Wednesday, February 16, 2005

I could never forget

Sometimes you just got to buckle down and give in...and accept the consequences of your actions. My post today is one that, well, I've been reluctant to do for awhile now. Why? Because, it one of those posts, like Paul's over at We're Here to Help You Thru Yr Changes, that you're a bit embarrased to put on display. Why? Well, in my case, it's because of the perception of the music that already exists. Even though the band was a huge part of my life back in 1982-85, they're not a band I really ever tell anyone I'm a fan of. Most people sort of scoff at their name, thinking of their "hit" single that they've heard WAY too many times and leaving it at that. And I'll admit, their hit was the beginning of their downfall, after that, it seemed to become nothing but attempts at re-creating what they had, their moment of glory. And they came close a couple of times, maybe not as close here in the states as they did in the U.K., but they did come close. And then they faded away, to be forever remembered as the band famous for the mid-80's prom hit, "True."

Yeah, that's right, I'm talking about Spandau Ballet. And now that I've got that off of my chest, I feel much better (yeah, right). Please, give me a second to explain before you go marching off, swearing to never visit my site again.

You see, before, True, there were two other albums, Diamond (1982) and Journey's To Glory (1981). And while you can definitely see a progression to the True sound building in those two albums, they are quite a different beast than True. And maybe, just maybe, you can blame it all on Steve Norman (sorry, Steve). You see, on their first two albums, Steve played guitar and percussion, adding more depth to their sound. Also, the band relied more on a full horn section, including Trumpet, Sax and Trombone (mainly on Diamond). And then, well, for some reason, Steve started playing Sax...and True was recorded and it was a BIG hit and well, he played sax pretty much from then on out. And it changed their sound. The rawness was gone, the layers of percussion sort of disappeared and they became, well, white pop-soul. Now, granted, Tony Hadley had a voice for it, he is a sort of crooner, but when you put him over their earlier albums, it created this mix of sounds that was a little different, a little more unique.
And in those early days, the band had a mixture of glam, punk and soul...and eventually, the glam and punk sort got washed away. In the beginning, they were a club band, hanging out with designers, hair-dressers and other musicians, like Steve Strange (Visage). I'm not saying their change wasn't intentional, because they've admitted they wanted to sell records, and True was written to be a blue-eyed soul album, a hit album. And I'm also not saying that I don't like True, it's a decent album, if I hadn't heard it so much, I'd probably like it a lot more. But what I am saying is that I think you should give their earlier stuff a listen, and if you like it, give it a shot. Diamond is a great album, with a variety of sounds and a lot of experimentation going on. I think you'll like it.

Spandau Ballet -Chant No. 1 REMOVED
Spandau Ballet - Innocence and Science REMOVED

Chant No.1 was a decent sized club hit, and the horns are great in this track. Innocence and Science is a bit harder to strip out of the context of the album, as it's part of a series of songs that blend into each other, but I felt I had to present two of the extreme sounds they playing with on Diamond, which both of these tracks are from. Journey's To Glory has a much rougher sound, being a more consistently club orientated album, but is also a great album. In terms of the better of the two, I'd have to go with Diamond, though, as they were experimenting a lot more and I think they succeeded pretty well in doing so. You can find Diamond and Journey's to Glory both at Amazon and any other fine musical retailer.


Blogger Spoilt Victorian Child said...

Nice one,
There's no shame in it...
Chant No.1 was always a great song.....
Tis a shame they later went on to record utter pap, but some of the early stuff i quite enjoyed.

On a side note, Gary Kemp was in my shop the other day... Looks pretty much the same...(no kilt though). well weird seeing him again.
And Tony Hadley bought me a pint once a long time ago.... so that makes him a pretty nice chap in my book...
Mind you, anyone who buys me a pint is considered a nice chap. :)


3:43 PM  
Blogger guanoboy said...

wow...that's where my teen-age devotion/idolization would kick in and I would be utterly useless.

thanks for the note of encouragement, you guys are one of my daily visits and a reason I started this thing...

3:58 PM  
Blogger Shawn @ Entroporium said...

I dissent on this one. Intensely. I rate Diamond as completely unlistenable and downright laughable.

That said, I've got norwegian pop and Bobby Darin on top of my page at the moment, so what do I know?

I'm curious whatever happened to these guys acting careers. They were pretty good in that Krays flick, and then nothing. (?)

8:28 PM  
Blogger Shawn @ Entroporium said...

Oh, but I do love that trumpet solo bit right at the end of Chant.

8:30 PM  
Blogger guanoboy said...

unlistenable? wow...them's harsh words, hope i haven't scared you off...:)

and yet you admit...the trumpet is nice...!

11:14 PM  
Blogger heath said...

yea I dig chant no 1, we drop that shit at new-wave dance night all the time !

11:21 AM  
Blogger Tyler Fedchuk and Paul Devro said...

thanks for posting this spandu ballet track. I keep coming accross spandu ballet records and I never listen to em.


5:18 PM  

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