In 1982, the London New Wave quintet, Adam And The Ants – led by the 80s’ favorite New Wave pirate, Adam Ant – split up after five quick years together. Though they sadly didn’t have much success over here in America, in their U.K. homeland, they were incredibly popular. Between 1980 and 1982, Adam And The Ants had quite the picnic on the U.K. singles chart, with nine Top 40 hits, with seven of those reaching the Top 10, and three of those reaching No. 1. A very impressive haul for just a short amount of time.
Despite receiving a BRIT Award (the British equivalent of the Grammys) for Best Album in early 1982 for KINGS OF THE WILD FRONTIER and a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist, in March 1982, Adam Ant felt that some of the Ants “lacked enthusiasm,” and he broke up the group.
A few months after Adam And The Ants split up, Adam embarked on a solo career (keeping fellow Ant, Marco Pirroni, on as guitarist and co-songwriter), and in early May 1982, his first solo single, “Goody Two Shoes,” became an international sensation. It reached No. 1 in the U.K. and Australia, No. 2 in Canada and Ireland, No. 5 in Germany and No. 8 in Holland. “Goody Two Shoes” arrived late in America, but did reach the BILLBOARD Hot 100 in November 1982, a month after its parent album, FRIEND OR FOE, was released. “Goody Two Shoes” remains Adam’s highest-charting U.S. hit, spending three weeks at No. 12 in February 1983, and was ranked at No. 51 for all of 1983.
The title track from FRIEND OR FOE was the album’s second single, and though it did not chart here in U.S., it did reach No 9 in Adam’s U.K. homeland. The album’s third single, “Desperate But Not Serious,” was released in the U.K. in mid-November 1982, just as first single, “Goody Two Shoes” was picking up steam here in America.
“Desperate But Not Serious” doesn’t waste any time getting your attention, opening, with memorable conviction, with Geoff Daly on saxophone, Martin Drover on trumpet and Bogdan Wiczling on drums, then immediately followed by Marco Pirroni on guitar and Adam Ant on bass and vocals.
It reached a surprising (it didn’t chart higher than) No. 33 on the U.K. singles chart, while over on the Hot 100, it debuted in mid-March 1983, while “Goody Two Shoes” was still in the Top 40. A couple of weeks after its debut, “Desperate But Not Serious” stalled at No. 66 for three weeks, and was gone from the Hot 100 after eight weeks.
But, that’s not the last time Adam Ant would grace the Hot 100. In March 1984, he reached No. 42 with the title track from his second solo album, STRIP, which featured Phil Collins on drums and Anni-Frid Lyngstad (Frida from ABBA), whose voice you hear on the female spoken part on “Strip.”
Adam Ant scored his second-biggest American hit in 1990, when the very cool “Room At The Top” spent three weeks at No. 17 on the Hot 100 in May 1990 (and also reached No. 17 on BILLBOARD’s Modern Rock chart and No. 3 on BILLBOARD’s Dance chart).
He would reach the Hot 100 one more time, when the lovely (and appropriately-titled) title track from his 1995 album, WONDERFUL, spent a week at No. 39 in June of that year (and No. 7 on BILLBOARD’s Modern Rock chart).
In recent years, Adam Ant was known more for his personal life struggles than his music, but this year, he is back on tour, looking healthy and performing to his heart’s content (and the hearts of his fans, no doubt). Earlier this year, he was in the U.S. performing the landmark Adam And The Ants album, KINGS OF THE WILD FRONTIER, in its entirety (a concert I had so hoped to see; not surprisingly, it was sold out in no time).
In May 2017, he’ll be performing a number of shows in the U.K., promoting the tour as “The Singles Tour – Anthems 2017.” And I bet it’ll be phenomenal. He’s coming back to the U.S. for that tour in September. He’s performing in NYC on September 13th. I want to go to there, and if I do make it there, I hope he’ll sing “Desperate But Not Serious!”
To this day, I don’t know why “Desperate But Not Serious” was not a bigger hit. Sure, the video is a tad hokey (like many videos from the 80s, and sometimes my sense of humor), but it’s such an amazing and fun song. Musically, I think it’s one of Adam Ant’s best songs. Of course, most New Wave or Alt-Rock songs that incorporate a trumpet don’t suck. And neither does this song. Or Adam Ant. I may not be desperate in trying to relay this message, but I am serious…