“ABC’s Martin Fry is a revelation, a soul man supreme, belting out pristine Vegas glitter pop and uptown House in his electric blue lounge suit. An ageless performer, Fry is the missing link between Bryan Ferry and Jarvis Cocker. For the inevitable encore of ‘The Look of Love’ he returns dipped in sparkly gold lame, a self-ironising pop genius on top form.” Stephen Dalton NME.
ABC were one of those groups who come along once a decade to effect a paradigm shift in the way music is heard and made, one of those groups who move the music forward, alerting us to the possibilities of strange combinations, employing radical ideas yet never confusing arrogance with ambition. They kick-started the Eighties with their own brand of pop for the‘new decade’.
Fusing dance floor finesse with a post-punk attitude they released their first single, ‘Tears Are Not Enough’, in the autumn of 1981. More hits followed in rapid succession. ‘ Poison Arrow’, ‘The Look Of Love’ and ‘All of my Heart’. On it’s release in May 1982 their debut album ‘The Lexicon of Love’ crashed straight into the album charts at number one.
Their second album, ‘Beauty Stab’ was a very different record to the polished beauty of ‘The Lexicon of Love’. It spawned hits the ‘That Was Then But This Is Now’ and ‘SOS’.
In 1984 ABC re-routed and headed for the dance floor, releasing ‘How To Be A Zillionaire’. They conquered American audiences with a series of devastating club mixes via ‘How To Be A Millionaire’, ‘Be Near Me’, alongside ‘Vanity Kills’ and ‘Ocean Blue’.
By the Summer of 1987 the Worldwide hit ‘When Smokey Sings’ represented a return to luxuriant soul. Likewise the songs ‘The Night You Murdered Love’ and ‘King Without A Crown’. Their fourth album was co produced by Chic’s Bernard Edwards. Entitled ‘Alphabet City’ it captured the cosmopolitan feel of the moment. Heavy MTV rotation and an appearance on legendary show Soul Train cemented success in the U.S.A for the band. In 1989 the band released the house-influenced Up.
In 1991 ABC began work on an ambitious soul pop extravaganza ‘Abracadabra’. They released ‘Love Conquers All’ and the Blackbox mixed ‘Say It’ the following year.
Following a four year hiatus ABC re-emerged on Deconstruction Records touring extensively throughout the U.K. in preparation for the release of ‘Skyscraping’. The NME described ‘The Look Of Love’ at the Shepherd's Bush show thus "It's not perfect but it's near as dammit". The same year Fry contributed a guest vocal to ‘Thunderball’ on David Arnold's James Bond Project ‘Shaken and Stirred’
In 1998 ABC performed to over 120,000 people at fifteen UK arena shows with Culture Club and The Human League. The tour was the first of it’s kind since the Eighties and despite a number of other similar tours over the past few years this original line up with ABC proved to be the most successful. To coincide with the tour there was a worldwide release of remastered versions of "Lexicon of Love", "How To Be A Zillionaire" and "Alphabet City". Once again Martin Fry and ABC were in the Global Charts.
The band continued touring over the next two years and in 2001 joined Robbie Williams to open his show on the European Tour. The choice of ABC was entirely Robbie’s; he recognised the perfect mixture of ecstasy and sorrow, club usability and pop accessibility, Martin Fry’s combination of sly northern wit and subversive intelligence, pop flamboyance and rock swagger, gold lame and lyrics that deal with treachery and regret. For ABC it was a huge success, again playing to hundreds of thousands of potential new fans across the UK and Europe.
Martin Fry’s constant hard work, and continued respect for his music has allowed Sheffield’s finest writing, producing and performing. He continues to perform with the band around the world, as well as participating in new projects with new artists.
In March 2004 ABC’s DVD ‘Absolutely Classic Cuts’ went to number 1 in the DVD Charts. Similarly ‘The Lexicon Of Love’ is regarded as the greatest British pop LP of the decade, and remains one of the 10 best of all time.
In 2005 Martin joined former Spandau Ballet front man, Tony Hadley, for a 64 date UK tour. They planned to over 100,000 people across the three month tour, and delighted audience avenues with included Liverpool Philharmonic Hall and the Royal Albert Hall in London.
The brand new ABC album TRAFFIC has been released on the 28th of April 2008 preceded by the new single THE VERY FIRST TIME. Both are available for download now.
In 2008 ABC will embark on at least three big tours. 1) Here And Now in May 2) Regeneration Tour in August 3) Steel City - with Heaven 17 and The Human League in December.
..11 years since the last ABC album, Traffic is long overdue. the reunited Martin Fry and David Palmer have returned to the Classic ABC sound. New single "The very first time" sounds as good as anything on the Lexicon of Love or Alphabet City. [Play.com]
Traffic is an exceptionally credible record and in the track Love Is Strong, Fry has recorded something equalling his all-time best. [BBC web site]
Martin Fry still acquits himself well on Traffic. Mixing synthesized rock and funk, with an automotive theme, it references ABC's hallowed past but not exclusively. Fans will be happy. (Q magazine)