Adam Ant

Sometimes it’s difficult to pinpoint exact turning points in the history of an artist or band, but the 16th October 1980 is one such precise date for Adam Ant, when he was thrust upon the general public with his first national television performance on the BBC’s flagship music programme; Top of the Pops. The show launched Adam’s face, along with his relatively new band, into millions of living rooms in the UK and their ferocious but fresh new sound enabled the direction of British music to take a new turn. For almost 2 years Adam and the Ants dominated the charts with their singles and subsequent albums, especially Kings of the Wild Frontier, the band’s second, which charted for 66 consecutive weeks, 12 of which were in the number 1 position.

This was far from an overnight success as Adam had struggled for several years playing the club circuits around Britain building up a solid and severely loyal following.

The first album, Dirk Wears White Søx, had enjoyed moderate success in the independent charts. It had been the culmination of years of hard work and a journey starting whilst studying at Hornsey College of Art with Adam, then Stuart, teaming up with some college friends in their band Bazooka Joe and his Rhythm Hotshots.

With Adam on bass, the group toured the colleges and pubs of north London and it was playing these shows that encouraged him to turn his hand to writing and actually performing his own material.

In late 1975, Sex Pistols played their first ever gig supporting Bazooka Joe at St Martins College of Art, after which everything changed. Within a year, the “Punk” phenomena had swept through the country, Stuart became Adam and his next band The B-Sides came and went leaving him to kick start Adam and the Ants into action.

The Ants, as they were known in 1977, had several line up changes, starred in Derek Jarman’s film “Jubilee”, performed at the Vortex and The Roxy before setting up a residency at the Marquee in London. The fan base grew despite harsh treatment from the established music press, but Adam persevered and within three years had become a household name.

Two more years and Adam was celebrating his third number one single, Goody Two Shoes, the first as a solo artist.

With an Ivor Novello award for the Stand & Deliver single (5 weeks at the top spot), A Brit Award for the Kings album plus a Grammy nomination under his belt, Adam concentrated on the United States and for the next few years was almost constantly on tour.

It was during this time that he took up the chance to pioneer as a VJ for a fledgling MTV, this new media approach to the video format was a natural progression for Adam after the mini cinematic productions for singles such as Stand and Deliver, Prince Charming, Ant Rap and Friend or Foe.

This ultimately led to a period alternating between writing and recording his third solo album Vive le Rock with producer Tony Visconti and setting out on an acting career starting with a theatre production by one of his favourite playwrights; Joe Orton in Entertaining Mr Sloane at The Royal Exchange in Manchester.

After this the next few years were spent concentrating solely on acting in a string of films including Nomads, Love Bites and Slam Dance as well as appearing in several US TV shows such as The Equalizer, Tales from the Crypt and Sledge Hammer!

During the 1990’s Adam, again, split his time between acting and music chasing the performing roles whilst returning to the studio to record and release Manners and Physique, which included the UK top 20 single Room at the Top. The follow up album; Persuasion, remains in limbo without an official release to this day, but in 1994 Adam set about recording Wonderful, his next album, in London’s Abbey Road studios to be issued the following year along with it’s eponymous single and the follow up Gotta Be A Sin which were accompanied with successful tours of the UK and the United States.

It would be twelve years before Adam would play live again, with an acoustic show, at the Bloomsbury Theatre in London, where Adam read from his recently released biography Stand & Deliver. The sold out auditorium was treated to a dozen back to the bone acoustic versions of his favourite songs, including covers, with his old school friend and classical guitarist Dave Pash.

The 2006 book laid bare Adam’s childhood, career path and his well-documented public mental health battles revealing frank accounts of the struggles that he had endured.

Adam was presented with the “Q Icon” in 2008 for the UK annual Q awards bestowed by the respected British music magazine of the same name, placing his alongside fellow recipients Bryan Ferry, Paul McCartney and Marianne Faithfull.

This rekindled recognition resulted in a series of low key, spontaneous “guerrilla gigs” around London in early 2010 which enabled Adam to build up a new band to sell out several shows at the Scala in Kings Cross.

With the band line up settled, Adam Ant and the Good, The Mad & The Lovely Posse embarked on the successful and extensive Blueblack Hussar Tour, playing all around the UK from Cardiff to Dundee and Liverpool to Brighton.

These sell out dates were quickly followed by The Seaside Tour which ran along the south coast of England, keeping the band up to speed before playing at the Hard Rock Calling Festival in Hyde Park supporting Rod Stewart.

With the second part of the tour announced the journey continues…