ABOVE: Watch Spandau Ballet’s Tony Hadley and Martin Kemp on Global’s The Morning Show.
TORONTO — Spandau Ballet singer Tony Hadley, who recorded the now-classic pop song “True” in 1983, has given his stamp of approval to a cover version by Canadian band Eleven Past One.
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“We just heard it in the car,” Hadley said Monday during an appearance on Global’s The Morning Show.
“It’s really good.”
(Eleven Past One’s version of “True” appears on Sounds of the 80s, a compilation of cover songs that will be released Feb. 10.)
Hadley said “True” was written by Spandau Ballet guitarist Gary Kemp, who was inspired by his unrequited love for Altered Images lead singer Clare Grogan.
“He kind of loosely based the song on that and there’s references to Marvin [Gaye] and stuff because we were all into the soul thing as well.”
The UK band that sold more than 25 million records broke up in 1990 and Hadley and bandmates Steve Norman and John Keeble sued Kemp for a cut of royalties. They lost and had to sell their shares of the rights to the Spandau Ballet name to pay Kemp’s legal fees.
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Time apparently heals all wounds, though, and Hadley said he is ready to sing Spandau Ballet’s songs again.
The band, reunited in 2009, is kicking off a world tour on Friday in San Francisco that includes only one Canadian stop — at Toronto’s Massey Hall on April 27.
Hadley’s bandmate, bassist Martin Kemp, said he remembers Spandau Ballet’s previous concert in the historic venue more than three decades ago.
“That one in particular stands out because … there was a whole swath of young girls and they were all taken backstage,” he said. “But we were walking around half-naked backstage and I remember as they were coming around they were looking up, seeing us, and then falling back and fainting again.”
Hadley also reflected on the ’80s.
“It’s kind of weird when you think about it. ‘True’ has gone to No. 1 in 21 countries around the world, all of a sudden we’re touring all over the world,” he said. “It’s very young to have all that success.”
It wasn’t overnight success, though. Spandau Ballet was formed in 1976 and released two albums before True, which spawned hits like the title track and “Gold.”
“It was a big change for us. We had been a kind of club band playing electronic music led by synths,” Kemp explained. “Then we went to Bahamas … and all of a sudden our music just became so much more laid back. That was the sound of True.”
Hadley added: “A lot of people didn’t get into Spandau until True so they saw these blue-eyed soul boys with sharp suits.”
A documentary, Soul Boys of the Western World, goes back to the early days.
BELOW: Watch a trailer for Soul Boys of the Western World.
Kemp said he looks back fondly at Spandau Ballet’s unique fashion sense.
“I’m really proud of everything we wore,” he said. “In those days, nobody told us what to wear. It was just us. What we were doing was showing what fashions were happening in the clubs and then we were representing it on TV cuz we were those kids in the clubs.”
Hadley said he’s thrilled to still be singing at 54.
“I love music. I love singing. I love performing,” he said. “We had a 20-year breakup but we’re a lot better off as people because we finally managed to have the good sense to get us back together again.”
Kemp agreed. “If you are lucky enough to be able to turn your hobby into your job then that is success.
“And that’s the way to have a nice life.”
BELOW: Watch the videos for “True” and “Gold” by Spandau Ballet.