Howard Jones & ABC

Artist Bio



HOWARD JONES

Electronic music pioneer Howard Jones has been a constant presence on the international touring scene for the past four decades, playing live in a number of different configurations including intimate solo shows and dates with his full high-tech band set-up. He first burst upon the contemporary music scene in 1983, with his very English songwriting and pioneering synthesizers with “New Song”. His first two albums HUMAN’S LIB and DREAM INTO ACTION were worldwide hits. HUMAN’S LIB reached #1 in 1984 in the UK and featured the hits “New Song,” and “What Is Love?” In 1985, Jones released the follow-up, DREAM INTO ACTION, which quickly became a Top Ten Platinum album in the United States and featured the smashes: “Things Can Only Get Better,” “Life In One Day,” “No One Is To Blame,” and “Like To Get To Know You Well.”

Howard Jones has sold upwards of 10 million albums worldwide and continues to make new music and tour the world. Jones has performed on NBC’s top-rated morning and nighttime shows respectively, Today and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. His ubiquitous hits can be heard in such high-profile television series and films such as “Stranger Things,” “Breaking Bad,” “Watchmen,” “The Carrie Diaries”, “Superstore” and “Bumblebee”. Howard Jones’ most recent album is DIALOGUE, which was released in September, 2022. DIALOGUE is the third album in a trilogy of electronic releases from Jones with multi-media project ENGAGE coming out in 2015 and studio album TRANSFORM out in 2019. DIALOGUE garnered serious coverage in outlets such as Spin, Stereogum and more.

ABC

ABC has enjoyed a glittering career to date. Very definitely one of a number of groups who came along and kick-started the Eighties with their own brand of pop for a ‘new decade’. On it’s release in May 1982, their debut album ‘The Lexicon of Love’ crashed straight into the UK album charts at number one. Showcasing the hits songs ‘Tears Are Not Enough’, ‘Poison Arrow’, ‘The Look Of Love’ and ‘All Of My Heart’. A ground-breaking collection of modern love songs. With a majestic production from the legendary Trevor Horn it remains a classic to this day. Voted by many as the best British album of the decade.

ABC’s second album ‘Beauty Stab’ was a very different proposition to the polished beauty of ‘The Lexicon of Love’ and spawned the hits ‘That Was Then But This Is Now’ and ‘SOS’. It developed a much rawer, hard-edged sound. These were protest songs from a band that was constantly evolving.

Next came the 1984 album ‘How To Be A Zillionaire’. ABC again conquered American audiences with a series of devastating club mixes and pre Gorillaz animated cartoons. ‘How To Be A Millionaire’, ‘Be Near Me’, alongside ‘Vanity Kills’ and ‘Ocean Blue’ were all Billboard dance chart number ones. The emphasis here was unashamedly electronic.

1987 saw the release of their fourth album ‘Alphabet City’, co-produced by Chic’s Bernard Edwards. By the summer the worldwide hit ‘When Smokey Sings’ had powered its way toward the top of the American charts. Representing a return to luxuriant soul, alongside the songs ‘The Night You Murdered Love’ and ‘King Without A Crown’ the album captured the cosmopolitan feel of the moment and is both urban and chic. Heavy MTV rotation and an appearance on legendary show Soul Train cemented even greater success in the U.S.A for the band.

Inspired by the burgeoning House music scene ‘Up ‘the fifth ABC album reflected the euphoric and uplifting spirit of the times. ‘One Better World ’an idealistic and Ibiza influenced anthem champions the radical changes that were taking place in music in London, Manchester, Chicago and Detroit in 1988.

In 1991 ABC began work on an ambitious soul pop extravaganza ‘Abracadabra’. Releasing ‘Love Conquers All’ and the Black Box mixed ‘Say It’ the following year.

‘Skyscraping’ in 1997 represented a tour de force of gilt edged ABC. ‘Stranger things’ and ‘Only The Best Will Do’ embrace Glam inspired rock and roll.Collaborating with artists as diverse as King Britt in Philadelphia and David Arnold in London ABC continued to experiment and entertain.

In 2007 Martin worked on several songs for the romantic comedy, Music and Lyrics starring Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore. He also served as Grant's vocal coach for the movie, his influence being very evident in the final edit.

April 2008 saw the release of ABC’s first studio album in over 10 years. ‘Traffic’ was a collaboration between Martin Fry, David Palmer (who had been in the ABC line-up during ‘The Lexicon of Love’) 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 that even now 26 years on from ‘The Lexicon Of Love’, Martin Fry’s song-writing, stage craft and musicianship is still as contemporary as it was in the beginning.

On April 8th 2009, some 27 years after its debut release ABC performed the album “The Lexicon Of Love” in its entirety to a sell-out audience at London’s prestigious Royal Albert Hall. The epic performance introduced by Producer, Trevor Horn, and accompanied by the BBC Concert Orchestra, reunited not only Martin Fry, David Palmer and Trevor Horn, but also original backing vocalist, Tessa Niles and Academy Award winning musician, arranger and composer, Anne Dudley, who originally orchestrated the album and who conducted the orchestra on the night. The night was electric with audiences joining in on every lyric!

Martin has since repeated this formula with the ABC band and Anne Dudley, performing shows with the 40 piece Southbank Sinfonia across the UK.

2012 saw both a professional and personal highlight for Martin when more than 30 years after he graduated from the University of Sheffield with a degree in English Literature he returned to be made an honorary Doctor of Music for his contribution to music. Accepting his doctorate on stage during the university’s graduation ceremony, he also saw his daughter take to the same stage later to receive her own degree.

In 2016 Martin signed to Virgin/EMI Records and released ‘The Lexicon Of Love II’.

A mere 34 years since the release of the first ABC album, ABC return to the scene of their most resounding triumph with the May 27th 2016 with the release of ‘The Lexicon Of Love II’. Sonically doffing its cap to the original, it features 10 brand new songs from the pen of Martin Fry abetted by various musical cohorts. It might take a less innocent, more experienced view on affairs of the heart than its million-selling predecessor, but it still concludes that all you need is love.

Foremost among Fry’s collaborators on the new album is Academy Award winning musician and composer Anne Dudley, who arranged the strings on the original Lexicon; she has provided orchestral arrangements that give ‘The Lexicon Of Love II’ its signature sound, and has co-written two of the key songs on the album: ‘The Love Inside The Love’ and ‘Brighter Than The Sun’. Other songwriting partners include Grammy award winner Rob Fusari (Beyonce, Lady Gaga), film composer Charlie Mole and Marcus Vere. Production is by Gary Stevenson and Martin Fry.

The album debuted at #5 in the UK album charts with four Radio 2 A – List singles.

In June 2022 ABC celebrated the 40th Anniversary of the release of The Lexicon Of Love with a sold out UK Orchestra Tour, performing at Sheffield City Hall and the exact date the album was released 40 years prior.

Following these shows Sky Arts filmed their own ABC special recorded at the London Palladium in November. The special was aired in June 2023.

Following on from the success of the Anniversay Tour and the TV special in January 2024 ABC once again embarked on a sell-out 21 date Orchestra tour of the UK playing to over 35,000.

GENRE

  • Pop

Upcoming Show

  • Mon. August 26, 2024

Please be aware that The Factory is an almost totally cashless facility. Tickets can be purchased at our box office with all major credit cards and with Apple Pay. Concession at our bars can be purchased with all major credit cards and with Apple Pay. Band merchandise sales will accept all major credit cards and cash.