Adam & the Ants

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The Kings of the Wild Frontier (1980)

Adam & the Ants were a rock and roll group during the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Led by Adam Ant (real name Stuart Goddard), the band was formed in 1977 in London, consisting of Lester Square (guitar), Andy Warren (bass guitar) and Paul Flanagan (drums). Square was replaced by Mark Gaumont early in the band's career, before the release of their debut album Dirk Wears White Sox (1979, Do It Records). The album was somewhat dark, with post punk riffs and some vestiges of glam rock. The album was not a success, so Adam & the Ants hired Malcolm McLaren (manager of the Sex Pistols) to help with their image. He dressed them in pirate costumes.

While preparing for their second album, McLaren convinced the Ants to leave Adam and form Bow Wow Wow. A new version of the Ants was formed by Marco Pirroni (guitar), Kevin Mooney (bass guitar) and two drummers, Terry Lee Miall and Merrick. Pirroni would go on to become an influential member of the group, and cowrite many of their songs with Adam Ant.

The first album released with the new lineup was Kings of the Wild Frontier, an enormous hit in the United Kingdom and put the band at the forefront of the New Romantic moment. There were several hit singles from this L.P., including Dog Eat Dog and the rather self-referential Ant Music. The band's most successful single, however, was Stand and Deliver (1981), in the video for which Adam Ant got to dress up as a "dandy highwayman" and generally indulge his exhibitionist instincts. The single entered the UK Top 40 at Number One and stayed there for several weeks.

There followed another highly successful album, Prince Charming, later in that year. However, Ant had by this point grown tired of the stresses of life in a band. Also the other band members had grown tired with the focus on Ant's celebrity and the way the group now tended towards mainstream pop - at a concert Kevin Mooney walked out on the band. A re-structured band attempted to attach itself to the early 80s white rap music fad (fuelled by Malcolm McLaren's "Duck Rock") with "Ant Rap", but this proved to be the band's last top 10 hit. Ant launched a solo career, keeping only Marco Pirroni to help out with songwriting and some playing. He enjoyed some early success with the album Friend or Foe and singles such as Goody Two Shoes; however, he seemed unable to keep the bandwagon going, and by the mid-1980s had faded into obscurity somewhat.


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