Friday, December 9, 2011

A to Z

This week's edition of Retro Friday features the band ABC, and I'm going to highlight several of their songs!

I can't believe that I've been writing Retro Friday posts for almost three years now, and have yet to cover ABC. The band ABC was one of my ALL-TIME favorite bands in High School. So many great high school memories revolve around ABC songs!

ABC are an English band, that charted ten UK and five US Top 40 singles between the years 1981 and 1990. The band released it's most recent album, Traffic, in 2008.

ABC formed out of the band Vice Versa. Vice Versa was born in 1977 in Sheffield by Stephen Singleton, Mark White and David Sydenham. They founded their own label, Neutron Records, releasing the EP (extended play) Music 4. They had a sound similar to The Human League, whom they supported in 1978. Martin Fry, who wrote the fan magazine Modern Drugs, interviewed the band; and shortly afterwards they asked him to join as synthesizer player. Fry accepted but within a short period of time the band became ABC, he assumed the role of lead vocalist.

My favorite ABC album is How to Be a ...Zillionaire!

How to Be a ... Zillionaire was released in 1985 and four singles were released from this album. "Be Near Me" which reached 26 on the UK singles chart, and number 9 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. "(How to Be a) Millionaire" 49 on the UK singles chart and 20 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. "Vanity Kills" 74 in the UK, and 91 in the U.S. And last, but not least, "Ocean Blue", 54 in the UK. The album topped at 28 on the UK Albums Chart, and at 30 on the Billboard 200.

For some reason, "Be Near Me" was a quintessential High School song for me. In the spring of 1986, my accelerated English class (yes, I was a nerd in High School) went on a weekend trip to Yosemite. It was one of those "trust building" trips where they took us on all of these cool trust walks ... through caves, and blindfolded ... to teach us to trust each other. I'm not sure how successful that aspect of the trip was, but I do have a lot of great memories from that trip, and this album was pretty much the soundtrack for the weekend. I'd post a photo from that weekend ... but, um, no way. I was WAY too much of a dork!

So here are a few of my favorite ABC songs, for your listening pleasure!

A to Z

Be Near Me

Ocean Blue

Vanity Kills



  1. You know, my music awareness did not start kicking in, until Senior year of HS. (they call that 12th now). There are many groups/ bands that I wish I would have been introduced to. When I did get into music, I did like the English wave and the Pacific NW movement. Thank you for sharing, your memories. At least someone had culture earlier in life.

    WOW!, this is a big word "quintessential".

    Cheers!, will be my simple word. :)

  2. Oh ABC, what a fabulous group.

    Some anecdotes i vividly remember when listen to ABC songs:

    '82 -> New Romance times at HS.
    '83 -> S.O.S (Beauty Stab), i remember the girl...
    '87 -> King without a crown (Alphabet City), after HS graduation and waiting to enter the Navy, i listed to "King without a crown" while strolling through the clubs.
    '89 -> One Better World (Pickering-Park Mix), clubbing in Italy.
    '89 -> North (Up), being assigned as liaison officer to 6th fleet in Italy, i always enjoyed coming back north to germany.

  3. I truly did love ABC ... so many great memories. Including a variety show act at our High School to an ABC song that used a very naughty word ... except our school administrators didn't know what it meant! Haha ... major FAIL on their part! Major WIN on ours! LOL