From the Spandau Ballet Newsletter: To celebrate the digital release of Spandau Ballet's first 4 studio albums, Journeys To Glory, Diamond, True and Parade, special editions featuring previously unreleased tracks, b-sides, live sessions & 12" mixes, the band have asked celebrated journalist, author and commentator on the 80's, Paul Simper, to review 10 classic hits from these fabulous Spandau albums exclusively for spandauballet.com:
"To Cut A Long Story Short"
Gary Kemp's homage to The Blitz kids, that influential band of posers, designers, embryonic popstars and party animals of ‘79/’80 that made London swing again, only this time the city danced to a bass line, four to the floor and this memorable electronic keyboard riff.
Determined to stay true to the club scene they were representing this follow-up to 'Cut A Long Story' added a dirtier groove and was admired even by John Taylor from arch rivals Duran for its more hardcore vibe.
The five North London schoolmates were always at their best when they sounded like a gang. Intended as a Constructivist chant, this Eastern European folk melody came from left field after two club hits but showed the band were prepared to take chances.
As the early 80s London club scene skipped from electronica to soul boy with a Latin NYC influence Spandau delivered a sweaty funk and brass summation of Soho's hottest nightspot, Le Beat Route.
At six and a half minutes few in the band saw this blue eyed soul ballad as anything more than a very classy album closer when they first recorded it in Nassau. But the reaction when they played it to the rest of the world changed all that.
The Bond theme that never was. The band had experimented with epic John Barry flavoured ballads before with "She Loved Like Diamond" but "Gold" nailed it. The actual Bond theme for that year, 1983, was Rita Coolidge's "All Time High" for Octopussy.
"Only When You Leave"
Praised by Pet Shop Boy Neil Tennant in his Smash Hits singles reviewing days, this sleek rock ballad moved Spandau from the balmy shores of Nassau to the urban landscape of Munich again with Swain and Jolley producing.
"I'll Fly For You"
The mix of acoustic and electric guitars on this elegant ballad showed the influence of Don Henley and Mark Knopfler on the Spandau sound as the band enjoyed success on America’s West Coast in ‘83/’84.
"With The Pride"
A hymn to the working man, inspired by Gary and Martin's dearly departed dad Frank. While this Parade version rocks out it was revisited acoustically with a nod to the Walker Brothers.
"Round and Round"
Allied with Martin Kemp's evocative hi-8 home movies of 80s Spandau at work and play, this ballad finally had a chance to spread its wings on the 2009/10 Reformation tour and emerge from the shadow of True.
Journeys To Glory, Diamond, True & Parade Special Editions are available digitally in the spandauballet.com official store and on iTunes.