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Friday, March 02, 2007

Friday Nite Retro

THANK GOD IT'S FRIDAY!! That means it's time once again to grab a couple of cold ones, lock the door, pull down the shades, and. . .GO RETRO! Tonight's feature is ABC:

In 1980, music journalist Martin Fry, interviewed the band Vice Versa for his fanzine Modern Drugs. They adopted Fry as lead vocalist and changed their name to ABC. The revamped band were pigeonholed as part of the New Romantic movement of the time, which included bands such as Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet and The Human League.

The band offered many stylistic spins within it's career. Perhaps their most distinguishing feature was their non-ominous use of synthesizers. Ominous, dischordant, or minor-keyed synthesizer parts were something that would unite the majority of true New Romantic bands. Also, from the very beginning, ABC incorporated a predominate funk and soul sound into their compositions.

Their debut album, Lexicon of Love was heavy on rhyming couplets and tales of unrequited love. The first single:

Look of Love

Followed by the second single from Lexicon, Poison Arrow. In 2002, Poison Arrow was featured on the soundtrack to the video game "Grand Theft Auto: Vice City":

Poison Arrow

ABC found it difficult to follow up their debut, and 1983's Beauty Stab, barely charted.It's dramatic departure from the lush, melodramatic pop/funk of The Lexicon of Love, with emphasis instead placed on guitar-based rock didn't fare well with fans.

Their next effort, the 1985 album How To Be A...Zillionaire!, marked another change of style, in this case toying with mid-1980s dance beats and samples. It spawned their first top ten US hit:

Be Near Me

The album also featured this hit:

How to be a Millionaire

Following a hiatus while Fry was treated for Hodgkin's disease, ABC returned to the studio to record Alphabet City, which they thought might be their final album. It pretty much was. . .from that last chartable effort:

The Night You Murdered Love

As well as this one that you all will remember:

When Smokey Sings

ABC officially broke up in 1992. Fry, however, still tours as ABC, often in conjunction with other 1980s nostalgia or revival acts. In 2004, the VH1 show Bands Reunited attempted to get the line-up of Martin Fry, David Palmer, Stephen Singleton and Mark White together for a reunion concert. Martin Fry and David Palmer appeared and played together for the first time in over twenty years. Singleton and White opted not to participate.

Having completed a tour of the U.S. in May and June 2006, Fry and Palmer, together with Chuck Kentis, are putting the finishing touches on a new ABC album with a working title of Traffic, scheduled for release later this year. Gary Langan, who worked on The Lexicon of Love and Beauty Stab, is producing.

And, easy as ABC, that's a wrap on yet another edition of Friday Nite Reto!

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Blogger Parson said...

The only song I ever heard back in the day was that "When Smokey Sings". Some of those other songs were pretty good though.

title="comment permalink">March 03, 2007 3:27 AM  
Blogger Old Broad (going back to Hill soon) said...

Great, great choices, John.
Of course, "When Smokey Sings" is awesome, but I particularly enjoyed "The Night You Murdered Love," too. Whoa!
Oh, and "Be Near Me," is Great!

title="comment permalink">March 04, 2007 3:13 PM  
Blogger John Good said...

"Poison Arrow" is my fave. . .always loved the drama in the video. . .

title="comment permalink">March 04, 2007 9:15 PM  

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