Musician - Author
Gary James Kemp
Gary James Kemp was born on 16 October 1959 in St Bartholomew’s Hospital,
Smithfield London, within the sound of the Bow Bells, and is considered to be a
His first foray into acting was with his brother Martin, in Anna Scher Children’s
Theatre which led to acting in television and film with the Children’s Film
Foundation. His first acting role was in “Junket ‘89” in 1970 which stared
Richard Wilson. The led to the lead role in the 1972 film “Hide and Seek.”
His father bought him a guitar and at the age of fourteen he played guitar with
The Same Band and future Spandau session keyboard player Jess Bailey.
It was whilst he was at the Anna Scher Children’s Theatre that he collaborated musically with Phil Daniels and Peter Hugo Daly and later performed with them in the television show You Must Be Joking in 1975
His first serious attempt at playing music was in a band named Roots which he formed with Steve Norman, John Keeble and Tony Hadley. But after seeing the Sex Pistols perform at Screen on the Green in August 1976 they felt they had to change direction and changed the name of their band to The Cut and soon after to The Makers. They were favourably reviewed in the NME – New Musical Express in 1977 and Gary’s brother Martin joined as bass player. In July 1979 they changed their name once more to Gentry. Music was changing and the nightclub scene in London was exploding and they changed their name for the last time to Spandau Ballet. They played live for the first time at Blitz. Gary said, “We are making the most contemporary statement in fashion and music.” They were offered a residency at the club and they went from strength to strength along with original hypnotic music and their outrageous stage clothes which soon became the look of the New Romantics.
There first hit record was “Cut a Long Story Short” which reached Number 5 in the UK in 1980 and in other countries around the world. After two more singles they released their first album “Journeys to Glory” which was released in March 1981.
They released their second album “Diamond” in 1982 and their third album “True,” which included their smash worldwide hit of the same name and made the band worldwide stars. They went on to record four more albums which spawned a number of hit singles but after recording and releasing their final album, “Heart Like a Sky” Gary and his brother returned to acting appearing the hit films The Krays. This resulted in criticism from their fellow band members and the original band played their final gig on 6th March 1990, their 10th anniversary tour at Edinburgh Playhouse.
In 1999 several members of the band sued Gary for “unpaid “royalties which was dismissed by the court.
The band reformed in 2009 and did two world tours but after replacing Tony Hadley in 2018 with Ross William Wild they did their final clutch of dates. However Wild quit the band the following year in May 2019.
Kemp recently released his latest album,
“Insolo” which has received great
reviews for the songs and production.
Kemp has achieved great notoriety as an
actor and huge accolades for his songs,
having written all 23 of the Spandau
Ballet hits as well as their album tracks
and selling more than 25 million record
Gary Kemp is still writing and touring
with other musicians including