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Rock - Released May 15, 2000 | Parlophone UK

By the time Gold emerged in 2000, Spandau Ballet had gone the full circle, from hip young new romantic things, to pop-soul chart-toppers, to rock burnouts, to unexpected influences, to golden oldies. P.M. Dawn memorably revamped "True" for their own smash, "Set Adrift on Memory Bliss," in the early '90s and Negativland did their own tweak with "True" for their True/False tour in 2000. As Chrysalis had already released the Singles Collection in 1985, all that was really needed was to add the couple of random singles from the noted flop Through the Barricades (the title track at least being a wonderfully over-the-top power ballad that actually works) and behold -- a new compilation. With tracks reordered, but like the original Singles Collection not in any apparent pattern, aside from putting the three biggest American cuts -- "Gold," "True," and "Only When You Leave" -- at the start, Gold is all most casual fans will ever need or want. From 20 years' worth of perspective, the earliest songs sound astoundingly ham-handed; exceptions like "Musclebound" and its intentionally camp militaristic young-boys-together martial attitude aside, not to mention the rent-boy scenario of "To Cut a Long Story Short," nearly everything sounds like it served the videos rather than vice versa. But there's a reason why "Gold" and especially "True" were the smashes they were: for one brief shining moment, the band stopped pretending they were anything but blue-eyed soul fiends and created a couple of perfect gems in the field. Hearing Tony Hadley's dramatic call before the final chorus of "True" still just plain works, full stop. After that, things were decidedly more miss than hit, smoothness serving no purpose, with George Michael in particular stealing the fame and the accolades for the rest of the decade, but overall Gold fulfills its brief -- it is certainly the best, and they weren't much worse. A reasonable if not revelatory biography and various archive photos complete the package. © Ned Raggett /TiVo
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Pop - Released October 14, 2013 | Parlophone UK

By 1983, with the new romantic movement they'd sprung from a rapidly fading memory, the members of Spandau Ballet showed they had no intention of traveling the same path. Always ambitious, the British quintet really got down to business: Gone were the kilts, frilly shirts, and makeup -- as well as the sometimes chilly electronics of their first two albums. Instead, after recording at Compass Point Studios in the sun-soaked Bahamas, the group turned up in smartly tailored suits, with a sleek and mainstream sound to match. That came courtesy of producers Steve Jolley and Tony Swain, who gave Spandau the sort of pop-R&B sheen that had produced hits for clients like Imagination. And it also reflected the growing skill of guitarist Gary Kemp, the band's primary songwriter, who crafted a set of tunes aimed squarely at the charts. The one that succeeded most spectacularly, of course, was the title cut, a glossily-updated Motown-style ballad that became one of the decade's biggest hits -- aided by a video that cast singer Tony Hadley as a young Frank Sinatra, crooning about the sound of his soul. But Kemp had more arrows in his quiver, as well; the catchy soft disco of "Communication" and "Lifeline" coyly suggests, rather than demands, listeners' presence on the dancefloor, while the suave, spy flick-inspired "Gold" finally gives Hadley an appropriately rich setting for his dramatic warble. Some listeners at the time called the album an MOR sellout, but its slick surfaces remain tough to resist, and while none of the cuts generate the excitement of past singles like "To Cut a Long Story Short" or "Chant No. 1," True remains Spandau Ballet's most consistent and best all-around album. © Dan LeRoy /TiVo
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Pop - Released April 16, 2012 | Parlophone UK

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Pop - Released September 22, 2017 | Sony Music CG

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By the time Spandau Ballet's fifth album appeared in 1986, the sun had set on the synth poppers of the second British Invasion and guitars were all the rage once again. Never ones to miss a trend, the former new romantics -- who'd signed with a new label, Epic, and were determined to make a big splash stateside -- declared their admiration for bands like Bon Jovi and made an album that likely surprised their diminishing fan base with its AOR aspirations. Rocking up Spandau Ballet's smooth white-boy soul, Through the Barricades manages to avoid utter disaster via the tuneful creations of songwriter/guitarist Gary Kemp. Some would argue Kemp had finally evolved into a first-class hack, but while his songs never avoid a cliché if it can be helped (and occasionally offer much worse; see "Virgin"), he does a credible job of supplying his bandmates with arena-ready material like "How Many Lies." Unsurprisingly, melodramatic vocalist Tony Hadley digs in with real gusto, but the production and mix prove the undoing of this effort. Most of the tunes demand guitar and drum bombast; instead, the riff-rocking "Cross the Line" and "Fight for Ourselves," in particular, are undercut by the polite-sounding rhythm section. Given that weakness, which affects much of the album, it's unsurprising that the best song by far is the title track, a Bic-flicking acoustic ballad that became a deserved hit. © Dan LeRoy /TiVo
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Pop - Released March 4, 1983 | Parlophone UK

By 1983, with the new romantic movement they'd sprung from a rapidly fading memory, the members of Spandau Ballet showed they had no intention of traveling the same path. Always ambitious, the British quintet really got down to business: Gone were the kilts, frilly shirts, and makeup -- as well as the sometimes chilly electronics of their first two albums. Instead, after recording at Compass Point Studios in the sun-soaked Bahamas, the group turned up in smartly tailored suits, with a sleek and mainstream sound to match. That came courtesy of producers Steve Jolley and Tony Swain, who gave Spandau the sort of pop-R&B sheen that had produced hits for clients like Imagination. And it also reflected the growing skill of guitarist Gary Kemp, the band's primary songwriter, who crafted a set of tunes aimed squarely at the charts. The one that succeeded most spectacularly, of course, was the title cut, a glossily-updated Motown-style ballad that became one of the decade's biggest hits -- aided by a video that cast singer Tony Hadley as a young Frank Sinatra, crooning about the sound of his soul. But Kemp had more arrows in his quiver, as well; the catchy soft disco of "Communication" and "Lifeline" coyly suggests, rather than demands, listeners' presence on the dancefloor, while the suave, spy flick-inspired "Gold" finally gives Hadley an appropriately rich setting for his dramatic warble. Some listeners at the time called the album an MOR sellout, but its slick surfaces remain tough to resist, and while none of the cuts generate the excitement of past singles like "To Cut a Long Story Short" or "Chant No. 1," True remains Spandau Ballet's most consistent and best all-around album. © Dan LeRoy /TiVo
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Pop - Released April 25, 2008 | Parlophone UK

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Rock - Released July 1, 1990 | Parlophone UK

Although the majority of Spandau Ballet compilations have been absolutely superseded by the Reformation box set, that set's need to present rare and live material alongside the expected highlights leaves a gaping hole in the band's resumé, one that The Twelve Inch Mixes effortlessly plugs. Originally issued as one half of the band's British vinyl Singles Collection package, The Twelve Inch Mixes offers a near-complete recounting of the band's extended remix catalog, from the six-minute glory of their debut, "To Cut a Long Story Short," through to the last gasp heroics of "Highly [Re]Strung" four years later. The album, like the band, is at its best in the early years, while Spandau still took their status as Britain's finest club funk band seriously -- the four closing tracks here all date from that period and include pulsating remixes of "Chant #1" and "Musclebound" (but not, strangely, "Paint Me Down," reminding you that, had the band never cut another record, their place in history would be assured). In fact, the balladic successes of "Gold," "True," and "Only When You Leave" do much to detract from the sheer genius of those early hits, although their own brilliance cannot be disavowed. Few bands from this era were ever able to escape the gravity of their new romantic beginnings. Spandau, however, didn't simply escape it. They utterly reinvented themselves and there's still a thrill to be gleaned from the six-plus minutes of "True," the 1983 U.K. chart-topper that announced the group's new direction. The seven-minute "Gold" and a surprisingly successful reinvention of "Round and Round" also offer glowing testament to the period remixer's art, and Twelve Inch Mixes emerges an immensely enjoyable reminder of just how electrifying even latter-day Spandau Ballet could be. © Dave Thompson /TiVo
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Pop - Released January 1, 2009 | EMI

New wave/'80s fans found 2009 to be a year of reunions. The Midge Ure-era Ultravox lineup toured, even after keyboardist Billy Currie spent years spewing venom in Ure's direction. The Specials reconvened, albeit sans keyboardist Jerry Dammers. Heck, even Haircut 100 decided to give it another go with Nick Heyward at the helm (only percussionist Mark Fox and saxman Phil Smith sat it out). Perhaps the most successful and least likely reunion occurred when all five members of Spandau Ballet announced that they were getting back together. What makes this so amazing is that, just a handful of years ago, vocalist Tony Hadley, drummer John Keeble, and multi-instrumentalist Steve Norman had taken guitarist Gary Kemp to court over songwriting issues (they lost), and any chance of a reunion seemed to have gone sour. But, against all odds, the five members (who also include bassist Martin Kemp) ironed out their differences and undertook an enormously successful tour. Fans who were not able to catch them live were treated to a live DVD plus this acoustic-based studio creation called Once More. Apart from the acoustic reinterpretations of some of their biggest hits, the real attractions here are the two new tracks, "Once More" and "Love Is All." Both tracks are wonderful ballads that may not be as drop-dead gorgeous as "True," but they are right up there with other favorites like "How Many Lies." Perhaps as some sort of truce, "Once More" is credited to Gary Kemp and Steve Norman, while "Love Is All" is Hadley's baby. Both are proof that the Spandau magic is intact and ready to conquer the world again. As for the rest of the album, the boys in the band have rearranged songs from their catalog, putting the emphasis on the "song" itself and not the production. Some of the songs are given new life in the mostly acoustic arrangements, with only one, "Chant No. 1," sounding awkward and not entirely successful. The rest, though, are delicious new looks at songs that served as a soundtrack to a generation: "True," "Gold," "To Cut a Long Story Short," and "Only When You Leave," to name a few. They add a bluesy, funky feel to "Communication," while retaining its hook-filled melody. Lesser-known tracks like "Through the Barricades" and "With the Pride" are stunning in these new, simple arrangements that showcase Hadley's still-fantastic voice. Thankfully, the Spandau boys are still in top form, and one can only hope that a full studio album will hit the racks before they start suing each other and fall apart again. © Stephen SPAZ Schnee /TiVo
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Pop - Released October 14, 2013 | Parlophone UK

Parade was Spandau Ballet's follow-up to their most successful LP, 1983's True. "Only When You Leave" reached number three on the U.K. charts. The three other singles that were released do successively worse: "I'll Fly for You" (number nine), "Highly Strung" (number 15), and "Round and Round" (number 19). (These charting songs are all marginal at best.) The band was still riding high in the U.K. and sold out seven consecutive dates at Webley Arena. Fans of the band, and the "new romanticism" of other acts like Simple Minds, Adam Ant, and Wham may like Parade because it comes close to recapturing the stylish, white soul sound of the True LP. But nothing on the album comes close to the song "True." Spandau Ballet disappeared from American charts after canceling U.S. tour dates in 1984 due to injury. © JT Griffith /TiVo
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Rock - Released June 25, 1984 | Parlophone UK

Parade was Spandau Ballet's follow-up to their most successful LP, 1983's True. "Only When You Leave" reached number three on the U.K. charts. The three other singles that were released do successively worse: "I'll Fly for You" (number nine), "Highly Strung" (number 15), and "Round and Round" (number 19). (These charting songs are all marginal at best.) The band was still riding high in the U.K. and sold out seven consecutive dates at Webley Arena. Fans of the band, and the "new romanticism" of other acts like Simple Minds, Adam Ant, and Wham may like Parade because it comes close to recapturing the stylish, white soul sound of the True LP. But nothing on the album comes close to the song "True." Spandau Ballet disappeared from American charts after canceling U.S. tour dates in 1984 due to injury. © JT Griffith /TiVo
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Pop - Released October 14, 2013 | Parlophone UK

The roots of the complaint that British synth pop acts were all haircuts and no skill lie in the new romantic movement, despite the fact that several of its associated bands (Ultravox, Duran Duran, Visage) were musically quite credible. Spandau Ballet's first album, however, generally lived up -- or down, perhaps -- to that assessment, showcasing the sound of a group not quite ready for prime time. To be fair, the teenaged quintet did offer a hint or two of promise; the first single, "To Cut a Long Story Short," grooves along on a catchy electro riff, and "Musclebound," although far outdone by its video, does capture the new romantics' talent for making the even the mundane (a song about backbreaking labor!) exotic. But those two songs are still pretty skimpy in the melody department, and the half-dozen other tracks offer even less. Instead, you get crisp but tuneless dance-rock that at least offers plenty of leeway for Tony Hadley's dramatic tenor, which frequently wanders in search of a key. While most of the output from the band's peers now sounds dated, this is one album that suffers irreparable harm when separated from the accompanying costumes and visuals. © Dan LeRoy /TiVo
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Pop - Released January 8, 2016 | Parlophone UK

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Pop/Rock - Released March 17, 1989 | Columbia

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Pop - Released October 14, 2013 | Parlophone UK

With the new romantic movement they'd helped spearhead on the way out, futurist icons Spandau Ballet began thinking seriously about the future on their second album. The seeds of the group's transition to a slick, MOR soul outfit can be heard in hits like "Chant No. 1," the best song Spandau Ballet had come up with. More funk than rock, "Chant No. 1" got punctuation from the horn section of the British R&B act Beggar & Co., who were apparently a major inspiration for the track. Diamond features other tentative moves toward an authentically soulful sound; the tuneless single "Paint Me Down" is all chattering rhythm guitar and popping bass, while "She Loved Like Diamond" offers an inferior trial run at the approach that would produce the global mega-hit "True" (this version has an underdeveloped melody, which is OK, since still-improving vocalist Tony Hadley wasn't ready yet for a better one). The rest of the album sounds like the group had been listening too long to the second side of David Bowie's Heroes. "Pharoah" is off-kilter funk reminiscent of "The Secret Life of Arabia" -- a dubious choice for emulation -- and the gentle, oriental balladry of "Innocence and Science" segues into "Missionary," a percussion-filled mood piece light on actual substance. Although it's an improvement on their debut, Diamond showed Spandau Ballet was musically still far behind likeminded acts such as Duran Duran, Ultravox, and Visage -- a situation that would change somewhat with the band's next, most successful album, True. © Dan LeRoy /TiVo
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Pop - Released May 25, 1982 | Parlophone UK

With the new romantic movement they'd helped spearhead on the way out, futurist icons Spandau Ballet began thinking seriously about the future on their second album. The seeds of the group's transition to a slick, MOR soul outfit can be heard in hits like "Chant No. 1," the best song Spandau Ballet had come up with. More funk than rock, "Chant No. 1" got punctuation from the horn section of the British R&B act Beggar & Co., who were apparently a major inspiration for the track. Diamond features other tentative moves toward an authentically soulful sound; the tuneless single "Paint Me Down" is all chattering rhythm guitar and popping bass, while "She Loved Like Diamond" offers an inferior trial run at the approach that would produce the global mega-hit "True" (this version has an underdeveloped melody, which is OK, since still-improving vocalist Tony Hadley wasn't ready yet for a better one). The rest of the album sounds like the group had been listening too long to the second side of David Bowie's Heroes. "Pharoah" is off-kilter funk reminiscent of "The Secret Life of Arabia" -- a dubious choice for emulation -- and the gentle, oriental balladry of "Innocence and Science" segues into "Missionary," a percussion-filled mood piece light on actual substance. Although it's an improvement on their debut, Diamond showed Spandau Ballet was musically still far behind likeminded acts such as Duran Duran, Ultravox, and Visage -- a situation that would change somewhat with the band's next, most successful album, True. © Dan LeRoy /TiVo
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Pop - Released March 6, 1981 | Parlophone UK

The roots of the complaint that British synth pop acts were all haircuts and no skill lie in the new romantic movement, despite the fact that several of its associated bands (Ultravox, Duran Duran, Visage) were musically quite credible. Spandau Ballet's first album, however, generally lived up -- or down, perhaps -- to that assessment, showcasing the sound of a group not quite ready for prime time. To be fair, the teenaged quintet did offer a hint or two of promise; the first single, "To Cut a Long Story Short," grooves along on a catchy electro riff, and "Musclebound," although far outdone by its video, does capture the new romantics' talent for making the even the mundane (a song about backbreaking labor!) exotic. But those two songs are still pretty skimpy in the melody department, and the half-dozen other tracks offer even less. Instead, you get crisp but tuneless dance-rock that at least offers plenty of leeway for Tony Hadley's dramatic tenor, which frequently wanders in search of a key. While most of the output from the band's peers now sounds dated, this is one album that suffers irreparable harm when separated from the accompanying costumes and visuals. © Dan LeRoy /TiVo
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Rock - Released September 2, 2002 | Parlophone UK

In 2003, the three-disc Reformation anthology heralded a sunny day for hardcore fans of New Romantic heroes Spandau Ballet. This isn't merely a hits collection (the single-disc Gold had already done a fine job on that score). It contains enough rarities to make the hearts of Spandau maniacs leap with delight. The early New Romantic scene was focused on clubbing and dancing, and Spandau's extended 12" mixes were an important element of the band's sound; a wealth of those are captured here, exhibiting the band in all its synth-riffing, bass-popping, white-funk glory. Demo versions of early singles "To Cut a Long Story Short" and "The Freeze" help illuminate how the band's sound first came together. Live versions of later, more commercial material ("I'll Fly for You," "Highly Strung") show the degree to which Spandau Ballet eventually became arena-friendly pop stars, but there's more than enough choice early material on Reformation to keep the most uncompromising fans extremely satisfied. © Jim Allen /TiVo
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Dance - Released July 27, 2012 | Parlophone UK

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Pop - Released January 20, 2012 | Parlophone UK

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Pop - Released January 20, 2012 | Parlophone UK