ABC (Photo: L.J. van Houten/REX)

ABC

Formed 1980, Sheffield, UK: Martin Fry – vocals; Mark White – guitar, keyboards; Mark Lickley – bass; David Robinson – drums; Stephen Singleton – saxophone. Fry, White and Singleton had been members of Vice Versa, who released an EP Music 4 in 1979 and contributed the track Genetic Warfare to a compilation EP 1980: The First Fifteen Minutes before mutating into ABC. First single Tears Are Not Enough reached the top twenty and attracted the attention of Trevor Horn, who produced their classic début album The Lexicon Of Love (1982, #1) with its trio of career-defining top ten hits Poison Arrow, The Look Of Love and All Of My Heart. Fluctuating line-ups and the desire not to repeat themselves meant that the band was unable to sustain this level of success; second album Beauty Stab crawled to #12 and only lead single That Was Then But This Is Now reached the top twenty. In desperation, the band became cartoon caricatures, Fry and White recruiting blonde bombshell Eden (Fiona Russell-Powell) and bald, bespectacled David Yarritu for the next album How To Be A Zillionaire! (1985, #28), neither of whom made any major musical contribution. Ditching the frivolity and now stripped back to a core duo of Fry and White, ABC resurrected their career with 1987’s soulful Alphabet City (#7), the Smokey Robinson tribute When Smokey Sings becoming their biggest hit outside the Lexicon Of Love period. A foray into house music proved less successful, 1989’s Up reaching only #58, and after 1991’s Abracadabra Fry and White went their separate ways. The band lay dormant until 1997’s Skyscraping which, despite being almost a Martin Fry solo record, was the closest ABC had ever come to recapturing the Lexicon Of Love sound which originally brought them success. In 2004 VH1’s Bands Reunited show tried unsuccessfully to persuade the classic 1982 line-up of Fry, Palmer, Singleton and White to reform for a concert, although Fry and Palmer did play the show and went on to form the basis of yet another ABC line-up. This version of the band released the album Traffic in 2008 and performed The Lexicon Of Love at the Royal Albert Hall with the BBC Concert Orchestra in 2009. The success of the Lexicon of Love concerts inspired Fry to finally release The Lexicon of Love II in 2016 which took the band back into the top five.

ESSENTIAL ’80s ABC

SINGLES

All Of My Heart sleeve

ALL OF MY HEART
August 1982, #6

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That Was Then But This Is Now sleeve

THAT WAS THEN BUT THIS IS NOW
October 1983, #18

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The Night You Murdered Love sleeve

THE NIGHT YOU MURDERED LOVE
August 1987, #31

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ALBUMS

The Lexicon Of Love LP sleeve

THE LEXICON OF LOVE
June 1982, #1

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Beauty Stab LP sleeve

BEAUTY STAB
November 1983, #12

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Alphabet City LP sleeve

ALPHABET CITY
October 1987, #7

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