Formed in Islington, London in 1979, Spandau Ballet is one of the successful bands that came out during the New Romantic era. The band is composed of brothers Martin Kemp and Gary Kemp on guitars, Tony Hadley on vocals, John Keele on drums and Steve Norman on saxophones. Their debut single “To Cut a Long Story Short” reached number five in the UK Singles chart in 1980. Spandau Ballet had eight studio albums that entered the top ten in the UK albums chart. They received a Brit Award for technical excellence in 1984.
Gary Kemp and Steve Norman were schoolmates at Dame Alice Owen’s School when they both discovered that they have the same passion for music and both want to form a band. That’s why together with John Keeble, they started a band called as The Cut in 1976. The trio regularly met at lunchtime to practice. They were later joined by Tom Hadley and Michael Ellison. They changed their names from The Cut to The Makers in 1976. And they played like a punk band in their early years. Two years later, they changed the band name again to Gentry and became a power-pop band. The group changed their name to Spandau Ballet after Robert Elms, a DJ and a close friend to the band, suggested it after he saw the phrase “Spandau Ballet” posted in the wall of a nightclub comfort room in Berlin.
Spandau Ballet started to play gigs around London with their music style that is similar to Rolling Stones and The Kinks. They slowly changed their genre and became more of an electronic band when they started performing in clubs like Billy’s and Blitz which are popular to the new breed New Romantic bands.
After getting involved in a major bidding war, Spandau Ballet finally signed with Chrysalis Records and released their first single “To Cut the Long Story Short” which became a top five hit in the 1980’s.
Journeys to Glory
Spandau Ballet’s debut album was released on February 27, 1981, under Chrysalis Records. It featured the singles “To Cut the Long Story Short”, and “Muscle Bound” which both entered the top ten on the UK Singles Chart. Journeys to Glory was considered to be a fresh, bold, and avant-garde album. Years later after its release, BBC Radio 2 aired a broadcast in November 2009 entitled Journeys To Glory: The Spandau Ballet Story.
Diamond was Spandau Ballet’s second studio album. it was released on March 5, 1982, under Chrysalis Records. A year before its release, Spandau Ballet’s single “Chant No. 1 (I Don’t Need This Pressure On) was released to promote the album. The single reached the number three spot in the UK Singles Chart. The last single that was released from this album was “Instinction” which reached the number ten spot in the UK. Diamond was re-released on March 8, 2010, which contained two special edition CD’s.
True was Spandau Ballet’s third studio album. it was released on February 28, 1983, under Chrysalis Records. This album earned Spandau Ballet international success. True reached the top spot of the UK Albums chart and the top 20 on the US Billboard 200. It’s title track, “True” spent four weeks at the number one spot in the UK Singles chart and grabbed the fourth spot on the US Billboard Hot 100 Charts. The other singles from this album from this album were “Gold”, “Pleasure”, “Lifeline” and “Communication”.
Spandau Ballet’s fourth studio album, Parade was released on July 22, 1984, under Chrysalis Records. This album had two hit singles namely “Only When You Leave” which reached the number three spot in the UK Singles Chart and “I’ll Fly For You” which grabbed the ninth spot in the UK charts.
Through the Barricades
Released on November 1986, Through the Barricades was Spandau Ballet’s fifth studio album and was released under Epic Records. This album managed to reach the number seven spot and remained 19 weeks on the UK album charts. This album spawned three UK hit singles namely “Fight for Ourselves”, “How Many Lies”, and “Through the Barricades”.
Heart Like a Sky
Heart Like a Sky was the sixth installment from Spandau Ballet. It was released on September 18, 1989, under CBS Records. This was the last album Spandau Ballet made before disbanding. Unfortunately, Heart Like a Sky only gained commercial success in Italy and the Netherlands.
Once More was Spandau Ballet’s seventh studio album and it was released only in the UK an Ireland on October 19, 2009. This album contains re-recordings of their previous songs and two new songs. The first song “Once More” is one of the brand new songs and was released to be the promotional single of the album. Once More managed to enter on the seventh spot in the UK Albums Chart on October 2009.
Spandau Ballet spawned numerous hit singles such as
- Only When You Leave
- Through The Barricades
- To Cut a Long Story Short
- I’ll Fly For You
- Chant No. 1
- Fight for Ourselves
- The Freeze
- Be Free With You Love
- Paint Me Down
- She Loved Like Diamond
- Highly Strung
- With The Pride
- How Many Lies?
- Code of Love
- This Is The Love
Spandau Ballet was one of the biggest band sof the 80’s and they have certainly influenced a lot of artists that we are listening to today. What is your favorite Spandau Ballet song?