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Gang Of Four

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  • Gang Of Four

  • Gang Of Four

  • Gang Of Four

Albums

Biography All Music Guide

Group Members: Sara Lee, Dave Allen And The Elastic Purejoy

All Music Guide:

Formed in 1977 by Leeds University students Jon King (vocals), Andy Gill (guitar), Dave Allen (bass), and Hugo Burnham (drums), Gang of Four (along with the Fall, Mekons, and Liliput) produced some of the most exhilarating and lasting music of the early English post-punk era of 1978-1983. Fueled by the fury of punk rock and radical political theory, Gang of Four successfully welded the two in an inspired display of polemics and music that addressed the vagaries of life in the modern world (including love and romance) as matters of political inquiry. Despite the fact that this sounds rife with the potential for being long on rhetoric and short on groove, such was not the case. What made Gang of Four's polemical clang'n'roll so compelling was that it worked as harsh, bracing, and ultimately liberating rock & roll. With Allen and Burnham combining as a formidable and frequently very funky rhythm section, Gill didn't play guitar as much as emit thick wads of semi-tuneful distortion, while King "sang" in a dry, declamatory fashion similar to that of the Fall's Mark E. Smith. The rhythms were stripped down and jagged; at times Gill would dispense with guitar solos entirely and "play" non-solos, which were (surprise!) silence. Song titles sounded like the titles of radical political essays: "At Home He's a Tourist," "Damaged Goods," "It's Her Factory," "Anthrax," "To Hell with Poverty," all of it openly challenging the audience's preconceived notions about rock music, performance, the cult of celebrity, and the nature of politics. And in doing so, GOF conveyed rage, confusion, and loss of identity as well as any band of their time.

After three consecutive sensational albums, as well as a handful of EPs and singles, Allen left in 1982 to form the more danceable and less overtly political Shriekback, while Gill, King, and Burnham recorded the misguided "radical soul/R&B" record Hard with veteran American producers Ron and Howard Albert (who'd previously worked with Stephen Stills' Manassas and Firefall). A near total disaster, Hard signaled that the end was nigh. Gill and King, who by this point had final say-so on the band's musical and political direction, sacked Burnham, and the now "Gang of Two" released a so-so live album (At the Palace) and called it quits in 1984. But legends die hard, and Gang of Four experienced a mini-renaissance in the early '90s with the release of two excellent collections (A Brief History of the Twentieth Century and The Peel Sessions Album). Gill and King put together a new Gang of Four and released the tepid but not disgraceful Mall in 1991. Another reunion, from 1995, yielded Shrinkwrapped. Three years later, a double-disc compilation -- 100 Flowers Bloom -- surfaced on Rhino, and the original lineup reconvened in 2004 to tour extensively and release 2005's Return the Gift, featuring re-recordings of their early material. Gill and King continued with a new rhythm section and released 2011's Content with financial support from their fans. They have always remained, to the ears of those opened wide by punk rock, an extremely important band.

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eMusic Features

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Gang of Four

By Andrew Perry, Contributor

Named after the counter-revolutionary group who tried to take over China after Chairman Mao kicked the bucket, Gang of Four were one of the fiercest and most innovative British bands to emerge in the aftermath of punk. With 1979's Entertainment!, they essentially invented what is these days termed "post-punk" — a high-velocity collision of punky attitude and funky rhythm — a sound that resurfaced in post-millennial British alt-rock via Franz Ferdinand, Bloc Party and Futureheads. In… more »

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Six Degrees of Gang of Four’s Entertainment!

By Ira Robbins, Contributor

It used to be easier to pretend that an album was its own perfectly self-contained artifact. The great records certainly feel that way. But albums are more permeable than solid, their motivations, executions and inspirations informed by, and often stolen from, their peers and forbearers. It all sounds awfully formal, but it's not. It's the very nature of music — of art, even. The Six Degrees features examine the relationships between classic records and five… more »

1

Six Degrees of Gang of Four’s Entertainment!

By Ira Robbins, Contributor

It used to be easier to pretend that an album was its own perfectly self-contained artifact. The great records certainly feel that way. But albums are more permeable than solid, their motivations, executions and inspirations informed by, and often stolen from, their peers and forbearers. It all sounds awfully formal, but it's not. It's the very nature of music — of art, even. The Six Degrees features examine the relationships between classic records and five… more »

Activity

  • 03.09.17 RT @andygangof4: Wonder if Corbyn spokes knows we support @WEP_UK 🎸🎤 https://t.co/3f16xIkLcY
  • 03.09.17 RT @andygangof4: David @baddiel was reluctant-thought I'd take the piss. I think he looks sweet. #iq2debate #iwd https://t.co/uR50kpvNjl
  • 03.09.17 RT @andygangof4: Great debate with @catherine_mayer @jessphillips @maitlis @juneericudorie @baddiel #iq2debate #iwd https://t.co/MbsXRJb3OH
  • 02.25.17 RT @andygangof4: Instinct kicked in. Saw the wriggling mass of insects & chucked it out the 5th floor window https://t.co/hLk3AGAe21
  • 01.26.17 RT @andygangof4: Interview with #antonCorbijn and me about being creative, life etc !https://t.co/bAcw75Eyiw
  • 01.18.17 RT @andygangof4: Best placard prize for Saturday’s @Womensmarchlon goes to Emma Davies. March for #genderequality #lovetrumpshate #trumppu…
  • 01.12.17 RT @andygangof4: men and women need to march on jan 21 in London & around the world for all our liberties @Womensmarchlon #lovetrumpshate…
  • 12.17.16 Remember the US Festival? In 1982, we got invited to play it. There's a new documentary about it on Kickstarter https://t.co/zt9QmZfROE
  • 12.17.16 RT @premierguitar: Vintage meets modern in our NEW #RigRundown with punk pioneer @andygangof4 of @gangof4official: https://t.co/uak5I4QCzW…
  • 12.10.16 RT @andygangof4: Came back from @gangof4official tour to find my personal Twitter account hijacked & @twitter couldn't help. Now I'm Andy N…
  • 12.10.16 Andy's twitter account got hacked and he lost all his tweets & followers. You can refollow him here: @andygangof4 https://t.co/F2NjaIawvF
  • 11.01.16 Just finished the last show. Backstage Omaha. Halloween or something https://t.co/GFGydA4tWL