Spandau Ballet's Tony Hadley on the band and his latest music, Maria Muldaur talks camels and Australia's uber cool Richard Clapton on life


Spandau Ballet's Tony Hadley 40th anniversary tour

Ex Spandau Ballet lead vocalist TONY HADLEY is about to take the Spandau Ballet show on the road.  As the former lead singer of one the biggest bands of the 1980s, Spandau Ballet would have been celebrating its 40th anniversary had they not broken up a few years ago. Now performing with his band, The Fabulous TH Band, Tony’ Hadley’s unmistakable voice still brims with passion and urgency as it first did all those years ago. From his beginnings at the forefront of the New Romantic movement, Tony earned himself the accolade of being one of pop’s greatest vocalists. Spandau Ballet had numerous chart-topping singles and albums all over the world, including the epic Through the Barricades and the international number one True. 


As a solo artist Tony has performed across the world both with his band, swing bands, and orchestras. In 2005 he was awarded a Gold Badge from the British Academy of Composers and Songwriters; whilst 2007 saw him win a new legion of fans when he appeared as Billy Flynn in Chicago on the West End stage. In 2018 Tony released his highly anticipated solo album Talking To The Moon, The album was incredibly well received and became BBC Radio 2’s Album Of The Week and the 1st single Tonight Belongs To Us was Single Of The Week. In 2019 he was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours List for his services to charity. Now Tony Hadley has another new solo album out – Because of You.

Check out my chat with Tony Hadley

Maria Muldaur yesterday and today

Maria Muldaur is best known world-wide for her 1974 mega-hit “Midnight at the Oasis,” which received several Grammy nominations, and enshrined her forever in the hearts of Baby Boomers everywhere; but despite her considerable pop music success, her 56-plus year career could best be described as a long and adventurous odyssey through the various forms of American Roots Music. During the Folk Revival of the early ’60s, she began exploring and singing early Blues, Bluegrass and Appalachian “Old Timey” Music, beginning her recording career in 1963 with the Even Dozen Jug Band and shortly thereafter, joining the very popular Jim Kweskin Jug Band, touring and recording with them throughout the ’60s.  In the 48 years since “Midnight at the Oasis,” Maria has toured extensively worldwide and has recorded 43 solo albums covering all kinds of American Roots Music, including Gospel, R&B, Jazz and Big Band (not to mention several award-winning children’s albums). She has now settled comfortably into her favourite idiom, the Blues. Often joining forces with some of the top names in the business, Maria has recorded and produced on-average an album per year, several of which have been nominated for Grammys and other awards. 

Maria’s critically acclaimed 2001 release was nominated for a Grammy. Her timely 2008 album featured her “Women’s Voices for Peace Choir,” which includes: Bonnie Raitt, Joan, Baez, Jane Fonda, Odetta and others. In 2009 she teamed up with John Sebastian, David Grisman, and Dan Hicks. In 2012, for her 40th album, Maria produced the critically acclaimed…. First Came Memphis Minnie, a loving tribute to the pioneering Blues woman who inspired and influenced so many female Blues artists who followed in her footsteps, many of whom joined her on this special project. In 2013 she toured as Special Guest Artist with Bill Wyman and The Rhythm Kings.  2014 marked 40 years since “Midnight at the Oasis” was riding at the top of the charts. To celebrate, she created a multi-media retrospective Way Past Midnight, which chronicles her 50 year journey “to The Oasis and Beyond”. In 2018, Maria released her 41st album. 2019 saw The Americana Music Association award her ‘The Lifetime Achievement Americana Trailblazer Award’ for her lifelong work of covering the depth and breadth of American Roots music and for being one of the pioneers who laid the groundwork for what we’ve come to call ‘Americana Music’.

In 2020, Maria collaborated with world acclaimed New Orleans band Tuba Skinny & recorded her 43rd album, Let’s Get Happy Together. In 2021, Maria and her guitarist wrote and co-produced her latest single “I’m Vaccinated and I’m Ready For Love” to help inspire others to get vaccinated and to celebrate this feeling of renewal after her second shot. Don’t miss my interview with the awesome Maria Muldaur in this week’s show.

Australia's consummate hippie walks us along his path

Richard Clapton is one of Australia’s foremost singer/songwriters and paved the way for three generations of songwriters to write about the experience of being Australian. When Richard began his recording career in 1974, Australia was still in the vice-like grip of the cultural cringe. He plunged into the “deep water” and legends like Skyhooks and Paul Kelly, Cold Chisel, INXS, Midnight Oil, and hundreds of others, followed in his wake. Clapton’s songs are still omnipresent on the radio to this day, his records charting the political landscape of the nation and the turbulent lives of two generations. Clapton grew up in Sydney in the 1960s before hopping a plane for London, and then later to Germany, where he wrote a first album, Prussian Blue (1973) which was one of the first major Australian “singer-songwriter” albums. 

Fast track to 1975, Clapton had the critics on side but his label at the time insisted on a hit single. However, it was the song they picked as a B-side called “Girls On the Avenue” that reached #1 on the national charts and put Clapton at the top of his class. Like Americans Jackson Browne and Bruce Springsteen, Richard developed a sound based on melodic rock while his lyrics were poetic musings on his state of mind or the state of the nation. By 1975, Clapton had set the themes he was to explore for the coming three decades. There were frequent escapes to his spiritual second home in Berlin to recharge and get a fresh perspective on Australia; there was Clapton’s love/hate relationship with the pop music culture; his often-tormented sense of growing up and his eye for the political landscape and how it affected Australians. 


Richard Clapton mastered that most difficult of show business acts – the high-wire that requires the balance of radio-friendly tunes and candid, from-the-heart, lyrics. These two dichotomies came together on the Goodbye Tiger album which was Clapton’s most successful to date. Ten years after his first release, Richard Clapton was a tribal elder to whom younger artists like Jimmy Barnes, INXS and Cold Chisel turned as a mentor. INXS asked Clapton to produce their second album, Underneath the Colours, and they became firm friends. They, and Cold Chisel, returned the favour on Clapton’s The Great Escape album with INXS drummer Jon Farriss going on to produce The Glory Road album. Few records of that time captured the roller coaster ride of the late 1980s as well as Glory Road. These albums brought Clapton’s melodic gifts and his love of electric rock & roll into lockstep. There were always the words though – no one better documented the 1980s than Richard Clapton. Richard frequently went to the edge — emotionally, politically, financially — and sent back his incisive postcards. 

In the 1990s Richard continued to write and record and tour and his 1990s songs reflect a hard-won maturity. Since his first album in 1974, Richard has shown no signs of slowing down. He has released over 20 albums. He is the only rock artist to have received an Australia Council arts grant from the government which enabled him to travel around the world and write the songs for “Goodbye Tiger”. In 1999 Richard Clapton was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame. In 2014, his first memoir “The Best Years of Our Lives” was published. The book connected with people of all generations because it was
not only a story of Clapton’s journey, but it also documented the story of the lives of thousands of fans who had travelled the same road. His latest album ‘Music is Love’ – his first ever album of cover songs is a dedication to all the songs and musicians he was influenced by. It’s a must listen. Make sure you take a listen to my chat with Richard in this week’s show. You’re sure to fall in love with him and his music too.

Leave a Reply