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Gang Of Four

Formed in 1977 by Leeds University students Jon King (vocals), Andy Gill (guitar), Dave Allen (bass), and Hugo Burnham (drums), Gang of Four (along with the Fall, Mekons, and Liliput) produced some of the most exhilarating and lasting music of the early English post-punk era of 1978-1983. Fueled by the fury of punk rock and radical political theory, Gang of Four successfully welded the two in an inspired display of polemics and music that addressed the vagaries of life in the modern world (including love and romance) as matters of political inquiry. Despite the fact that this sounds rife with the potential for being long on rhetoric and short on groove, such was not the case. What made Gang of Four's polemical clang'n'roll so compelling was that it worked as harsh, bracing, and ultimately liberating rock & roll. With Allen and Burnham combining as a formidable and frequently very funky rhythm section, Gill didn't play guitar as much as emit thick wads of semi-tuneful distortion, while King "sang" in a dry, declamatory fashion similar to that of the Fall's Mark E. Smith. The rhythms were stripped down and jagged; at times Gill would dispense with guitar solos entirely and "play" non-solos, which were (surprise!) silence. Song titles sounded like the titles of radical political essays: "At Home He's a Tourist," "Damaged Goods," "It's Her Factory," "Anthrax," "To Hell with Poverty," all of it openly challenging the audience's preconceived notions about rock music, performance, the cult of celebrity, and the nature of politics. And in doing so, GOF conveyed rage, confusion, and loss of identity as well as any band of their time. They have always remained, to the ears of those opened wide by punk rock, an extremely important band.

After three consecutive sensational albums, as well as a handful of EPs and singles, Allen left in 1982 to form the more danceable and less overtly political Shriekback, while Burnham departed the following year and formed Illustrated Man. King and Gill, the latter of whom had also established himself as a noted producer for other acts, recorded the misguided "radical soul/R&B" record Hard with veteran producers Ron and Howard Albert. A near total disaster, Hard signaled that the end was nigh. The "Gang of Two" released a so-so live album (At the Palace) and called it quits in 1984. But legends die hard, and Gang of Four experienced a return of sorts in the early '90s with the release of two excellent collections: A Brief History of the Twentieth Century and The Peel Sessions Album). Gill and King put together a new Gang of Four and released the tepid but not disgraceful Mall in 1991. Another reunion, from 1995, yielded Shrinkwrapped. Three years later, a double-disc compilation -- 100 Flowers Bloom -- surfaced on Rhino.

Gang of Four's original lineup reconvened in 2004 to tour extensively and release 2005's Return the Gift, featuring re-recordings of their early material. Gill and King continued with a new rhythm section and released 2011's Content with financial support from their fans. King subsequently left, and Gill recruited John Sterry, previously of Gaoler's Daughter, for 2015's What Happens Next. ~ John Dougan, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Broken Talk (Single)

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Track List: England's In My Bones (Single)

Comments

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Am I the only one who, in addition to being a GOF fan, am blown-away by John Dougan's Pandora Bio of them? Jesus, he's a magically gifted writer. He captures their essence, and finds it rare :-) It's what I search for....
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Got into the gang when I was still in catholic school still jamming
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Got into G 4 in late 70s great band got into them when I was a kid still enjoy the sound today..
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Saw them at Club Foot in Austin in the early 80's. I was the only one dancing. Couln't hear for 3 days. Best concert I've ever been to.
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chimpandhuma n i t a r i a n
Jon King "sings" like Mark E. Smith?
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This LP and the first Joy Division LP are probably the two best LPs of that era.
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A great band, way ahead of their time. Shriekback featured Pete Shelly, I did not realize one member of GOF was in that band. Saw both GOF and Shriekback at the old 9:30 club in DC. All shows were recorded on film, I hope someone releases some of those shows soon.
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It used to be Gang Of Five, until they kicked me out. THOSE B**TARDS!
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claricentp91 7
If you wanna make some extra cash from home you can go to BLUDOS.COM and Click on Start Today then go from there. You don't need to pay to start.
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shawnnavuz71 1
I've been making over $350 a week from home using this site called BLUDOS.COM basically you take surveys for cash. You can do this for free as well.
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Only started listening to gang of four and think they're timeless.

Who would have thought punk and dance could meet in the middle????
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Lovin' it! I've always liked the band's name. So simple, yet not so.
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G of 4 at James L Knight Center in Miami Florida with The Sisters of Mercy. S.O.M. were the headliners cuz @ the time they had a club hit with This Corrosion. What a great show . We went to the Diplomat Hotel with them across the street (back then it was). Booze, drugs, and art. That was Miami in the mid to late 80's before it got all pretencious like it is now that jennifer Lopez lives here.
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Just saw these legends in concert at First Avenue in Minneapolis. Unbelievable show. What's really cool is that you could be eating dinner at some restaurant and these guys could be sitting right next to you and you would be the only person to recognize them. Living Legends mind you!
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never saw them-saw the clash-psyche d e l i c furs but not the gang of four-i fell out of their socialistic passion pretty tho-a lot of chug a chug like the slits-that 80's british white ska.listenin g to them now-quaint but somewhat interesting. . .
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Sweeeeeeeet!
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mohsenzarrab i
MUST ALSO CHECK OUT 'SONGS OF THE FREE, 1982 BY GANGOF4. IT CAN BE A lIFE CHANGING EXPERINCE. I SAW THEM WITH THE ORIGINAL LINEUP IN PORTLAND, OR IN'82. A DOSE OF GANGOF4 'ANTHRAX' WILL SURELY EMUNIZE YOU AGAINST ANY 'TEA-PARTY' EPIDEMICS...
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saw in Athens Ga Circa 1982-83 outdoors, as they say today OMG, beat the Psy Furs and Gun Club in Rochester, NY thoose were great times for music
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sounds a lot like David Byrne--but I guess that wasnt usual in the 80s
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I wish I could see them live :(
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dolldominati o n 9 7
I saw the show Nick dug at Roseland! Ah Chihuahua! Dammn! I thing my sneakers are still smoking from that one. I'm still tongue tied all three bands shredded, it was i think the first punk show there at Roseland ever
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I saw them in '82 at The Metro in Chicago - it was a completely life altering experience for a small-town boy from Ohio. Took my entire album collection (Rush, Zep, Journey, etc.) to Vintage Vinyl the very next day and traded it all in for Gang of Four, Buzzcocks, Wire....I never get tired of listening to Entertainmen t !
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Loved them at Roseland w/ Bush tetras and Bad Brains!
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I wish Pandora had a star system or something instead of just thumbs up and thumbs down. I thumbs up most catchy songs, but I wish I could rate stuff like gang-of-four higher.
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calvin000
Gang of 4 played in Austin, TX, on the first Tuesday of November, 1980. Ronnie Reagan began his eight-year rein that night as they played on. Does that mean anything?
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pingles
I saw them in concert back in the day - they were amazing!
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They are better than me. Scathing polical and social commentary without being whiney. Definately one of my top punk influences.
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carleybeth44
they are better than you.
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The first few times I heard them I thought I was listening to the Faint.

Certainly ahead of their time.


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Like The Clash ate Devo...I love it!
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Squee!
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I cannot believe nobody 'as said anything about this band. "I Love A Man in a Uniform", "Damaged Goods" ("You said you're cheap but you're too much"), "Anthrax". All classics. Love everything they did on the first three! You really should check out the first three ablums all classic sort of/punk.

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