It's a sunny day in London as Tony Hadley chats to me on his hands-free phone while driving from Bayswater to his home in Muswell Hill.

The 46-year-old singer, who fronted Spandau Ballet for a decade until 1989, is enjoying a second wind in his career after appearing on the reality TV show Reborn in the USA in 2003.

Playing live

Full of beans, the distinctive voice of hits such as True and Gold tells me he is looking forward to performing in Abu Dhabi and Dubai with Go West and ABC later this week.

"I love playing live and doing shows wherever it is," he says, in a north London accent that reminds me of home. "The great thing about what we do is we get the opportunity to go to different countries and see the sights."


I remember watching Spandau Ballet during the peak of their fame during my teenage years. They seemed untouchable then, with their sleek suits and flicked-back hair. But the cool cucumbers from the 1980s are a world away from the down-to-earth personality emanating from the other end of the phone today.

I wonder how Hadley feels about that period, particularly after he, Steve Norman and John Keeble fought and lost a court case against fellow band member Gary Kemp over royalties in 1999.


Hadley insists he looks back with "fondness" and says: "When we were happy together, it was fantastic. It was a great life for five young lads whose dreams came true. We got to go on Top of the Pops and travel the world."

With the luxury of time having passed, Hadley is now able to be philosophical about what happened next.

"Like all good things, sometimes these things come to an end," he says. "Ours was unfortunately a pretty acrimonious split which was a shame because we were friends in school and great pals, but these things happen."

Reunion unlikely

Rumours are rife of a reunion on the cards for the group's 30th anniversary in four years' time, following recent comments by Hadley. But, he assures me it was said in jest.

"I kind of said it as a joke and it's been taken literally," he says. "You can never say never — who knows — but there would have to be a lot of bridges rebuilt for that to happen."


In the meantime, the singer has his hands full with a raft of projects: he has just finished starring as Billy Flynn in Chicago in London's West End; he'll be doing a slot on Virgin radio in the summer; and he performs private shows and charity events. If that's not enough to keep him occupied, he has a 5-month-old baby daughter, Zara, with his girlfriend Ally and a daughter and two sons (Toni, Tom and Mac) from his first marriage.

While life is full to bursting, Hadley feels very lucky, and says: "I get paid to do something I love and I can't ever see myself retiring. I've been doing this for 26 years and I am still enjoying it.

"If the voice remains as it is, maybe I'll still be doing it until I'm as old as Tony Bennett."


Go West come east

Ironically, it was when Go West went west that things started to go awry following a decade together in the early 1990s.

After leaving London to spend three years in Los Angeles, band members Richard Drummie and Peter Cox went their separate ways with one staying in the US and one returning to England.


It was the chance to play at Wembley Arena in the Here and Now tour in 2001 that first brought them back together.

Drummie — the one who went back to London — remembers it clearly.

"I thought, no one's going to be interested in us, but the reaction was fantastic," says the 48-year-old.

"It was great to be back on stage again and I realised we still had something people wanted to hear."


Today, their new Go West album is nearing completion.
Drummie, who has produced and written for many different artists, said their time apart had been positive.

"I appreciate how good we were at writing songs together and what a good voice Pete has," says Drummie. "We are still doing the same things we were doing 20 years ago and having the same disagreements but it is out of love for the material and because we both feel passionately about what we do."

When not in the studio, Drummie enjoys spending time with his children, Tara, 8, and Dominic, 12. He says: "I love being with my kids and I have tried to give every spare minute I've got to being with them because they are the best thing in the world."


Still cookin'

"Fame is a cheeseburger," says Martin Fry, lead vocalist of ABC, as he remembers receiving a free one thanks to his fame at their peak in Philadelphia.

Since forming in 1980, a dozen ABC members have come and gone but Fry and drummer David Palmer are still going strong.

"It's a bit like being in a football team," observes London-based Fry, 48. "As the years go by, the personnel change but the spirit and the identity remain the same."


This is a man high on life who has a simile ready for every occasion.

When I ask him what it was like in their heyday — when they were ambushed by fans banging on airport windows and jumping on their cars — he says: "The initial rush of success when you become No 1 in the charts is amazing but also confusing. It's a bit like being in a very fast car but you're not driving — someone else is at the wheel."

However, everything came to a standstill when Fry was struck down by Hodgkin's disease at the age of 27.


"It was a time of a lot of success and to have to stop and have the treatment was very difficult," he says. "I had to have two years of chemotherapy, radiotherapy and operations. It made me a lot tougher and a lot of good things came out of a very difficult time. It makes me realise I enjoy life and everything it gives you."


Did you know?

  • Tony Hadley, Go West's Richard Drummie and ABC's Martin Fry raised more than £200,000 (Dh1.46 million) for Action Medical Research by doing a trek to The Lost World, in Venezuela last year.
  • Fry was Hugh Grant's voice coach in preparation for the film Music and Lyrics.
  • Hadley, Go West and ABC are all managed by John Glover of Blueprint Management.

…these Spandau Ballet hits?
Through the Barricades.

Top 3
Go West hits:
We Close Our Eyes.
Call Me.
King of Wishful Thinking.

ABC's 1, 2, 3
Poison Arrow.
The Look of Love.
When Smokey Sings.

The shows

Information to see Tony Hadley, Go West and ABC perform an '80s Medley in the UAE:

Abu Dhabi

Where: The Club.
When: Wednesday, May 23.
Time: 9pm.
Cost: Dh150 for members and Dh175 for non-members.


Where: The Irish Village.
When: Friday, May 25.
Time: 9pm.
Cost: Dh150.