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Adam & The Ants

One of the seminal figures of new wave, Adam Ant (born Stuart Leslie Goddard) had several distinct phases to his career. Initially, he explored a jagged, guitar-oriented post-punk with his group Adam and the Ants before giving way to a more pop-oriented, glam-tinged musical direction that brought him to the top of the charts. After that had run its course, he refashioned himself as a mainstream singer, which enabled him to stretch his career out for a couple of years. Once it seemed that his musical career had evaporated, he made an unexpected comeback in the early '90s as an adult alternative artist. During all this time, he recorded several great pop singles and had a surprisingly large impact on alternative rock.

Adam Ant formed Adam and the Ants with guitarist Lester Square, bassist Andy Warren, and drummer Paul Flanagan in London in 1977. The group's approach was more theatrical than most punk groups, incorporating sadomasochistic imagery into their concerts. During this time, the group's lineup was fairly unstable, with Square being replaced by Mark Gaumont. The band released their debut, Dirk Wears White Sox, on the independent label Do It in 1979. Dirk was an ambitious and somewhat dark album, filled with jerky rhythms and angular guitar riffs, and elements of glam rock crept into Adam's vocals; Adam re-acquired the rights to the record in 1983, reissuing it in a resequenced and remixed form, with the tracks "Catholic Day" and "Day I Met God" replaced by "Zerox" and "Kick," as well as including a new version of "Cartrouble."

At the time of its release, Dirk Wears White Sox wasn't a critical or commercial success, and the band felt the need to rework their image. Ant hired Malcolm McLaren, the manager of the Sex Pistols, to help redefine them. McLaren dressed the band in pirate outfits and suggested a more accessible and pop-oriented, rhythmic variation on punk. Adam and the Ants followed his advice, preparing material for a new album. However, McLaren persuaded all of the Ants to leave Adam, using them as the core members of Bow Wow Wow. Adam Ant immediately formed a new version of the Ants, adding guitarist Marco Pirroni, bassist Kevin Mooney, and drummers Terry Lee Miall and Merrick (born Chris Hughes). Pirroni, in particular, became very important in the band's musical direction, co-writing the majority of the songs with Adam, thus beginning a collaboration between the duo that would continue into the '90s.

Driven by a relentless, driving beat and chanting melodies, the new band's first album, 1980's Kings of the Wild Frontier, became an enormous hit in the U.K., launching three Top Ten hit singles, including the number two "Ant Music." The band's success was helped by a series of visually enticing videos, prominently featuring the skinny, handsome Adam Ant decked out in pirate gear. Prince Charming, released the following year, retained the same formula as Kings of the Wild Frontier, spawning two number one singles, "Stand and Deliver" and "Prince Charming." Even though the album was a commercial success, the formula was beginning to wear thin.

After Prince Charming, Adam Ant ditched the Ants for a solo career, retaining Marco Pirroni as a songwriting collaborator and a supporting musician. Adam's first solo album, Friend or Foe, was released in 1982 and featured the number one single "Goody Two Shoes" and the Top Ten title track. Although his next album, 1983's Strip, had some highlights and hit singles, it marked the end of his reign as one of Britain's top pop stars.

Released in 1985, the Tony Visconti-produced Vive le Rock had some fun moments, but the performance was too studied and the record didn't earn any hit singles, so Adam Ant pursued a surprisingly successful career in acting. In 1990, Ant made a comeback with the catchy hit single "Room at the Top" from the Manners & Physique record, but the album failed to produce another hit single. For the next five years, Ant concentrated on acting.

By the time Adam Ant returned to recording in 1995, echoes of his music could be heard in the spiky singles of Elastica, the neo-goth industrial rock of Nine Inch Nails, and the pseudo-glam of Suede. Instead of capitalizing on the burgeoning new wave revival, Adam Ant's 1995 comeback, Wonderful, had little to do with the stylish, intensely rhythmic music he made in the early '80s. Instead, the album repositioned him as a more mature pop-rocker, with crafted songs that featured acoustic guitars as prominently as electrics. The album was a moderate hit in the U.S. and the U.K., as was the single "Wonderful."

Following the promo push for Wonderful, Adam Ant and Pirroni attempted to write a new clutch of songs but no finished album came of it, nor did anything surface from various sessions over the next few years. Instead, the rarities-studded retrospective Antbox appeared in 2000. Ant continued his attempts to launch new projects -- including a collaboration with Morrissey guitarist Boz Boorer, who did appear on Wonderful -- but he also suffered from erratic behavior, resulting in several arrests between 2002 and 2003, leading to a period of hospitalization for mental health (he was later diagnosed with bipolar disorder). A further round of reissues arrived in the mid-2000s, this time expanded double-discs of his first six albums, all containing a second disc with rarities, B-sides, and unreleased material. At the conclusion of this campaign came Stand & Deliver, Ant's autobiography, which he promoted with his first live performance in 11 years. Soon, Adam Ant began to mount a proper comeback, beginning a new label called Blueblack Hussar Ltd in 2010, then starting to perform with regularity, touring the U.K., Europe, U.S., and Australia as he began to work out new material. This new material finally surfaced in January 2013 as the messy, ambitious pseudo-concept album Adam Ant Is the BlueBlack Hussar in Marrying the Gunner's Daughter. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi
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Comments

My friends and I used to sing this when we were getting drunk!Circa 1980.
Still waiting for that new album Adam et all ( Hopefully Marco will be onboard). I am ever hopeful!!
Kings of the Wild Frontier is my fav I think but I love them all. Adam & the Ants forever. I start my day with Plastic Surgery blaring every morning at 5am followed up by Speed Racer by Devo ..then a little Noticable One & It Ain't None of Your Business by Missing Persons, and Finish it up with Blue Highyway by Billy Idol and bring it on home with a little Space Age Love Song by AFOS and Impressed by Charlie Sexton. I usually mix in some Cruiser by the Cars and Love until we Bleed by Lykke Li.
so many memories to friend or foe..
daiseyb
He played here Monday night. Great show! He played for almost two hours. Really rocked out. Played everything and more. He sounds great and his band is really good. Love the two drummers and Georgie Girl is a show stealer. Wonderful show - catch it if you can. Adam says his new album comes out in Jan 2013.
I love friend or foe; great album!
Just saw him in San Diego this last weekend. He was great. Considering his age, he is in great performing shape and played close to two hours. Very guitar heavy with 2 drummers. If you were a fan check him out.
Adam Ant is touring the US (October 2012) and the UK (November 2012). Reviews of his shows have been positive. He has been playing in the UK for awhile.
mistycara13
I had such the crush on him back in the day! Still love his music!!
One of the strongest ties to my youth. I created a whole D&D Campaign form Antics in the Forbidden Zone, I reconciled with a good friend (Hey Eva) in homeroom singing Prince Charming. Got my friend his first speeding ticket jamming to Kings while driving... I love all the songs.
eric59239
I'm 50 years old, a successful Colorado business and family man. I STILL LOVE THE ANT!!! Mr. Ant...if you ever read these comments please know we appreciate your unique creativity and exceptionali s m Very much! My 6 1/2 year daughter and I dance to Friend or Foe regularly. Thanks for all you've given us!
Best album was Dirk Wears White Sox. Kings and Prince also very good. Once he went solo I lost interest. I remember buying Friend or Foe and being so upset! The Ants had left the building!
xyra_silverl e a f
Adam Ant always brightens my day, brings a smile to my face, and gets my blood pumping. I've loved his music since the early 80s.
Been listening to him for about 30 years. Still really enjoy his music.
bilavsky
He's brought me so much joy. I'm sorry to hear he has had troubles.
visonary writer
If there was one thing I could do before I died it would be to meet Adam Ant.
I saw Adam Ant in concert in the 80's and it was a blast. The set the costumes it was more like a theatrical musical. And I may add he was very sexy.
sbholl84
Kings of the Wild Frontier is a great record. No one in the world sounded like them at the time, and no one does now.
nicatallejo
I have seen Adam And The Ants and Adam Ant in concert, and both put on some of the best shows I have ever seen. To say that they only wrote one good song shows that Sarah Kemp is either deaf or daft! Adam also released a book that was a very good read, I would suggest it to all.
pat676
Recently while watching some old Adam and the Ants vids on youtube I caught my self noticing where Johnny Depp got inspiration for his Jack Sparrow character. Adam was an amazing musician and showman!
sandjkemp
pandora doesn't have beat my guest-the only good song he did
He is in the hospital. Send him some love: Adam Ant c/o 1
Nightingale Place, Mulberry South Ward, Chelsea and Westminster
Hospital, 369 Fulham Road, London SW10 9NG UK.
And no mention of the 6 months in the mental hospital in 2003
LONG LIVE ADAM & THE ANTS! I WENT TO THEM 4 TIMES IN THE 80"S WHEN I WAS A PRE-TEEN / TEEN. WHAT A SHOW HE/ THEY PUT ON! I GOT ALL DRESSED UP IN MY PRECIOUS ANTY GEAR AS DID MY FATHER( GOOD SPORT!!) AND MY BEST FRIEND BECCA!! BEST CONCERTS EVER BESIDES PRINCE. HE PUT SON ONE HELL OF A DANCY SHOW THAT LITTLE PURPLE GUY!! ANY MUSIC 4EVER!!! DEVO WAS AWESOME TOO! THAT WAS MY FIRST CONCERT EVER!!
He also appeared as "Johnny" in Mad max as the dictionary definition of a PUNK on PCP.
He was my first star crush and first conert. Oh man! The show was for Friend or Foe, I think I was twelve! I had a cool mom who found a way to get tickets for my bff and I. We were on cloud nine for weeks after. I'm so sentimental that I still have the program stashed somewhere. I wish his Persausion cd didn't get lost in the corporate shuffle. Sigh.
ratdave
I'm pleased to see this write-up not mention his troubles, but rather focus on his music. Love Pandora!
Even though he is known for his contribution s to New Wave, Wonderful (from 1995)is probably my favorite thing he ever did.
A very poor second fiddle to Bow Wow Wow.
They were his bandmates and they dumped him to pursue new singer Annabelle Lwinn in 1980(?).
pimpernel7
I love Adam and the Ants! They're the most talented punk rock band ever. Adam is a great inspiration to all those looking for a positive idol!
jjbab
The Strip Tour in 1984 was my first concert. Adam Ant will always hold a special place in my heart.
Love his music....it' s classic.
Pretty silly stuff. But I still like it. Kinda like watching Voltron or He-Man.
I have always loved ant music. Finally got the antbox. VIVE LE ROCK!!!
Are you kidding me!?!?!? No one has left a comment about this great band yet?!?!?!? That's crazy!!!

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