|Birth name||Martin David Fry|
9 March 1958 |
Stretford, Lancashire, England
Martin David Fry (born 9 March 1958) is an English singer, songwriter, musician and record producer.
In a music career spanning more than 30 years, Fry came to prominence in the early 1980s as the lead singer of the English new wave band ABC, which released five singles that entered the Top 20 charts in the United Kingdom during the 1980s, including "Tears Are Not Enough", "Poison Arrow", "The Look of Love", "That Was Then but This Is Now" and "When Smokey Sings". He is the only member who has been with ABC throughout its entire history and is currently its only member.
Martin David Fry was born on 9 March 1958, in Stretford, Lancashire, and grew up in nearby Bramhall, Stockport, alongside his younger brother Jamie, whom later went on to join the indie rock band Earl Brutus. In 1978, Fry was editing a fanzine titled Modern Drugs, when he first met future ABC band members Mark White and Stephen Singleton while interviewing them for an article in the fanzine. White and Singleton, then fronting a rock band called Vice Versa, invited Fry to join their band to play the keyboards.
With Fry in place as lead singer and songwriter, Vice Versa changed its name to ABC and changed its sound to a synthpop style that at that time led them to be categorised with bands like Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet and The Human League. Between 1982 and 1992, ABC recorded six studio albums (The Lexicon of Love, Beauty Stab, How to Be a ... Zillionaire!, Alphabet City, Up and Abracadabra) and released a greatest hits compilation album, Absolutely. During this time, the band went through numerous personnel changes, with Fry and Mark White being the only permanent members.
ABC broke up in 1992, with White leaving the music business to pursue an interest in Reiki therapy. Fry continued to work with EMI in the months thereafter but was axed from the label before his solo material could be released. Fry resurrected the ABC name in 1997 for the album Skyscraping, a homage to several of his musical heroes, including David Bowie, Roxy Music and the Sex Pistols. The album was a collaboration with Glenn Gregory of Heaven 17 and Honeyroot's Keith Lowndes.
The band has toured extensively and performed live at events such as the 2001 Night of the Proms, where Fry was supported by a 72-piece orchestra and 50-piece choir. In 2008, Fry released a new ABC album titled Traffic.
In April 2009, Fry and original drummer David Palmer performed The Lexicon of Love album live at the Royal Albert Hall in London. The band was accompanied by the BBC Concert Orchestra. Anne Dudley of Art of Noise fame, who arranged and played keyboards on the original record, conducted the Royal Albert Hall performance.
In April 2016, a single with a music video "Viva Love" was released as a teaser for The Lexicon of Love II album. The album entered the UK album chart at No. 5, the band's highest chart position since 1982 and first Top 10 entry since 1990.
Besides working with ABC, Fry has also recorded and toured with other artists.
- In 1989, Fry recorded a song called "Mythical Girl" with Arthur Baker for Baker's album Merge, a project that included songs with various artists, including Love Is the Message featuring Al Green.
- Together with Mark White, Fry co-wrote and produced a couple of songs of Paul Rutherford's 1989 album Oh World.
- In 1997, Fry contributed to David Arnold's Shaken and Stirred: The David Arnold James Bond Project, an album made up of re-recordings of James Bond movie themes featuring vocals by contemporary artists. The song Fry performed was the theme of Thunderball
- In 2005, Fry embarked on an extensive UK tour with Tony Hadley, former lead singer of popular 1980s new wave band Spandau Ballet. Highlights of the tour were released on CD and DVD compilations, both titled Tony Hadley vs. Martin Fry. The DVD is available in Europe, but has yet to be released in NTSC format.
- Fry, Tony Hadley and Richard Drummie of Go West fame, together with manager John Glover, went on a trek to The Lost World in Venezuela in February 2006.
- Fry appeared in the BBC Television program Just the Two of Us in 2006. This was a reality television competition in the style of Strictly Come Dancing, but this time with contestants (one celebrity being a famous singer, the other celeb being a novice) judged upon their singing skills as part of a duet. He was teamed with TV presenter Gaby Roslin and they were eliminated in the first show after battling the team of Nicky Campbell and Beverley Knight.
- Fry was featured extensively in the 2006 VH1 mini-series 100 Greatest Songs of the 80's. When asked, Fry revealed that he hoped ABC's 1982 single "The Look of Love" would land a coveted slot in the Top 10. Despite his plea, the song was ranked No. 43.
- Fry worked on several songs for the 2007 movie Music and Lyrics starring Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore. Fry also served as Grant's vocal coach for the movie.
- Fry has a track called "New Man" on the Sonic Hub Eye of the Storm debut album. The song features a section of "Cars" by Gary Numan.
- Fry toured the U.S. in the summer of 2008 with the Regeneration Tour 2008, a show that also featured the Human League as the headliners, Belinda Carlisle, A Flock of Seagulls and Naked Eyes.
On 19 July 2012, Fry received an honorary Doctor of Music degree from the University of Sheffield for his contribution of more than thirty years to music. The following day, his daughter, Nancy received her degree from the Department of Sociological Studies from the same University.
As of 2016, he has been married to his wife Julie for more than 30 years.
- The Lexicon of Love (1982)
- Beauty Stab (1983)
- How to Be a ... Zillionaire! (1985)
- Alphabet City (1987)
- Up (1989)
- Abracadabra (1991)
- Skyscraping (1997)
- Traffic (2008)
- The Lexicon of Love II (2016)
- Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "ABC – Artist Biography". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 2 August 2016.
- Paul Lester (15 November 2008). "Steel crazy: The Human League, ABC, Heaven 17". Living.Scotsman.com. Retrieved 10 July 2009.
- Frame, Pete. Pete Frame's Rockin' Around Britain: Rock'n'roll Landmarks of the UK and Ireland. Omnibus, 1999. ISBN 0-7119-6973-6, ISBN 978-0-7119-6973-5. BRAMHALL ABC's Martin Fry and his younger brother Jamie (currently in Earl Brutus) grew up in this leafy middle-class suburb.
- Power, Ed (27 June 2013). "ABC's Martin Fry regrets not capitalising on early success". Retrieved 3 March 2016.
- Fulton, Rick (16 May 2014). "ABC star Martin Fry gets ready to rock on 80s revival circuit at Rewind Festival". Retrieved 3 March 2016.
- "Lexicon of ABC". Retrieved 3 March 2016.
- "ABC". Retrieved 3 March 2016.
- "Regeneration". Retrieved 3 March 2016.
- "Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 3 March 2016.
- "ABC's Fry Is Hugh Grant's New Vocal Coach". Billboard. 2006. Retrieved 29 January 2012.
- University of Sheffield. "ABC singer takes centre stage in honorary degree ceremonies". University of Sheffield.