For a decade, suave Tony Hadley was the voice and image of Spandau Ballet, guiding the one-time New Romantic act to global success, crooning a string of smash hits like "To Cut a Long Story Short, "True," "Gold," and "Through the Barricades." Born on June 2, 1960 in Islington, Hadley had won a small…
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Let me just start with my conclusion: This is definitely an album for fans.
Tony Hadley is Spandau Ballet’s lead singer. The group was the biggest competition to Duran Duran in the 80s and brought a mix of soul and pop music. Their hits can still be heard today on classic stations and “Gold” often passes by in commercials.
The group, I think, had broken up ages ago, but I know they have been performing again this year.
The reason that I ran into this release, is due to the fact that I was checking something on *N Sync recently, and this album popped up on Italian music sites, because he covered their “I Don’t Want To Spend One More Christmas Without You”.
And that brings us straight to the cool thing about this album. There are a few surprising covers on Tony Hadley´s Christmas album. The *N Sync cover is a track I would personally skip, but the piano version of Keane’s “Somewhere Only We Know” and East 17’s “Stay Another Day” are really nice.
I also like his version of “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town”, where I detect very strong rock vocals that provide the song some much needed power. To me, it was very surprising to hear that in his vocals, because Spandau Ballet is so super smooth. Though it has been ages ago, since I last heard a Spandau Ballet album.
Power is exactly what his version of “Shake Up Christmas” lacks and what is missing throughout the album. I do understand that you’re not supposed to expect power on a Christmas album anyway, but all his songs on this album are very similar in sound. Adding a little touch of something here or there, a few traditional strings perhaps, or non-traditional beats, could’ve lifted the album up.
“Snowing All Over The World” provides some uplifting spirits later in the track and his version of “Driving Home For Christmas” is ok too.
“I Believe In Father Christmas” hints a little to some Irish folk music influences.
Elvis’ “Lonely This Christmas” is so close to original that sometimes I actually feel like he’s just imitating him. Together with “Ave Maria” I did get a better impression of Tony as a singer. There’s more to him than I initially gave him credit for, but for me this is an album I wouldn’t play each Christmas. Definitely an album for fans only.