♫ True ♫

Yesterday a friend mentioned the band Spandau Ballet — a group who I haven’t thought of in probably 30 years, but immediately when I saw the name mentioned, this song, True, came pouring into my head.  Until tonight, I didn’t know the lyrics or the backstory, but I always loved the song.

True was composed by group leader Gary Kemp, who wrote the song at his parents’ house while living there. It is a song that in part pays tribute to the Motown artist Marvin Gaye, who is mentioned in the lyrics, and the sound he helped to establish. According to Kemp …

“I think I wanted to write a song that was a bit like a Marvin Gaye, Al Green song, a blue-eyed soul song. It was at a time when it was me concentrating on melody first rather than the sort of riff and the groove. ‘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.”

The song was partly about Kemp’s platonic relationship (and unrequited love) with Altered Images singer Clare Grogan …

“I was infatuated with Clare Grogan. I met her on Top of the Pops and, at one point, travelled up to Scotland to have tea with her and her mum and dad. Although my feelings were unrequited and the relationship was platonic, it was enough to trigger a song.”

Some phrases in the lyrics were adapted from the novel Lolita, a copy of which Clare Grogan had given Gary Kemp.

“The lyrics are full of coded messages to Clare.  I’m still berated for the line ‘Take your seaside arms’ but it’s straight out of Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov, which she had given me as a present – although in the book, it’s ‘seaside limbs.’ The line ‘With a thrill in my head and a pill on my tongue’ is also a bastardisation of Nabokov.”

Kemp did an interview with The Guardian back in 2014 that you might find interesting:  Spandau Ballet: We wanted to design the next decade’s pop culture

Released in 1983, this is the only song by the British group to make the top ten in the U.S.  It hit #1 in Canada, Ireland and the UK, and #4 in the U.S.

True
Spandau Ballet

So true, funny how it seems
Always in time, but never in line for dreams
Head over heels when toe to toe
This is the sound of my soul
This is the sound

I bought a ticket to the world
But now I’ve come back again
Why do I find it hard to write the next line?
I want the truth to be said

I, I-I-I, I
I know this much is true
I, I-I-I, I
I know this much is true

With a thrill in my head and a pill on my tongue
Dissolve the nerves that have just begun
Listening to Marvin (all night long)
This is the sound of my soul
This is the sound

Always slipping from my hands
Sand’s a time of its own
Take your seaside arms and write the next line
I want the truth to be known

I, I-I-I, I
I know this much is true
I, I-I-I, I
Ooh, I know this much is true, I know this much is true

I bought a ticket to the world
But now I’ve come back again
Why do I find it hard to write the next line?
I want the truth to be, I want the truth to be said

I, I-I-I, I
I know this much is true
I, I-I-I, I
Ooh, I know this much is true, I know this much is true

This much is true

This much is true
This much is true
This much is true
This much is true
This much is true
This much is true

I, I-I-I, I, I
Know this much is true
I, I-I-I, I, I
Know this much is true
This much is true
This much is true
I know, I know, I know this much is true

This much is true
This much is true
This much is true (I, I-I-I, I, I)
This much is true
I know this much is true

This much is true (I, I-I-I, I, I)
This much is true
Know this much is true
This much is true (I, I-I-I, I, I)
This much is true
Know this much is true
I know, I know, I know this much is true

This much is true (I, I-I-I, I, I)
This much is true
I know this much is true
This much is true

Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: Gary Kemp
True lyrics © Reformation Publishing Co Ltd

10 thoughts on “♫ True ♫

  1. Ah, the Eighties, The New Romantics brought music back to my life after a fairly dry period of punk only highlighted by the genius of Queen. Abba were a good start ABC, Aha, The Bangles, Blondie The reason I missed the Bee Gees is I prefer their Early Stuff like Massachusetts,, but there are many great groups of the time, The Cars, Chicago, Commadores, Crowded House, Culture Club, , Tears for Fears, Eurythmics, Simple Minds, etc etc etc Groups I’ve forgotten but loved. This one is a winner, a good Tony Hadleigh vocal,
    Cwtch

    Liked by 2 people

    • I have to ask, because I haven’t heard of them, and you’ve mentioned it before … is The New Romantics a specific group, or a style of music, or an era? As re the groups you mention, I have heard of and love most … only Crowded House eludes my memory and I will check it out tomorrow — too tired tonight to do much more. I’m glad you liked “True” … as soon as you mentioned Spandau Ballet yesterday, this song began playing inside my head! It’s the only one of theirs I can think of offhand.
      Cwtch

      Liked by 1 person

      • The Young Romantics was an era and a style. Clothes much softer than the previous decade even make up on some men Two more I should have mentioned ,Tears for Fears. and Talk Talk then I remember gems like Frankie Goes To Hollywood.. I’d better stop now. Spandau Ballet were always in a friendly feud with Duran Duran for the hits. They were both so similar.
        Cwtch

        Liked by 1 person

        • Ahhhh … I understand now. I never cared for Duran Duran, though Chris, a teenager at the time, loved them. Some of Tears for Fears is appealing, and one or two of Talk Talk’s I liked. Memories of songs long forgotten …
          Cwtch

          Liked by 1 person

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