ABC is a British pop band from Sheffield formed in 1980, best known in the 1980s for songs like The Look of Love and When Smokey Sings. Since 1997 ABC has been the solo project of singer and founder Martin Fry, who works with changing musicians.
ABC was founded in 1980 in Sheffield after Martin Fry met the band Vice Versa, Mark White, and Stephen Singleton, during an interview for his fanzine Modern Drugs and was invited by them to work as singers in their electro-pop band. Fry soon took artistic control of the band through his presence as a singer and his songs. With the musician’s Mark Lickley and David Robinson, the line-up was complete, the latter being replaced by drummer David Palmer even before the first album was recorded.
Their first single, Tears Are Not Enough (still with Robinson on drums), reached a position in the British Top 20 in 1981, in 1982 they got three top 10 chart positions within seven with the singles Poison Arrow, The Look of Love, and All of My Heart Months. The group’s most tremendous overall success to date: In the same year, the album The Lexicon of Love produced by Trevor Horn (including the song Valentine’s Day ) reached the top of the British album charts. Martin Eichhorn later gave him a key role in the 2004 novel Kommste, wills, Kriegste.
But for ABC, there were no further successes in the Lexicon of Love dimension. Before the release of the second album, Beauty Stab, Mark Lickley left the band, the first album’s success could not be connected. Only the single That Was Then, but This Is Now briefly reached a top 20 position. The second release from the album, SOS, also lagged far behind the first singles’ success. After completing the studio recording, David Palmer left the band to work with Ryuichi Sakamoto’s techno band Yellow Magic Orchestra. In 1984 Stephen Singleton also went his own way.
Martin Fry and Mark White continued to work as a duo, supported by frequently changing studio musicians. For their 1985 album How to Be a Zillionaire, Fry and White brought David Yarritu and Fiona “Eden” Russell-Powell into the band for more visual reasons. The hoped-for success largely failed to materialize, despite the first top 10 hits in America, Be Near Me, they did not make it into the top 20. Further extracts from the album were Vanity Kills, How to Be a Millionaire and Ocean Blue.
In 1987 the single When Smokey Sings was released. With this homage to the soul singer Smokey Robinson, ABC achieved another hit for the first time. The album Alphabet City was released and highly acclaimed by music critics and the hit Lexicon of Love. The other releases, The Night You Murdered Love and King Without a Crown, only achieved chart positions in the midfield.
In 1989, ABC made another change in their music style: With the album Up, the group now embarked on the pop-house track. One Better World and The Real Thing were released as singles but without being particularly noticed by the music world.
In 1990 Neutron Records ended the collaboration with ABC and released the best-of album Absolutely, which combined all of its successes.
Abracadabra was released on the Parlophone label in mid-1991. ABC delivered two moderately successful dance floor hits with Love Conquers All and Say It. In 1992 the band broke up, and it was initially quiet around the two musicians. Mark White has since given up ABC and music and works as a Reiki teacher.
Martin Fry played together with guitarist Keith Lowndes and Heaven 17 singer Glenn Gregory under the name Magic Skulls a few more experimental dance songs that were ultimately not released.
From 1997 Martin Fry worked single-handedly under the band name ABC. The album Skyscraping was released with the support of Glenn Gregory. With Seven Day Weekend, ABC provided a song for a soundtrack for the first time, also included on the album. The singles are Stranger Things, Skyscraping and Rolling Sevens.
In the entire ABC history, live performances were relatively rare, so Fry decided in 1999 to release recordings of the Skyscraping tour on the independent label Blatant Records under the title Lexicon of Live on CD.
In 2001, new studio recordings began. Peace and Tranquility should be released as a single but was withdrawn shortly before the release without giving reasons. Only a few copies went on sale. The piece will be published together with the new song Blame on the further compilation Look of Love – The Very Best of ABC.
In 2004, the TV station VH-1 tried to reunite the band in their original line-up for a one-off appearance as part of the program Bands Reunited. The performance took place, but only Martin Fry and drummer David Palmer from the original cast took part. Together with other musicians from the 1980s, Martin Fry is still on tour with the ABC hits, including with Tony Hadley, the band Spandau Ballet, who also released a live CD and a live DVD for their joint tour were.
On April 14, 2008, the eighth studio album Traffic was released in Great Britain and several download platforms. In addition to Martin Fry, David Palmer from the original formation of the band was also involved in producing the album.
After an eight-year break, ABC released its ninth studio album on May 27, 2016, now reduced to Martin Fry as the only original band member. The title The Lexicon of Love II explicitly refers to the first publication from 1982. The same applies to the design of the album cover. As with the debut album, Anne Dudley took over the orchestration of the songs. The songs Viva Love and Kiss Me Goodbye had already been released as bonus tracks for the Abracadabra album’s download version, albeit in a different version.