When Tony Hadley takes the stage this coming spring onboard The 80s Cruise, he’ll bring with him a collection of songs that basically helped create a new genre of music in our beloved decade.
Tony and his former band Spandau Ballet were among the icons of the New Romantic movement in the late ’70s and early ’80s. Born in the nightclub scenes of London and Birmingham, England, the movement was focused as much on fashion as it was music. While the look was a flamboyant mashup of glam, whimsy and androgyny, the music found heroes in bands such as Duran Duran, A Flock of Seagulls, Adam and the Ants, Gary Numan and, of course, Spandau Ballet. Thanks to MTV airplay, the movement migrated to the U.S., where those names and their songs still ring true today.
In fact, it’s been 36 years since Spandau Ballet’s “True” ascended to the #4 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 on October 8, 1983! “Gold,” “Through the Barricades,” “Only When You Leave” and “Communication” also became anthems for Spandau Ballet fans during those magical years.
If you want an amazing look at the full history of Spandau Ballet and the New Romantic era, check out the excellent 2014 documentary “Soul Boys of the Western World,” which is available on YouTube.
These days, Tony has moved on from his time fronting Spandau Ballet, releasing solo material that still has many of the same hooks of those signature ’80s hits — along with that trademark booming voice.
As we prepare for his performances on The 80s Cruise in March 2020, here are 5 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Tony Hadley:
WHO LEFT WHO? Much has been written and reported about the split between Tony and the rest of Spandau Ballet, with both sides insisting the other party is at fault. The closest we’ve gotten to an explanation comes from a 2018 interview with OK! magazine, in which Tony says: “They can sugar-coat it as much as they like, but they know exactly why I left the band. I was forced into a no-win situation. I thought we’d go off and do solo work and I’d release my album, then we’d get back together again. That was the way I always planned it; they didn’t see it like that.”
HIS POLITICS: Tony has been described as one of the few openly right-wing music stars of his generation. Despite Spandau Ballet’s place in Britain’s counterculture during the financially devastating era of the late ’70s and early ’80s, Tony is reported to be a supporter of the Conservative Party and has even shown interest in running for a seat in Parliament.
HE LOVES BEER: Tony has been an enthusiastic co-owner and partner of several breweries in the UK over the last decade. Don’t be surprised if you find him at one of the many great bars on the ship that feature an assortment of imported beers and ales.
A TV STAR: Tony’s no stranger to television, having made appearances on several popular British shows including “I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here” and the short film “Shoot the DJ.” His solo tune “After All This Time” also was the theme song for the BBC series “Down to Earth.”
ABOUT NOSTALGIA: In a 2018 interview with the Yorkshire Evening Post, Tony said: “Well, I’m not a nostalgic person. I don’t go back and listen to old Spandau in my spare time and marvel over it. It annoys me slightly when people tell you that the ’70s or ’80s was the best time to live through; they seem to be stuck in the past, hankering after rose-tinted glory days.”
Ouch. He’s not talking about us, is he? The good news is that in the same interview, he promised that his lack of nostalgia doesn’t hold him back from playing his big ’80s hits.
“Whenever you play live, for me,” Tony said, “you’ve got to send people home with a smile.”
We know that much is true.
(Steve Spears is the creator and co-host of the Stuck in the ‘80s podcast. He and Brad Williams emcee Big 80s Trivia onboard The 80s Cruise. Listen to their podcast on your favorite app or at www.sit80s.com.)