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Adam Ant

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
full bio

Comments

you like adam ant you should listen to my band Pooping with Cindy
This music brings back so many glorious memories...l i k e riding around in my first car with the sunroof up and Adam Ant playing as loud as I could get the speakers to go. A lot of people didn't get his music. But he was and still is one of my favorite performers.
One of the all time greats. I still think any of his songs can break me out of a dark mood.
Ok, If you are not hopping around like you did back in the day bu the time this song is over something is not right with you!! YIPPIE!!!! Have a great time Jennifer!! Don't forget your ant stripe. You are never too old or too young for that kind of fun!!
I'm going to see Adam in Reno this fall...so excited!!!!! !
I looooove Adam Ant!
I looooove Adam Ant!
I looooove Adam Ant!
jillb25
30+ years later his post punk early stuff is more innovative than anything coming out today. A very underappreci a t e d artist.
oh Adam...I'll never forget the lyric your body should be yours, and sharing it's sublime. Amen
me looking and feeling super vibrant and young. No one has EVER guessed my age. The oldest I have heard is 26. THANKS ADAM & ALL YOU ANTSbut especially the line up with Kevin Mooney in it as well. I LOVE MARCO TOO!
I will always TOTALLY ADORE ANT MUSIC. I have listened to it everyday
since I was 11. I WANT ANT MUSIC AND KINGS OF THE WILD FRONTIER PLAYING WHEN THEY LOWER ME INTO THE GROUND AT THE END OF THIS FANTASTIC RIDE CALLED LIFE( hopefully 70 or more years from now)!! I went to 8 ANT concerts back in the day.
Missing Persons,Adam & the Ants, Devo, Tubeway Army,AFOS,De p e c h e ,
Mode,Gang of Four(man in uniform),and The B'2's amoung others are always going to in my ipod rotation!!!!

Music like this keeps
so much creativity and an underrated voice...he still kicks a**...and I am a heavy metal musician...l o l . . .
sfouts08
Adam is the artists that when you hear him again after many years makes you say to yourself, this is why he was my favorite. Wow how refreshing that he is still around. You are my favorite Adam. You are the most under rated genius in post punk music. I will never forget that night in Tulsa when you striped in a tank of water and my wife went nuts. What a memory
ann796
Adam Ant is a god. Thumbs way up.
Love Adam Ant forever.Ant music still lives.
msieg69
new wave big daddy, nice review way to interject the lyrics. Too bad some of his 'music' ahd a high 'sex' content that was not for all of the general 'ant people'
Such an original talent and not bad on the eyes, either:)
dmfreestate9 7
This guy probably got more hot female a** than a truck stop toilet!
Totally not given the credit they deserve for artists. I can't listen to them EVEN NOW without being inspired to sing and dance. ANTMUSIC!!!! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
An underrated, seminal artist of the early 80s in the US. Not as well liked as in the UK - however, his music helped fuel many of the so-called "rock of the 80s" radio stations that began hitting the airwaves back then. The music, while not always 'serious,' was never 'desperate.' Lots of good memories associated with Adam and his Ants. And you really can't resist singing along when a song hits the air.
shigemi609
I wish he were gay! I'd love me some Adam Ant
bvl390
Yea..."gay" enough to go out with some of the hottest women in the world.
pajimura
Perfect in everyway.
Love'm!Under rated. Hope he will someday try to record again. Los Rancheros! That is playing on my Adam station right now! Yippy! Sigh. Glory days, huh?
I would say "quirky" would be a better term.... You don't know much about Adam Ant...
Gay. But good.
Adam Ant is a classic artist and true original with a quirky style!! No one can replace him!
Saw him in an interview recentally he looked good, I saw him in 1984? Great show
Adam without the Ants was f**king awful. F**KING AWFUL!
I Love, Love, Love This song!!! I never cared for Adam Ant in his pirate days, but this song is HEAVEN! So beautiful & sincere!!! His tears in the video melt my heart! By the way, I am a girl, despite my email name!
So cool
on your knees and deliver
What a fun song! Just don't make them like this anymore. Corny as hell but still fun.

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