I was 11 years old and just discovering pop music on my little AM radio and the TV. I had always loved music and the images that went with music. I liked the way KISS looked but didn’t really get most of their music. I liked music I heard on the radio from people like Billy Joel but I had no idea what they looked like. Suddenly the two came together.
Adam Ant swept me off my feet. Here was a man who looked so cool and flamboyant (Ok so I am a sucker for flamboyant). I liked his songs and simplistic message of pride.
Adam & The Ants were all over the TV for a while there and I tried to take in every moment of it. Maybe my parents weren’t so fussed but I had to absorb it all. It simply didn’t dawn on me at the time that many people thought that Adam was an idiot. I know now how people, and the press, take to outstanding performers but having been there and done it I understand the wonder in the eyes of little girls over One Direction and the like.
Musically, Adam is an interesting case, he doesn’t seem to be a very strong singer and avoided ballads and other soppy songs that often cement an artist past their first pop hit. But to me he had it all over ABBA. His songs have little parallel amongst other singers but there is something catchy in them, maybe because he relied so much on cliche and extreme simplicity. His arrangements are sparse and angular but seem rather exciting nonetheless.
Marco Pironni was a great pairing for Ant as Marco was clearly well schooled in Rockabilly and this helped him to guide the songs into forms that, while not really sounding like Rock & Roll, were able to sit on a bed that owed much to early Country crossover artists without being like The Stray Cats.
Kings… is a better record than Price Charming but worth having for completeness if nothing else. Adam’s solo work has had its hi-lights like “Goody Two Shoes” but I think he is better with a strong writing partner.
As an addendum I was similarly excited when the Spice Girls first arrived. Those first 2 albums and the initial solo work were just so much fun to be have happening around me.