Martin Kemp (Spandau Ballet)

Martin Kemp, the former musician with New Romantic band Spandau Ballet, Eastenders Actor and younger brother of Gary Kemp, was born 10th October 1961. formed in London in 1976 Spandau Ballet consisted of Gary Kemp and Steve Norman on guitar, later saxophone and percussion. They were joined by fellow student John Keeble and the three met regularly at lunchtimes to practise. Keeble was followed by bass player Michael Ellison. Tony Hadley, then joined as lead singer, Richard Miller replaced Michael Ellison on bass, before Kemp’s younger brother, Martin joined the band a couple of years later. The band wasoriginally called ‘The Makers’ in the early years, but changed their name after a friend of the band, saw the name ‘Spandau Ballet’ scrawled on the wall of a nightclub lavatory during a visit to Berlin.

Spandau Ballet, began performing with this name and generating a positive buzz around London. Their music prior to then was in the style of the early Rolling Stones or The Kinks, but became more electronic as they began to hang out in clubs such as Billy’s and Blitz, where they would listen to bands like Kraftwerk and Telex. The Blitz was regarded as the New Romanticism.They released the first single “To Cut a Long Story Short”, just ten days after the band emerged from the studio in order to meet the huge demand created by the buzz they had established, “To Cut a Long Story Short” was an instant British top 5 hit in 1980. This was followed by hits with “The Freeze”, “Musclebound” and the well-received and Gold-certified album Journeys to Glory in 1981. The album had all the hallmarks of what would become known as the New Romantic sound and the sound of the early eighties.The follow-up album, Diamond, was released in 1982 and was certified Gold by the BPI and featured the funk-flavoured single “Chant No. 1″. The second single from Diamond was “Paint Me Down”, the third was, “She Loved Like Diamond”, Trevor Horn remixed the track “Instinction”, which was released as the fourth single from the album.

With a slicker, more pop sound, the band released their third album True in March 1983. The album topped the charts all around the world, and launched several international hit singles, such as Gold and the title track which reached number 1 in several countries. The follow-up album, Parade, was released in June 1984 and the album’s opening song was, “Only When You Leave”. At the end of 1984, the band performed on the Band Aid charity single and in 1985 they performed at Wembley Stadium as part of Live Aid, Spandau Ballet also released the compilation, The Singles Collection, which kept the focus on the band between two studio albums and celebrated their five years of success. The band split acrimoniously in 1990, and Martin Kemp went on to land an acting role in the UK soap opera EastEnders, while Tony Hadley tried to establish a solo career. Gary Kemp did a little more acting, appearing in a supporting role in the Whitney Houston hit The Bodyguard, and in 1995 he released his only solo album, Little Bruises. Both Kemp brothers also appeared in the film “The Krays”.

In 2009, The band began a worldwide Comeback tour starting with eight dates across Ireland and the UK, the first of which was in Dublin on 13 October 2009 and gave their “first public performance and interview anywhere in the world for 19 years” on Jonathan Ross’s BBC television show Friday Night with Jonathan Ross on 24 April 2009. The group released both their new album Once More, which featured two new songs plus reworked versions of their previous material, and the single of the same name on 19 October 2009. Virgin Media awarded Spandau Ballet as the Best Comeback of 2009 in their Virgin Media Awards.

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