Adam & The Ants

Adam and the Ants

Formed 1977, London, UK: Adam Ant (Stuart Goddard, ex-Bazooka Joe, The B-Sides) – vocals; Lester Square (Thomas Hardy) – guitar; Andy Warren – bass; Paul Flanagan – drums. The band’s early image and material was dominated by bondage and sado-masochistic imagery, positioning them at the less commercial end of the punk scale, although they recorded two tracks for the soundtrack of Derek Jarman’s 1977 film Jubilee (in which Adam also acted). After an unrepresentative one-off single for Decca, Young Parisians, they signed to the indie label Do-It who released their début album Dirk Wears White Sox in 1979. Shortly afterwards the band’s “manager” Malcolm McLaren effectively sacked Adam from his own band and recruited the Ants – by now consisting of Matthew Ashman (guitar), Leigh Gorman (bass) and Dave Barbarossa (drums) – to form Bow Wow Wow with vocalist Annabella Lwin. Undeterred, Adam formed a new, more commercial version of the Ants with Marco Pirroni (guitar, ex-Siouxsie & The Banshees), Kevin Mooney (bass), Merrick (Chris Hughes, drums) and Terry Lee Miall (more drums). The new line-up re-recorded the Dirk Wears White Sox track Cartrouble as a single before signing a major deal with CBS. The band’s breakthrough came in late 1980 when Dog Eat Dog reached #4; its parent album Kings Of The Wild Frontier topped the charts and two further singles “Antmusic” and the title track both reached #2, while a reissued Young Parisians also made the top ten despite sounding completely unlike any of their other hits. Former Roxy Music bassist Gary Tibbs replaced Mooney for 1981’s Prince Charming; two preview singles Stand And Deliver and the title track were #1 hits, although the album stalled at #2. After a further single Ant Rap, the band imploded and Adam began a solo career.

Adam’s first solo single Goody Two Shoes was another chart topper, but chart positions were beginning to slide. 1982’s Friend Or Foe album reached #5, but next album Strip stalled at #20 and after a lukewarm reception at Live Aid, Vive Le Rock struggled to #42. Adam spent the second half of the decade concentrating on his acting career, including a three month run in a London stage production of Joe Orton’s Entertaining Mr Sloane and roles in US TV shows The Equalizer and Miami Vice. He returned to music in the 1990s with the albums Manners & Physique (1990, #19) and Wonderful (1995, #24). For a while Adam’s well-documented mental health issues tended to overshadow his artistic endeavours, although he published a successful autobiography Stand And Deliver in 2006 and returned to live performance in 2010. After several years’ gestation a long awaited new album, splendidly titled Adam Ant Is The Blueblack Hussar In Marrying The Gunner’s Daughter, returned Adam to the top thirty in 2013.

ESSENTIAL ’80s ADAM AND THE ANTS

SINGLES

"Antmusic" sleeve

“ANTMUSIC”
November 1980, #2

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Stand And Deliver sleeve

STAND AND DELIVER
March 1981, #1

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Goody Two Shoes sleeve

Adam Ant: GOODY TWO SHOES
May 1982, #1

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ALBUMS

Kings Of The Wild Frontier LP sleeve

KINGS OF THE WILD FRONTIER
November 1980, #1

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Prince Charming LP sleeve

PRINCE CHARMING
November 1981, #2

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Friend Or Foe LP sleeve

Adam Ant: FRIEND OR FOE
October 1982, #5

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