Tag Archives: John Keeble

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.

NOW NOMINATE SPANDAU’S NEW VOCALIST

❏ 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.

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2017 ➤ Tony Hadley pulls the plug on Spandau Ballet – but the band will rise from the dead

pop music, New Romantics, Blitz Kids, Gary Kemp, Spandau Ballet, Tony Hadley, split, reunion, Steve Norman, John Keeble, Martin Kemp,

Spandau Ballet in happier days, their 2014 reunion: John Keeble, Steve Norman, Tony Hadley, Gary Kemp, Martin Kemp. (Photography Scarlet Page)

pop music, New Romantics, Blitz Kids, Gary Kemp, Spandau Ballet, Tony Hadley, split, reunion, Steve Norman, John Keeble, Martin Kemp,

BREAKING NEWS TODAY IN TWO WAVES: At midday 57-year-old singer Tony Hadley suddenly tweeted that he was “no longer a member of Spandau Ballet”, the London band who pioneered the New Romantic movement in the 1980s. Two hours after the star quit the band, its official website announced a Lazarus-style miracle: that the remaining four musicians “have now made the decision to move on as a band” without Big Tone. If they can indeed rise from the dead, who can possibly replace his signature bel canto baritone which has been central to the supergroup’s musical signature for almost 40 years?

When Spandau’s Soul Boys Atonement Tour ended in 2015, Hadley immediately returned to touring his solo act, is currently playing summer festivals as a solo artist with his own supporting band and touring the USA during August. Each member of the band has also looked to his own projects. Then in August 2016 Martin Kemp told ITV in a very relaxed way that another Spandau get-together was unlikely. When asked: “You’ve not fallen out again, have you?” Martin said: “We fall out when you come back off the tour and you pick up your case at Heathrow Airport and then we walk away, say ‘See you a bit later then’. We fall out, that’s how it works.”

Speculation about a successor is rife. Watch this space for further news.

➢ Vote here at Shapersofthe80s
for Tony’s successor

pop music, New Romantics, Blitz Kids, Gary Kemp, Spandau Ballet, Tony Hadley, split, reunion, Steve Norman, John Keeble, Martin Kemp,

THE MIRROR HAS THE BEST INSIDE STORY:
WAS HE PUSHED OR DID HE JUMP?

➢ Tony Hadley quit Spandau Ballet ‘amid bitter spat with band’ and they only found out on Twitter – Ashleigh Rainbird reports a source claiming:

The band were offered a string of lucrative opportunities that Tony didn’t want to be involved with. There was talk of a new album and tours including a huge US headline tour – the UK’s biggest festivals had offers on the table, too. But Tony opted to focus on his solo career, meaning everyone missed out.

Tony has been billed as being ‘formerly of’ Spandau Ballet on several tour posters. There had been tensions brewing between Tony and the rest of the group for almost two years, since he decided he did not want to perform with them. This was the final straw, and Tony had an ultimatum – take part in Spandau or quit entirely.

Things have festered over the past year or so and relations have been at an all-time low. By declining Spandau’s opportunities, Tony was pulling the strings for the entire group. But now he is no longer a member they can continue without him.

WE ALL SAW THIS COMING: REMEMBER
THOSE EARLIER HADLEY BOMBSHELLS

➢ May 2017, “We got back together, of course, but we’ve done that now and are getting on with our own solo careers. Great band, great legacy.”

➢ Previously at Shapersofthe80s: 2015, bombshell from Hadley

➢ 2012, future of Spandau doubtful

➢ 2011, Another bombshell for Spandau

➢ 2011, Bombshell for fans as Hadley unwinds

➢ 2011, Hadley tosses out interview squibs

➢ MESSAGE FROM STEVE NORMAN
ON HIS OWN WEBSITE, 7 JULY

Steve Norman, Spandau Ballet, split, Tony Hadley, pop music, 2017,

THOSE SPANDAU BOYS:
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?

Sonya Keating, Paul Brough , Tony Hadley, Spandau Ballet,TV, wedding

Hadley: serenading newly weds Paul Brough and Sonya Keating in a live TV broadcast from the Shard for This Morning viewers last week. (Photo: Rex)

Spandau Ballet, Gary Kemp, TV, documentary, Mick Ronson

Gary Kemp: culture vulture and broadcaster fronting his April TV documentary for Sky Arts titled Passions: Mick Ronson, directed by Paul Bernays

Martin Kemp, Spandau Ballet, touring

Martin Kemp: is touring the UK all year with his Q&A event, An Audience with himself

John Keeble, Spandau Ballet, Soul Boys, tour

John Keeble: here bidding farewell to Perth in May 2015 as the last Spandau tour ended. He had missed a handful of dates because of fatigue. (Photo: Matt Glover)

Steve Norman, Spandau Ballet, live, festivals, saxophonist

Steve Norman: has curated the odd summer festival and pursues a vigorous programme of live appearances, here billed for Milan this week

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2011 ➤ The Hadley bombshell no Spandau Ballet fan will welcome

Tony Hadley,Richie Barrett , O2 World, Hamburg ,Back to the 80s ,concert, live,pop music,

Onstage last Thursday in Hamburg: Tony Hadley with guitarist Richie Barrett and drummer John Keeble. (Photo by RTN)

❚ WE HAVE HEARD ONLY HINTS SO FAR. But today singer Tony Hadley posted a link at Facebook that leaves no doubt. When you click through to photos of his performance in Hamburg last Thursday, a stark message is attached. “Spandau Ballet got together for the last time in 2009/2010 for a farewell world tour.” Nobody in the Spandau circle has yet used the words “last time” and “farewell”. Tactfully they allow us to believe that the future is a place where anything might still be possible. Hadley’s bel canto baritone voice was the most identifiable part of the supergroup’s musical signature in the 80s, and there’s nothing the band’s fans want more than to hear him singing again with his onetime schoolmates.

On Thursday and Friday, Hadley as solo performer was one of five British acts rostered for the Back to the 80s live gigs in Hamburg and Berlin. Above, we see him raising a storm onstage with Richie Barrett, the guitarist in the permanent band that has accompanied him as a singer for 13 years. Behind them on drums we see John Keeble, also a founder member of Spandau.

Heaven 1980: only Spandau's tenth live date soon after their first single had reached No 5 in the UK chart. Tony was still smoking as he sang in those days. Photographed © by Shapersofthe80s

And when the Hamburg concert pictures were published on Friday by the German RTN news agency, this report accompanied them:
Hamburg — Konzert mit Musiklegenden der 80er Jahre war Tony Hadley am 1. Dezember 2011 in der o2 World Hamburg zu sehen. Tony Hadley sorgte mit Spandau Ballet und Songs wie True, Gold oder Only When You Leave für unverwechselbaren Sound und echte Ohrwürmer.

Anfang der 90er Jahre startete Tony Hadley seine Solokarriere. Spandau Ballet taten sich 2009/2010 für einen Abschieds-Welttournee letztmalig zusammen.

The brutal second paragraph translates into English as:

At the beginning of the 90s Tony Hadley began his solo career. Spandau Ballet got together for the last time in 2009/2010 for a farewell world tour.

The two key words in German are more explicit than anything Hadley has issued before about past and future… letztmalig means bluntly “for the last time”. And Abschied undeniably means “farewell, leave-taking, parting”, and in a military context is used to describe an officer who is being retired.

This statement from the Hadley camp removes any ambiguity that lingered in an interview he gave in August, following his first American solo tour. Remember, an argument over royalties split Spandau Ballet asunder in 1990, until they agreed to reunite and tour in 2009. In August the singer said: “It was only ever meant to be a one-off. At the moment there aren’t plans to do Spandau again. You could be waiting 20 years.” Well, now we know that means for ever.

➢ August’s bombshell as Hadley unwinds after US solo tour

➢ Spandau Ballet’s final furlong: the Reformation tour ends at Newmarket racecourse

ONCE MORE — JOHN KEEBLE’S FAMOUS
LAST WORDS AT NEWMARKET IN 2010. . .

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➤ Bombshell for Spandau Ballet fans as Hadley unwinds after US solo tour

Tony Hadley , John Keeble, Las Vegas, US tour

The Hadley band in Las Vegas last week: John Keeble (drums), Phil Williams (bass guitar), Big Tone, Richie Barrett (guitar), Phil Taylor (keyboards)

❚ EXACTLY WHAT SPANDAU BALLET FANS don’t want to hear! Yesterday as the 80s supergroup’s vocalist Tony Hadley was taking a well-earned rest following his American solo tour, he delivered the bombshell. Fans who want to see him singing again with his onetime schoolmates in Spandau “could be waiting 20 years”!

The shocking prospect came yesterday in an interview with TNT, the Australian backpacker magazine, anticipating his imminent tour down under. Before his US dates earlier this month he’d been much more circumspect about another Spandau reunion, using the phrase “maybe one day in the future” to American music magazine ConcertLivewire. Tony’s new forecast for a rendezvous with Spandau means the already portly singer would have passed his 71st birthday — along with many of Spandau’s original fans, ear trumpets at the ready.

Remember, an argument over royalties split Spandau asunder in 1990 and Tony didn’t speak to songwriter Gary Kemp for 19 years until their sudden reunion tour in 2009. Even so, the singer tells TNT: “It was only ever meant to be a one-off. After 20 years of squabbling we buried our differences. But after our last show in 2010, you know, I had a band waiting around for me on a retainer for six months. I’ve had no time off and I’m trying to finish the new album so at the moment there aren’t plans to do Spandau again. You could be waiting 20 years.”

Tony has pursued an active solo career ever since the split and his current band has backed him for 13 years, with John Keeble of Spandau playing drums. This month’s American tour was an investment, and Tony told Windy City Times they “want to come back next year and do 20 or 30 shows”.

His big news is about his solo album, due next year. He tells TNT: “I’m doing some writing with Barry Gibb from the Bee Gees. I went round his house and had a little cup of tea and said, let’s get together and do some songs. For me, that is a major wow.

“2012 will be busy with the Olympics. My manager has been talking to various people about an orchestral version of Gold [the Spandau Ballet hit] for the games — doing it with an 80-piece orchestra would be amazing.”

➢ Read the full Tony Hadley interview with TNT, dated August 26

➢ Videos and reports from Hadley’s US tour at Shapersofthe80s

➢ Next stops — Sep 2, Rewind Scarborough UK; Sep 4, Cantazaro, Italy.

➢ Sept 11 in New York, 13h30 — Tony sings at the memorial concert for 9/11 in The British Garden, Hanover Square in Lower Manhattan, NYC, created with the endorsement of the British Consulate-General to honour the 67 British subjects lost in the 2001 attacks

➢ Tony’s Australia dates 2011 — Oct 26, Hindmarsh, South Australia; Oct 27, South Morang, Victoria; Oct 28, Doncaster, Victoria; Oct 29, Chelsea Heights, Victoria; Oct 30, Rewind Australia, Wollongong, NSW; Nov 3, Coolangatta, Queensland; Nov 4, Penrith NSW.

➢ Spandau Ballet’s official website news

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2011 ➤ On video: US debut for Tony Hadley’s own new song

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❚ SPANDAU BALLET VOCALIST TONY HADLEY displays his own considerable songwriting skills on video for the first time as he performs his own rocking new song My Imagination at House of Blues on Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood, Ca, on August 16. This was his third solo gig, backed by his own band that includes drummer John Keeble, during their first US tour this week. (Video by mmmmpopmuzik)

➢ US-preview feature on Tony here at Shapersofthe80s

➢ Reviews of Hadley’s US solo debut

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