#52: Spandau Ballet: True: 1983
Spandau Ballet it’s a great name; don’t you think? For me, taken on the surface, Spandau conjures up images of spangles and sparkles, while ballet is that lovely art form of dance. Yes, it is a cool name, until one looks deeper into the story behind the term Spandau Ballet. That story is quite dark; not a bit lovely or arty. To be fair, hopefully, Robert Elms, who was a friend of band members, and came up with this suggestion did not realise the grisly story these two words evoke. He saw them graffitied on a tiolet wall in a Berlin night club and just thought it was a cool name.
So first a little spot of history. Spandau was a prison built in 1876 in the borough of Spandau, West Germany. Originally it was a Prussian Military Prison later, under Hitler, it became a forerunner of the Nazi concentration camp. From the early 20th Century it also housed civilian inmates and after 1933 those who dared to speak against Hilter were held there in supposed protective custody. The Gestapo was a present and active force in torture and abuse of inmates and when the first concentration camps were built inmates were transferred to these concentration camps.
After the Nuremberg Trials (1945-46) the prison, which had a 600 person capicity, housed only seven Nazi war criminals who arrived on July 18th 1947. The last reamining prisoner was Rudolf Hess who died there on 17th August 1987. The prison was immediately demolished so that it could not become a shrine to neo- Nazis and is now the site of a shopping mall.
The ballet part of the term Spandau Ballet and I quote from Morris Knight https://80splusradio.iheart.com/featured/morris-knight the name Spandau Ballet could point to two possible meanings: one refers to the jerky movements of Nazi war prisoners hanged at Spandau prison as they were hanged, or according to others, it refers to enemy lines getting shot down by the German World War II machine gun MG42 Spandau. Yikes! Yikes indeed!
But to my song for today. True is written by Gary Kemp of Spandau Ballet. It was a worldwide hit, Spandau’s biggest hit and was the 6th biggest hit single of 1983. It’s a love song, apparently written for someone Kemp felt he loved but knew the feeling was not mutual and he was reluctant to say anything. He wanted the truth to be said wanted the truth to be known but knew it never would be, but this is the sound of my soul.
This song makes me think about truth and trust and just how important these qualities are. They are the currency of life, when truth is lost, when trust is broken there really isn’t much left to work with. We live in a world of fake news and if I am reading what I see around me correctly, there is a great sense of loss of truth. Many people no longer trust politicians, big business, those in power, those entrusted with making decisions for the well being of the fabric of our society. The truth is often unpalatible, it can hurt, it can be difficult to accept, it divides people but it is also the only thing that heals and frees people. There is a really good Book that explains all of this.
This is a lovely clean sound. Love the sax. Hope you enjoy the song.
Above all things, we need to be seekers of Truth. This much is true.