Christine's take on what was cool in the 80s.

Adam And The Ants

Gary Tibbs, Merrick, Marco Pirroni, Terry Lee Miall & Adam

This slightly resembles my discovering Duran Duran story as I was watching the same TV show when Stand and Deliver played that I was watching when I saw Planet Earth. Anyway, I thought the video was sooooo cool and the song was wicked! My brother had heard it too and it was actually he that came home with the single.

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Watching the video now, however, I think it would have been better if Adam didn’t sing. It may have been even cooler just acted out – as a movie. Anyway, it was a cool video for the time and the song rocked.

I’d actually liked the group’s 1980 hit – Antmusic. I remember I was (funnily enough) at a blue light disco (ie: run by the police) when it played and I loved it. I was starting to get into drums around the time and the two drum sound was awesome (and still is. I will always love the 2 drummer concept and sound!) I didn’t know who the song was by though. The disco was hot and sweaty; I didn’t really like it and more than anything wanted to go home so, I  wasn’t about to ask anyone who’d sung the song. Don’t ask me how or why I didn’t find out at a later date, be it via TV or radio because I honestly don’t know. All I know is that when the group became really popular a year later, I finally saw/heard it and was enlightened lol  I don’t know if you’ll agree or not but the Antmusic video actually highlights why I thought New Romantics were so cool. Check out the group and compare them to the patrons of the disco. Who would you want to be like?

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Kings Of The Wild Frontier was a huge in the UK and many of the singles that were released – Antmusic, Kings Of The Wild Frontier and Dog Eat Dog were massive hits. While I honestly dig the double drums and bass, as I say, the only song that does it for me is Antmusic.

Anyway, as stated, about a year later there was much fuss, especially at my school over Adam and the Ants because they were touring and so many of us wanted to go to their concert but weren’t allowed because we were too young. One girl, however, DID get to go and she came back the next day with a drumstick and we were all sick with jealousy.

Oddly enough, I was once again attracted to the bass player of the band, Kevin Mooney – the last on the right.

Obviously, the group were very popular at this point and my brother actually joined their fanclub. He still has some wallet sized cards actually. Now, despite their popularity, we didn’t buy their albums because it seemed that song wise, the group was hit and miss and even at our fledgling stage of buying our own music, we knew we didn’t want to buy albums that had 2 good songs and 8 album fillers and rightly or wrongly, that’s how Adam and the Ants appeared to us judging by the singles and B-sides. I like Dog Eat Dog for example but I wasn’t so blown away that I wanted to run out and buy it, despite the drums. So, we were lucky to find Antmusic, then bought Stand and Deliver and Prince Charming as they were released- and that was it for us. (I bought Goody Two Shoes a few years later though). You might question my brother joining a fan club of a group he only likes 3 songs of but I believe it was because he was caught up in the imagery and coolness. After all, what guy doesn’t want to be a pirate or a highwayman?

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Now, I’ve seen the band described musically as ‘new romantic’ but they’re so not. They were post punk, then sort of morphed into pop-rock. Kevin Mooney actually left the band ( or was fired or both) because, while recording the Prince Charming album he felt the band were becoming too ‘pop’ for him. (He was replaced with Roxy Music’s Gary Tibbs). Fashion-wise, yes, they could definitely be described as New Romantic but not musically. (New Romantic music is more Visage). Back in the day, when they were Adam and the Antz, they actually started out as punk and toured with Siouxsie and the Banshees and were regulars in punk fanzines. So really, Adam and the Ants went on a bit of a musical journey. Adam started out as rock, then went punk, then post punk, then pop-rock, really.

The original new pirate

Another reason I really liked Adam and the Ants was the fantastic clothing. It was essential New Romantic (let me just once again say stress that the band weren’t New Romantic musically -even Adam Ant has said so) and just so, so cool! Perhaps ironically, Adam personified the fashion movement perfectly. I loved that they had an easily identifiable image. Not to mention, they even had their own logo – which again I thought wicked cool.

Adam had a thing for Native Americans although at the time, he called them Red Indians. [There was no political correctness back then. Frankly, I miss those days because you never really know what people think anymore; they're too frightened to speak their mind but - I digress].  Of course, that was probably a lyrical thing more than being insensitive. Actually, interestingly and understandably, Native Americans were concerned that he might be exploiting Geronimo’s stripe, which to them is a sacred sign, as a gimmick. So they wrote to Adam and asked him to stop using the symbol. Adam took their concerns very seriously and arranged a meeting with the North American Community Association. He explained his deep love for and interest in and identification with the Native American and their causes. (He is part Romani). He also invited them along to one of the shows to judge for themselves. They were impressed, and they dropped their request. Another coolness point for Adam and another reason to love him (I love Native Americans). Back to his clear and obvious love of them – ‘Indian’ feathers adorned him; he wore Apache warpaint and the Ant logo is clearly a Native American chief headdress. [The ‘ANTMUSIC IS FOR SEX PEOPLE’ in the logo is a lyric from Kings Of The Wild Frontier’s Don’t Be Square Be There …which actually has nothing to do with Native Americans lol]

By Prince Charming, the Native American/highwayman/pirate stuff had gone and we had Regency era clothing, which again looked cool. The warpaint remained, as did the logo, only the paint was no longer easily identifiable as Apache or any Native American warpaint.

Prince Charming, the 3rd and final album featured hits Stand And Deliver and Prince Charming, both of which I loved. Adam disbanded the group by 1982 however, saying he didn’t think the members of the band had their hearts in it. So really, that was that. At least for the group. Adam would come out a couple of years later as a solo artist.

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Prince Charming is interesting for a couple of reasons. One, the role of the fairy godmother in the video is played by the late Diana Dors. I always remember my mum pointing that out to me, as I had no clue that she was anyone famous. Sadly, that was her last role before she died. Secondly – and this came as quite the shock to me – it is a complete and total rip off of a 1965 Rolf Harris song called War Canoe.

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Apparently Adam and Rolf settled amicably out of court after the music expert in the court case found the songs identical. One can only hope Adam did it because he thought it was a great tune and should be updated rather than secretly hoping no-one would ever notice!

Anyway, aside from the music, 2 hunky members, indulging my penchant for New Romantics plus having a cool logo – what really stuck with me about Adam and the Ants were the drums. As previously stated, I was toying with the idea of wanting to be a drummer but the double drum sound from the band is what sold me. That’s when I started asking for a drum kit so – for helping me make up my mind, plus having some seriously awesome tunes, I’ll always love Adam And The Ants.

The only other (decent) pic I could find that included Kevin