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Digital Subscriptions > Classic Pop > Nov-18 > BRAVE NEW WORLD

BRAVE NEW WORLD

WHEN TONY HADLEY LEFT SPANDAU BALLET LAST YEAR, IT COULD HAVE FINISHED THEM. INSTEAD, THEY’VE RECRUITED A YOUNGER SINGER – IN MUSICALS STAR ROSS WILLIAM WILD – AND ARE DETERMINED TO PROVE THE DOUBTERS WRONG. IN THEIR FIRST MAJOR GROUP INTERVIEW SINCE ROSS JOINED, THE BAND EXPLAIN: “WE’D GONE A BIT STAGNANT AND WERE TAKING LIFE FOR GRANTED. NOW WE’VE GOT OUR EXCITEMENT BACK.”
Spandau Ballet’s new line-up (l to r): drummer John Keeble, bassist Martin Kemp, singer Ross William Wild, sax player Steve Norman and guitarist Gary Kemp
© Denis O’Regan

Culture Club with Sam Butcher. Genesis with Ray Wilson. INXS with J.D. Fortune: the history of bands replacing their lead singer can be ugly at times. But it can go gloriously right, too – AC/DC thrived with Brian Johnson and then Axl Rose, and Genesis didn’t do badly with Phil Collins instead of Peter Gabriel… The peril of the newbie is an unpredictable saga that Spandau Ballet 2.0 are very much aware of.

When Spandau first reformed after 19 years for a tour in 2009, it was hugely unlikely, given that the last time they’d been seen in public together was at the High Court after Tony Hadley, Steve Norman and John Keeble unsuccessfully sued Gary Kemp for a share of songwriting royalties – an experience the neutral Martin Kemp likened to “seeing your parents get divorced”. That tour was a triumph, as was a second run in 2014 alongside the compelling Spandau documentary film Soul Boys Of The Western World. There were new songs, too: two spiced up that year’s singles compilation, Once More.

“WE’RE BUILDING THINGS BACK UP SLOWLY, BIT BY BIT. IF PEOPLE WANT MORE, WE’LL GIVE THEM MORE.” MARTIN KEMP

Brothers in arms – Gary and Martin Kemp
© Denis O’Regan

And then, in July 2017, Tony Hadley was gone. The singer’s announcement on Twitter that “circumstances beyond my control” were forcing him out of the band seemed sudden. Hadley has since mysteriously claimed that “the others know why I’ve had to go”, without so far going into details. This June, just under a year after Hadley’s departure, Ross William Wild joined – littleknown publicly, but a singer with a strong reputation in West End musicals, where he’d played Freddie Mercury in We Will Rock You and Elvis Presley in Million Dollar Quartet. The latter musical’s co-stars included Martin Kemp as Sun Records boss Sam Phillips.

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About Classic Pop

Issue 46 of Classic Pop magazine is on sale now! In the latest issue we have an exclusive chat with the new line-up of Spandau Ballet – their first major group interview as they relaunch themselves with new frontman Ross William Wild. We also have a must-read interview with Vince Clarke and Alison Moyet who look back on their fractious past life in Yazoo. The legends just keep on coming, too, as we speak to Nile Rodgers about his 40 years of classic tracks as a billion-dollar hitmaker and Chic's hotly-anticipated new album, It's About Time. Elsewhere, we look back at the 80s heyday of Top Of The Pops through the eyes of those who were there – DJ Janice Long and a whole host of TV insiders. Our classic album is the Stone Roses' imperious debut and we also meet Stephen Hague, the producer behind hits by Pet Shop Boys, New Order, Robbie Williams and many more besides. Need a buyer's guide to Michael Jackson? We look at the King of Pop's complete career in our Lowdown feature. As we delve into David Bowie's 80s boxset Loving The Alien, Classic Pop catches up with his closest collaborators who tell us how the legend's most divisive decade made him a global star. New albums from Boy George And Culture Club, Chic, Robyn, and The Prodigy get the once-over alongside reissues including OMD, Bronski Beat, Ultravox, The Police and Massive Attack. We also review Soft Cell's celebratory farewell O2 show plus Kylie Minogue's Golden Tour and more.. Enjoy the issue! Steve