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Tony Hadley leaves Spandau Ballet

Spandau Ballet frontman Tony Hadley has quit the band, he announced yesterday.

In a rather cryptic post on twitter, Hadley said the following to say:

“Due to circumstances beyond my control, it is with deep regret that I am required to state that I am no longer a member of the band Spandau Ballet and as such I will not be performing with the band in the future.”

In response, the band issued their own statement:

“Much to our frustration, Tony had made it clear in September 2016 that he didn’t want to work with the band anymore. This has not changed and 2015 was the last time we were able to perform or work with him. So we have now made the decision to move on as a band.”

An additional insight comes from songwriter Gary Kemp, who in an as yet unpublished interview, told this blog earlier in the year that “we had three major labels offering us [the opportunity] to do a new album last year and I have the songs. Tony is doing his solo projects and he just didn’t want to do it. It’s as simple as that. There’s still grudges from the past that no one can get over.”

That last sentence is undoubtedly a reference to the unsuccessful court case that Tony Hadley, Steve Norman and John Keeble launched an against Gary Kemp in the 1990s, for a share of his songwriting royalties.

During their career, Spandau Ballet enjoyed ten UK top 10 hit singles (including one number one, True) and eight UK top ten albums (again, True was the only number one).

Despite a fair amount of activity in recent years, the band’s last studio album of new material was 1989’s Heart Like A Sky. Their most recent release was 2014’s hits set The Story – The Very Best of Spandau Ballet which contained three new songs. SDE reviewed this at the time and ironically thought that Soul Boy – written by Tony Hadley – was best of the trio.

It remains to be seen how the group will ‘move on as a band’ without Hadley.

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76 responses to Tony Hadley leaves Spandau Ballet

  1. Auntie Sabrina says:

    Yes without a lead vocalist. Maybe they’ll be doing a Mama Mia/Queen type of musical?

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      We Will Pop You?

      • DaveM says:

        Ha Ha, yes with a tie in BBC show to find a lead singer for WWPY.
        Seriously though, Martin and Gary could just fall back into acting. Saw Gary in Pinter’s The Homecoming a couple of years ago and he was excellent and their Krays movie is still the best version of that story IMHO. Just can’t see SB without Hadley.

  2. DAVID BURROWS says:

    Well .. to cut a long story short .. they may not break through the barricades without Tony ..

  3. Ollie Carlisle says:

    I think they’ll find it even harder to write the next line now…

  4. Goof says:

    Only When You Leave the rest isn’t going for Gold anytime soon. I know this much is True. They don’t need this pressure on.

  5. Tim-meh says:

    It was all over when they ditched wearing rugs really.

  6. Tony Orwell says:

    is it True?

  7. Phil G. says:

    An ’80s band desperately needs a new frontman, eh?

    *pops down the bookies, puts £100 on David Van Day*

    • colin says:

      Christ please no. Isn’t he still in the food game anyway? David ‘Burger Van’ Day !!! What an irritating horrible character he is. My bet is they will tour with PAUL ‘wherever i lay my hat’ YOUNG – You heard it here first!

  8. Roger says:

    so true

  9. Auntie Sabrina says:

    Yes, they’ve had their salad days, which according to Wikipedia is a “Shakespearean idiomatic expression”…

    You learn something new every day

  10. Kristian W says:

    Seriously though Paul, we just seem to be going Round And Round with these puns…

  11. Daveyman says:

    This news has left me Highly Strung… :-(

  12. Colin Harper says:

    If he fancied taking a crash course in virtuoso British folk-blues guitar there’s a couple of chairs in the Pentangle he could fill.

  13. Auntie Sabrina says:

    OK, if they have a new singer how about Robbie Williams…

  14. Steve W says:

    To be honest I thought that he ahd already left the band so this announcement comes as a surprise but for different reasons to most. Hadley has a great & distinctive voice though & I can’t imagine how he can easily be replaced.

  15. Chris Lancaster says:

    There was a pop star called Hadley
    Who thought he’d been treated quite badly
    He went on drunken benders
    Whilst his mate was in Eastenders
    And then Spandau were no more, sadly

  16. -sg- says:

    Pure silliness. This would have almost made sense 30 years ago, but perhaps it was bad communication, or he does not need this pressure on. But only when you leave do you know what you have lost. But now, to cut a long story short, it would just make more sense to make a record and tour the hits, split the live royalties evenly and call it a day. I know this much is true, they will not likely find gold going their seperate ways. Time for that youtube audition in a coffee club.

  17. Paul Fraser says:

    Gary Kemp may be the songwriter but Spandau is defined by the distinctive voice of Tony. Still, The Stranglers have done pretty well without Hugh Cornwell, so perhaps they can make it work. Either way, Spandau Ballet join that ever-growing list of bands that become their own tribute act.

  18. EPM says:

    I do not understand how a band that regrouped intact that many years on from not just their last album, but from a court proceeding thrown in for some sad drama, manage to turn out new material twice over, tour successfully and film a substantive documentary and yet must find themselves at a fatal impasse. I understand these groups consist of humans with lives outside of music but this kind of development is upsetting for their supporters.

  19. David Roberts says:

    It does appear they want to carry on without him if they have had to force Tony’s hand in to admitting he is no longer interested. If they had no intention of carrying on without them, then the act was a little pointless, unless they hoped he’d say “Yes” to it. I can’t imagine those major labels that Gary mentioned would be still interested without the full-band. I can’t see many people accepting another lead singer this late in to their career. I guess Gary could take over. Depends if they want to carry on but playing to a smaller crowd at smaller venues.

  20. Leemer says:

    Spandau Ballet can find a young karaoke singer who would be super happy to sing the classics and maybe some new tunes, a la Journey’s Arnel Pineda.

  21. Dean says:

    I thought this was an April 1st story, to be honest. It actually made the BBC web sites front page yesterday! I had a good laugh about it, I mean come on, Spandau Ballet… If this had hit around the time of their fame, maybe it’s news worthy, but as it is, well, it doesn’t rise above a tweet, imo. We hold some things as so precious, but this band were a pop sensation at the time, and now only hardcore fans care.

  22. Was a fan in the 1980s when they had a few good tunes
    The dude ‘Tony’ obviously has had enough, he’s not a young bloke any more

    The problem today is no one seems to be able to produce what I consider good pop music in 2017 and that’s the reason why these old groups like Spandau Ballet keep trying to survive. Keep the pop flame alive.

  23. andrew r says:

    Another front man/ lead guitarist ego collision methinks
    See also Page/Plant. Richards /Jagger . etc etc.

  24. paolo says:

    Didn’t even know that Spandau Ballet are still a thing.

  25. Paolo says:

    I offer myself as the new lead vocalist

  26. Martyn Alner says:

    This could be the start of an 80s Supergroup for spurned members of bands.

    Vocals – Tony Hadley
    Bass – Peter Hook

    I’m sure there are others to add to this…

  27. Dave H says:

    Who would you rather see playing live, Tony Hadley solo singing the Spandau hits or Spandau without Hadley? Who will sell more seats or do they need each other?
    At least it’s not as messy as the UB40 split, did anyone catch the BBC documentary on them.

    • Larry Davis says:

      Actually, Tony has had his solo career going for a few years now with a few solo albums, and they have been pretty successful…until the Spandau reunion…so now he can go back to being solo…maybe he will lose some weight as well?? When I saw the band live, Tony, while singing great (with drink in hand) seemed to be struggling in the energy department and out of breath…as for the rest of the band?? They were very tight when I saw them…perhaps Gary can take over as lead singer?? He has the songs written…to me, the songwriter of the band should be the lead singer too…they are HIS songs!! I hope they don’t become just a lame nostalgia act…but continue to be a force and keep releasing new music…like Cheap Trick!! Their new album “We’re All Alright!!” is their most vital and loudest new album of new material in 35 years!! Let the Spandaus continue down the NON-nostalgia “NON-oldies” path…

    • Neil Kelly says:

      Yes indeed. Great documentary i’ve recorded it onto my Blu ray hard drive. I used to be friends on FB with Brian and his bitter rants were both sad and hilarious in equal measures… Think his account got closed down…

  28. Tim says:

    So much for that follow-up to Parade

  29. Gary C says:

    Barry Gibb needs a a gig, could call emself Spandau Barry….don’t steal my joke please

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      I won’t ;)

    • Colin Harper says:

      That was very good! :-)

    • David Bricknell says:

      Reminds me of the old chestnut I heard years ago about Chris Rea joining Dire Straits and the band changing their name to Dire Rea.

      • Larry Davis says:

        Funny haha…Rea DOES sound a bit like Mark Knopfler…but he has a new record coming out on BMG called “Road Songs For Lovers”, and from what I heard, it sounds awesome…I am a HUGE Chris Rea fan…just something about his musical style, can’t be explained…

  30. EPM says:

    Good one, Gary C.

  31. EPM says:

    Additionally, I consider “How Many Lies” to be amongst their best and tho “Heart like a Sky ” didn’t catch immediately I think it’s mostly quite a good album. I would purchase expanded editions of both Sony albums.

  32. Neil says:

    For a band who haven’t recorded any original material since 1989 this is bizarre news

    • Aevion says:

      They’ve actually recorded several tracks for the Once More and The Story compilations but they haven’t done a full studio album if that’s what you mean.

  33. Ruth McCaldin says:

    I suspect a reality show hosted by Gary Barlow and Martin Kemp coming to find a replacement……they had some classics, but does anyone actually give a flying F today?

  34. OMAR says:

    I bet if there’s another lawsuit pending? which is why Tony left???

  35. elliott buckingham says:

    they did well to last this long with only 3 great tracks to their name

  36. Auntie Sabrina says:

    I think Ross Kemp should join forces with Martin and Gary

    Tony could join that lot on Love Island…

  37. MINO says:

    A goodbye album could have been a good choice….

  38. Todd R. says:

    Sigh, I was a minor fan, appreciated the bands work etc. But now we’ll have to hear about suits and counter suits for saying “formerly of….” without permission…. please.

  39. martin farnworth says:

    guess the offers from major labels are off the table. seems a little desperate to carry on. do the remaining members have anything left to prove?

  40. David says:

    Anyone remember when Culture Club attempted a tour and album without Boy George? They managed two concerts (one just six songs long) and the album never happened. It’s very very hard to replace a lead singer, especially when you were as big as Spandau Ballet.

  41. Stephen E Cohen says:

    I am so glad I got the chance to see (and briefly, meet) Spandau Ballet two years ago, since they rarely come to New York. I knew this would not last (again)!

  42. Florian M. Kranz says:

    I think they should take Alison Moyet as their singer. She has a voice very close to Tony’s; that would match perfectly! “You may say I’m a dreamer…”

  43. tom says:

    A real shame after the heartwarming reconciliation and great Soul Boys film.

  44. Chris F says:

    Cut the Story Short already…
    RIP SB.

  45. Eric says:

    I was thinking of Alex Fletcher to replace Tony Hadley !
    Can’t think of someone else…

  46. don cooper says:

    An old mate saw their Birmingham showcase at the Botanical Gardens back in the day.
    He felt if they had their time in the sun they could grow.
    I preferred they be kept in the dark ,covered in s**t.
    Still holds true for me.

    norrafan.

  47. Willy says:

    Smash Hits used to call him Foghorn Hadley, which in time became just “Foggers”.

    He got off better than John Keeble though who they always referred to as ‘and, er… Thingy’.

  48. Randy Metro says:

    I’m not a Spandau Ballet fan but I will be forever grateful for Tony Hadley’s super great rendition of Rock & Roll Suicide. Listening to it now on YouTube, ironically it sounds like his swan song to SB. All it needs now is: “Not only is this the last show…”

  49. Cris says:

    Now that’ s really silly.
    I saw them live two years ago and they were absolutely stunning, as the previous time thirty years before. They are a great band and it’ s not said that Kemp may have some good tunes stowed away more inspired than the recent new tracks included in the collection.
    I agree with some comments: another split at this age is ridiculous (apart from reasons linked with age and maybe too tight schedules a new album/tour would imply), it’ s like Andy Taylor leaving DD AGAIN after Astronaut. SB can’ t go anywhere without Hadley and Tony can only carry on with smaller sized tours (which may well be fine for him).
    What a shame. Again in agreement with someone’ s comment above: the world still needs the music produced by people from the Eighties, who are all sons of David Bowie let’ s not forget. We are constantly losing them and none of the current generation are able to produce not even a hint of decent music, for *** sake (sorry… Got carried away there right at the end)

  50. Fritz says:

    Maybe they can give Nik Kershaw or Howard Jones a call….

  51. colin says:

    Does anyone know (or want to know) what SPANDAU BALLET means?

  52. Patrick says:

    Shame really, but I don’t see how Spandau can still function commercially without Tony at the helm. There is not really anyone who can replace him. I could have imagined them doing a successful comeback album but seems unlikely now. I’d also like to put myself forward for the position though….

  53. Teiemka says:

    Could have been news in the mid-80s, what is anyone missing out now that he has “officially ” left the band……some retro concerts?

  54. John says:

    Spandau Ballet was still together?

  55. Warren Mason says:

    The oddly timed and concurrent statements strike me as the conclusion to a private legal matter regarding the SB brand name. The “required to say” is a strong hint that there were legal discussions and some sort of agreement. Typically founding members of a group of musicians have the right to use the brand name as a “corporation”. Once someone leaves the “corporation” the individual often forfeits the use of the brand name. Just speculating, but in this scenario it seems like Tony was refusing to leave the “corporation” which precluded the other members from touring or otherwise using the name without his permission. compromises include a silent membership arrangement where an individual continues to retain a percentage of profits from ongoing work despite not participating/ working (e.g. Cheap Trick). Another common scenario is a buy out of some sort, usually an enhanced cut of future royalties or something of that sort. These arrangements can get creative such as the band Queensryche for which the former lead singer agreed to leave the corporation in exchange for exclusive right to perform the material from the group’s biggest album as well as the use of the name of that album for some period of time I believe.

    • bob says:

      I think you will find that Tony, Steve and John had to give up their share of the band name (or whatever) after the big court with Gary Kemp which they lost. It almost bankrupted the three of them as their costs were over 1 million pounds.
      When the three of them arranged a tour to help pay for these costs Gary went back to court to forbid them from using the words ex Spandau Ballet on any of the advertising. It was a very sad and messy state of affairs.

      • Paul Sinclair says:

        Yes, it was a double Whammy – they lost the case and then were so skint they had to let Gary buy them out of their share in the name.

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