Tony Hadley

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Tony Hadley
Hadley performing in June 2014
Hadley performing in June 2014
Background information
Birth nameAnthony Patrick Hadley
Born (1960-06-02) 2 June 1960 (age 61)
Islington, London, England
  • Singer-songwriter
  • actor
  • radio presenter
  • Vocals
  • synthesizer
  • drums
Years active1979–present
Associated acts

Anthony Patrick Hadley MBE[1] (born 2 June 1960) is an English singer-songwriter, occasional stage actor and radio presenter. He rose to fame in the 1980s as the lead singer of the New Romantic band Spandau Ballet and launched a solo career following the group's split in 1990. Hadley returned to the band in 2009 but left again in 2017. Hadley is known for his "expressive voice" and "vocal range".[2][3]

Early life[edit]

Anthony Patrick Hadley was born the first of three children at the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead, North London. He has a sister, Lee, and a brother, Steve. His father, Patrick Hadley, worked as an electrical engineer for the Daily Mail, and his mother, Josephine, worked for the local health authority.[4]

Spandau Ballet[edit]

Hadley co-founded Spandau Ballet in 1976 as The Cut, with Gary Kemp, Steve Norman, John Keeble and Michael Ellison, all of whom were students at Dame Alice Owen's Grammar School.[5] As a member of Spandau Ballet, Hadley went on to enjoy international success in the 1980s, including hits such as "True", "Gold" and "Through the Barricades", as well as appearing at Live Aid in 1985.[6]

As the lead singer of Spandau Ballet, Hadley became known for his suave image,[7] as well as his powerful voice, which has been described by AllMusic as a "dramatic warble".[8] In his book on the New Romantics, music journalist and author Dave Rimmer described his voice as "like a foghorn—if a foghorn could be imagined trying to emulate both [Frank] Sinatra and [David] Bowie".[9] His Spandau Ballet bandmate Steve Norman described him as having "a massive vocal range".[3] According to Tim Rice, Hadley had a "strong and expressive voice that few of his contemporaries came near to matching".[2]

Spandau Ballet disbanded in 1990 after their final studio album, Heart Like a Sky, failed to live up to the critical and commercial success of their earlier albums, such as True and Parade, and was not released in the United States.

In April 1999, Hadley, along with fellow band members Steve Norman and John Keeble, failed in their attempt to sue Gary Kemp, the band's songwriter, for a share of his royalties.[10][11][12] On 25 March 2009, it was confirmed that the band had reformed with Hadley and were embarking on a tour of the UK and Ireland in October 2009. Hadley remained a member of the band intermittently until 2017, when he announced his permanent departure. He later said in 2020: "I'd rather be happy on my own than be in that band again."[13]

Solo career[edit]


Spandau Ballet song "True" was sampled by the American Hip Hop Music Act P.M. Dawn in their song "Set Adrift on Memory Bliss" released in their first album Of The Heart, Of The Soul and Of The Cross: The Utopian Experience released in 1991. Hadley also featured a cameo in the music video. "Set Adrift on Memory Bliss" achieved immediate commercial success. The single hit #1 the week of 30 November 1991 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.[citation needed] The song also reached #3 in the United Kingdom.[citation needed]

After Spandau Ballet disbanded, Hadley pursued a solo career, signing to EMI and recording his first album, The State of Play, in 1992. After leaving EMI, Hadley formed his own record company, SlipStream Records,[14] and his first release was the single "Build Me Up", from the film When Saturday Comes. Shortly after that, in December 1996, Hadley embarked on an orchestral tour of Europe, along with Joe Cocker, Paul Michiels, Dani Klein and Guo Yue.[citation needed]

On his return from that tour, Hadley signed a joint deal with PolyGram TV, and released his next eponymous solo album, Tony Hadley, in 1997, which included covers and songs that were chosen to match his voice. The album also featured some of his own self-penned songs, such as "She", which he wrote for daughter Toni.[15]

In 1996, Hadley performed in a BBC Radio 2 live performance of Jesus Christ Superstar, playing the title role opposite Roger Daltrey's Judas.[16]

To plug the gap between studio albums, Hadley also released Obsession (later re-released as Obsession Live), a live album recorded in just one night in 2001 at the club Ronnie Scott's in Birmingham.[17]

He also collaborated, in the past and present, with various dance acts and DJs, such as Tin Tin Out, Eddie Lock, Marc et Claude, Regi Penxten (Milk Inc.) and the Disco Bros, and played alongside people such as Alice Cooper, Paul Young, Jon Anderson, and Brian May. In 1999 Alan Parsons chose him as lead singer for the track "Out of the Blue" on the album The Time Machine.[18] Hadley's usual band line up features John Keeble (drums), Phil Taylor (keyboards), Phil Williams (bass guitar), Richie Barrett (guitar), and Dawn Joseph on backing vocals. His early band, with whom he realised his debut album, included instead, besides himself and Keeble, Spandau Ballet's regular keyboard player, Toby Chapman, Jerry Stevenson (guitar) and Kevin Miller (bass guitar).


Hadley was the subject of some newfound respect in the 2000s, rooted in an "ironic" appreciation for Spandau Ballet; John Darnielle of the indie folk rock group The Mountain Goats wrote about his admiration for Hadley's vocal strengths.[19]

In 2000, Hadley's solo greatest hits album was issued, entitled Debut, made up of some early solo songs.

Tony Hadley (right) performing with Martin Fry in 2005

Hadley has continued with a busy performing schedule and also toured with both Cox (?) and Martin Fry from the band ABC. He released a jazz-swing album in 2006, titled Passing Strangers,[20] and travelled on a "by request" tour from March to May 2006. This was followed by a big band tour later the same year.

Hadley performed a set with other 1980s acts at Retro Fest on 1 September 2007 at Culzean Castle in Ayrshire, Scotland. This appearance included a rendition of "Addicted to Love", with Fry and Cox.[21]

In February 2008, Hadley took part in the Italian Sanremo Festival, where he duetted in both English and Italian with contestant Paolo Meneguzzi on Meneguzzi's song, "Grande" ("Big"), during the third day of the contest (where all contestants re-interpreted their songs with guest artists). On 22 February 2008, he performed as an interval act at the semi-final of Dora 2008, the selection of the Croatian entry for the Eurovision Song Contest.[22][dead link]

In 2011, Hadley said that his solo career has been more financially rewarding than his period at the top of the charts with Spandau Ballet. He stated that 2008 was his best-ever earning year, having performed in over 220 shows.[4]

In 2013, Hadley and his 1980s chart peers Kim Wilde, Bananarama and Go West set a new world record for Comic Relief when they performed the highest ever gig, singing on a Boeing 767 aeroplane at 43,000 ft (13,000 m).[23]

In 2014, Hadley took part in the prime-time RAI TV show La Pista as team leader of the Tacco 10 female dance troupe.[24] Over the course of the competition, Hadley performed both Spandau Ballet's "Gold", as well as "Rio", originally a hit for rival band Duran Duran.

On 3 July 2017, Tony Hadley announced on Twitter that due to circumstances beyond his control, he was no longer a member of Spandau Ballet.[25]

Towards the end of 2017, he appeared on the song "I See It in Your Eyes" with Jane McDonald (from her album Hold the Covers Back)[26][27] and went on to perform on her Christmas television show in 2018.[28][29]

In 2020, he was one of the vocalists performing on the single "The Best Christmas (in Lockdown)", a charity assemble of around one-hundred celebrities (also featuring Dan Gillespie Sells from The Feeling) recording for the Hertfordshire-based Electric Umbrella organisation.[30][31][32][33]

In 2021, he appeared alongside Marcella Detroit, Jools Holland and Glen Matlock on a charity version of Robbie Williams song "Angels" recorded in tribute to the producer Steve Brown and with funds going to the late producer's Covid-19 charity.[34]

Other work and awards[edit]

Hadley worked as a radio presenter with Virgin Radio, taking over the Friday Night Virgin Party Classics show from Suggs (of the band Madness) in August 2007. In January 2008, he was given the Saturday Night Virgin Party Classics show as well. He left both shows in September 2008. In 2015 he was listed as a presenter for Absolute Radio[35] and presented Tony Hadley's 80's Party on a Saturday night from 6.00 – 8.00pm on Absolute 80s until December 2019.

Hadley appeared, sang and gave advice in Pinoy Dream Academy, a singing reality show in the Philippines. He also appeared in RocKwiz, an Australian TV programme that aired in November 2008.[36]

Hadley also appeared in the British short movie Shoot The DJ, in which he plays Eddie Richards. The film also featured Hadley's daughter, Toni.[37] Hadley's song "After All This Time" was used as the theme song for the popular BBC series Down to Earth, which ran from 2000 until 2005.

Hadley took part in the 2015 series of I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!, beginning on 10 November 2015. He was eliminated on 4 December, finishing in sixth place.

In 2019, Hadley started presenting the Sunday Mid Morning Show on BBC Three Counties Radio. He also performed alongside Arisa in the fourth show of the Sanremo Music Festival 2019.

He is a patron of the UK Huntington's Disease Association,[38] Shooting Star Chase and The Lowe Syndrome Trust.[39] In December 2019 it was announced that he had been awarded an MBE in the New Year Honours for charitable services to Shooting Star Chase Children's Hospice Care.[40]

Personal life[edit]

Hadley has three children with his first wife, Leonie Lawson: Tom, Toni and Mackenzie.[41] Hadley split from Lawson in 2003, after 20 years of marriage, and married Alison Evers in July 2009 at Cliveden House. They live in Buckinghamshire with their two children: Zara (born 21 December 2006) and Genevieve (born 6 February 2012).[42]

Hadley is an Arsenal fan and has played for the Arsenal ex-Professional and Celebrity XI team.[citation needed]

Hadley stated on the television show Loose Women (22 February 2007) that he is 6 ft 4 in (193 cm) and 17+12 stone (111 kilograms). He is proud of his work ethic, which he states was instilled into him from a young age by his parents, and he says he has never claimed benefits.[4]

In 2006, Hadley became a co-owner of the Red Rat Craft Brewery,[4] which produced Hadley's Golden Ale and Hadley's Crazy Dog Stout. The business closed in 2013, after which Hadley became associated with The Great Yorkshire Brewery, which issued a lager called "Gold" and a pale ale called "Moonstone IPA".[43] This association has now ended.

Political affiliations[edit]

Hadley is a supporter of the Conservative Party and an admirer of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.[44] He has attended the party's annual conference and was reported in 2008 to be interested in standing as an MP.[45] In 2012 the New Statesman described Hadley as one of the few openly right-wing rock stars.[46]


Studio albums[edit]

Live albums[edit]

  • 28 February 2000 – Obsession
  • 18 February 2002 – Obsession Live (re-issue)
  • 9 June 2003 – Reborn
  • 3 May 2004 – Tony Hadley vs. Peter Cox & Go West
  • 21 February 2005 – Tony Hadley vs. Martin Fry & ABC
  • 4 June 2007 – The Kings of Swing (Tony Hadley & Tony Bennett)
  • 5 October 2009 – An Evening of Gold (Hadley, Norman & Keeble)
  • 16 September 2013 – Live from Metropolis Studios (CD+DVD)

Compilation albums[edit]

  • 14 August 2000 – Debut (with early solo tracks, as performed live on German TV in 1992)
  • 13 May 2002 – Tony Hadley (re-issue)
  • 28 April 2003 – The State of Play (re-issue)
  • 28 April 2003 – True Ballads (including solo tracks, cover songs, and Spandau Ballet's classic hits) – UK number 31[47]
  • 7 September 2009 – The State of Play... Plus


Release date Song Peak chart positions Album
"Lost in Your Love" 24 February 1992 42 The State of Play
"For Your Blue Eyes Only" 17 August 1992 67
"The Game of Love" 4 January 1993 72
"Absolution" Sep 1993 Non-album single
"Build Me Up" 11 March 1996 89
"Dance with Me"
(Tin Tin Out feat. Tony Hadley)
28 April 1997 35 Always
"First of May" 10 November 1997 Tony Hadley
"Dance with Me" 16 February 1998
"Save a Prayer" Apr 1998
"Will U Take Me" Nov 2000 Non-album single
Tony Hadley EP:"Get So Lonely" / "Beautiful Girl"
"Follow Me" / "Have I the Right"
17 September 2001
"Feel You"
(Marc et Claude feat. Tony Hadley)
1 April 2002 You Own the Sound
"Sweet Surrender" May 2002 Non-album single
"The Mood I'm In" Nov 2006 Passing Strangers
"Wives & Lovers" Jan 2007
"The Good Life" Apr 2007
"Goodbye Malinconia"
(Caparezza feat. Tony Hadley)
28 January 2011 Il sogno eretico
(GBX vs. Johnny F feat. Tony Hadley)
21 July 2014 Non-album single
"Take Back Everything" 14 August 2014 Talking to the Moon
"Happy Birthday JC"
(Tree of Hope feat. Tony Hadley, Paul Young & Aspire Arts Academy)
3 November 2014 Non-album single
"Through the Barricades"
(Funky Voices with Tony Hadley)
18 November 2016
"Tonight Belongs to Us" 1 May 2018 Talking to the Moon
"Take Back Everything" (re-issue) 27 July 2018
"Obvious" 12 June 2020 Non-album single
(Kindred Spirit feat. Marcella Detroit, Tony Hadley & Jools Holland)
3 June 2021 Non-album single
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.


  • "What's Love Got to Do With It" by Trevor Horn featuring the Sarm Orchestra and Tony Hadley, Reimagines the Eighties, 2019.
  • Young Voices, Genting Arena, Birmingham, the largest children's choir in the world, 2018 and 2020.[citation needed]


  • Hadley, Tony (2005). To Cut a Long Story Short. London: Pan. ISBN 0-330-42741-5.


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  2. ^ a b Rice, Tim (21 October 2009). "Mum, dad and the music". The Spectator. Retrieved 6 June 2019.
  3. ^ a b "Tony Hadley is annoyed Spandau Ballet's website still lists him as a member". Smooth Radio. 19 January 2018. Retrieved 1 May 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d Webber, Richard (24 July 2011). "Spandau Ballet's Tony Hadley: 'I earn more today than in the Eighties'". The Daily Telegraph. London, UK. Retrieved 4 May 2014.
  5. ^ Long, Pat (28 January 1999). "Eighties chart-toppers take multi-million royalties row to court". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 February 2018.
  6. ^ "Spandau Ballet fly in to Wembley Stadium". Archived from the original on 5 January 2016.
  7. ^ Demalon, Tom. "Tony Hadley biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 1 May 2019.
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  9. ^ Rimmer, Dave (2003). New Romantics: The Look (1st ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 978-0711993969. Retrieved 1 May 2019.
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  11. ^ "Spandau court bid fails". BBC News. 30 April 1999. Retrieved 10 May 2009.
  12. ^ "Spandau three drop royalties appeal". BBC News. 15 October 1999. Retrieved 10 May 2009.
  13. ^ Clarke, Patrick (6 July 2020). "Spandau Ballet frontman Tony Hadley slams 'The Kemps' mockumentary: "I'd rather be happy on my own than be in that band again"". NME. Retrieved 2 September 2020.
  14. ^ Tony Hadley, archived from the original on 5 January 2016, retrieved 4 November 2015
  15. ^ Tony Hadley, BBC, retrieved 4 November 2015
  16. ^ "Tony Hadley - Gethsemane (1996 BBC Radio 2 Broadcast)". YouTube. Retrieved 4 November 2015.
  17. ^ Tony Hadley - Obsession CD, retrieved 4 November 2015
  18. ^ Time Machine, retrieved 4 November 2015
  19. ^ Darnielle, John (18 April 2001). "Spandau Ballet". Riverfront Times. Retrieved 4 November 2015.
  20. ^ Passing Strangers, AllMusic, retrieved 4 November 2015
  21. ^ "ABC (1981 - PRESENT)". Monster Island Music. Archived from the original on 8 December 2015. Retrieved 4 November 2015.
  22. ^ "Dora semi-final". 22 February 2008.[dead link]
  23. ^ "Kim Wilde and Tony Hadley set highest gig record". BBC News. 11 March 2013. Retrieved 18 March 2013.
  24. ^ "Tacco 10 meet Tony Hadley" (in Italian). RAI TV. 28 March 2014. Archived from the original on 27 April 2014. Retrieved 27 April 2014.
  25. ^ @TheTonyHadley (3 July 2017). "A statement from Tony Hadley :- I am..." (Tweet). Retrieved 1 February 2018 – via Twitter.
  26. ^ "Jane McDonald: Official Charts Company".
  27. ^ "Hold the Covers Back".
  28. ^ "Jane McDonald - Channel 5". 12 December 2020.
  29. ^ "Jane McDonald & Friends at Christmas – Channel 5". What's on TV.
  30. ^ Thain, Caroline (4 December 2020). "Former St Albans teacher and friends hit festive lockdown note with catchy collaborative Christmas single". Herts Advertiser.
  31. ^ "Watford's Electric Umbrella to release fresh new album in February". My Local News. 13 December 2020.
  32. ^ "Electric Umbrella ready to storm the charts with festive single". Watford Observer. 10 December 2020.
  33. ^ "Local charity Electric Umbrella release new single 'The Best Christmas (In Lockdown)'". 1 December 2020.
  34. ^ "Tony Hadley and Marcella Detroit lead all-star charity cover of Robbie Williams' Angels". 4 June 2021.
  35. ^ "Tony Hadley". Absolute Radio. Retrieved 4 November 2015.
  36. ^ "Tom Hadley is back: 'Have band, will sing'". Manila Times. 26 March 2014. Retrieved 4 November 2015.
  37. ^ "Toni Hadley". StarNow. Retrieved 10 May 2009.
  38. ^ "Tony Hadley and Shane Richie are new Patrons for the HDA". Huntington's Disease Association. 2 June 2009. Archived from the original on 5 January 2016. Retrieved 4 November 2015.
  39. ^ "Trustees & Patrons". The Lowe Syndrome Trust. Retrieved 21 April 2019.
  40. ^ "New Year Honours list 2020". GOV.UK. Retrieved 28 December 2019.
  41. ^ Scott, Danny (7 January 2007). "Tony Hadley, former lead singer of Spandau Ballet, and his daughter Toni". The Times. Retrieved 27 September 2010.
  42. ^ "Pop star Tony Hadley marries Alison". 5 August 2009. Archived from the original on 19 July 2011. Retrieved 7 August 2009.
  43. ^ "Tony Hadley". The Great Yorkshire Brewery. Retrieved 21 April 2019.
  44. ^ Hann, Michael (25 March 2009). "Spandau Ballet: The sound of Thatcherism". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 December 2015.
  45. ^ "Tony Hadley wants a Tory seat". The First Post. 22 August 2008. Archived from the original on 17 September 2008.
  46. ^ Long, Pat (8 March 2012). "Why are there so few right-wing rock stars?". New Statesman. Retrieved 22 August 2014.
  47. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 239. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.

External links[edit]