills and “crashed out” but thankfully a friend raised the alarm.
At that time in May 2019, Shapers of the 80s reported the whole curious background to Ross’s crisis of confidence. After his first impressive performances with Spandau he says he was “ignored” by management and claims he was banned from taking other music and theatre jobs, losing out on much needed income. The Sun reports today:
“ When he finally mustered the courage to quit, he was humiliated on national TV the next day when the band announced it would never perform again unless Tony rejoins — effectively sacking their young singer live on air. I couldn’t afford to be left on a shelf, not knowing where my next meal was coming from. Then the next day they forced Martin Kemp on This Morning and made him act like I was just being brushed aside. I never even got to say that I quit. I was so humiliated as they had treated me so badly for so long. It hit me like a ton of bricks. That’s when I tried to kill myself. ”
Shapers of the 80s revealed that Ross made the first move by tweeting that he had resigned, after which Martin Kemp went on ITV to flannel around the issue, barely mentioning Ross but yearning for the day Hadley would rejoin Spandau, saying this was “what people really want”. You can still hear this clip, below. Equally tactless had been Gary Kemp giving a killer “no future” interview to an American blogger only one month earlier. “There are no plans for Spandau going into 2020,” he’d said, and we reported that car-crash interview here too, in all its insulting detail.
LISTEN TO THE CRUCIAL PART OF MARTIN’S ITV INTERVIEW 2019:
Within a couple of days Ross gave us his side of the saga, saying “the way things were put out on TV made me feel like crap”. His good friend sax player Steve Norman also got in touch to say: “I was neither involved in nor informed of any discussions or decision-making regarding the future of my band, least of all Ross’s position in it.” All of which still makes for a gob-smacking read.
Ross’s account in today’s Sun is well worth reading for its courageous candour. He says: “Spandau didn’t realise that they were dealing with a person. I’m not a titan of the music industry like these guys. They gave me a chance, little old Ross, and then they just brushed me aside.” There’s some consolation in knowing that last week Ross saw his new band Mercutio have its raunchy single Slap Bang! voted Classic Rock’s track of the week [see video at YouTube].
➢ Choose “View full site” to access main topics in dropdown menus along the page top
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
We respect copyright, and are happy to give credit to a photographer’s work and try to seek permission first. If you own images published here and wish them to be removed, simply ask.
Reblogging is theft, so whenever you recycle any picture for your own use, please credit the photographer or artist (living or dead), and seek permission to reproduce it. Their livelihoods (and those of their families) often depend on fair dealing