The Freeze 12''
New Romantic New Wave Synthpop
02.The Freeze (Special Mix)
Spandau Ballet are a British band formed in London in the late 1970s. Initially inspired by the New Romantic fashion, their music has featured a mixture of funk, jazz, soul and synthpop. They were one of the most successful bands of the 1980s, achieving ten Top Ten singles and four Top Ten albums in the UK between 1980 and 1990. The band split acrimoniously in 1990 but announced their reunion in March 2009, complete with a tour that began in October 2009.
The band was formed in 1976 and was originally called 'The Cut', with Gary Kemp and Steve Norman on guitar, later saxophone and percussion. Kemp and Norman were both attending Dame Alice Owen's School, Islington, and were close friends, as they shared a similar interest in music and a common desire to form a band. They were joined by fellow student John Keeble, who had met Norman through storing his drum kit in the school's music room and would regularly meet at lunchtimes to practice. John was followed by bass player Michael Ellison. Tony Hadley, who knew Norman, then joined as lead singer. After a few months, Richard Miller replaced Michael Ellison on bass, before Kemp's brother, Martin Kemp, finally took over the role, joining the band a couple of years later. By this time, the band had already gained some live experience. Steve Dagger, a friend of the band members, was then asked by Steve Norman and Gary Kemp to manage them. He was to be an integral part of the band's initial and continuing success.
The band was called 'The Makers' in the early years, but profess to having changed their name after a friend of the band, journalist and DJ Robert Elms, saw the name scrawled on the wall of a nightclub lavatory during a visit to Berlin along the lines of "Rudolf Hess, all alone, dancing the Spandau Ballet" (Rudolf Hess was the sole inmate at Germany's Spandau Prison). The new Spandau Ballet, with Martin Kemp and Tony Hadley, began performing with this name and generating a positive buzz around London. Their music prior to then was in the style of the early Rolling Stones or The Kinks, but became more electronic as they began to hang out in clubs such as Sally's and Blitz, where they would listen to bands like Kraftwerk and Telex. The Blitz was regarded as the birthplace of a new 1980s music and fashion phenomenon called New Romanticism.
The band was involved in a major bidding war, but eventually signed to Chrysalis Records and released "To Cut a Long Story Short", produced by the electronic musician Richard James Burgess. Released just ten days after the band emerged from the studio in order to meet the huge demand created by the buzz they had established, "To Cut a Long Story Short" was an instant British top 5 hit in 1980. This was followed by hits with "The Freeze", "Musclebound" and the well-received and Gold-certified album Journeys to Glory in 1981. The sound of Journeys to Glory was typified by chanted vocals, a splashy snare drum sound, strongly rhythmic guitar parts and a lack of guitar solos; the hallmarks of what would become known as the New Romantic sound and the sound of the early eighties.