ABC was formed by Martin Fry (born 9 March 1958), Mark White (born 1 April 1961) and Stephen Singleton (born 17 April 1959). They met when Martin interviewed the latter two when they were playing in the Sheffield-based electronic group Vice Versa for his fanzine Modern Drugs.
Martin took on the role as lead singer and took control over the group artistically, changing it into a more pop-style band. The group was completed by the arrival of bassist Mark Lickley and drummer David Robinson - later replaced by David Palmer (Born 29 May 1961).
The debut single 'Tears are not enough', reached the UK top 20 in late 1981, but in 1982 the group had a string of top 10 hits with 'Poison arrow', 'The look of love' and 'All of my heart', all taken from the Trevor Horn-produced debut album 'The Lexicon of Love', an album that is ranked among the most important classics of its time. The album reached number 1 and it stayed in the UK charts for a year.
The second album 'Beauty Stab', released the next year, was a daring excursion artistically because it bore little resemblance to its predecessor. It also led to a change in personnel, leaving only Fry and White in the group. They continued with session musicians for the third album, 'How to be a zillionaire', which was again a change in musical direction.
Martin Fry became seriously ill and was absent for great lengths of time owing to treatment for Hodgkin's Disease.
A triumphant return for ABC came in 1987 with the release of the fourth album 'Alphabet city', containing no less than three Europe-wide hits: 'When Smokey sings', 'The night you murdered love' and 'King without a crown'.
The house-inspired album 'Up' was a commercial disaster, which could only be mitigated by the release of a Greatest Hits album, 'Absolutely' in 1990.
The group signed a new contract with EMI Records and recorded the 1991 album 'Abracadabra', a tightly produced fusion of early 1990s techno sounds and 1970s dance grooves which met with muted critical approval. The nucleus of Fry and White dissolved amicably, leaving Fry solo to work on a new ABC album.
In 1997, 'Skyscraping' was released. Fellow Sheffielder Glenn Gregory (most wellknown for his work in Heaven 17) contributed background vocals to several tracks on this album.
The greatest hits compilation 'The look of love: The very best of ABC' contained two new tracks.
Here and Now
Since this release, ABC - or rather, Martin Fry - has performed in the Eighties circuit of concerts. On several occasions, ABC shared the bill with Kim Wilde, for instance during the Here and Now Greatest Hits Tour.
In 2004, the VH1 show Bands Reunited attempted to get the line-up of Martin Fry, David Palmer, Stephen Singleton and Mark White together for a reunion concert. Singleton and White opted not to participate. Martin Fry and David Palmer appeared and played together for the first time in over twenty years. Following a tour of the United States in May and June 2006, Fry and Palmer, together with keyboardist Chuck Kentis, put together a new ABC album entitled 'Traffic', released in April 2008.
The Lexicon Of Love II
In October 2015, Fry announced that he was working on a new ABC album. Featuring tracks penned by Fry, with contributions by Rob Fusari, Marcus Vere, Matt Rowe and Anne Dudley, the album features orchestration arranged by Anne Dudley, who worked in a similar capacity on The Lexicon of Love. In May 2016 the album, called 'Lexicon Of Love II' was released, with lead single 'Viva Love'. It entered the UK Albums Chart at No. 5, the first time ABC had reached the Top 5 since the original 'Lexicon of Love' album in 1982. ABC also contributed a new song called 'Living Inside My Heart' to 'Fly: Songs Inspired by the Film Eddie the Eagle', the soundtrack of which was released on 18 March 2016.