ABC has enjoyed a glittering career to date. Very definitely one of a number of groups who came along and kick-started the Eighties with their own brand of pop for a ‘new decade’. On it’s release in May 1982 their debut album ‘The Lexicon of Love’ crashed straight into the UK album charts at number one. Showcasing the hits songs ‘Tears Are Not Enough’, ‘ Poison Arrow’, ‘The Look Of Love’ and ‘All Of My Heart’. A ground-breaking collection of modern love songs. With a majestic production from the legendary Trevor Horn it remains a classic to this day. Voted by many as the best British album of the decade.
ABC’s second album ‘Beauty Stab’ was a very different proposition to the polished beauty of ‘The Lexicon of Love’ and spawned the hits ‘That Was Then But This Is Now’ and ‘SOS’. It developed a much rawer hard-edged sound.
This was followed in 1984 by the album ‘How To Be A Zillionaire’. ABC again conquered American audiences with a series of devastating club mixes and pre Gorillaz animated cartoons. ‘How To Be A Millionaire’, ‘Be Near Me’, alongside ‘Vanity Kills’ and ‘Ocean Blue’ were all Billboard dance chart number ones. The emphasis here was unashamedly electronic.
‘Alphabet City’ was co produced by Chic’s Bernard Edwards. By the summer of 1987 the worldwide hit ‘When Smokey Sings’ had powered its way toward the top of the American charts. Representing a return to luxuriant soul, along side the songs ‘The Night You Murdered Love’ and ‘King Without A Crown’. Capturing the cosmopolitan feel of the moment, ABC’s fourth album is both urban and chic. Heavy MTV rotation and an appearance on legendary show Soul Train cemented even greater success in the U.S.A for the band.
In 1991 ABC began work on an ambitious soul pop extravaganza ‘Abracadabra’. Releasing ‘Love Conquers All’ and the BlackBox mixed ‘Say It’ the following year.
The nineties saw the release of ‘The Lexicon of Live ‘ No prizes for guessing that it is a live album that showcases ABC on stage. A band that could deliver in the recording studio could clearly do the same in front of an audience.
‘Skyscraping’ in 1997 represented a tour de force of gilt edged ABC. ‘Stranger things’ and ‘Only The Best Will Do’ embrace Glam inspired rock and roll .
Collaborating with artists as diverse as King Britt in Philadelphia and David Arnold in London ABC continue to experiment and entertain.
In April 2008 ABC released their first studio album in over 10 years. ‘Traffic’ was a collaboration between Martin Fry, David Palmer (who had been in ABC during ‘The Lexicon of Love’) and Chuck Kentis. The magnificent first single ‘The Very First Time ‘ was a massive hit on BBC Radio 2, with the follow up ‘Love Is Strong’ demonstrating that even now 26 years on from ‘The Lexicon Of Love’, Martin Fry’s song-writing, stage craft and musicianship is still as contemporary as it was in the beginning.
The last five years have seen ABC complete four successful American Tours , the sell-out Steel City Arena Tour with The Human League and Heaven 17, and a string of Country House Shows here in the UK.
On April 8th 2009 ABC performed their debut album “The Lexicon Of Love” in its entirety to a sell-out audience at London’s prestigious Royal Albert Hall, some 27 years after its debut release. Introduced by Trevor Horn, the album’s producer and accompanied by the BBC Concert Orchestra, the show reunited not only Martin Fry and David Palmer but also producer Trevor Horn, Tessa Niles the original backing vocalist and critically acclaimed musician and multi-talented arranger and composer, Anne Dudley, who conducted the orchestra.
“The Lexicon Of Love” was acknowledged as the greatest British pop LP of its decade, and remains one of the 10 best of all time.
It may be thirty years since “The Lexicon Of Love”, but ABC audiences and the press all say that the energy and the vocals of the band today easily match what they put out back in the 80’s , giving audiences worldwide a great night of music and entertainment.
Whether performing as a band, or performing with an Orchestra Martin Fry is the consummate show-man.