This group was formed in Sheffield, England in 1980
after a music journalist conducted an interview with the band Vice Versa
for his fanzine. This
journalist was Martin Fry and after they decided to take him on as their
lead singer they changed their name to ABC.
The group were put into the same New Romantic style as
several other British bands of the time and their debut single, released in
1981, “Tears Are Not Enough”, reached the Top 20 in the UK chart. Their drummers changed after that
Working with the producer Trevor Horn and the arranger
Anne Dudley they released The Lexicon of Love in 1982, which became
a huge hit and topped the UK album charts. It has since appeared in several publications’ “100
Greatest British Albums”.
Carrying on their success right through 1982 they
released the further singles “Poison Arrow”, “The Look of Love” and “All of
My Heart”. They were unable to
emulate the same thing in 1983 when their Beauty Stab couldn’t reach
the same heights. The singles released didn’t do that well either with “That
Was Then This Is Now” appearing the Top 20 for a short time and their “S.O.S.”
only made it to the Top 40.
The saxophonist, Stephen Singleton, left the band and so
the group became the duo of Mark White and Martin Fry. They were, however, joined by David
Yarritu and Fiona Russell-Powell (aka Eden) on their videos for the songs
from the 1985 How to be a…Zillionaire! These songs were “(How To Be a) Millionaire, “Ocean
Blue”, “Vanity Kills”, “Be Near Me” brought them their first Top 10 success
in the US chart and “So Hip It Hurts” appeared on the soundtrack of Tough
Martin Fry had to take time out after that to receive
treatment for Hodgkin’s disease, but he returned in 1987 to record their Alphabet
City, which was produced by the duo and Bernard Edwards of Chic. It was a popular album with the
single releases “King Without a Crown”, The Night You Murdered Love” and
the tribute “When Smokey Sings”.
Two years later in 1989 they released Up, which
dabbled with house music and produced the singles “”One Better Day” and “The
Real Thing”. They also made an
appearance on albums by Lizzie Tear and Paul Rutherford.
As the 1990s came in they issued Absolutely,
which was an album of greatest hits.
It went into the Top 10 in the UK and featured “The Look of Love ‘90”. They then changed labels and went
to EMI and released Abracadabra in 1991. It did not do so well on the singles side with “Love Conquers
All” hardly touching the charts and “Say It” just proving popular on the
dance chart in the US once it had been remixed by Black Box.
The group remained quiet until 1997 when Martin Fry collaborated
with Keith Lowndes and Glenn Gregory and went under the name ABC for his
tribute album Skyscraping.
Two years later Martin Fry with a new backing band released The
Lexicon of Live.
Moving into the new millennium Look of Love - The
Very Best of ABC made its appearance in 2001. Three years later in 2004 the show Bands Reunited broadcast
by VH1 tried to get all the original members back together after more than
twenty years, but just David White and Martin Fry appeared with the
addition of Nick Beggs of Kajagoogoo.
The duo went back on an American tour in 2006
with Chuck Kentis on keyboards and they recorded the 2008 release Traffic. The ensuing single “The Very First Time”
received major airplay from BBC Radio 2 and also appeared as a download. Continuing with their live
performances they performed at Scotland’s Retrofest in 2007 and toured
America with the 2008 Regeneration Tour.
2009 was a big year for them also when they
performed the Lexicon of Love album live at the Royal Albert Hall and were
conducted by Anne Dudley and accompanied by the BBC Concert Orchestra. They also went back on tour in
America again as performers in the 2009 Regeneration Tour.
Members over the years:
Martin Fry – Lead vocals
Glenn Gregory - Vocals
Mark Lickley – Bass
Keith Lowndes – Guitar
Andy Newmark - Drums
David Palmer – Drums
David Robinson – Drums
Fiona Russell-Powell - Vocals
Stephen Singleton – Saxophone
Alan Spenner - Bass
Mark White - Guitar/Keyboards
Dave Wyndham - Vocals
David Yarritu – Vocals