One of the more popular new wave bands of the early 80s, the British group ABC built upon the synthesized R&B pop style of David Bowie and Roxy Music, adding their own sense of theatrics and style.
During the late 70s, Martin Fry ran his own fanzine, Modern Drugs, while he attended Sheffield University. ABC was formed in 1980, after Martin had interviewed Vice Versa members Mark White and Stephen Singleton for his fanzine. The two musicians asked Fry to join their band as a vocalist, and he became part of the group.
Stockport born Martin headed the group as lead singer with catchy, synth-driven dance-pop hits in the early 80s, including "Poison Arrow," "Look of Love," and "Be Near Me."
Soon, Martin Fry had steered them in a more pop-oriented direction and the group was renamed ABC. In 1981, the band signed with Phonogram Records, which agreed to distribute ABC's own label, Neutron.
ABC's first single, "Tears Are Not Enough" peaked at number 19 in the charts. This was followed by two singles, "Poison Arrow" and "The Look of Love," which both became British Top Ten hits, paving the way for their debut album, The Lexicon of Love, which entered the charts at number one. "All of My Heart" also became a Top Ten hit in the fall of 1982.
In 1982, the group began concentrating on the United States. Their American success was helped greatly by the fledgling MTV network, which aired videos for "The Look of Love" and "Poison Arrow".
In1983 ABC recorded their second album 'Beauty Stab'. By 1984, ABC now consisting solely of Fry and White augmented by various session musicians. They moved to New York where they were joined by David Yarritu and Eden, mainly for visual effect!
The light, catchy "Be Near Me" released in 1985 became a hit single in Britain, climbing to number 26, and also the group's first top ten hit in the USA. The album 'How to Be A...Zillionaire!' became a Top 30 hit in both the U.K. and U.S.
In 1987 when ABC released "When Smokey Sings," a major hit, reaching number five in the USA and number 11 in the UK.
'Alphabet City' followed, making number seven in the UK and 48 in the USA. Two years later 'Up' was released but only charted in the UK. 'Absolutely', a greatest-hits collection, made the British Top Ten on its release in 1990.
Following the release of Up, Martin Fry took an extended break from the music industry, returning in 1997 with a revamped ABC and a new album, Skyscraping.
In 2008 ABC released their first studio album in over 10 years. "Traffic" - a collaboration between Martin Fry, David Palmer and Chuck Kentis. The magnificent first single "The Very First Time" was a massive hit on BBC Radio 2, with the follow up "Love Is Strong" demonstrating Martin Fry's song-writing, stage craft and musicianship is still as contemporary as it was in the beginning.