If you’re like me (and I know that you are) you haven’t given Spandau Ballet much of a thought lately. Matter of fact, you weren’t giving Spandau Ballet much of a thought even when they might have been worth thinking about in real time. That would have been anytime between the years 1983-1987. Which is no small feat; to be on the charts and touring and selling out arenas worldwide for five years. Artists today would give their left arms for a career like that in this age of disposable artistry that lasts about as long as a Snapchat.
I recently watched a documentary on Spandau on Netflix entitled ‘Soul Boys Of The Western World. It was a fascinating doc about the rise and fall and rise again of the band. Even though I didn’t have any emotional investment in the band, it was yet another fascinating glimpse into how people either get along or don’t get along with one another and way. That’s what I find riveting…human nature.
Bands are, for the most part, marriages. At first everything is hunky dory and everything everyone does is great and you love hanging out with them, but after a while, people start to rub people the wrong way. And this causes friction and if it’s not properly addressed, the band eventually falls apart. Which is pretty much the story of 98% of the bands that have ever formed. Usually it’s money, sometimes women and sometimes other matters…but it’s usually money. People seem to be very interested in money.
In the case of Spandau, it turns out that their lead guitarist wrote most of their songs and all of their hits. Hence, he received the lion’s share of the publishing profits. You write the song you get the dough. That’s how it’s always been and always will be. In a rare case, you have a band like U2 who, no matter who first came up with the song or who came up with what guitar lick or lyric, all song royalties are shared. Split four ways. It doesn’t get more democratic than that. I have to believe that’s one of the reasons that they have remained as a unit for nearly 40 years. That and a heavenly anointing, but that’s for another note….