Spandau Ballet: The 80’s

The one thing about this decade, it had style and was fashion conscious. A lot of it was bad, with padded shoulders, skinning neckties, jackets with sleeves pushed up, very big hair and….I’ll stop there.

Fashion was a big part of 1980’s music and MTV exploited it.  Among the style-conscious musical groups was Spandau Ballet with their finely coiffed hair and tailored suits.

The origins of the stylish British group followed the punk era and underground club scene that became the new romanticism era.  In the early 1980’s the band, now called Spandau Ballet, charted several singles across Europe.

Their second album, Diamonds, released in 1982, charted three singles, “Chant No. 1,” “Instinction” and “She Loved Like Diamond.”

The sound of Spandau Ballet was a slick, pop-groove based sound that borrowed from R&B for that dash of romantic texture.  This would be very evident on their third album, which would introduce them to the world.

Their third album, True arrived in 1983 and rose to number 19 on the Billboard charts, and yielded four singles. “Communication,” “Gold,” “Lifeline” and “True.”  The biggest hit was “True” that charted around the world and was a U.S. top ten hit.

Parade (1984) The much anticipated follow-up to True. Sold less well but offered up several ready-made singles.  “Only When You Leave,” “I’ll Fly for You,” “Highly Strung” and “Round and Round.”


Through the Barricades (1986) The album had multiple charting singles in Europe but sold poorly in the U.S. and received somewhat negative reviews.

Heart Like the Sky (1989) The last collection of original material before the group disbanded.

Once More (2009) Mostly re-recorded version of past songs, mostly in an unplugged style.

Spandau Ballet did not have much staying power as a band although “True” will always be a defining song of the 1980’s.  The Kemp brothers (guitar, bass) would branch into acting, portraying the murderous Kray brothers on film.

After Spandau Ballet reformed in the 2000’s, without lead singer Tony Hadley, the band has played the oldies circuit.

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