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THE LAST DANCE

Just one of the many faces of Stephen John Harrington, aka Steve Strange, pioneer of club culture, who died in February 2015 aged 55

Steve Strange was a man of supreme confidence, a man who enjoyed the mechanics of confrontation, loved the glamour and fun of the underground fashion scene, was full of ideas in terms of makeup, music, entertainment and more… but he frankly admitted that he couldn’t play an instrument, and he wasn’t much of a singer, either. It didn’t matter; his role was different. Strange was a pioneer of the New Romantic movement, playing his part in the creation of synthpop via the Visage hit single Fade To Grey, and managing to attract a bewildering array of seriously creative talent into his creative orbit.

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About Classic Pop

In our latest Classic Pop Presents special, we immerse ourselves in the flamboyant world of the New Romantics. From the scene's origins as an underground movement born out of the Blitz Club in Soho through to the worldwide surge of popularity that led to mainstream success for some of the major players who made their musical mark, such as Boy George, Spandau Ballet, Visage and Duran Duran. Inside we tell the story of the Godfather of the scene, Steve Strange, and explore his pioneering band Visage with the help of Blitz DJ and band member Rusty Egan and fellow band-mate Midge Ure, who moved on to front Ultravox. We chat to Spandau Ballet's Steve Norman, who guides us through the making of their game-changing debut album Journeys To Glory, plus we head up to the Midlands to the Rum Runner club, which gave rise to another of the scene's major success stories, Duran Duran. This issue has plenty more to be enjoyed, including an exploration of David Bowie's influence on the movement plus eye-opening interviews with some of the scene's faces to get their side of this fascinating era, including Toyah, Princess Julia and Mark Shaw. Raconteur, author, DJ – and Soho's Wag Club founder – Chris Sullivan shares his hilarious memories of the times, and we strut the cat-walk with Blitz Kids, fashion designer Judith Franklin and photographer Graham Smith for our New Romantic fashion feature. Also inside, there's our Top 40 Essential New Romantic playlist, the design styles and artwork of the scene's many fine releases, and all with stunning photos throughout!

Other Articles in this Issue


Classic Pop Presents
All truly relevant youth movements begin with a hunger
AT FIRST, IT WAS A SECRET, AN ESCAPE. AT NIGHT, BELOW THE STREETS OF SOHO, UNKNOWN FACES EMERGED INTO THE LIGHT, CLAD IN EXTRAORDINARY CLOTHING, DANCING TO A FUTURISTIC SOUNDTRACK. IT WAS A NEW WORLD – AS YET, ONE WITHOUT A NAME…
WHILE THE NEW ROMANTICS WERE STILL LARGELY A SECRET TO THE OUTSIDE WORLD, THEIR HERO WAS DREAMING UP A SOARING ROCK RECORD, A MULTI-LAYERED, DYSTOPIAN MASTERPIECE – A PERFECT SOUNDTRACK FOR THE DAWN OF THE FRIGHTENING 1980S…
IT’S 1983, AND A RESTYLED VICTORIAN PILE CALLED THE CAMDEN PALACE IS OFFERING THE BEST NIGHT OUT IN LONDON. MERELY A POSER’S PARADISE? BY NO MEANS – THIS IS WHERE THE WORLD’S MEDIA COME, ALL LOOKING FOR THE NEXT BIG THING. EACH WEEK, ON THESE CROWDED STAIRWAYS, CAREERS CAN BE MADE… PROVING THAT DRESSING UP TO GO TO A STEVE STRANGE CLUB REALLY CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE
THE SPANDAU BALLET MAN TELLS JOHN EARLS OF KILTS AND SUITS, HITS AND HIGH GUITARS, SHARING EACH OTHER’S CLOTHES… AND WHO HAS POP STYLE TODAY
WITH EVERYTHING THAT WAS HAPPENING AT THE BLITZ CLUB, IT WAS ONLY A MATTER OF TIME BEFORE THE SCENE FOUND ITS FIRST BREAKOUT SUPERSTARS. A BUNCH OF COCKNEYS WHO HADN’T BEEN TO ART COLLEGE WEREN’T PERHAPS THE MOST OBVIOUS CHOICE, BUT ONCE SPANDAU BALLET FIGURED OUT HOW TO SOUNDTRACK THE MOVEMENT, THERE WAS NO STOPPING THEM – AS GUITARIST/SAXOPHONIST STEVE NORMAN RECALLS…
STEVE STRANGE WAS, WITHOUT NECESSARILY KNOWING IT, THE DRIVING FORCE BEHIND THE NEW ROMANTIC MOVEMENT, BUT THIS WAS JUST ONE UNINTENTIONAL OUTCOME IN A LIFE FULL OF SUCCESS, EXCESS AND DISASTER. CLASSIC POP TRACES THE EXTRAORDINARY MISADVENTURES OF THE MAN FROM SOUTH WALES WHO BECAME BOTH A LEGEND AND A LIABILITY…
A BELOVED POP PERSONAGE SHARES HER FRANK RECOLLECTIONS OF THE EARLY NEW ROMANTIC SCENE WITH DOUGLAS MCPHERSON…
NEW ROMANTIC DIDN’T COME FROM NOWHERE. IT DREW FROM GLAM ROCK, REACTED TO PUNK, LOOKED TO THE PAST AND THE FUTURE TO SEEK A NEW INDIVIDUALITY. BUT, OF COURSE, THERE WAS ONE OVERRIDING HERO…
HAS PRINCESS JULIA SPENT A QUIET NIGHT IN SINCE 1976? JOHN EARLS MEETS THE DJ, STYLE ICON, RELENTLESS CLUBGOER, RACONTEUR AND MUCH MORE…
THE EARLY 80S WAS A FERTILE, CREATIVE PERIOD IN BOTH POP AND DESIGN, AND THE CHARTS WERE SUDDENLY INUNDATED WITH ARTISTS WHO UNDERSTOOD THE COMBINED POWER OF SOUND AND VISION. WITH OUTRÉ NEW SOUNDS, STYLES AND SLEEVE DESIGNS THAT FUSED THE PAST WITH THE FUTURE, SOMETHING NEW – AND ROMANTIC – WAS BORN…
THE SINGER, ACTOR AND WRITER TELLS DOUGLAS MCPHERSON HOW HER SONGS HAVE GATHERED GREATER DEPTH AND MEANING OVER THE YEARS
WITHOUT MIDGE URE AND RUSTY EGAN, MOST OF THIS WOULD NEVER HAVE HAPPENED. THEY CREATED VISAGE, THE ULTIMATE FACES OF NEW ROMANTIC, ENLISTING STEVE STRANGE AND MESHING HIS BOLD IMAGERY WITH BRAVE, EXPERIMENTAL MUSICIANSHIP. HOW DID THEY DO IT? “SELF-BELIEF,” SAYS EGAN; “NAIVETY AND GUT INSTINCT,” COUNTERS URE. CLASSIC POP QUIZZES THIS REMARKABLE PAIR TO FIND OUT HOW THEY MANAGED TO PULL IT OFF…
BEFORE THE SILK SUITS, YACHTS AND BLOCKBUSTER VIDEOS SAILED INTO VIEW, DURAN DURAN’S EPONYMOUS DEBUT SAW THEM AT THEIR MOST EXPERIMENTAL – AN INNATE POP SENSIBILITY MELDED WITH ART-SCHOOL SYNTHS, PUNK ANGST AND DANCEFLOOR-FRIENDLY GROOVES…
AT THE TAIL-END OF THE 70S A GROUP OF YOUNG OUTSIDERS SOUGHT REFUGE FROM LONDON’S MEAN STREETS AT A SUCCESSION OF SELF-PROMOTED CLUB NIGHTS. THIS – IN THEIR OWN WORDS – IS HOW IT REALLY WENT DOWN…
• FREE record bag
WHERE WOULD THE NEW ROMANTIC MOVEMENT HAVE BEEN WITHOUT VISAGE… OR VICE VERSA? THE BAND’S SELF-TITLED DEBUT ALBUM WAS THE RESULT OF AN ALMOST SUPERGROUP-LIKE MEETING OF TALENTED INDIVIDUALS. AIMING TO FORGE A NEW BRAND OF ELECTRO-DISCO VIA CHILLY, BOMBASTIC SYNTHS AND GLAM ROCK GUITARS, THEY DREW UPON EVERYTHING FROM EUROPEAN FILM NOIR TO SPAGHETTI WESTERNS AND COSSACK CHOIRS…
FROM SPANDAU AND VISAGE TO TELEX, ENO, SOFT CELL, GINA X, CAN, SPACE AND – HONESTLY – THE SWEET, WE RECREATE THE PLAYLIST YOU’D HEAR DURING THE MOST CRAZILY-DRESSED AND UNFORGETTABLE NIGHT OF YOUR WEST END CLUBBING LIFE…
LONG BEFORE THEN JERICO, A YOUNG MARK SHAW WAS JUST ANOTHER FACE IN THE QUEUE AT BILLY’S AND BLITZ. JOHN EARLS HEARS HIS INSIDER’S STORIES…
THOUGH JAPAN HAD NO CONNECTION TO THE ORIGINAL NEW ROMANTICS, THEIR BREAKTHROUGH ALBUM OF LATE 1980 WAS HAILED BY THE PRESS AS A MASTERPIECE OF THE SO-CALLED MOVEMENT. HOWEVER, THEIR SUCCESS HID A MURMURING DISCONTENT WITHIN THE GROUP…
What’s your most vivid memory of making Gentlemen Take
VISAGE BAND MEMBER STEVE BARNACLE TALKS ABOUT THE NEW ROMANTIC ICON AND INNOVATOR STEVE STRANGE AND RECALLS THE CREATION OF THE FINAL VISAGE ALBUM, DEMONS TO DIAMONDS…
“It’s been a long time since Visage took on a rock-based
THE BRAVE NEW SOUNDS BRANDISHED A BOLD AND ECLECTIC SPECTRUM OF STYLES TO MATCH. CLUB KIDS WERE KEY IN CREATING THEIR OWN EXTRAORDINARY AND INFLUENTIAL IMAGERY, AND BEFORE LONG SO-CALLED NEW ROMANTIC LOOKS WOULD FLOURISH FROM CLUB TO THE HIGH STREET…
THE INFLUENTIAL DESIGNER WHO LENT HER STYLE TO EVERYONE FROM DAVID BOWIE AND STEVE STRANGE DOWNWARDS TELLS HER TALE TO JULIE BURNS…
ST. VALENTINE’S BAL L , THE PEOPLE’S PALACE, 1981