Gary Kemp reveals why Tony Hadley was picked as Spandau Ballet’s lead singer

·2-min read

Gary Kemp has said Tony Hadley was chosen as Spandau Ballet’s lead singer because he was “the tallest bloke in the school and he was the only one with a leather jacket”.

The group, best known for 1980s hits such as Gold and True, was formed by Kemp and Steve Norman while they were in school.

Kemp was the band’s lead guitarist and provided backing vocals.

Up Next Gala 2019 – London
Gary Kemp (Ian West/PA)

When asked why he did not opt to become lead singer of the band himself, he told Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch: “When we started, Johnny Rotten was happening and we were big fans of The Who.

“We wanted a lead singer and Tony Hadley was the tallest bloke in the school and he was the only one with a leather jacket.

“It just so happened he could sing as well.”

Discussing his recent recording history, Kemp said that “turning 60 was a big deal and I found myself writing a lot of songs”.

“A lot of pop songs tend to be about young love,” he said.

Music Industry Trusts Award 2017 – London
Gary Kemp (Ian West/PA)

“Rock stars in their 70s sing about meeting some girl and I just started to write songs that were much more from an older perspective and looking back on your life and your relevance now, not being as strong and as powerful as you used to be and that can be written about as well, I thought.”

Kemp also told the programme that David Bowie had been an important influence on him.

“Everything that had gone on in the 60s, that was their generation and it was no longer shocking,” he said.

“Bowie came along and it was totally outrageous for my parents.

“I think he introduced theatre into music and we realised that you didn’t just have to be a musician to be theatrical and to be dressed up and be different.

“You can just be a kid on the street.”

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