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 single.
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 Guys.
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
Here they are with their hit song “The Look of Love”…