About the artist
William Ruhlmann, Rovi
|I Want Candy||New Years New Wave Party 2011 - 1984 Revisited|| |
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|I Want Candy (Re-Recorded)||80s|| |
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|Do You Wanna Hold Me?||The Best Of Bow Wow Wow|| |
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|Baby, Oh No (Digitally Remastered 1993)||We Are The '80s|| |
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|I Want Candy (Razed In Black Remix)||I Want Candy|| |
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|Baby, Oh No||The Best Of Bow Wow Wow|| |
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|Do You Want To Hold Me (Re-Recorded / Remastered)||150 '80s Hits (Re-Recorded / Remastered Versions)|| |
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|I Want Candy (Re-Recorded / Remastered)||Super Hits Of The '80s|| |
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|Fools Rush In (Where Angels Fear To Tread)||Girl Bites Dog - Your Compact Disc Pet|| |
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|I Want Candy (from Private School) (Re-Recorded / Remastered)||Ultimate '80s Movie Soundtrack (Re-Recorded / Remastered Version)|| |
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Adam Ant formed Adam & the Ants with guitarist Lester Square, bassist Andy Warren, and drummer Paul Flanagan in London in 1977. The group's approach was more theatrical than most punk groups, incorporating sadomasochistic imagery into their concerts. During this time, the group's lineup was fairly unstable, with Square being replaced by Mark Gaumont. The band released their debut, Dirk Wears White Sox, on the independent label Do It in 1979. Dirk was an ambitious and somewhat dark album, filled with jerky rhythms and angular guitar riffs, and elements of glam rock crept into Ant's vocals; Ant re-acquired the rights to the record in 1983, reissuing it in a re-sequenced and remixed form, with the tracks "Catholic Day" and "Day I Met God" replaced by "Zerox" and "Kick," as well as including a new version of "Cartrouble."
At the time of its release, Dirk Wears White Sox wasn't a critical or a commercial success and the band felt the need to rework their image. Ant hired Malcolm McLaren, the manager of the Sex Pistols, to help redefine their image. McLaren dressed the band in pirate outfits and suggested a more accessible and pop-oriented rhythmic variation on punk. Adam & the Ants followed his advice, preparing material for a new album. However, McLaren persuaded all of the Ants to leave Adam, using them as the core members of Bow Wow Wow. Adam Ant immediately formed a new version of the Ants, adding guitarist Marco Pirroni, bassist Kevin Mooney, and drummers Terry Lee Miall and Merrick (born Chris Hughes). Pirroni, in particular, became very important in the band's musical direction, co-writing the majority of the songs with Ant, thus beginning a collaboration between the duo that would continue into the '90s.
Driven by a relentless driving beat and chanting melodies, the new band's first album, 1980's Kings of the Wild Frontier, became an enormous hit in the U.K., launching three Top Ten hit singles, including the number two "Ant Music." The band's success was helped by a series of visually enticing videos, prominently featuring the skinny, handsome Adam Ant decked out in pirate gear. Prince Charming, released the following year, retained the same formula as Kings of the Wild Frontier, spawning two number one singles, "Stand and Deliver" and "Prince Charming." Even though the album was a commercial success, the formula was beginning to wear thin.
After Prince Charming, Adam Ant ditched the Ants for a solo career, retaining Marco Pirroni as a songwriting collaborator and a supporting musician. Ant's first solo album, Friend or Foe, was released in 1982 and featured the number one single "Goody Two Shoes" and the Top Ten title track. Although his next album, 1983's Strip, had some highlights and hit singles, it marked the end of his reign as one of Britain's top pop stars.
Released in 1985, the Tony Visconti-produced Vive Le Rock had some fun moments, but the performance was too studied and the record didn't earn any hit singles, so Adam Ant pursued a surprisingly successful career in acting. In 1990, Ant made a comeback with the catchy hit single "Room at the Top" from the Manners & Physique record, but the album failed to produce another hit single. For the next five years, Ant concentrated on acting.
By the time Adam Ant returned to recording in 1995, echoes of his music could be heard in the spiky singles of Elastica, the neo-goth industrial rock of Nine Inch Nails, and the pseudo-glam of Suede. Instead of capitalizing on the burgeoning new wave revival, Adam Ant's 1995 comeback, Wonderful, had little to do with the stylish, intensely rhythmic sound he made in the early '80s. Instead, the album repositioned him as a more mature pop-rocker, with crafted songs that featured acoustic guitars as prominently as electrics. The album was a moderate hit in the U.S. and the U.K., as was the single "Wonderful."
The Vapors signed to United Artists, releasing their first single, "Prisoners," at the end of 1979; it failed to chart. "Turning Japanese," the band's second single, became a major hit, reaching number three on the U.K. charts in March of 1980. New Clear Days, the band's debut album, was released two months later, which didn't sell as well as the single. In 1981, the Vapors released the more ambitious Magnets, yet it received lukewarm reviews and poor sales; the group disbanded shortly after its release.
Talk Talk Talk (1981) did better, reaching the U.S. Top 100 and producing two British singles chart entries, one of which was "Pretty in Pink," later also a hit in the U.S. when a new version was used as the title song of a film. Forever Now (1982) saw the band reduced to a quartet with the departure of Kilburn and Morris. The rest moved to the U.S., turned to producer Todd Rundgren, and scored a U.S. Top 50 hit with "Love My Way." Ely then left, and the remaining trio of the two Butlers and Ashton made Mirror Moves (1984), the biggest Psychedelic Furs hit yet.
The film Pretty in Pink helped spread their name further before the release of their next album, Midnight to Midnight (1987), which consequently got to number 12 in the U.K. and the Top 30 in the U.S. and included the Top 30 U.S. hit "Heartbreak Beat." Book of Days (1989) marked the return of Vince Ely, but was a considerable commercial disappointment. World Outside (1991) also failed to find an audience. The Psychedelic Furs then folded up shop, and Richard Butler launched a new group, Love Spit Love. The band lasted two albums -- 1994's Love Spit Love and 1997's Trysome Eatone -- and didn't enjoy the monumental success of Butler's original band. Butler kept on. He began writing songs for a supposed solo effort as the '90s came to a close. Those sessions led to new songs with brother Tim and a subsequent Furs reunion in early 2000.
With both Butlers and John Ashton living in upstate New York, the time was right. They tested the waters and their audience for a joint summer tour with the Go-Go's, and the reception was warm. A year later, the Psychedelic Furs -- now featuring Love Spit Love guitarist Richard Fortus and drummer Earl Harvin -- headlined their own club gigs across North America and a classic Richard Butler was keen to be back in the right place. Beautiful Chaos, a live album capturing some of the band's greatest hits from the last tour, was issued in November 2001. Their first live album ever, Beautiful Chaos was a gift for the loyalists. It also introduced their first new song in almost ten years, a somber ballad entitled "Alive."
It was the next Soft Cell effort, 1981's "Tainted Love," that brought the duo to international prominence; written by the Four Preps' Ed Cobb and already a cult favorite thanks to Gloria Jones' soulful reading, the song was reinvented as a hypnotic electronic dirge and became the year's best-selling British single, as well as a major hit abroad. The group's debut LP, Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret, was also enormously successful, and was followed by the 1982 remix collection Non-Stop Ecstatic Dancing.
While 1983's The Art of Falling Apart proved as popular as its predecessors, the LP's title broadly hinted at the internal problems plaguing the duo; prior to the release of 1984's This Last Night in Sodom, Soft Cell had already broken up. Almond immediately formed the electro-soul unit Marc & the Mambas; another group, Marc Almond & the Willing Sinners, followed before the singer finally embarked on a solo career in the late '80s. After a number of years of relative inactivity, Ball later resurfaced in the techno outfit the Grid.
After pressing up a few thousand copies of the single "Rock Lobster," the B-52's traveled to the famed Max's Kansas City club for their first paying gig. Subsequent appearances at CBGB brought the group to the attention of the New York press, and in 1979, they issued their self-titled debut album, a collection of manic, bizarre, and eminently danceable songs which scored an underground club hit with a reworked version of "Rock Lobster." The following year, they issued Wild Planet, which reached the Top 20 on the U.S. album charts; Party Mix!, an EP's worth of reworked material from the band's first two proper outings, appeared in 1981.
Released in 1982, Mesopotamia arose out of a series of aborted sessions with producer David Byrne which saw the B-52's largely abandon their trademark sense of humor, a situation rectified by the next year's Whammy!, a move into electronic territory. After a Schneider solo LP, 1984's Fred Schneider & the Shake Society, the group returned to the studio to record 1986's Bouncing Off the Satellites. On October 12, 1985, however, Ricky Wilson died; though originally his death was attributed to natural causes, it was later revealed that he had succumbed to AIDS. In light of Wilson's death, the group found it impossible to promote the new album, and they spent the next several years in seclusion.
In 1989, the B-52's finally returned with Cosmic Thing, their most commercially successful effort to date. Marked by Strickland's move from drums to guitar and club-friendly production from Don Was and Nile Rodgers, the album launched several hit singles, including the party smash "Love Shack," "Roam," and "Deadbeat Club." In 1990, Cindy Wilson retired from active duty, leaving the remaining trio to soldier on for 1992's Good Stuff. A year later, dubbed the BC-52's, they performed the theme song for Steven Spielberg's live-action feature The Flintstones. Wilson returned to the group for a tour supporting the release of 1998's hits collection Time Capsule. Four years later the double-disc Nude on the Moon compilation would dive deeper into their catalog by featuring rare tracks, live recordings, and remixes along with the hits. The year 2008 found the band returning with a new album for the first time in 16 years. Released by Astralwerks, Funplex, was a slick, synthesizer-driven effort produced by Steve Osborne.
In August, Chrysalis Records bought their contract from Private Stock and in October reissued Blondie and released the second album, Plastic Letters. Blondie expanded to a sextet in November with the addition of bassist Nigel Harrison (born in Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire, England), as Infante switched to guitar. Blondie broke commercially in the U.K. in March 1978, when their cover of Randy and the Rainbows' 1963 hit "Denise," renamed "Denis," became a Top Ten hit, as did Plastic Letters, followed by a second U.K. Top Ten, "(I'm Always Touched by Your) Presence, Dear." Blondie turned to U.K. producer/songwriter Mike Chapman for their third album, Parallel Lines, which was released in September 1978 and eventually broke them worldwide. "Picture This" became a U.K. Top 40 hit, and "Hanging on the Telephone" made the U.K. Top Ten, but it was the album's third single, the disco-influenced "Heart of Glass," that took Blondie to number one in both the U.K. and the U.S. "Sunday Girl" hit number one in the U.K. in May, and "One Way or Another" hit the U.S. Top 40 in August. Blondie followed with their fourth album, Eat to the Beat, in October. Its first single, "Dreaming," went Top Ten in the U.K., Top 40 in the U.S. The second U.K. single, "Union City Blue," went Top 40. In March 1980, the third U.K. single from Eat to the Beat, "Atomic," became the group's third British number one. (It later made the U.S. Top 40.)
Meanwhile, Harry was collaborating with German disco producer Giorgio Moroder on "Call Me," the theme from the movie American Gigolo. It became Blondie's second transatlantic chart-topper. Blondie's fifth album, Autoamerican, was released in November 1980, and its first single was the reggae-ish tune "The Tide Is High," which went to number one in the U.S. and U.K. The second single was the rap-oriented "Rapture," which topped the U.S. pop charts and went Top Ten in the U.K. But the band's eclectic style reflected a diminished participation by its members: Infante sued, charging that he wasn't being used on the records, though he settled and stayed in the lineup. But in 1981, the members of Blondie worked on individual projects, notably Harry's gold-selling solo album, KooKoo. The Best of Blondie was released in the fall of the year. The Hunter, Blondie's sixth album, was released in May 1982, preceded by the single "Island of Lost Souls," a Top 40 hit in the U.S. and U.K. "War Child" also became a Top 40 hit in the U.K., but The Hunter was a commercial disappointment.
At the same time, Stein became seriously ill with the genetic disease pemphigus. As a result, Blondie broke up in October 1982, with Deborah Harry launching a part-time solo career while caring for Stein, who eventually recovered. In 1998, the original lineup of Harry, Stein, Destri, and Burke reunited to tour Europe, their first series of dates in 16 years; a new LP, No Exit, followed early the next year. After more touring, this was followed by another studio set, The Curse of Blondie, in 2003, and a DVD of the Live by Request program from A&E was released in 2004. In 2006, Blondie celebrated their 30th anniversary with their induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and the release of Greatest Hits: Sound & Vision, a best-of collection that contained all their classic videos as well. They also got back to work on original material, decamping to upstate New York in October 2009 to start recording a new studio album. Additional sessions were held in Hoboken, and the resulting Panic of Girls was released in July 2011.
Severin continued to help the band with their first full-length, but the label brought in Martin Rushent, who would help the band craft more radio-friendly material. Happy Birthday definitely crossed over, but the siphoning away of the band's dark edge in favor of bubbly pop lost them a few fans as well. Despite this, NME voted them Best New Group of 1981. Pinky Blue followed a year later, charting much higher than Happy Birthday. The inevitable press backlash failed to deny the band of any commercial loss. Anderson and second guitarist Jim McKinven (who had joined after the second single) left the group and were replaced by Steve Lironi.
After the lineup change, the band struck up an allegiance with producer Mike Chapman, who guided them through a move into somewhat synthetic dance pop. The singles weren't faring well on the charts, but their third album (Bite) managed to do well, albeit briefly. After a couple lineup changes and a tour, the band broke up.
Grogan, who had starred in Bill Forsyth's Gregory's Girl (1980) prior to her band's success, focused on acting in British TV shows, most notably Red Dwarf and East Enders. She essentially left music for good after recording an unreleased solo album in 1987 and forming the short-lived Universal Love School with mate Lironi. Grogan also popped up infrequently as a guest vocalist, including an appearance on the 6ths' Hyacinths and Thistles. Lironi also became a noted producer and session hand for Hanson and Black Grape. McElhone joined Hipsway and also spent several years in Texas.
In 1982, following the exit of Bruce Moreland, Wall of Voodoo released Call of the West, which featured "Mexican Radio," their biggest hit. After an appearance at the 1983 US Festival, Ridgway left the group for a solo career. The remaining members enlisted singer Andy Prieboy, and resurfaced in 1985 with the LP Seven Days in Sammystown. Happy Planet followed two years later, while 1988's live effort The Ugly Americans in Australia* (the asterisk denoting that a few tracks were recorded in Bullhead City, Arizona) effectively closed out the Wall of Voodoo story.
Founding member Tom Bailey was attending a teacher's college in Cheshire, England and harboring dreams of becoming a classical pianist when he met Joe Leeway, a fledgling actor, in 1977. The pair hit it off, yet Leeway wasn't part of the original incarnation of the Thompson Twins, which featured Bailey (vocals, keyboards), guitarist Pete Dodd, guitarist John Roog, and drummer Chris Bell. During the late '70s and early '80s, the band released a handful of independent singles and became fixtures on the burgeoning New Romantic scene in London before signing with Arista Records in 1981. That year, they released their debut album, A Product Of..., to little attention.
Not long after the release of A Product Of..., Bailey added his girlfriend Alannah Currie (percussion, saxophone, vocals), Joe Leeway (percussion, vocal), and former Soft Boys bassist Matthew Seligman to the group. The Thompson Twins recorded one album in this seven-piece incarnation, 1982's Set, which was released in America as In the Name of Love. The record was a bomb, and following its release, the group was trimmed to a trio -- Bailey, Currie, and Leeway. The revamped Thompson Twins released Quick Step and Side Kick in 1983, and the album became a major hit in the U.K., climbing all the way to number two, as the singles "Love on Your Side" and "We Are Detective" reached the Top Ten. In America, the record was released under the truncated title Side Kicks and earned a cult following.
The Thompson Twins had their American commercial breakthrough in 1984 with Into the Gap. "Hold Me Now," the first single from the album, became a bigger hit in the U.S. than it did in the U.K., peaking at number three; it reached number four in England. Into the Gap also featured the hits "Doctor Doctor" and "You Take Me Up," and the Thompson Twins quickly followed the record in 1985 with Here's to Future Days. "Lay Your Hands on Me" became an American Top Ten hit, as did "King for a Day," but none of the singles from the record became major hits in the U.K., signaling that the group's popularity was beginning to decline. Leeway left the group in 1986, and the Thompson Twins remained a duo, releasing Close to the Bone the following year. Bailey and Currie made their romance public in 1988, when the couple had a child. That same year, they released the remix album The Best of Thompson Twins: Greatest Mixes, which was generally ignored.
By the late '80s, the Thompson Twins' audience had decreased substantially. Big Trash, their 1989 debut for Warner, produced the minor U.S. hit "Sugar Daddy," but it was overlooked in England. In 1991, they released Queer, which was ignored in both the U.S. and the U.K. In 1994, Bailey and Currie decided to form a new band, Babble, in order to explore newer electronic musics such as ambient. Working with programmer Keith Fernley, Babble released The Stone in 1994 on Reprise to little notice.
Metal Box, the band's second U.K. album, came in the form of three 45-rpm 12" discs in a film canister. It was released in the U.S. in 1980 as the double-album Second Edition. By this time, PiL were a trio consisting of Lydon, Levene, and Wobble; the latter two played some of the drums on recordings, while the position was held by a series of percussionists, none of whom stayed long. The third album, not released in the U.S., was the live Paris au Printemps (1980). Lydon and Levene, plus hired musicians, made up the group by the time of The Flowers of Romance (1981), the much-acclaimed fourth album, which reached number 11 in the U.K. In 1983, PiL scored their biggest U.K. hit when "This Is Not a Love Song" reached number five. By this time, however, Levene had left, and the name from here on would be, more than anything else, a vehicle for John Lydon (though with a comparatively steady lineup). A second live album, Live in Tokyo, appeared in England in 1983.
The following year saw the release of This Is What You Want...This Is What You Get, only PiL's third album to be released in the U.S., though by now the group had six albums out. It marked the start of Lydon's move toward a more polished and accessible dance-rock style, a direction that would be pursued further in 1986's Album (also called Cassette or Compact Disc, depending on the format), notably on the hit "Rise," as well as on Happy? (1987) and 9 (1989). In 1990, PiL released the compilation album The Greatest Hits, So Far, and in 1991 came the new album That What Is Not. After completing his memoirs in late 1993, Lydon decided to put PiL to rest -- largely the result of contractual issues -- and pursue a solo career. The career-spanning box set Plastic Box arrived in 1999, but otherwise the band seemed truly dead until 2009 when Lydon announced he was reviving the project for a short set of gigs in the U.K. The new PiL, featuring past members Lu Edmonds and Bruce Smith, along with Scott Firth, were so warmly received in their homeland that a U.S. tour followed in 2010. An album of all-new material, This Is PiL, followed in 2012.
Debora Iyall, a Native American (from the Cowlitz tribe) born in rural Washington and raised in Fresno, CA, moved to San Francisco in the mid-'70s to attend the San Francisco Art Institute. While there, she fell in with fellow students Peter Woods and Jay Derrah, who had formed a tongue-in-cheek '60s revival band called the Mummers and the Poppers. Iyall became the group's singer and also began incorporating music into her own poetry and performance art projects, drafting Frank Zincavage, a sculptor who also played bass and electronic drums, as her work partner. (Zincavage was also a noted graphic designer and photographer; his name and that of his sister, Diane Zincavage, appear in the credits of many San Francisco and Los Angeles indie albums of the era.) Intrigued by the burgeoning local punk and post-punk scenes, which included fellow Art Institute students like Avengers singer Penelope Houston and members of the Mutants and Pearl Harbor & the Explosions, Iyall, Zincavage, Woods, and Derrah formed Romeo Void on Valentine's Day 1979. Iyall has said that the name, meaning "a lack of romance," was inspired by a headline on the cover of a local magazine that read "Why single women can't get laid in San Francisco."
Shortly after the group's formation, original saxophonist Bobby Martin and another local reedsman, Benjamin Bossi, swapped bands, with Martin joining art punk extremists the Offs and Bossi teaming up with Romeo Void. The revised lineup recorded their debut single, "White Sweater," and a cover of Jorgen Ingmann's atmospheric 1961 twang-guitar instrumental hit "Apache," for the new local indie 415 Records in 1980. Before sessions commenced for their first album, 1981's It's a Condition, Derrah left the group, replaced by ex-Explosions drummer John "Stench" Haines. One of the masterpieces of American post-punk, It's a Condition received rave reviews upon its release. Perhaps even more importantly, Cars leader Ric Ocasek heard the album (supposedly, a roadie played it in the Cars' tour bus) and invited the group to his Synchro Sound studio in Boston. The resulting Ocasek-produced EP, Never Say Never, on the back of the enormous dance club and college radio airplay of the single, led directly to 415 Records' ongoing association with Columbia Records (bringing not only Romeo Void but also Red Rockers, Translator, Wire Train, and others to major-label status), who reissued the EP later in 1981 before ushering the group back into the studio to record their next album.
1982's Benefactors kicks off with a less-impressive shortened mix of "Never Say Never," almost completely eliminating Bossi's squalling, Albert Ayler-like solo, fading out before the hypnotic ending and bleeping out a rude word in the second verse. (This is the version the video, an early MTV staple, features.) A denser album than the sparse It's a Condition, Benefactors is nearly the equal of the earlier record, with the hyperactive dance-pop of "Undercover Kept" signaling a new interest in musical directness that would reap commercial benefits on their next album.
Like It's a Condition, that third album, 1984's Instincts, was produced by 415's former house producer David Kahne, but it's far slicker than the debut, a precursor to the ultra-shiny albums Kahne would do with the Bangles over the next couple of years. Although this newly commercialized approach scored the band their only Top 40 hit, "A Girl in Trouble (Is a Temporary Thing)," which Iyall claimed is an answer song to Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean," the album is a disappointment in comparison to the stellar work that had preceded it. By the time of these sessions, Haines had been replaced by former session drummer Aaron Smith, and relations had become strained in the group. Romeo Void broke up in early 1985.
Debora Iyall recorded one solo album, 1986's Strange Language, which continued the commercial tendencies of Instincts, then returned to her previous career as a poet, artist, and teacher. She formed the noise pop duo Knife in Water in the '90s. Benjamin Bossi joined the Ordinaires. Romeo Void reunited for a few benefit shows in 1992 and later that year released a career-summary compilation, Warm in Your Coat, which featured one excellent previously unreleased song, "One Thousand Shadows," recorded as a live demo in late 1984 for a movie soundtrack, but it was never finished.
When it arrived in late 1986, Big Audio Dynamite's second album, No. 10, Upping St., boasted co-production and co-writing from Joe Strummer, Jones' former bandmate in the Clash. It was a much better fusion of contemporary production techniques with Jones' songwriting, and the two biggest singles -- "C'mon Every Beatbox" and "V. Thirteen" -- performed well both on the British pop charts and American dance charts. After a two-year break, the band returned with a less free-form work, Tighten Up, Vol. 88, but righted the ship with 1989's Megatop Phoenix, their biggest performer in America (thanks to the singles "Contact" and "James Brown").
After Megatop Phoenix, the band split apart at the end of 1989. Jones quickly added Gary Stonadge (bass/vocals), Chris Kavanagh (drums/vocals), and Nick Hawkins (guitar/vocals) to form Big Audio Dynamite II, while Letts, Williams, and Roberts formed Screaming Target and Donovan joined the Sisters of Mercy. Releasing The Globe, the first full-length album with the new lineup, in 1991, B.A.D. II experienced their greatest success yet with the American Top 40 hit "Rush." In 1994, Jones truncated the band's name to Big Audio and released Higher Power.
After Higher Power, Big Audio parted ways with Epic, signing with Radioactive in early 1995 and releasing F-Punk. The single "I Turned Out a Punk" became a college radio hit, even when it was initially released anonymously (granted, Jones' voice was immediately recognizable). That conglomeration also split shortly afterward, Jones later appearing in the production chair of notable records including the Libertines' Up the Bracket.
Hairdresser Mike Score (lead vocals, keyboards) formed A Flock of Seagulls with his brother Ali (drums) and fellow hairdresser Frank Maudsley (bass) in 1980, adding guitarist Paul Reynolds several months later. The group released its debut EP on Cocteau Records early in 1981, and while the record failed to chart, its lead track, "Telecommunication," became an underground hit in Euro-disco and new wave clubs. The band signed a major-label contract with Jive by the end of the year, and their eponymous debut album appeared in the spring of 1982. "I Ran (So Far Away)" was released as the first single from the album, and MTV quickly picked up on its icily attractive video, which featured long shots of Mike Score and his distinctive, cascading hair. The single climbed into the American Top Ten, taking the album along with it. In the U.K., "I Ran" didn't make the Top 40, but "Wishing (If I Had a Photograph of You)" reached number ten later that year; in America, that single became a Top 40 hit in 1983, after "Space Age Love Song" peaked at number 30. "Wishing" was taken from the group's second album, Listen (1983), which was moderately successful.
However, the band's fortunes crashed shortly after the release of Listen as 1984's The Story of a Young Heart failed to produce any hit singles. Reynolds left after the album and was replaced by Gary Steadnin; the band also added keyboardist Chris Chryssaphis. The new lineup was showcased on 1986's Dream Come True, which failed to chart. Shortly after its release, the band broke up. Mike Score assembled a new lineup of A Flock of Seagulls in 1989, releasing the single "Magic" and touring the U.S.A. The band failed to make any impact and most of the members left by the end of the year. The band continued to tour worldwide, although with major changes to its members, and in 1996 released a new album, The Light at the End of the World.
Dolby's interest in music arose through his interest in computers, electronics, and synthesizers. The son of a British archaeologist, Thomas Dolby (b. Thomas Morgan Robertson, October 14, 1958) originally attended college to study meteorology, but he was soon sidetracked by electronics, specifically musical equipment. He began building his own synthesizers when he was 18 years old. Around the same time, he began to learn how to play guitar and piano, as well as how to program computers. Eventually, his schoolmates gave him the nickname of "Dolby," which was the name for a noise-reduction technology for audiotapes; he would eventually take the nickname as a stage name.
In his late teens, Dolby was hired as a touring sound engineer for a variety of post-punk bands, including the Fall, the Passions, and the Members; on these dates, he would use a PA system he had built himself. In 1979 he formed the arty post-punk band Camera Club with Bruce Woolley, Trevor Horn, Geoff Downes, and Matthew Seligman. Within a year, he had left the group and joined Lene Lovich's backing band. Dolby gave Lovich his song "New Toy," which became a British hit in 1981. That same year he released his first solo single, "Urges," on the English independent label Armageddon. By the fall he had signed with Parlophone and released "Europa and the Pirate Twins," which nearly cracked the U.K. Top 40.
Dolby started playing synthesizer on sessions for other artists in 1982. That year he appeared on Foreigner's 4, Def Leppard's Pyromania, and Joan Armatrading's Walk Under Ladders. Also in 1982, he wrote and produced "Magic's Wand" for Whodini; the song became one of the first million-selling rap singles. Even with all of these achievements, 1982 was most noteworthy for the release of Dolby's first solo album, The Golden Age of Wireless, in the summer of 1982; the record reached number 13 in England, but was virtually forgotten in America. "Windpower," the first single from the record, became his first Top 40 U.K. hit in the late summer.
In January of 1983 Dolby released an EP, Blinded by Science, which included a catchy number called "She Blinded Me with Science" that featured a cameo vocal appearance by the notorious British eccentric Magnus Pike, who also appeared in the song's promotional video. Blinded by Science was a minor hit in England, but the EP and the single became major American hits in 1983, thanks to MTV's heavy airplay of the "She Blinded Me with Science" video. Eventually, the song reached number five on the U.S. charts and it was included on a re-sequenced and reissued version of The Golden Age of Wireless, which peaked at number 13 in America.
The Flat Earth, Dolby's second album, appeared in early 1984 and was supported by the single "Hyperactive." The single became his biggest U.K. hit, peaking at number 17. Though The Flat Earth reached number 35 on the U.S. charts, Dolby's momentum was already beginning to slow: none of the singles released from the album cracked the American Top 40. Nevertheless, Dolby was in demand as a collaborator and he worked with Herbie Hancock, Howard Jones, Stevie Wonder, George Clinton, and Dusty Springfield. In 1985 he produced Clinton's Some of My Best Jokes Are Friends, Prefab Sprout's Steve McQueen (Two Wheels Good in the U.S.), and Joni Mitchell's Dog Eat Dog, as well as supporting David Bowie at Live Aid. Also in 1985, he began composing film scores, starting with "Fever Pitch". In 1986 he composed the scores for "Gothic" and "Howard the Duck", to which he credited himself as Dolby's Cube. That credit led to a lawsuit from the Dolby Labs, who eventually prohibited the musician from using the name "Dolby" in conjunction with any other name than "Thomas."
Aliens Ate My Buick, Dolby's long-delayed third album, appeared in 1988 to poor reviews and weak sales, even though the single "Airhead" became a minor British hit. That same year, Dolby married actress Kathleen Beller. For the rest of the late '80s and early '90s, he continued to score films, producing and building his own computer equipment. His fourth album, Astronauts & Heretics, was released in 1992 on his new label, Giant. Despite the presence of guest stars like Eddie Van Halen, Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, and Ofra Haza, the album was a flop. The following year Dolby founded the computer software company Headspace, which released "The Virtual String Quartet" as its first program. For the rest of the '90s, Headspace occupied most of Dolby's time and energy. In 1994 he released The Gate to the Mind's Eye, a soundtrack to the videotape "Mind's Eye". Also that year, Capitol released the greatest-hits collection Retrospectacle.
In 2003 he released the live album Forty, originally issued as a limited-edition, home-packaged, signed and numbered release (of which only 1,000 were pressed), although it was later pressed as a readily available CD. A tour of America would be documented on The Sole Inhabitant Live Concert, released in 2006. In 2009 The Singular Thomas Dolby collection would be released in conjunction with expanded reissues of The Golden Age of Wireless and The Flat Earth. A new studio album, A Map of the Floating City, followed in 2011, with guest appearances from Mark Knopfler, Regina Spektor, Imogen Heap, and others.
During the late '70s, Fry ran his own fanzine, Modern Drugs, while he attended Sheffield University. ABC formed in 1980, after Fry interviewed Vice Versa members Mark White (guitar) and Stephen Singleton (saxophone) for his fanzine. The two musicians asked Fry to join their band as a vocalist, and he soon became part of the group; the lineup also featured drummer David Robinson and bassist Mark Lickley.
Soon, Fry had taken control of the electronic band, steering them in a more pop-oriented direction and renaming the group ABC. By the fall of 1981, the band had signed a record contract with Phonogram Records, which agreed to distribute ABC's own label, Neutron. ABC released their first single, "Tears Are Not Enough," in November; it peaked at number 19 on the U.K. charts. Before they recorded their second single, Robinson left the band and was replaced by David Palmer in early 1982. Two singles, "Poison Arrow" and "The Look of Love," became British Top Ten hits in the spring, paving the way for their debut album, The Lexicon of Love, to enter the charts at number one. "All of My Heart" also became a Top Ten hit in the fall of 1982.
Toward the end of 1982, the group began concentrating on the United States. Their American success was helped greatly by the fledgling MTV network, which aired videos for "The Look of Love" and "Poison Arrow" frequently, making both singles Top 25 hits in the spring of 1983. Palmer left the band in the summer of 1983, as ABC was recording their second album. Featuring a harder, rock sound driven by guitars rather than keyboards, Beauty Stab was released late in 1983. Supported by the number 18 single "That Was Then But This Is Now," the album didn't perform as well as the debut, peaking at number 12; the record also was a commercial disappointment in the U.S. Late in 1984, ABC -- now consisting solely of Fry and White augmented by various session musicians -- released "(How to Be A) Millionaire," which failed to put a halt to their commercial slide. Following its release, the duo moved to New York, where they added David Yarritu and Eden to the group; neither member could play or sing -- they were added for the visual effect.
Released at the beginning of 1985, the light, catchy "Be Near Me" became a hit single in Britain, climbing to number 26. Due to the single's success, How to Be a...Zillionaire! became a Top 30 hit in both the U.K. and U.S. "Be Near Me" was released as a U.S. single toward the end of 1985 and it became the group's first American Top Ten hit. Even though they had a fair amount of success in 1985, ABC's subsequent singles stalled on the charts. Fry was also ill for most of the latter half of the year; he recovered in 1987 and began writing and recording with White. In the summer of 1987, ABC released "When Smokey Sings," which was a major hit, reaching number five in the U.S. and number 11 in the U.K. Alphabet City followed that fall, peaking at number seven in the U.K. and number 48 in the U.S. Two years later, they released Up, which only charted in the U.K. Absolutely, a greatest-hits collection, made it into the British Top Ten upon its release in 1990.
Following the release of Up, Martin Fry took an extended break from the music industry, returning in 1997 with a revamped ABC and a new album, Skyscraping, which was only released in the U.K. Shortly before ABC's comeback, England experienced a short-lived new romantic revival called Romo, which increased Fry's exposure substantially, in turn helping Skyscraping to earn good reviews and respectable sales. A live album followed in 1999, and several ABC reissues appeared during the 2000s, including a double-disc deluxe offering of Lexicon of Love. The drummer from that album, David Palmer, returned to the ABC lineup in 2004, and the band released an album of original material in 2008 entitled Traffic.