Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Twelve Inch Mixes
Genres: Alternative Rock, Pop, Rock
The other New Romantic groups extended mixes are essential for any fan of the band and quintessential for any 80s aficionado. Includes the extended version of the U.S. top ten pop hit True as well as their European hits Ch... more »
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The other New Romantic groups extended mixes are essential for any fan of the band and quintessential for any 80s aficionado. Includes the extended version of the U.S. top ten pop hit True as well as their European hits Chant No. 1, Musclebound, Gold, Lifeline, Communication, To Cut A Long Story Short and more. The other New Romantic groups extended mixes are essential for any fan of the band and quintessential for any 80s aficionado. Includes the extended version of the U.S. top ten pop hit True as well as their European hits Chant No. 1, Musclebound, Gold, Lifeline, Communication, To Cut A Long Story Short and more. EMI Gold. 2003.
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Javier Moreno | San Francisco Bay Area, California | 03/06/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"We were some of the most people who thought Spandau Ballet was only "True" and maybe that other song included in the same album, the one called "Gold."
But Spandau Ballet was, truly indeed, way more than five good looking and well dressed boys. They carried on their shoulders the weight of New Romantic Wave in the early eighties, and they gave their audience excellent tunes of high end quality. Honestly, they could have been the most representative pop band of the Eighties.
I remember this one time at the late Jorge Cox's record store in Lima, Peru. Jorge was the president of the Elvis Presley Peruvian Fan Club and we used to talk about music a lot while we listened to records with him. For some reason I mentioned the Spandau Ballet subject, while discussing the 80's New Wave sound. I was about to mention that Spandau was one of the best bands in all history -in my humble opinion- when Cox told me: "Almost all gay men who come to my store ask for Spandau Ballet." Of course I didn't say the phrase, cowardly.
I remember summer of 95, when I bought a VHS tape full of Spandau Ballet videos and I was surprised to see them while listening to them. Certainly, they were as gay as Sylvester. My friends made fun of me and pointed me with their finger, calling me Homo. I didn't deny my admiration for the band then, and now I want to pay tribute to this quintet of men, gay or not, praising their most important record of their discography, the essential Twelve Inch Mixes.
Those who know their also impressive Singles Collection, let me affirm that Twelve Inch Mixes surpasses it dramatically, having it's songs longer, way more danceable and entertaining than the singles per se. Enough with that? Let's see a little bit about SB's history.
1979 was an innovative year for the British Music Scene. During that year, England's music industry engulfed a huge number of musical genres: Punks on withdrawal due to the Sex Pistols' disbanding, the Underground scene that put Joy Division on the spot along with Adam Ant and a new band known as Simple Minds; the New Soul/Reggae scene with Police bombarding the music market with big numbers in sales; the Mod scene returning thanks to the dandies of the Jam and, finally, a lot of black musicians having their ways opened in the Club circuit. There was space for something else: In some smaller London Clubs like Billy's, The Blitz, Le Beat Route and Le Kilt, something new was being generated: The New Romantic.
This phenomenon, developed against the Punk philosophy, used music as a way of escapism more than a socio-political platform. Another difference, way more obvious, between the two genres was the look adopted by the fans: The wore and tore look reflected the nihilistic and anarchist attitudes in the Punk fans as a social answer. On the other corner, the New Romantics, also known as the Blitz kids, took care a lot about their appereance, including the smallest details. They were quickly spotted on the streets of London with their Victorian-influenced clothes, and their amazing hairstyles that featured the most complicated details.
Considering the big differences between Punk and New Romantic, both movements emerged from the same roots: both were a product of England's working class. It was precisely in one of the typical working class London neighborhoods (Islington) in which five high school mates decided to start a band that, with acts like Duran Duran, Classic Noveaux and Visage, would become in one of the best exponents and pioneers of this NR wave. They would be known all over the world as Spandau Ballet.
Spandau Ballet was born in 1979, developing all along 198o one of the most important evolution campaigns that a band without a record deal could carry, and becoming one of the pioneers of the New Romantic movement. Members were Gary Kemp (composer, guitar, synths,) his brother Martin Kemp (bass,) Steve Norman (sax, percussion, guitar,) John Keeble (drums) and Tony Hadley (lead vocals.) They were eager to give the Night Clubs and their futuristic-new romantic activities the soundtrack these places needed. At the beginning they had Steve Strange (who later would become the leader of Visage) as manager. Spandau Ballet, at the beginning, refused to promote their shows any other way than rumours and word of mouth, creating an elitist image that made them featured in a TV documentary on the London Scene of 1980. After performing in all high end clubs in London, they became famous in St. Tropez, and consolidating their potential in London, playing a gig on the H.M.S. Belfast, permanently anchored on the London Tower. The videos for "To Cut A Long Story Short" (about the dungeons of the London Tower) and "Chant No 1" (about the Night Club's tense scene) can make reference on the group's beginnings.
After that first step, they created their own label, Reformation (like one of the songs of their debut album) and, on the summer of 1980, in a very clever maneuver, signed a distribution deal with Chrysalis Records. Such a distinction for an unknown band, having their own label, no albums published, and having Chrysalis securing a contract. The success was assured, then.
The first single, "To Cut A Long Story Short" was number 5 at the end of 1980. Spandau Ballet was one of the most important bands of british pop with their debut album, Journeys To Glory (number 5) and the singles "The Freeze" (#5) and "Musclebound/Glow" (#10). The strenght of SB and their best moment arrived in 1982 with the Diamond album and the singles "Chant No 1" (#3) and "Paint Me Down" (#30), both of them released one year earlier. The Beggar and Co. horn section was featured on "Chant," making this theme possibly their best song. More singles coming: "Instinction" (#10), "She Loved Like Diamond" (uncharted) and the maxisingle "Lifeline" (#10.) It's important to mention that Diamond was released as a standard album and as a 12" mixes box; anticipating the album we're supposed to review here.
This success put the band onto work on what would be their biggest album, True, which title song reached the number one spot and it's definetly the best ballad of the eighties, if not the most representative. True also gave "Communication" (#12) and "Gold" (#2 and the first Spandau single registered on the #32 spot. The 12" version is infinitely superior, with a chilling piano and percussion introduction.)
For 1984's Parade (1984), Spandau Ballet was already consolidated in England, but not so much in the U.S. (critics trashed them really bad.) The single "Only When You Leave" reached #3 in the U.K., but in the U.S. only reached number 32. U.S. audiences didn't have good musical tastes around that time, possibly. The next singles were "I'll Fly For You" (#9), "Highly Strung" (#15) and "Round And Round" (#18). With a singles list like this one, it was about time for the mandatory "Greatest Hits" record and they did it with The Singles collection. The Twelve Inch Mixes collection was a truly gold album for SB's fans and a must-have for any 80's music collection. This meant also the end of their record deal with Chrysalis.
After this "compilation pause," another new album would come out, the regular Through The Barricades (1986), starting their contract with Columbia. That album gave the singles "Fight For Ourselves," "Through The Barricades" and "How Many Lies," and the creative penmanship of Gary Kemp started to decline, along with the performanceship of the band. By 1989, the album Heart Like A Sky just gave out one single "Be Free With Your Love," and the album did so poorly that it's currently out of print.
Even thought at the beginning seen as a prefabricated plastic product out of the 'burbs (meaning Backstreet Boys or New Kids On The Block of 1980), Spandau Ballet proved to be a first class band with a good bunch of records. They were handsome, but they were no fools since they knew where they were going and what exactly they were doing. A strategy like they used to become popular was nothing like what was done before; it was risky, cocky and no manager would have agreed to go along with. Their music and attitude showed real respect to their audience.
Why should I own Twelve Inch Mixes?
First of all, because this one is the best example of New Romantic Music of the eighties. Second, their songs are fun, catchy, well sung with a correct British accent; and their arrangements and production are superb. Spandau Ballet fusions pop elements with rhythms close to dispair elements, like funk and jazz, showing a solid line that harmonizes the strenght of percussion with synth's techniques. Gary Kemp's guitar isn't a virtuoso one, but his playing is vital and holds all the bands' tunes. Martin Kemp, on bass, could be the most mechanical one in the band, but even that is also hard to define because nobody actually clouds anybody in the band. All of them worked as a team, together, cohesively, making amazing results. You wouldn't regret buying it here."
Gold alone is worth the price of admission.
firstname.lastname@example.org | Chicago, Illinois, USA | 03/01/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"if you are a true fan of Spandau Ballet, then this is a must have. The extended version of Gold, with over two and a half minutes of synthesizer-induced strings, bongos and percussion in the introduction is required listening for any 80's music fan. Only When You Leave also received a nice remix. These two songs on the disc are definitely Spandau Ballet classics in style and sound. The extended version of True didn't expand much beyond the original song. Similar low-keyed treatments for Lifeline, Round and Round, and I'll Fly For You left me wanting more. I did enjoy the remix version of Chant #1 even though there was not much variation from the very well made original mix. I plan to buy another copy of this CD as mine has been listened to and handled so much, that the scratches are starting to impede continuous play."
I love Spandau Ballet and this version is SUPERB
email@example.com | 09/27/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The extended version of Gold is incredible well conceived. Listening to it is worth the whole record. Only When You Leave has an excellent mix and really fullfills your demands. The other low-keyed treatment like Lifeline, Highlyrestrund, I'll Fly For You are excellent. The True version has only a slight change. I think this is the best version of Spandau Ballet."