Adam Ant (born Stuart Leslie Goddard, 3 November 1954, Marylebone, London) is an English musician, who gained popularity as the lead singer of New Wave/post-punk group Adam and the Ants and later as a solo artist, scoring ten UK top ten hits between 1979 and 1983, including three No. 1s. Goddard was also a star in America where he not only scored a string of hit singles and albums, but was once voted sexiest man in America by the viewers of MTV. He is also an actor, having appeared in two dozen films or television episodes between 1985 and 1999.
Stuart Goddard was born an only child in Marylebone. One of the themes he used in his later work — oppressed minorities — was part of his inheritance; he is of Romnichal descent. His maternal grandfather, Walter Albany Smith, was a full-blooded Romany. His uncle, mother’s brother, disappeard when he travelled to Australia ahead of his wife Joan. Home was two rooms in De Walden buildings, St John’s Wood. He recalls “There was no luxury, but there was always food on the table.” His father, Leslie Goddard, worked as a chauffeur and his mother, Kathleen Smith, was a domestic cleaner, briefly working for Paul McCartney.
His parents divorced when Stuart was seven years old, mainly on account of Les Goddard’s chronic alcoholism and abusive behaviour. Stuart’s first school was Robinsfield Infants School, where he created a considerable stir by heaving a brick through one of the headmistress’s office windows. Matters were presumably settled to everyone’s satisfaction as he continued to attend Robinsfield. He then gained a place at St Marylebone Grammar School and later became a school prefect.
After taking and passing his A levels, Stuart went on to the famous Hornsey College of Art to study graphic design and for a time was a student of Peter Webb. He later dropped out of Hornsey, short of completing his B.A, to focus on a career in music.
The first band the young Stuart Goddard joined was Bazooka Joe, in which he played bass. It was at a gig in November 1975 at St. Martin’s College, London, that Stuart was witness to the first-ever public performance of the Sex Pistols, who were billed as Bazooka Joe’s support act.
After leaving Bazooka Joe and forming a group called the B-Sides (which never gigged), Goddard married a fellow Hornsey student named Carol Mills with whom he lived at her parents’ residence in Muswell Hill. Shortly after, he suffered a nervous breakdown which led to a suicide attempt and hospitalization. Upon his discharge from the hospital, Stuart Goddard renamed himself Adam Ant. He formed Adam and the Ants in 1977 after seeing Siouxsie and the Banshees perform at the Vortex club in London’s Covent Garden.
Adam and the Ants
Adam and the Ants started as part of the burgeoning punk rock movement. Ant later acted in Derek Jarman’s “punk” film Jubilee in 1977, as Adam and the Ants were beginning to gig around London with manager Jordan from the Sex boutique on Kings Road. His debut as a recording artist was the song “Deutscher Girls”, which featured on the film’s soundtrack, along with “Plastic Surgery” which was performed in the film itself, and was re-released as a single in 1982. The band toured extensively around the UK, but proved to be unpopular with much of the British music press who disliked their fetishistic lyrics and imagery. Late 1979 saw the release of their début album Dirk Wears White Sox (1979, Do It Records).
Adam approached and asked Malcolm McLaren (the manager of The Sex Pistols) to manage the band. McLaren subsequently stole the rest of the Ants from under Adam’s feet when he introduced the singer Annabella Lwin and began the process of honing Bow Wow Wow for chart success. A new version of Adam and the Ants was formed with Marco Pirroni (guitar), Kevin Mooney (bass guitar), and two drummers, Terry Lee Miall and Chris Hughes (ex-Dalek I Love You), who used the name Merrick. The band signed a major label deal with CBS Records and recorded Kings of the Wild Frontier during the summer of 1980. That album was an enormous hit in the United Kingdom and the “Antmania” that ensued put the band at the forefront of the New Romantic movement. The single “Antmusic” went to #2 on the U.K. singles chart by December 1980.
In November 1981, Adam & the Ants released another highly successful album, Prince Charming. The album featured two United Kingdom #1 singles — “Stand and Deliver” and the title track “Prince Charming” — as well as the #3 UK hit “Ant Rap”. This trio of singles were promoted by some of the most lavish music videos of the period, and paved the way for Adam Ant’s later acting career.
In March 1982, feeling certain band members “lacked enthusiasm”, Ant disbanded the group. A few months after the split Ant launched a solo career (though he retained Marco Pirroni as guitarist and co-songwriter). Merrick returned to the band Dalek I Love You and would subsequently produce many hits of Tears for Fears.
After the split, Ant went solo, taking his song writing partner Pirroni with him. His greatest chart success was 1982′s Friend or Foe album, which included the hit single “Goody Two Shoes” which made it to #1 in the UK and Australia, and #12 in the U.S. Other hits from that album included the title song (which made #9 on the UK chart) and “Desperate But Not Serious”.
Around this time, Ant also received an endorsement contract from Honda to promote their new line of motor scooters, where he appeared with model and fellow alternative musician Grace Jones. In the commercial, Ant is being persuaded by Jones to try the new scooter. Ant, who had never driven anything in life, finally submits. The commercial ends with Jones biting him on the ear, which was edited out for the American market, but left intact when it aired overseas. Ant did successfully obtain a driver’s license a short time after the commercials began airing.
In 1983, Ant worked with Phil Collins and Richard James Burgess on the Strip album which was recorded at Polar Studios in Stockholm. The single “Puss ‘N Boots” reached #5 on the UK charts, but the BBC banned both the video and the song for the follow-up single “Strip,” which peaked at #41. Although Strip had some highlights and hit singles, it marked the end of his reign as one of Britain’s top pop stars for a while. That same year, Ant also memorably appeared as a guest performer on the NBC television network’s Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever special that aired in May.
In 1985, he worked with veteran producer Tony Visconti on his third solo album, Vive Le Rock. He secured a spot at the Live Aid concert, but was asked to cut his set to one song. He chose his new single, “Vive le Rock.” Vive Le Rock was intended to be his ultimate hard rock album but the single underwent a pressing error and the album received mixed reviews. As a result, Adam decided to end his career in music and focus on his acting career.
As the 1980s wore on, Ant’s attention turned toward acting, especially television and movie roles. He spent three months in England on stage starring in Joe Orton’s Entertaining Mr. Sloane. In 1993 he played the lead in the Steven Berkoff play Greek which was directed by Bruce Payne. He also appeared on American television shows, notably The Equalizer, Sledge Hammer!, Tales from the Crypt and Northern Exposure. He began taking roles in films such as Nomads and Slamdance. He moved to Hollywood and appeared in a wide range of productions and shows, producing a musical about rock ‘n’ roll legends Gene Vincent and Eddie Cochran’s days on tour in England Be Bop A Lula (play), with a set designed by L.A. artist Michael Pearce.
Return to recording and touring
In 1989, whilst maintaining an interest in acting, Ant returned to America and re-entered the pop music world with the album Manners & Physique, a collaboration with André Cymone, a solo artist and an early member of Prince’s band. The album was another moderate success, and featured the UK and U.S. hit single “Room at the Top”. “Rough Stuff” became the second single for the United States and Germany as “Can’t Set Rules About Love” charted in the United Kingdom.
In 1993, he toured in support of a planned album called Persuasion. On account of a regime change at MCA, the record company made the unilateral decision not to release this album on the basis that Manners & Physique had failed to achieve a gold sales certification. Ant was subsequently released from his contract with MCA and later signed by EMI. Persuasion remains unreleased to this day and, as a result, it has become something of a lost legend among “Antfans”, although it is widely available online for download.
In 1995, Ant released his last album to date, Wonderful. The title track was a successful single, as was a tour of the U.S. in support of the album. While Ant and his group (which retained longtime guitarist Pirroni) played in smaller venues than they had played in the 1980s, the houses were often packed with enthusiastic fans. The tour was cut short due to Ant and Pirroni both contracting glandular fever. Ant also played three shows at Shepherds Bush Empire in London and did a mini tour of Virgin Record Shops playing selected tunes from the album Wonderful and signing records. Adam and his band also played shows in Dublin, Glasgow, Middlesbrough and Stoke-on-Trent.
Arrests for causing affray and psychiatric hospitalisation
Ant was poised to join the ’80s-focused Here & Now tour in January 2002, but was unable to do so after he was charged with throwing a car alternator through a pub window and then threatening patrons with an imitation firearm. When Ant showed up, some of the pub patrons made fun of his appearance and told him that the man he was looking for was not present. Ant angrily told them he would be back before storming off and finding the car alternator in the street.
Ant was brought to court at Old Bailey. The charges against him (which included criminal damage and threatening members of the public) were reduced to a single count of causing affray, to which he pleaded guilty. He was fined £500 and ordered to psychiatric care with a suspended sentence.
In June 2003, Ant was arrested again by police after a conflict with a neighbour resulted in his attempting to smash the neighbour’s patio door in with a shovel and then lying down on the concrete floor of a cafe basement with his trousers pulled down, curled up and trying to sleep. Once again he was charged with affray and criminal damage and spent time in psychiatric wards.
In September of that year, he was sectioned under the Mental Health Act 1983 and spent a further six months of in-patient psychiatric care. He was eventually granted a conditional discharge by the judge at Highbury Magistrates Court.
Recent activity (2003 – present)
In 2003, Ant and Wonderful collaborator, Boz Boorer teamed with the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund (now called The Gorilla Organisation) in a reworking of “Stand and Deliver” as “Save the Gorillas”. Originally intended as a benefit record for the endangered mountain gorilla, it was never released, due to copyright and licensing issues.
In 2003, the successful Antbox was re-released due to popular demand, but presented in a different form. A television special entitled The Madness of Prince Charming was aired in the UK in 2003 documenting Ant’s career and his struggle with mental illness (he was diagnosed as suffering with bipolar disorder).
In 2004 and 2005, six remastered compact discs were released, spanning the years 1979 (Dirk) through 1985 (Vive Le Rock). The CDs include previously unreleased demos and material from the “Ant vault”. The project was overseen by Marco Pirroni, and includes a written message from Adam Ant. A limited edition box-set, ‘Adam Ant Remasters’, was made to hold all 6 of the albums and Redux. This product was re-released with all 7 albums in 2006.
In September 2006, he published his autobiography, Stand & Deliver. Marking the release of the book Adam Ant did a UK book signing, he went from London to Edinburgh. After the success of the first edition the paperback edition was published (a year later, September 2007); it contains a new epilogue which covers the year following the initial hardback release.
Ant performed a live reading from his autobiography and played some of his songs at the Bloomsbury Theatre in London on 24 September 2007. It was his first live performance in 11 years. The special performance is available on CD via adam-ant.net. The CD was officially released on the 12 December 2008. The CD is not available in the shops, only as an online purchase. It includes parts of the readings and songs performed on the night, complete with snatches of unscripted dialogue between Adam and his guitarist for the gig, Dave Pash.
In early October 2008, Goddard was awarded the Q Music Icon Award. Receiving the award from The Sugababes, he said how flattering it was to get an award that last year had gone to Paul McCartney, and that it was an honour to be chosen for the work that he’d done in the past. He mentioned was looking forward to next year with anticipation, not only because it would be the 30th anniversary of his first album release.
On August 2009, Cherry Pop Records UK, a subdivision of Cherry Red, re-released “Manners & Physique” remastered with bonus tracks.
March 2010, marked a return to live music. Adam’s first live performance since The Bloomsbury in 2007, was at Through The Looking Glass bookshop in London on the 19th. He ran through Ants Invasion, Cartrouble, Physical and a cover of Iggy Pop’s The Passenger. A day later, Adam performed at a Zodiac Mindwarp and the Love Reaction gig at the Pipeline Bar, London E1. Adam Ant took to the stage for a short, but highly memorable, live performance of the Zodiac Mindwarp Top 20 hit Prime Mover. Adam performed another low key show at the Southwark Playhouse on Saturday 20 March. During the intervals Adam talked about Sony records, how we rejected an alleged £2.6 million O2 deal and a new album collaboration with Chris McCormack. On the Sunday, he appeared at another nightclub in London, this time at the Monarch’s regular Sunday hard rock evening on Camden High Street tonight as part of his current assault on London’s live circuit. He played alongside members of Zodiac Mindwarp’s Love Reaction band for a second time that week, Adam performed Prime Mover again. Adam was also called to the stage by headliners Metalworks for a version of Born to Be Wild before making his leave.
Source – Wikipedia
Not Adam Ant Educated? Download These Songs:
Goody Two Shoes
Stand and Deliver
Dog Eat Dog
Desperate but not Serious
–All available for purchase on iTunes–