It was on a Thursday night in 1980 when millions of living rooms across the UK were set on fire by a blazing TV performance by Adam and the Ants. After three ferocious minutes of “Dog Eat Dog” on the weekly music show “Top of the Pops,” the phenomenon of Adam Ant rapidly began and they would go on to dominate the charts with extraordinary success. Don’t miss Adam Ant: The Singles Tour live at the Silver Legacy Resort Casino on Saturday, Aug. 4.
Adam Ant was no overnight success. His journey started at Hornsey College of Art where he teamed up with some old college friends to form the band Bazooka Joe. With Ant on bass guitar, they played the pubs and colleges around London and it was on a night in Nov. 1975 that he saw a group that was to change his life forever.
The Sex Pistols played their first ever gig, supporting Bazooka Joe, at St. Martins College of Art and the explosive punk band inspired Adam to start something new. He form The Ants and performed live repeatedly at many venues including the Vortex and The Roxy before getting a Thursday night residency at the famous Marquee Club in London. The band built a huge cult following despite being unpopular with the established music press, and in 1979 they released their debut album, “Dirk Wears White Sox,” which topped the independent chart on release. It has been said that if Adam and the Ants had appeared on television at this time, then they would have “made it” but the moderate success made the rest of the band despondent and in early 1980, the Ants left Adam after an offer to work with the former Sex Pistols manger, Malcolm McLaren.
With a new sense of freedom and clarity, Adam immediately put his ideas for a new “warrior” sound into practice and within months had put together a fresh band that included two drummers. The new band signed a major label deal and recorded the album “Kings of the Wild.” Released in Nov. 1980, it became a worldwide hit, spending 12 weeks at number one. The singles, “King of the Wild Frontier” and “Antmusic” both hit number two on the UK chart and “Dog Eat Dog” reached number four. “Antmania” swept the nation and after winning the Brit Award for “Best British Album,” Adam Ant became one of the most publicized faces in Britain.
In May 1981, “Stand and Deliver” hit the number one spot and stayed there for five weeks, becoming his most successful single and winning him the prestigious Novello Award for Songwriting. On its release, the follow-up album and single “Prince Charming” when straight to number one and soon after, 12 other singles went top 30. At one point, Ant had eight singles in the top 40 in one week.
He became the first VJ (video jockey) on MTV and at a time when videos were the most popular way to promote music, Ant’s charismatic performances in some of the most lavish visuals of the period paved the way for his acting career. His first solo album, “Friend or Foe” continued his success in the USA, delivering three top 20 hits on the Billboard Top 100. “Good Two Shoes” was also a number one in both the UK and Australia and after being voted “Sexiest Man Alive” by the viewers of MTV, he celebrate this success in the USA with a “Best New Artist” Grammy nomination.