Showing posts with label 80s music. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 80s music. Show all posts

Saturday, September 9, 2017

I Know This Much: From Soho to Spandau

Gary Kemp (Spandau Ballet) Autobiography
Image and Review by Lou16
Let's review 'I Know This Much: From Soho to Spandau', an autobiography of Gary Kemp, lead guitarist, song writer and heartthrob of 80s New Romantic band Spandau Ballet.

If you just want to know who the song True was written for then this is the book to read! "Why do I find it hard to write the next line?" because you're tongue tied in love Gary! Who to? Well trust me this book reveals all which could be why Gary has used a line from his mega hit as the book title - I Know This Much.

If you're not interested in the song, but want to reminisce about the 80s and the New Romantics especially then you'll love to read this memoir from Spandau Ballet's Gary Kemp. Gary Kemp has a knack with words and I found myself laughing as he described the first time he saw a wok and cringing when he mentioned certain fashions.

Towards the end of Gary Kemp's autobiography I found myself in tears - his writing of a particularly sad event was so good I could feel the emotion jumping off the page at me.

 I Know This Much: From Soho to Spandau by Gary Kemp
Confession time - I'm a huge Spandau Ballet fan and I thought I had quite a lot of knowledge about them and the beginnings of the New Romantic moviement. Even with this background I learnt a lot from Gary Kemp's Memoirs

I Know This Much is definately a book that brings back memories of names that you'd forgotten about. I loved the trip down memory lane.

Gary Kemp is also quite brutal about himself and some of his actions - it's a no holds barred autobiography from trying to murder his brother (anyone with a younger sibling can probably relate to that!) to being a total snob and a control freak.

The book also contains a few pages of photos which also help take you back in time - oh the fashions!


Who Was True Written For?


Spandau Ballet's worldwide hit ballad True really was the love song of the 80s, but who was it actually written for? I had heard Gary Kemp say that he had written True for a girl who never realized how he felt. I've never known who he was talking about until I read the book where all is revealed. I won't ruin it for you here, you can read the book instead!

From Islington to Highgate 

Gary Kemp's I Know This Much Autobiography 


I Know This Much by Gary Kemp starts off with his very working class East End upbringing and an unwanted Christmas gift - a guitar. It continues through his chid acting and early foray into music before moving onto the Blitz Kids and Spandau Ballet. The story of Gary Kemp's own contribution towards the break-up of the first New Romantic band is told in blunt honesty.

Gary's life past Spandau Ballet, the reformation and the death of his parents are all dealt with extremely well. if Gary Kemp ever decided to write fiction I think he would be consistently on the bestseller list.

A quote from I Know This Much by Gary Kemp (the 80s defined!)


There were so many lines in this book that stuck with me, but this was my first laugh out loud line as it struck me that back then a wok wouldn't have been something I knew about either. We tend to forget that things we use so often and can be found in many homes around the world were an unusual thing to have in your English home back in the 70s and early 80s.

Gary Kemp Reads Excerpts from I Know This Much



Other Spandau Ballet Autobiographies 


Other members of the band have also written their autobiographies. Martin Kemp (Gary's younger brother) was the bass guitarist for the group and was the first to write his autobiography.....

   True: The Autobiography of Martin Kemp
Martin Kemp's autobiography was called True and was written after he survived two brain tumours.

The book was written in part as therapy for himself and also because he wanted to write something for his children who were babies when he was first diagnosed with brain tumours.

 To Cut a Long Story Short: My Autobiography
Tony Hadley was Spandau Ballet's lead singer and the next member to write his autobiography.

Tony choose to use a different song title for his autobiography - To Cut A Long Story Short.

Gary Kemp was Spandau Ballet's lead guitarist and songwriter and is the latest one of them to write an autobiography which is what I have just reviewed for you.

Let me know what you thought of the book, did you cry near the end like me, or are you made of sterner stuff?

An 80s pop idol's autobiography, inside the life of Gary Kemp from Spandau Ballet


Spandau Ballet had five members in total which means that two stories have yet to be told. John Keeble and Steve Norman let me know when you've started your memoirs and I'll be more than happy to read them!


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Reviewing Wham! Fantastic Album

80s pop group Wham!'s first album - Fantastic, containing some of the best Wham! songs from the 80s.
Wham! Fantastic Album
The early 80s saw two childhood friends become pop stars with their first album, they were known as Wham! and their album was simply called Fantastic.   As a teen I thought the album was summed up nicely with that name so here's my review of Wham!'s Fantastic album.

Anyone who loves 80s pop music would have heard of Wham! and would probably enjoy their songs, as a teen I thought they were fantastic and I had one wall in my bedroom dedicated to their posters!  That said I'm all grown up now and I still like this album!   Admittedly it's probably a case of nostalgia and the fact that it makes me think I'm still a teenager, but I believe this album has stood the test of time.

The Fantastic Album by Wham! was their first album and was a number one hit on the UK album charts.   The songs (written by George Michael) were part satirist and part social commentary which is why I think they were so popular.

As MTV had just been 'born' the group made also produced some great 80s music videos to accompany their singles.

Young Guns (Go For It!)

Wham!'s First Hit Single


Although Young Guns was actually Wham!'s second single to be released, it was their first hit and the introduction to many teenagers to this 80s duo.

The BBC program Top of the Pops (TOTPs) is credited with this single taking off. The single Young Guns was still outside of the Top 40 when Wham! were scheduled to appear.

Now at this time in the UK TOTPs was still compulsory viewing for the younger generation as other music shows such as The Tube were not around just yet. I can remember sitting down watching TOTP when Wham! came on and I was hooked on the beat (and the boys!).

Everything about Wham! was perfectly timed for 1982. George Michael has said that he was inspired to write the song after seeing a number of their school friends getting married straight out of school.

The music video for this single shows George singing to Andrew and trying to get him not to throw his life away by getting married early. Referring to him as "Hey Sucker" he tells him -

"See me, single and free
No tears, no fears, what I want to be.
One, two, take a look at you
Death by matrimony!" 
And warns that if he marries now he's crazy and his future is going to be -
"Sleepless nights, on an H.P. bed
 A daddy by the time you're twenty-one"


If you've enjoyed that music video, download Young Guns by Wham! now.

Wham! Rap

Written by George Michael & Andrew Ridgeley


With the success of Young Guns (Go for it!) Wham! decided to re-release their first single Wham! Rap.

Their first few singles and accompanying videos told stories which were part satirist and part social commentary. Wham! Rap was their first single, although it never broke into the top 40 initially. Their second single fared better and so they re-released Wham! Rap the following year and it was a top ten hit in the UK.

Wham! Rap is about youngsters living the high life on the dole chasing their pleasures and shrugging their responsibilities. Prancing about in their jeans and leather jackets George and Andrew seemed to embody the hedonistic values of the song.

From the opening line the Wham! boys seem to be thumbing their nose at people who work and glamorizing the idea of being on the dole (a stark reality for a number of young people in the UK at the beginning of the 80s).

"Hey everybody take a look at me,
I've got street credibility,
I may not have a job,
But I have a good time,
With the boys that I meet "down on the line"


If you enjoyed this hit Wham! song then download it from here and listen to Wham Rap whenever you like!

Bad Boys

One of the Best Wham! Songs


I absolutely LOVED this song when it came out. The rhythm and words are both catchy and appealed to the youth of the time. I still can't help singing along when I hear this song.

As with Wham!'s other songs from their first album Fantastic!, Bad Boy tells a story. Embracing the age of the music video Wham! told the song's story visually as well.

Bad Boys is about a rebellious teenager and his worried parents and was always going to appeal to Wham!'s young audience. The song starts off with the words

"Dear mummy, Dear Daddy,
You had plans for me, I was your only son."

and goes on as only a rebellious youth would holding everything 'bad' in high esteem and looking down on everything 'good.'

Parents asking - "Where were you last night?" were portrayed as being nosy busybodies as opposed to worried parents.

As a teen at the time I could really relate - as a mother now I shudder! I do still love the song though:)


If you want to be transported back to 1983 then download Bad Boys here and listen to it whenever you like!


Club Tropicana

One of the Top Wham! Songs

Club Tropicana is a musical send up of the Club Med scene. This scene was where 18-30 year olds could take a package holiday with other 18-30 year olds. The result was a booze ridden week of hook-ups!

"Club Tropicana, drinks are free,
Fun and sunshine - there's enough for everyone.
All that's missing is the sea,
But don't worry, you can suntan!"

This was the last of four singles released from their first album - Fantastic!. All four of the singles had made it into the Top Ten and Wham! were on top of their game.

The idea of every single telling a story and then the music video reiterating the story visually was a successful ploy of Wham!s.


As the song goes......" fun and laughter - there's enough for everyone. All that's missing is the ..." song - download it now and have a good time!


Fantastic - by Wham!

The album Fantastic by Wham! was released on 9th July 1983 and reached number one in the UK album charts.

Original Fantastic Track Listing

1. "Bad Boys" - 3:19 (Written by George Michael)
2. "Ray Of Sunshine" - 4:43 (Written by George Michael)
3. "Love Machine" - 3:19 (Written by Pete Moor &, Billy Griffin)
4. "Wham! Rap (Enjoy What You Do)" - 6:41 (Written by George Michael & Andrew Ridgeley)
5. "Club Tropicana" - 4:28 (Written by George Michael & Andrew Ridgeley)
6. "Nothing Looks The Same In The Light" - 5:53 (Written by George Michael)
7. "Come On" - 4:24 (Written by George Michael)
8. "Young Guns (Go For It!)" - 3:55(Written by George Michael)


Wham! Fantastic AlbumWham! Fantastic Album
In 1998 the cd was reissued and contained three bonus tracks –

1. "Bad Boys" – 3:19 (Written by George Michael)
2. "Ray Of Sunshine" – 4:43 (Written by George Michael)
3. "Love Machine" – 3:19 (Written by Pete Moore & Billy Griffin)
4. "Wham! Rap (Enjoy What You Do)" – 6:41 (Written by George Michael & Andrew Ridgeley)
5. "A Ray Of Sunshine (Instrumental Remix)" - 5:40 (Written by George Michael)
6. "Love Machine (Instrumental Remix)" - 3:28 (Written by George Michael)
7. "Club Tropicana" – 4:28 (Written by George Michael & Andrew Ridgeley)
8. "Nothing Looks The Same In The Light" – 5:53 (Written by George Michael)
9. "Come On" – 4:24 (Written by George Michael)
10. "Young Guns (Go For It!)" – 3:55 (Written by George Michael)
11. "Nothing Looks The Same In The Light (Instrumental Remix)" - 6:40 (Written by George Michael)

I hope you've enjoyed this musical hop back to the 80s with me, now confession time.  Although I had a wall dedicated to Wham! I didn't actually own this particular LP. My brother had it, I just may have (purely in the role of big sister) commandeered it so much that you would think it belonged to me!

One of the popular albums of the 1980s was Wham! Fantastic album which hit the number 1 spot on the UK album chart.





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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