Artist of the Month: Adam Ant
December 1, 2017
For teaching a generation that ridicule is nothing to be scared of. Ladies & Gentlemen. Our December Artist of the Month. Adam Ant.
At its very best, pop has always spoken a language that ignores what everyone tells you in favour of something that only you, and others like you, can share.
It’s a conversation that always works so much better with a charismatic figurehead not just making passionate speeches, but helping everyone else speak up too. Which is why Adam & The Ants meant, and continue to mean, so much to so many.
Adam & The Ants broke though to a wider audience in an age when the vinyl 45rpm single was currency and the chart rundown on Sunday teatime was the most important event of the week.
Adam Ant knew this more than most. While punk had told him that he didn’t need anyone’s permission to follow his dreams, it followed that his innate love of pop music and its attendant opulence and sparkle would be translated into a concept of utter magnificence.
Having learned harsh yet vital lessons from the burgeoning punk scene, in 1977 he realised a new vision that would soon dominate the global stage, canny enough to draw from a number of musical and cultural influences that, when blended seamlessly together, would make a dazzling and unique whole.
Mixing the glam of Roxy Music with Spaghetti Western guitars and two-pronged percussive attack that acknowledged the Drummers of Burundi, the result was the zeitgeist-defining collection of songs that became ‘Kings Of The Wild Frontier’.
Every so often on Planet Pop, there comes a time when the stars align, and they all dutifully fell into place for Adam & The Ants and Antmania propelled ‘Kings Of The Wild Frontier’, ‘Dog Eat Dog’ and ‘Antmusic’ to the upper reaches of the UK singles chart and beyond.
There was simply nothing else like them. This was pop music with a glint in its eye and a swagger in its step that spoke to its constituency like nothing else.
But they didn’t stop there. ‘Prince Charming’ displayed a band that was keen to explore new avenues and methods of presentation. And let’s face it – when the paint box is open, there are more ways than one to apply the lippy and blusher. Indeed, as Adam was keen to point out on ‘Prince Charming’ – the album’s second Number One following the barnstorming ‘Stand And Deliver’ – “Ridicule is nothing to be scared of.”
The accompanying video, guest-starring the late Diana Dors as Adam’s fairy godmother, was fuelled by the cross-armed dance that re-enforced the singer’s approach and message: each move signified Pride, Courage, Humour and Flair and it fitted the song’s central ideal of tolerance and respect perfectly.
Unquestionably evocative of its particular time and place, the music of Adam & The Ants is also timeless, transcending its origins to take on a life that perhaps no one thought possible.
There’s too much joy contained within those grooves to tether the songs to a past long gone. That’s why, when Adam Ant takes the stage at London’s celebrated Roundhouse to celebrate these singles and many more later this month, they’ll mean as much now as they did then.
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