Monday, May 10, 2021

Spandau Ballet

By 1981, the new wave movement was in full swing with bands like The Cure, Depeche Mode, and New Order. More chameleon-like was Spandau Ballet. Spandau, featuring the Kemp Brothers, Gary and Martin, and the voice of Tony Hadley were the stars of the "Cult With No Name" and New Romantic scene with their first LP Journeys to Glory and the hits, "The Freeze," and "To Cut a Long Story Short." The New Romantics also included Steve Strange, Ultravox, and Duran Duran.

What's interesting about Spandau Ballet is the gasoline fire in which the band evolved. As soon as Journeys to Glory was released, Spandau Ballet abandoned the New Romantic look and went for a more elegant take in GQ-like style. Their 2nd LP, Diamond, in this writer's opinion their best, would take the No-Name Cult sound and tribalize it with the excellent dance hits "Paint Me Down" and "Chant No. 1" which became extremely popular 12-inch singles in 1982 and the steady beat of every new wave dance club from Manchester to L.A.
While Peter Saville's LP and record covers were elegant in a graphic arts style, Spandau adopted a neo-classical theme early on, and then, as can be seen in the graphics, took on a look that fit the pseudo-tribal beat of the singles. I simply adore that Alaskan totem look.
By 1983, the band would opt for a sophisto-Hollywood look and release their triumphant LP True, which would become an international bestseller featuring the title track, a worldwide No. 1 smash, "Lifeline" and "Gold." With the LP, the band was capitalizing on its pop sheen, leaving the new wave arena behind. In 1984, Spandau Ballet released Parade with its hit "Only When You Leave,"
but the band had flown too close to the sun.
Alongside other new wave pop bands like Haircut One Hundred and ABC, for a brief moment, the funk/jazz scene was all the rage with Spandau in the spotlight.

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