An English New Wave band that charted ten UK and five US Top 40 singles between 1981 and 1990. The band continues to tour to this day and released a new album, Traffic, on April 28, 2008.
ABC were formed in 1980 in the city of Sheffield, after Martin Fry, a music journalist, interviewed the band Vice Versa for his fanzine Modern Drugs. They adopted Fry as lead vocalist and changed their name to ABC.
The revamped band were pigeon-holed as part of the New Romantic movement of the time, which included the likes of Duran Duran and Spandau Ballet. Although the band would offer many stylistic spins within its career, it is best known for combining synthesizers with orchestra to produce a polished, bright pop-oriented sound.
The first single, "Tears Are Not Enough", made the UK Top 20 in 1981. Soon afterwards, David Robinson left the band and was replaced by drummer David Palmer.
In 1982, the band released their debut album The Lexicon of Love. Heavy on rhyming couplets and tales of unrequited love, the album was a big hit, reaching number one in the UK album charts. Produced by Trevor Horn, it often features in UK critics' lists of favourite albums: it ranked 42nd in The Observer Music Monthly's "Top 100 British Albums" (June 2004) and 40th in Q magazine's "100 Greatest British Albums" (June 2000).
The band had three Top 10 hits during 1982: the singles "Poison Arrow", "The Look of Love (Part One)" and "All of My Heart" and shot high-concept music videos that captured a suave Great Gatsby-meets-James Bond aesthetic.
Now a duo of Fry and White, augmented by two non-performing band members, Fiona Russell-Powell (known as Eden) and David Yarritu, ABC's chart fortunes in the UK dwindled further with the 1985 album How to Be a...Zillionaire!.
It marked another change of style, in this case toying with mid-1980s dance beats and samples. Keith LeBlanc from Tackhead programmed much of the beatbox work for the album. The group did score its first American Top 10 hit with the infectious "Be Near Me" (which made the UK top 30). The album also featured the singles "(How to Be a) Millionaire", "Vanity Kills" and "Ocean Blue".
Following a hiatus while Fry was treated for Hodgkin's disease, ABC returned to the studio to record Alphabet City, which they thought might be their final album. Best known for "When Smokey Sings", a tribute to Smokey Robinson, the album also spawned "The Night You Murdered Love" and "King Without a Crown" as singles.
In 2004, the VH1 show Bands Reunited attempted to get the line-up of Martin Fry, David Palmer, Stephen Singleton and Mark White together for a reunion concert. Martin Fry and David Palmer appeared and played together for the first time in over twenty years. Singleton and White opted not to participate.
Following a tour of the United States in May and June 2006, Fry and Palmer, together with keyboardist Chuck Kentis, put together a new ABC album with the title of Traffic.
In the summer of 2008, ABC toured the U.S. as part of the 2008 Regeneration Tour, which also featured The Human League, Belinda Carlisle, A Flock of Seagulls, and Naked Eyes.
In April 2009, ABC performed the Lexicon Of Love live album at the Royal Albert Hall, accompanied by the BBC Concert Orchestra. Anne Dudley of Art of Noise fame, who arranged and played keyboards on the original record, conducted the performance.
Current Members include.
Martin Fry - lead vocals (1980 - Present)
Former Members include.
Mark White - guitar, keyboards (1980–1992)
Stephen Singleton - saxophone (1980–1984)
Mark Lickley - bass (1980–1982)
David Robinson - drums (1980–1982)
David Palmer - drums (1982-1983, 1985-1986, 2004-2009)
Fiona Russell-Powell - vocals (1985)
David Yarritu - vocals (1985)
Glenn Gregory - vocals (1995–1997)
Keith Lowndes - guitar (1995–1997)