Spandau Ballet's 10 greatest songs ever, ranked

29 December 2021, 12:16 | Updated: 4 January 2022, 10:02

Spandau Ballet
Spandau Ballet. Picture: Getty

By Tom Eames

Spandau Ballet were one of the leading pop groups of the 1980s, with several massive hits around the world.

The band began with synthpop and new wave beginnings, and by the mid-80s they had become stadium-filling giants of the MTV generation.

40 years on, they're still one of the best-loved bands of their era, and their songs sound as fresh as they did on first listen.

Here's their 10 greatest songs to make for a perfect Spandau Ballet playlist:

  1. Instinction

    Spandau Ballet - Instinction

    Released in 1982 from their Diamond album, this gave the band a number 10 hit.

    The song drew elements of jazz, funk and pop to create something that was truly unique.

  2. Highly Strung

    Spandau Ballet - Highly Strung (HD Remastered)

    Sunshine. Yachts. Spandau took on their rivals Duran Duran in the aspirational '80s music video department in this bop.

  3. Chant No. 1 (I Don't Need This Pressure On)

    Spandau Ballet - Chant No 1 (I Don't Need This Pressure On)

    This was the first single from the band's second album Diamond, in 1981.

    Gary Kemp later said that he wanted to pay homage to the latest London hotspot, Le Beat Route, by emulating the funk music that was popular there. The group even used the club as the location for the music video.

  4. Lifeline

    Spandau Ballet - Lifeline (HD Remastered)

    Released in 1982, this was Spandau's fifth top 10 hit at the time in the UK.

    It was a funky pop gem that deserves more love - especially when you see Tony Hadley's incredible cardigan in the video.

  5. Only When You Leave

    Spandau Ballet - Only When You Leave (HD Remastered)

    This was the first single from their 1984 album Parade, and reached number three in the UK charts.

  6. I'll Fly For You

    Spandau Ballet - I'll Fly For You (HD Remastered)

    This underrated soothing ballad from Spandau's 1984 album Parade gave the band another top 10 hit in the UK.

  7. To Cut a Long Story Short

    Spandau Ballet - To Cut A Long Story Short (HD Remastered)

    Spandau Ballet burst onto the music scene with this fantastic new wave/electro track in 1980.

    Gary Kemp wrote the song after shaping their image around the exciting Blitz club scene in London. It wasn't long before they were signed by a record label and had their first hit.

    Gary later said: "The lyrics to those kind of songs, I mean, I suppose they owed something to Bowie's famous cut-ups, you know, slightly esoteric, this grand landscape that we're all living on. That was the kind of lyric, very early 80s lyric about a kind of heroic place that we all wanted to put ourselves."

  8. Gold

    Spandau Ballet - Gold (HD Remastered)

    There's not many more iconic music moments from the '80s than Tony Hadley shouting "GOLD!" at the top of his lungs.

    This uplifting and inspirational pop anthem was one of Spandau's biggest hits, reaching number two in the UK in 1983.

  9. Through the Barricades

    Spandau Ballet - Through the Barricades

    This was Spandau's final Top 10 hit in the UK, but what a song! Released in 1986 and sung beautifully by Tony Hadley, it was written by Gary Kemp about love prevailing throughout the violence of the Troubles.

    It was inspired by the murder of Thomas Reilly, who had worked for the band, by a British soldier in Belfast during the Troubles in 1983.

  10. True

    Spandau Ballet - True (HD Remastered)

    This was the song that turned Spandau Ballet from potential one album wonders to true pop legends.

    Gary Kemp wrote this love song at his parents' house as a homage to Motown and Marvin Gaye. He said: "'True' became a song about writing a love song. Why 'Why do I find it hard to write the next line? I want the truth to be said?' Because I didn't want to write it down—because there's nothing more embarrassing."

    It soon became something of a standard, and one of the best love songs of all time.