Tag Archives: True

➤ Spandau fan Jan says Yes that’s me shinning up the drainpipe in 1982

Spandau Ballet, Blitz Kids, New Romantics, Liverpool Empire, 1982, Diamond Tour, fans,

8 May, 1982: Now identified! A teenage fan shins the drainpipe at the Liverpool Empire giving access to Spandau Ballet’s dressing room on their first nationwide tour with the Diamond album. Snapped by © Shapersofthe80s

◼ 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. I was in the crowd snapping their daring climb, but for years the girls’ identities remained unknown. Now, the first teenager helped through the window and into Martin Kemp’s arms has been in touch with Shapers of the 80s to admit ownership of that handbag after all these years. She is Janet Gargan who still lives in the area and, naturally, is planning to see the band at Liverpool’s Echo Arena next March on their 2015 tour.

She emailed saying: “I had no idea your pic ever existed or that anyone remembered the drainpipe incident. Until recently, it had remained a family story but just goes to show your past can haunt you at any time. This really has been a blast from the past. I was at school at the time and I climbed up there with my school friend Jeanette, although it’s been many years since I’ve seen her.

Spandau Ballet, New Romantics, Blitz Kids, Empire theatre, Liverpool, Swinging 80s, fans,

Triumph! Jan tells her friends she and Jeanette made it into Spandau Ballet’s dressing room at the Empire, 1982. Snapped by © Shapersofthe80s

“I wanted to meet Tony Hadley and my friend was crazy about Martin Kemp. I do remember the boys being in complete shock about what we had done and signed all our merchandise. They gave us a drink (soft of course!) and sent us on our way – not down the drainpipe thankfully! I have thought in recent years how utterly gentlemanly they all were and very kind to us.”

The second climber Jeanette fell into the arms of sax-player Steve Norman. He retells the story on ITV’s recent bio-show True Gold: “We heard this tapping noise at the window and this girl had climbed the drainpipe to get a look at the band two floors up.” Tony Hadley adds: “It was like being the Beatles – mass hysteria.”

To cap it all, Jan has another revelation to make. “Spandau Ballet played in Liverpool again during the True tour of 1983 when the same friend and I left the concert early and headed to the Atlantic Tower hotel where we knew they were staying. Lots of fans turned up there but we befriended two elderly guests of the hotel who took us in under the guise of being ‘grand-daughters’. We were so worried about our cover being blown that we jumped into the lift of the hotel as fast as we could and as the doors closed we turned around to find the band in the lift! It was Tony Hadley who recognised us and said ‘You are the two girls who climbed the drainpipe last year!’ This was definitely a crazy experience but all true. It’d be great to know if the band remember that encounter too.”

Looking back now, Jan describes those adventures as hilarious though fraught with sheer determination. “It wasn’t unusual for me to go to great lengths to meet people at that time. The same friend and I also met Depeche Mode when they played Liverpool in the 80s – yes, staying in the same hotel. They were supported by Matt Fretton and we sat in the hotel having a chat with the band when a lady came out of the function room and asked if we would all like to join their party for her daughter’s 18th! Of course it would have been rude not too!”

Today Jan the ardent pop fan makes her living as a social worker and, according to a friend, “spends all her time helping other people”. For professional reasons she did not want her photograph to be published and, even though I thought I’d found her on Facebook, this turns out to be somebody else of the same name.

Spandau Ballet, New Romantics, Blitz Kids, Atlantic Tower hotel, John Keeble, Martin Kemp, Liverpool, Swinging 80s, fans,

Mobbed again a year later, 1983: Martin Kemp and John Keeble sign autographs through the fence at the back of Spandau’s Liverpool hotel. Snapped by © Shapersofthe80s

➢ Previously at Shapersofthe80s: More on 8 May 1982 – the return of The Scream to British pop

➢ 1982, How Spandau put Peter Capaldi on the road to play the new Doctor Who

➢ Jan 17 update: Shock change to Spandau Ballet’s North America live tour 2015 – Spandau’s world still tour kicks off 23–25 Jan in California, but with other US and Canada concert dates rescheduled for April–May. The European leg kicks off in Dublin 3 March. Click through for complete list


➤ Gary Kemp and Tony Hadley in two-man Spandau reunion

 Tony Hadley, Gary Kemp,Spandau Ballet, True, album,Mastertapes ,Maida Vale

Tony Hadley and Gary Kemp: Mastertapes recording at BBC Maida Vale

➢ First part of the Radio 4 Mastertapes recording will be broadcast on Monday June 24 at 11pm BST: Ep 5, True with Gary Kemp and Tony Hadley:

John Wilson talks to leading performers and songwriters about the album that made them or changed them. Recorded in front of a live audience at the BBC’s Maida Vale Studios in two episodes, Wilson initially quizzes the artist about the album in question, and then the audience puts the questions.

Thirty years ago Spandau Ballet released their third album True. It peaked at number one in UK on May 14 and became a worldwide smash hit featuring tracks such as Gold, Pleasure, Communication and the title track, which spent four weeks at the top of the charts. Singer Tony Hadley and Gary Kemp, the man who wrote all of these songs, both went to the BBC Maida Vale studios last Thursday to discuss their inspiration and influence.

Spandau in the Bahamas, 1982: Martin, Gary, Steve, John and Tony. © Lynn Goldsmith/Corbis

Spandau in the Bahamas, 1982: Martin, Gary, Steve, John and Tony. © Lynn Goldsmith/Corbis

Released in 1983, True became one of the stand-out albums of the New Romantic movement. It was recorded at the Compass Point Studios in the Bahamas, where producers Steve Jolley and Tony Swain gave the band a slicker, more R&B sound aimed at squarely at the charts. The B-side of the programme, where it’s the turn of the audience to ask the questions, can be heard on Tuesday June 25 at 3.30pm.

➢ Update June 25: BBC podcast available for download – Kemp and Hadley (A side) True 24.06.13

➢ Tony Hadley will release a DVD + CD package titled Live from Metropolis Studios in September, recorded in front of only 100 fans. A deluxe limited edition features pictures and an authentic signed picture for pre-orders before July 26.


2013 ➤ Double whammy from the Spandau boys

Spandau Ballet, Genesis books, Spandau the True Story , Paul Simper
❚ BEING REVEALED currently on Facebook, two major Spandau Ballet announcements. First the biography of the band, a superior coffee-table photobook, Spandau the True Story, which records the entire career of the Angel Boys from Islingon, penned by their longtime shadow Paul “Scoop” Simper and published by the prestige celebrity publisher Genesis. It features unseen pictures taken not only by clubland mate Graham “Heroes” Smith, but also by Shapersofthe80s – the team who were there from the start of the New Romantic story.

➢ Spandau the True Story: sign up today at Genesis Publications, “the home of beautiful music books” … Register your interest
without financial commitment

A second announcement tonight heralds the movie Soul Boys of The Western World, a feature-length documentary containing much unseen vintage footage, produced by Grammy Award-winner Scott Millaney who was a founding member of the promo video company MGMM in the 80s just as the British music industry boomed. His company produced over 1,000 pop promos including Video Killed the Radio Star, Vienna, Dancing in the Street and Rio.

“Scoop” Simper, today an executive celebrity writer at The Sun who wrote the film’s treatment, said tonight: “There is wonderful footage of the Spandau mums and dads when they were all still with us. And never-before-seen footage from Los Angeles and Australia when the band were in their pop pomp. All the band have contributed voiceovers.”

Spandau manager Steve Dagger reveals that a case full of early film footage of the band has been discovered recently. This includes offcuts not used in a prominent TV item just before release of the band’s third single Musclebound in March 1981, and aired on the BBC teatime news magazine Nationwide. Just as the phrase New Romantics was coming into wider use by both media and an emerging generation of UK image bands, including Duran Duran, the BBC cameras capture what Dagger calls “priceless cavortings” within Soho’s heaving Beat Route club.

There’s also a whole film sequence in Jon “Mole” Baker’s shop off Carnaby Street, where Spandau members are seen trying on a variety of outfits by the Axiom collective of designers, which were to be shown in a New York runway show two months later, in what became the “First Blitz invasion” of the US, organised by both the band and the former Blitz Kid fashionistas. These Axiom collections received another runway show at Steve Strange’s Club for Heroes in London in the autumn of ’81, by which time the charts were ablaze with new slipstream bands and British street style began to explode.

movie, Scott Millaney, Spandau Ballet, Soul Boys of The Western World,
❏ On tonight’s Jonathan Ross Show Gary and Martin Kemp (pictured below) were talking about their new TV series Gangs of Britain, due to air on the Crime & Investigation Network (Sky 553 and Virgin 237) on Sundays from April 21 at 9pm BST. It’s three years since Spandau Ballet played live together so the killer question is whether they might reunite for another tour? Gary told Ross: “I pretty much guarantee we’ll do it again next year.” Martin added: “I hope so. I’ve never laughed as much as that year [on the Reformation Tour]. Just to have that year of getting your best friends back together was so lovely. I would say it was the best year of my life.”

Jonathan Ross Show,Martin Kemp, Gary Kemp ,TV series, Gangs of Britain

Another Spandau tour? Martin and Gary Kemp give Jonathan Ross a cautious yes tonight. (Viewable on ITV Player for another month. Screengrab © ITV)


❏ Tomorrow night, if you’re viewing the 1990 British movie The Krays on ITV4 at 9pm BST, Martin and Gary Kemp will be tweeting along with the film. Viewers can take part by using the hashtag #KraysLive while watching the brothers recreating the villainy of the English gangsters Ronald and Reginald Kray who led organised crime in the East End of London during the 1950s and 1960s.
➢ Follow Martin @ Twitter
➢ Follow Gary @ Twitter

Spandau Ballet, limited edition, lithograph, prints, True, Artwork, David Band


❏ New on sale at the Spandau store is a limited edition 20 x 20-inch lithographic print embossed onto the highest quality 270gsm uncoated paper of the True album artwork by Spandau friend David Band, a Scottish artist who also designed sleeves for Altered Images and Aztec Camera and sadly died in Australia in 2011. Reproduced to celebrate Spandau’s 30th anniversary of their No 1 hit, each print is hand-signed (not reproduction signatures) by all members of Spandau Ballet, and hand-numbered by a professional scribe in a run of only 500 prints.


➤ The day Gary Kemp reduced hard-nosed Guardianistas to tears

◼ AS WITH ANY ARTICLE AT THE GRAUNIAD about New Romantic cheerleaders Spandau Ballet, the resulting comments published online are always riotously entertaining. This is the one band that really winds up Guardianistas to a pitch of fury. When the 80s band announced their reunion tour in 2009, Michael Hann declared how much he’s always loathed them in a Graudina music blog which then provoked 342 comments — 342! — most of them apoplectic. How many other bands can claim such a following?

books, Lyrics of Gary Kemp,Lyric Book Company,

As it happens the Spandau songwriter has recently published an 88-page coffee-table book, titled The Lyrics of Gary Kemp from Lyric Book Company

Today for no apparent reason, the Guranaid runs an item about how Gary Kemp and Steve Norman made Spandau’s 1983 No1 hit True, in which lyricist Kemp admits: “I’m still berated for the line Take your seaside arms, but it’s straight out of Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov.”

Readers of Shapersofthe80s already know that the song was inspired by Kemp’s unrequited pash for poppette Clare Grogan — he was 22, she was 18 — who fronted an 80s band of Scottish cuties called Altered Images. On the same page, Steve Norman deconstructs his self-taught sax solo which has a key change in reply to Grover Washington’s Just The Two of Us.

All of which strangely prompts tearful blubbing at the Graun, rather than the usual explosion of acerbic outrage. Specimen comments follow after this gratuitous excuse to run a video…


➢ Meanwhile back to today’s Grauniad Online:
❏ Nietzsche39 (who else?) notes: “You don’t bastardise Nabokov. Seaside arms is absurd. Seaside limbs is genius.”

❏ Nepthsolem moans: “It always sounds to me like See side arms, as though referring to the service revolver I imagine was issued to all New Romantics, but sadly never used on TOTP.”

❏ DeeSawdeley says: “I always thought it was seaside aunt, which (for those of us with a seaside aunt, anyway) makes much more sense. Bet he wishes he’d written that now!”

❏ Stolencar comments: “Note also he says she gave him a copy of Lolita not that she had read it.”

❏ To which Vastariner responds: “There’s a picture of her reading it on the front of the Best Of Altered Images compilation released in 1991. Some might call me obsessed for knowing that, or because I have a username taken from one of her lyrics… etc etc.”

❏ From another planet, Golgafrinchan sobs: “I had unrequited love for Clare Grogan, still do to be fair. If you’re reading this Clare, get in touch, there’s still time.”

❏ DameHedwig adds: “I’ve often told my son that if things had worked out for me, Ms Grogan would be his Mum.”

❏ And Mccaugh: “As for the sublime Miss Grogan, well, just how many times did we go and see Gregory’s Girl? Helped, of course, by the fact that it ran at the Dominion Cinema in Edinburgh for three years non-stop.”

❏ Finally Bloodydoorsoff tells a despicable and blatant untruth about darling Clare, so you’ll just have to go to Grunadia Online to see it. And plenty more.

John Gordon Sinclair, Scott Neil), Clare Grogan, Glasgow Film Festival ,Gregory’s Girl

Glasgow Film Festival 2010: Darling Clare seen with Gregory’s Girl sidekick John Gordon Sinclair. In 1994 — sorry, lads — she married bandmate Stephen Lironi in Glasgow and today the couple live in Haringey, London, with their adopted daughter. (Photography by © Scott Neil)


➤ The true story of how love helped Gary Kemp write the next line

❚ WHY DID MUSICIAN GARY KEMP find it so “hard to write the next line” in the biggest smash hit love-song of his career? He was not hobbled by writer’s block, but was tongue-tied in admiration of a “wee Celtic pixie” who sang in a Scottish pop group and starred in the hit British romantic movie of 1981.

At exactly the moment his band Spandau Ballet were desperately trying to rescue their flagging fortunes in 1982, Gary was smitten with the pretty girl. The trouble was that she had two other rivals vying for her affections. Honour required discretion, and his love remained unspoken while the three admirers stood hopefully in line. When his beloved gave Gary a book as a gift, suddenly its “words bubbled up inside, percolating through me”, he said years later. He knew he had to send them back to her in a song “so she’d know it was about her” and for double measure added the tell-tale line “I want the truth to be said”.

books, Lyrics of Gary Kemp,Lyric Book Company,

As it happens the Spandau songwriter has recently published an 88-page coffee-table book, titled The Lyrics of Gary Kemp from Lyric Book Company

Gary pretty much identified his never-to-be sweetheart in the autobiography, I Know This Much, published in 2009, where he convincingly dovetailed the one-sided romance with a sequence of other events to account for the genesis of his band’s first No 1 hit, True. In the light of which, perhaps fans can better relish the song-words, when they are re-published this week in a book titled The Lyrics of Gary Kemp.

The very keen will want to invest in the special limited edition signed personally by Kemp and available exclusively through his own website Garykemp.com. The collection represents a songwriting career that has spanned four decades.

All the lyrics from all his songs for Spandau Ballet, plus his solo album Little Bruises, make up this anthology of 60 tales of love, loss and of course London… from growing up in Soho in the 1970s (Chant No1) to the entirely autobiographical 1983 hit about unrequited love (True) through to bittersweet reflections on life (An Inexperienced Man, the solo single in a Celtic groove, released in 1995).

BMI MillionAir, awards, True, Del Bryant, Gary Kemp, Spandau Ballet

Spandau Ballet’s Gary Kemp and BMI President and CEO Del Bryant: at the 2011 BMI London Awards in October, Kemp received a BMI MillionAir award for the song True. (Photo by Brian Rasic)

Kemp is widely acknowledged as one of Britain’s finest songwriters, and won this year’s prestigious BMI Multi Million Award for True after it notched up 4 million radio plays in the US — a significant achievement for a song released in the 1980s — partly because it embodied enough of “the sound of my soul” to be played on black stations too. The song was written on his bed in his parents’ north London house at the age of 22, while he competed with his mum’s vacuum cleaner. At the awards ceremony, he said he’d never imagined True going on being used in films and TV shows as different as The Simpsons, Modern Family and Ugly Betty.

“If you can write one song that’s still being played 28 years later, you’re lucky! We were playing at a time when a lot of people only bought records, they didn’t buy computer games. Music is much more important to that generation.”

The 88-page coffee-table book, The Lyrics of Gary Kemp, is presented bound in a cloth cover, and the first 250 will be personally autographed.

➢ A regular hardback edition of The Lyrics of Gary Kemp (from The Lyric Book Company Ltd) is also available through Amazon