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Adam Ant

Adam Ant (born Stuart Leslie Goddard) is an English pop star, lead singer of 1980s New Wave/post-punk group Adam & the Ants and later a solo artist. He is also a film actor, having appeared in two dozen films or television episodes between 1985 and 1999.

Early life

Goddard, born in Marylebone, London on November 3, 1954, was an only child. His first school was Robinsfield Primary where he created a considerable stir by heaving a brick through one of the windows. Matters were presumably settled to everyone's satisfaction for he continued to attend Robinsfield. One of the themes he used in his later work - suppressed minorities - was part of his inheritance; he is of gypsy stock. His grandfather, Walter Albany Smith, was a full-blooded Romany. Home was two rooms in Dewalden buildings, St Johns Wood. Adam Ant recalls "There was no luxury, but there was always food on the table." His father worked as a chauffeur and his mother was a cleaner, briefly working for Paul McCartney. Although Adam didn't actually meet Paul until many years later his mother was able to get him an autograph by one of The Beatles.

Career

Early career

Ant's early career was as part of the punk rock movement, firstly as one of the "Art School Punk" contingent who followed the original punk groups that included Siouxsie Sioux, Chrissy Hynde, and Billy Idol. The first band he joined was Bazooka Joe, in which he played bass. It was at a Bazooka Joe gig that Adam was witness to the Sex Pistols first ever public concert, billed as Bazooka Joe's support act. He acted in Derek Jarman's 1977 "punk" film Jubilee. His debut as a recording artist was the song "Deutscher Girls", which featured on the film's soundtrack LP, and which was re-released as a single in 1982, after the Ants had achieved mainstream chart success.

Adam and the Ants

Main article: Adam & the Ants

In 1979, having released the album Dirk Wears White Sox and gained an enthusiastic fanbase, Ant recruited former Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren, whose main influence was to persuade the three other band members to leave and form a new band Bow Wow Wow.

In early 1980 Adam Ant recruited old friend Marco Pirroni to reform the lineup, sound and image of the band, now featuring two drummers and pirate dress. This new look was used to market the album Kings of the Wild Frontier, and several singles charted. The band's popularity grew, and the follow-up album Prince Charming was highly successful, with three United Kingdom top-ten singles (two reaching #1). At the same time he and actress Jamie Lee Curtis had a brief relationship. The Ants split up in early 1982. Newspaper articles of the time offered various explanations for the motivations behind the split. Initially Adam was quoted as saying that the split was amicable but later he was to say that "the interest just wasn't there anymore. It might have been Adam and the Ants on the billboards but not on stage." In addition, it is said that Marco Pirroni quit as he was tired of touring.

Solo career

After the split, Ant went solo, taking his songwriting partner Pirroni with him. His greatest chart success was 1982's Friend or Foe album, which included the hit single "Goody Two Shoes" which made it to #1 in the UK and Australia, and #12 in the US. Other hits from that album included "Desperate But Not Serious" and its title track.

In 1983 Ant worked with Phil Collins and Richard James Burgess on the Strip album which was recorded at Polar Studios in Stockholm. The single "Puss 'N Boots" reached #5 on the UK charts, but the BBC banned both the video and the song for the follow-up single "Strip," which peaked at #41. In 1985, he worked with veteran producer Tony Visconti on his third solo album, Vive Le Rock. He secured a spot at the Live Aid concert, but was asked to cut his set to one song. He chose his new single, "Vive le Rock." Unfortunately, due to a record mispressing error, the album and single resulted in disappointing reviews and sales, and Adam decided to end his career in music and focus on his acting career.

As the 80s wore on, Ant's attention turned toward acting, especially TV and movie roles. He spent three months in England on stage starring in Joe Orton's Entertaining Mr. Sloane. He also appeared on American television shows, notably The Equalizer, Sledgehammer! and Northern Exposure. He began taking roles in films such as Nomads and Slamdance. He moved to Hollywood and appeared in a range of productions.

In 1990, whilst maintaining an interest in acting, Ant returned to London and re-entered the pop music world with the album Manners and Physique, a collaboration with André Cymone, a solo artist and an early member of Prince's band. The album was another moderate success, and featured the UK and US hit single "Room at the Top". "Rough Stuff" became the 2nd single for the United States and Germany as "Can't Set Rules About Love" charted in the United Kingdom. In 1993, he toured in support of a planned album called Persuasion. For reasons unknown, however, this album remains unreleased.

Ant returned to Los Angeles where he had a relationship with actress Heather Graham. He also acquired a stalker, which placed him under great stress. Ant's illness began taking a larger toll on him, and he and Graham decided to end their relationship.

In 1995, he released another new album, Wonderful. The title track was a successful single, as was a tour of the U.S. in support of the album. While Ant and his group (which retained longtime guitarist Pirroni) played in smaller venues than they had played in the 1980s, the houses were often packed with enthusiastic fans. The tour was curtailed, however, when Ant and Pirroni both contracted a respiratory illness. Adam also played three shows at Shepherds Bush Empire in London and did a mini tour of Virgin Record Shops playing selected tunes from the album "Wonderful" and signing records.Adam & the band also played shows in Dublin, Glasgow, Middlesbrough & Stoke.

A new generation of Ant-influenced artists covered Adam and the Ants' hits during the 90s, including Elastica, Sugar Ray, Nine Inch Nails, Superchunk and Robbie Williams.

Antbox, a retrospective box set spanning Ant's career from the late 1970s through the 1990s, was released in late 2000. The box set included 66 tracks on three CDs, and quickly sold the initial 10,000 units. The boxset was re-released in a different form (with the same tracks) and sold more copies in 2003.

Ant was poised to join the 80s-focused Here & Now tour in early 2002, but was unable to do so after he was charged with threatening members of the public with an imitation firearm in a London pub. The court also ordered that he undertake rehabilitation, although he was later diagnosed with bipolar disorder (manic depression).

Since the 2002 incident, Ant has occasionally been featured in news stories surrounding potential projects and his medical condition. A television special entitled The Madness of Prince Charming was aired in the UK in 2003 documenting his career and his struggle with mental illness.

In 2004 and 2005, six "remastered" compact discs were released, spanning the years 1979 (Dirk) through 1985 (Vive Le Rock). The CDs feature previously unavailable songs, including demos and material culled from the "Ant vault." The project was greatly overseen by Marco Pirroni, and includes a written message from Adam Ant himself, circa 2005. A limited edition boxset, 'Adam Ant Remasters', was made to hold all 6 of the albums and 'Redux'. This product was re-released with all 7 albums in 2006. (It was stated on his website that he was writing new music for a new album titled "Fist In The Skull".)

In September 2006, he launched his autobiography: Stand and Deliver. The book recounts his career to date, relationships, as well as the more personal aspects of how his bipolar disorder has affected his life.

Discography highlights

See also Adam & the Ants for Adam's first three albums.

Albums

  • Friend or Foe - October 1982 (UK #5/US #16)
  • Strip - November 1983 (UK #20/US # 65)
  • Vive Le Rock - September 1985 (UK #42/US #131)
  • Manners and Physique - March 1990 (UK #19/US #57)
  • Antmusic: The Very Best of Adam Ant - September 1993 (UK #6) (some UK versions came with an 18 track live Bonus CD)
  • Persuasion - unreleased 1993
  • B-Side Babies - April 1994 (US)
  • Wonderful - April 1995 (UK #24/US #143)
  • The Very Best of Adam And The Ants - April 1999 (UK #33)
  • The Very Best of Adam And The Ants: Stand and Deliver - September 2006 (UK #39) (some UK versions came with a DVD featuring 8 music videos)
  • TBA - 2007

Singles and other releases

  • "Goody Two Shoes" / "Red Scab" - CBS single- released 1982 (UK #1, US #12 + Aus #1)
  • "Friend or Foe" / "Juanito the Bandito" - CBS single- released 1982 (UK #9)
  • "Desperate but not Serious" / "Why do girls love horses?" - CBS single- released 1982 (UK #33, US #66)
  • "Puss n Boots" / "Kiss the Drummer" - CBS single- released 1983 (UK #5)
  • "Puss n Boots" extended version / "Kiss the Drummer" extended version - CBS 12" single- released 1983
  • "Strip" / "Yours Yours Yours" - CBS single- released 1983 (UK #41, US #42)
  • "Strip" extended version / "Yours Yours Yours" extended version - CBS 12" single- 1983
  • "Apollo 9" / "B side baby" - CBS single- released 1984 (UK #13)
  • "Apollo 9" (Orbit Remix) / "B Side Baby" - CBS 12" Single
  • "Apollo 9" (Splashdown Remix) / "B Side Baby" / "Apollo 9" (Dub Mix) - 12" Single
  • "Vive le Rock" / "Greta X" - CBS Single - released 1985 (UK #50)
  • "Vive le Rock" (Remix) / "Greta X" - 12" Single
  • "Room at the Top" / "Bruce Lee" - MCA single - released 1990 (UK #13, US #17)
  • "Can't Set Rules About Love" / "How to steal the World" - MCA single- released 1990 (UK #47)
  • "Rough Stuff"/ "Bright Lights, Black Leather" - MCA single- released 1990 - Germany & US only
  • "Wonderful" / "Goes Around" - EMI single - released 1995 (UK #32, US #39)
  • "Gotta be a Sin" / "Dog Eat Dog (Live)" EMI Cassingle and double CD - released 1995 (UK #45)
  • "Beautiful Dream " / "Let's Have A Fight" EMI single - unreleased 1995

Remastered CDs - released 2004 and 2005

  • Friend or Foe - Remastered
  • Strip - Remastered
  • Vive Le Rock - Remastered
  • Redux - (bonus CD w/ unreleased tracks available exclusively in the Adam Ant Remastered box set)
  • Adam Ant Remastered - 4 CD box set (May 2005) (slip case with 4 remastered albums included and room for 3 more)
  • Adam Ant Remastered - 7 CD box set (October 2006) (re-release with all 7 remastered albums)

Videos

  • Prince Charming Revue - Concert video - released 1981
  • Antics in the Forbidden Zone - Compilation - released 1990
  • The Very Best Of Adam Ant - Compilation - released 1993 (UK #1)
  • Live in Tokyo - Concert video - released 1994
  • Antvideo - Compilation - released 2001
  • Stand & Deliver: The Very Best Of Adam & The Ants - Compilation - UK Limited edition CD & DVD - released 2006
  • Digital Tenderness: Definitive Video History 1977 - 1996 - DVD - cancelled due to alleged licencing issues

(Note: Although Digital Tenderness was cancelled, 8 of the videos were released on a limited CD & DVD edition of Stand & Deliver, and a revised version of Digital Tenderness without the offending tracks may also be forthcoming. Reportedly, a very few promotional copies of the complete Digital Tenderness DVD were released to critics prior to the cancellation).

  • Stand and Deliver - The Very Best of Adam and the Ants - DVD - 2006

(Revised DVD with early videos Plastic Surgery, Cartrouble, Tabletalk and others removed, and with an added bonus DVD with the televised Documentary added in an extended cut)

Compilations

  • Antics In The Forbidden Zone
  • B-Side Babies
  • ANTBOX (3-CD Box Set) (2001)
  • ANTBOX (3-CD Box Set) Re-released (2003)
  • Extra Wonderful (EMI Download Release 2006) including unreleased Beautiful Dream single tracks.

Filmography

  • Sweetwater (1999) Tele-film based on the 1960s band.
  • La Femme Nikita (1999) TV Episode
  • Face Down (1997)
  • Lover's Knot (1996)
  • Batman: The Animated Series (1995) TV Episode
  • Cyber Bandits (1995)
  • Desert Winds (1995)
  • Drop Dead Rock (1995)
  • Acting on Impulse (1993)
  • Love Bites (1993)
  • Northern Exposure (1992)
  • Tales from the Crypt (1992) TV Episode
  • Midnight Heat (1991)
  • Trust Me (1989)
  • Out of Time (1988)
  • World Gone Wild (1988)
  • Spellcaster (1988)
  • Cold Steel (1987)
  • Sledge Hammer! (1987) TV Episode
  • Slam Dance (1987)
  • Amazing Stories (1987) TV Episode
  • Nomads (1986)
  • The Equalizer (1985) TV Episode
  • Jubilee (1977)