It’s been 28 years since Spandau Ballet played a show in the United States, but the British band recently ventured across the pond to play the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas. Before belting out an 11-song set, which of course included their signature hit, “True,” the band premiered their documentary, “Soul Boys of the Western World,” according to Billboard.
That’s a lot of U.S. activity from the New Romantic era band after a nearly three-decade long drought, but luckily they’ve never really gone away. Pop culture references abound for this band, so check out four of my favorites.
Jake Ryan dances with his girlfriend to “True” in “Sixteen Candles”
Poor Samantha! It’s heard enough when your family forgets your 16th birthday, but having to watch your true love dance to “True” with his self-centered girlfriend is almost too much to bear. Who can forget the scene in the 1984 movie “Sixteen Candles,” when Samantha Baker (Molly Ringwald) had to face the truth as Jake Ryan slow danced with the most popular girl in school? Thankfully, a geek interrupted the moment and the Spandau Ballet love song cut to some Oingo Boingo.
See the “Sixteen Candles” dance scene here.
A Spandau Ballet “legend” becomes a birthday gift on “Modern Family”
The Season 1 “Modern Family” episode “Great Expectations” had Claire Dunphy (Julie Bowen) attempting to surprise hubby Phil (Ty Burrell) with a private concert by bass player/backup vocalist Izzy LaFontaine (Edward Norton), a member of his favorite ’80s band Spandau Ballet. Too bad this anniversary surprise was a bust. Spandau Ballet was not Phil’s favorite ’80s band, and, despite Claire’s warped recollection, “True” wasn’t playing in the car the first time they kissed. When fictional rock star LaFontaine accused Phil of being a “false” fan, Phil said, “It’s not our song, Claire. Our song is ‘If You Leave’ by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark!”
“True” is the wedding song in “The Wedding Singer”
The Spandau Ballet hit got the royal treatment in the 1998 Adam Sandler/Drew Barrymore flick “The Wedding Singer.” The final scene had newly crowned wedding singer Dave Veltri (Steve Buscemi) crooning the hit as Sandler and Barrymore’s characters tied the knot. Hey, Veltri had to make up for that drunken toast at his brother’s wedding, right?
See Steve Buscemi performing “True” here.
A Spandau sample is set adrift
You know this much is true: The 1991 P.M. Dawn song “Set Adrift on Memory Bliss’ served up a heaping sample of Spandau Ballet’s signature song. In a 2011 interview with Livewire, Spandau lead singer Tony Hadley said it’s a compliment when other artists cite his band as an influence: “I remember when P.M. Dawn sampled ‘True’ and I thought it was brilliant,” he said. “People like Bowie, Roxy Music and Queen were influences on bands like Spandau and Duran Duran and it’s always been about taking influences from the past and making a new today.”
Check out the “Set Adrift on Memory Bliss” video here.