Official Charts Flashback: 30 years of Spandau Ballet’s True

Spandau Ballet songwriter and guitarist Gary Kemp talks to Official Charts about 30 years of True

Spandau Ballet's Gary Kemp talks about True on the 30th anniversary of it being Number 1.

30 years ago this week, True by Spandau Ballet knocked David Bowie’s Let’s Dance off the Official Chart Number 1 spot and began a four week reign at the top, and also became the band’s biggest US hit when it reached Number 4 later that year.

It has gone on to be one of the band’s signature tunes, and there are probably very few weddings in the last 30 years that HAVEN’T played it at some point!

When we delved into the Official Charts archive, we found that despite True being the highest charting hit and only Number 1, it is actually Gold that has sold the most downloads in the digital era (possibly thanks to the Olympics and its use in advertising).

We asked Spandau Ballet's songwriter and guitarist Gary Kemp a few questions about his memories of True and that time:

How did True come about?

I wanted to write a blue-eyed-soul song. It was going back to my roots, really. I've always loved Marvin Gaye and Al Green, and wanted to try my hand at that. Also, it was time for Spandau to move on and become more than a Soho cult band. I concentrated on the song rather than the groove.

Did you imagine it would go on to be as big as it did?

While recording it at Compass Point in Nassau, there was a moment when everyone, including our roadies, went into the control room to sing along to it during a playback. I think we realised then what a song we had on our hands.

What are your memories of when you heard it was Number 1?

I was sharing a room with John Keeble and we woke in Sheffield to the phone call from our manager, Steve Dagger. He gave us the news and we burst into Tony's (Hadley) room and all three of us bounced on the bed! We'd knocked Bowie off of the top spot, which made it all the more exciting as he was our greatest influence.

It has gone on to be covered by Paul Anka, sampled by PM Dawn and Nelly and cropped up in numerous films and TV shows, have you a personal favourite moment?

Being twice in The Simpsons, I think. You gotta love the Simpsons for capturing the social zeitgeist, so it was an honour. Both times.

What do you think of it now, looking back?

There's no looking back. It seems to be forever present. I like playing it on guitar as it was written. It still sounds cool to me. But then I would say that.

Let's have a smooch to the video here:

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