Led by charismatic singer Martin Fry, ABC exploded out of Sheffield, England with a signature brand of pop that fused the world of disco funk with their own unique new romantic, post punk vision. ABC’s debut album, The Lexicon of Love, went straight to the top of the U.K. charts, sold over 1 million units and was voted by many as the best British album of the decade.
ABC continued to conquer audiences with more hit albums packed with ground-breaking collections of modern love songs and majestic production. World tours, heavy rotation on MTV, and an appearance on the legendary show Soul Train earned the band glittering success and an important place in the 80s lexicon of music.
“ABC’s Martin Fry is a revelation, a soul man supreme, belting out pristine Vegas glitter pop and uptown House in his electric blue lounge suit,” wrote Stephen Dalton on British music, film and culture website NME.
We are super stoked to have ABC sailing on The 80s Cruise in 2022, but couldn’t wait that long to get to know more about Martin Fry. Check out this Q&A:
THE 80s CRUISE: What have you heard about the epic party, concerts and guests that rock every sailing of The 80s Cruise?
MARTIN FRY: Heard it’s one hell of a party. The best thing to happen on sea.
THE 80s CRUISE: What was in the water in Sheffield that produced so much amazing music?
MARTIN FRY: The great thing about Sheffield was there were more bands per square inch than any other city. From Def Leppard to The Human League. I don’t know why. Suppose there weren’t many other outlets once all the steel factories closed down. There was music everywhere.
THE 80s CRUISE: ABC landed 10 U.K. and 5 U.S. Top 40 hit singles between 1981 and 1990, including the U.K. #1 The Lexicon of Love in 1982. But what deeper, less heralded tracks or albums are just as special to you as a group and why?
MARTIN FRY: Try “Spellbound” from an album called Abracadabra and maybe “Paper Thin” from an album called Up.
THE 80s CRUISE: How did your musical vision to fuse the world of disco funk with a unique new romantic, post punk sound come to be?
MARTIN FRY: Probably from going to night clubs and hearing Earth Wind and Fire and Chic alongside Joy Division and the Cure. The best clubs back then played an eclectic mix of stuff. I guess it seeped into the songs we were writing.
THE 80s CRUISE: What is your favorite 80s band, 80s fashion statement, and 80s movie or TV show?
MARTIN FRY: Scritti Politti made some great music in the 80s. My gold suit was my defining 80s fashion moment. Blade Runner in the cinema and Moonlighting on TV.