Adam and the Ants

Adam and the Ants were an English new wave rock band that was active during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Led by the charismatic, self-styled Adam Ant, the band recorded a string of singles and three albums between 1978 and 1981.

Amidst several iterations, Adam and the Ants evolved from the taut, abrasive theatricism of their early lineups to the martial–tribal comedic pop of the Marco Pirroni era. The latter approach garnered the band and its frontman home-country fame with the album Kings of the Wild Frontier and the singles “Antmusic” and “Stand and Deliver.” The videos for both songs became staples of MTV’s golden age.

Members: Adam Ant (vocals, guitar, piano), Andy Warren (bass, 1977-79), Paul Flannagan (drums, 1977), Lester Square (guitar, 1977), Mark Ryan (guitar, 1977), David Barbe [Dave Barbarossa] (drums, percussion, 1977-79), Johnny Bivouac [John Beckett] (guitar, 1977-78), Matthew Ashman (guitar, piano, 1978-80), Leigh Gorman (bass, 1979-80), Marco Pirroni (guitar, vocals, 1980-82), Chris Hughes (drums, 1980-82), Terry Lee Miall (drums, 1980-82), Kevin Mooney (bass, 1980-81), Gary Tibbs (bass, 1981-82)


Adam and the Ants evolved from an early punk band called The B-Sides, formed in the spring of 1976 by London scenester Adam Ant.

Ant was born Stuart Leslie Goddard on November 3, 1954, in Marylebone, London, to chauffeur Leslie Alfred Goddard and embroiderer Betty Kathleen (née Smith), who lived in the De Walden buildings and divorced when Stuart was seven. Betty raised the boy to adolescence and worked for a time as Paul McCartney‘s domestic cleaner.

Goddard attended Barrow Hill Junior School, where he partook in sports (cricket, boxing) and gained entry into the all-boys St Marylebone Grammar School, where he excelled in history and rugby and served as a prefect (tutor of younger pupils). He then studied graphic design at Hornsey College of Art but dropped out short of his BA to enter music.

He took up bass in the retro ’50s rock n’ roll band Bazooka Joe, an unsigned live act with (future Vibrators) guitarist John Ellis and singer Dan Barson (brother of future Madness keyboardist–songwriter Mike Barson). On November 6, 1975, they headlined over the debut performance by The Sex Pistols at St. Martin’s School of the Art, where security unplugged the openers after five minutes.

Inspired by the Pistols’ shambolic set, Goddard’s interest shifted from the rockabilly revival to a newer sound on London’s underground. With mutual contacts via SEX — the King’s Road S&M clothing shop owned by Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren — Goddard appeared at shows frequented by London’s first-generation punk rockers, including Pistols colleagues London SS (with future members of The Clash, The Damned, and Generation X) and scene-makers the Bromley Contingent (which included Billy Idol and the nucleus of Siouxsie and the Banshees).

Goddard adopted the stagename Adam Ant: “Adam” as the namesake of the first male in the ‘history’ of mankind; “Ant” because the insect’s radioactive resistance makes it impervious to nuclear extinction. In mid-1976, he formed The B-Sides with guitarist Lester Square and bassist Andy Warren. With no suitable drummer, they never took the act beyond rehearsals.

The Ants

In early 1977, Adam Ant replaced the B-Sides moniker with The Ants, which featured Square, Warren, and drummer Paul Flannagan. For management, he hired McLaren sales-woman Jordan, a shock-haired punk fashionista who sometimes shared Ant’s microphone.

Mid-year, guitarist Mark Ryan and drummer Dave Barbarossa stepped in for Square and Flanagan, who later formed half of The Monochrome Set. For the second Ants show, Adam secured a May lunchtime slot at the Institute of Contemporary Art by claiming he fronted a country band. Instead, he took to the stage in a leather mask and belted out their early performance piece “Beat My Guest.”


The Ants spent July 1977 on the set of Jubilee, a punk dystopian film by English director Derek Jarman, who named the film in reference to the Queen’s Silver Jubilee, the 25th anniversary of Elizabeth II’s coronation (lampooned in the Pistol’s June UK No. 2 hit “God Save the Queen”).

In Jubilee, Elizabeth I transports to present-day London, a dystopian ruin haunted by a girl gang composed of Amyl Nitrate (Jordan, a cabaret-punk performer), Bod (Jenny Runacre, a sex-hating murderess), Crabs (“Little Nell” Campbell, a sex-positive groupie), and Mad (Toyah Willcox, an orange-haired tomboy). Their exploits include the on-air lynching of Lounge Lizard, a singing transvestite played by New York glam-rocker Wayne County.

Jubilee marked the film debut of Toyah, who also appears in Jarman’s 1979 adaptation of William Shakespear’s The Tempest. Nell — the pen-browed, scarlet-haired Columbia in The Rocky Horror Picture Show — appeared concurrently in the ITV series Rock Follies of ’77, the sequal to the 1976 musical drama about a fictional female rock-vocal trio with songs by Roxy Music‘s Andy MacKay.

Jubilee features Ant in the roll of Kid, an aspiring punk singer who dies in police hands during a nighttime alley raid. Two Ants songs (“Deutscher Girls,” “Plastic Surgery”) appear on the Jubilee soundtrack with cuts by Brian Eno and Chelsea.

Deutscher Girls” (2:29)
Plastic Surgery” ()

In October 1977, Ryan cleared for drummer Johnny Bivouac and the band became Adam and the Ants.


By 1978, Adam and the Ants drew audience swarms on London’s club circuit along with fellow unsigned new wavers Siouxsie and the Banshees, who shared multiple Ants bills. The lineup now featured Ant, Warren, guitarist Matthew Ashman, and drummer Dave Barbe.

On January 23, Adam and the Ants recorded two songs (“Lou,” “It Doesn’t Matter”) at Maida Vale studio for BBC One Radio DJ John Peel.

“It Doesn’t Matter”

They returned on July 10 for a second Peel session comprised of four songs (“Zerox,” “Friends,” “You’re So Physical,” “Cleopatra”) later re-cut for their first album.

Decca Records signed the band. On October 27, 1978, Adam and the Ants released their debut single: “Young Parisians” backed with “Lady,” both Adam originals.

A. “Young Parisians” (3:01)
B. “Lady” ()

Adam co-produced both sides with studio pianist Jo Julian, a later soundman for John Foxx and Berlin. The credits list Barbarossa as ‘Dave Family-Man Barbe’ and identify Sore Throat saxophonist Greg Mason as a musical guest. Adam sketch-rendered the cover imagery based on photos of the Ants (front) and a dominatrix (back) by one Julie Stone, whose photoshoot involved hair stylist Derek Dunbat. The first 5000 copies appeared in a glossy carboard picture sleeve. Alternate sleeves show a monochrome Ants performance pic (Decca Portugal) and a giant key-slot around the Eiffel Tower (Decca Italy).

Adam and the Ants earmarked “Zerox” as their second Decca single. However, early into the new year, the bewildered label dropped the band. “Zerox” appeared instead in July 1979 on Do It Records, an indie recently co-founded by Robin Scott (aka M).

A. “Zerox” (3:45)
B. “Whip In My Valise” (3:58)

An early miss-press lists “Whip In My Valise” but plays “(You’re So) Physical.” Two years after its release, Do It reissued “Zerox” to capitalize on the band’s newfound fame.

Dirk Wears White Sox

Adam and the Ants released their debut album, Dirk Wears White Sox, on November 30, 1979, on Do It Records. The title refers to fifties British film star Dirk Bogarde.

1. “Cartrouble (Parts 1 & 2)” (6:32)
2. “Digital Tenderness” (2:57)
3. “Nine Plan Failed” (5:00)
4. “Day I Met God” (2:50)
5. “Tabletalk” (5:20)

6. “Cleopatra” (3:10)
7. “Catholic Day” (3:00)
8. “Never Trust a Man (With Egg on His Face)” (3:08)
9. “Animals and Men” (3:10)
10. “Family of Noise” (2:30)
11. “The Idea” (3:17)

Recorded 12–24 August 1979
Producer Adam Ant

Adam Ant – electric and acoustic guitars, vocals, piano, harmonica, bass on tracks 18 and 19
David Barbarossa (as Dave Barbe) – drums
Matthew Ashman – guitar and piano
Andrew Warren – bass

Dirk Wears White Sox was released on 30 November 1979 by Do It Records.[11] The three out-takes were later released in 1982 as the 7 inch EP The B-Sides as well as a 12-inch EP The Antmusic EP also containing a remix of Cartrouble (Parts 1 & 2).
“Friends” ()
“Kick” (2:08)
“Physical” ()

The album was reissued in 1983, featuring a different album cover taken from a December 1979 video for the song “Zerox”. “Catholic Day” and “Day I Met God” were dropped and “Cartrouble (Parts 1 and 2)” were replaced by “Cartrouble” in its single version and its B-side, a re-recording of “Kick!” which contained completely different lyrics from the rejected album version and featured Jon Moss on drums (who later went on to join Culture Club). This edition also adds two other songs from the same era not on the original LP: both sides of the “Zerox”/ “Whip in My Valise” single.


In February 1980, Adam Ant released the re-recorded “Cartrouble”

A: “Cartrouble” re-recorded with Marco Pironni and John Moss
B: Kick!

25 Jul 1980
A: Kings of the Wild Frontier
B: Press Darlings

Kings of the Wild Frontier

Adam and the Ants released their second album, Kings of the Wild Frontier, on November 7, 1980, on CBS (UK) and Epic (abroad)

1. “Dog Eat Dog” 3:11
2. “Antmusic” 3:37
3. “Feed Me to the Lions” 3:03
4. “Los Rancheros” 3:30
5. “Ants Invasion” 3:19
6. “Killer in the Home” 4:22

7. “Kings of the Wild Frontier” 3:56
8. “The Magnificent Five” 3:07
9. “Don’t Be Square (Be There)” 3:32
10. “Jolly Roger” 2:11
11. “Making History” 2:59
12. “The Human Beings” 4:32

Recorded 18 February – 30 August 1980
Studio Sound Development (London)Matrix (London)Rockfield (Monmouth, Wales)

Adam Ant – vocals, acoustic guitar, piano, harmonica
Marco Pirroni – electric guitar
Kevin Mooney – bass
Merrick (Chris Hughes) – drums, production
Terry Lee Miall – drums

Peter Ashworth – sleeve photography

3 Oct 1980
A: Dog Eat Dog
B: Physical (You’re So)

28 Nov 1980
A: Antmusic
B: Fall-In

UK Albums (OCC)[38] 1
Australian Albums (Kent Music Report)[30] 2
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[37] 4
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[36] 7
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)[33] 11
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[34] 11
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[31] 18
Canada Top Albums/CDs (RPM)[32] 21
US Billboard 200[39] 44


27 Mar 1981
A: Stand And Deliver
B: Beat My Guest


UK Singles (OCC)[2] 1 debuted at the top spot on 3 May 1981, and remained there for five weeks
Ireland (IRMA)[9] 2
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[11] 4
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[7] 7
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[10] 8
West Germany (Official German Charts) 8
Australia (Kent Music Report)[6] 12 

Prince Charming

Adam and the Ants released their third album, Prince Charming, on November 6, 1981, on CBS.

1. “Scorpios” 2:46
2. “Picasso Visita el Planeta de los Simios” 3:28
3. “Prince Charming” 3:18) Rolf Harris’ 1965 song “War Canoe”
4. “Five Guns West” 5:02
5. “That Voodoo!” 4:18

6. “Stand and Deliver” 3:35
7. “Mile High Club” 2:42
8. “Ant Rap” 3:26
9. “Mowhok” 3:28
10. “S.E.X.” 3:50
11. “The Lost Hawaiians” (unlisted track – an instrumental re-recording of “Los Rancheros” from Kings of the Wild Frontier) 1:05

Studio Air Studios, London, England
Adam Ant – vocals, bass, harmonica
Marco Pirroni – guitar
Merrick – drums, production, acoustic guitar on “Prince Charming”
Terry Lee Miall – drums
Gary Tibbs – bass

Producer Chris Hughes
Ross Cullum – engineering

4 Sep 1981
A: Prince Charming
B: Christian D’Or

11 Dec 1981
A: Ant Rap
B: Friends

UK Albums (OCC)[15] 2
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)[10] 5
Australian Albums (Kent Music Report)[8] 7


The B sides

May 1982
A: Goody Two Shoes released as an Adam and the Ants single
B: Red Scab

2 Jul 1982
Adam and Toyah on EG
A: Nine To Five

Friend of Foe

Adam Ant released his debut solo album, Friend of Foe, on October 11, 1982, on CBS–Epic. It features eleven Ant–Pirroni originals, including the singles “Goody Two Shoes,” “Friend or Foe,” and the title track. Side One contains a cover of the 1968 Doors classic “Hello, I Love You.”

1. “Friend or Foe” 3:22
2. “Something Girls” 3:52
3. “Place in the Country” 2:50
4. “Desperate But Not Serious” 4:14
5. “Here Comes the Grump” 3:35
6. “Hello, I Love You” (2:37)

7. “Goody Two Shoes” 3:28
8. “Crackpot History and the Right to Lie” 2:44
9. “Made of Money” 3:28
10. “Cajun Twisters” 2:56
11. “Try This for Sighs” 3:03
12. “Man Called Marco” 3:27

Studio The Townhouse (London)

Adam Ant – vocals, bass guitar, production
Marco Pirroni – guitar, production, vocals on “Man Called Marco”
Bogdan Wiczling – drums, percussion
Martin Drover – trumpet, flugelhorn
Jeff Daly – saxophone
Jude Kelly – vocals on “Desperate But Not Serious”
Sam Brown, Sonia Jones, Vicki Brown – backing vocals on “Hello, I Love You”

Producer Adam Ant, Marco Pirroni
Alan Douglas – engineer
Allan Ballard – front cover photography

17 Sep 1982
A: Friend Or Foe
B: Juanito The Bandito

19 Nov 1982
A: Desperate But Not Serious
B: Why Do Girls Love Horses?

UK Albums (OCC)[11] 5
Canada Top Albums/CDs (RPM)[7] 14
US Billboard 200[12] 16


Adam Ant released his debut solo album, Strip, on November 7, 1983, on CBS–Epic. It features ten Ant–Pirroni originals, including the Phil Collins-produced singles “Strip” and “Puss ‘n Boots.” Spandau Ballet soundman (and former Landscape mastermind) Richard James Burgess produced the album’s balance and plays keyboards, drums, and percussion.

1. “Strip” – 3:48
2. “Baby, Let Me Scream at You” – 4:07
3. “Libertine” – 4:19
4. “Spanish Games” – 3:00
5. “Vanity” – 4:08

6. “Puss ‘n Boots” – 3:52
7. “Playboy” – 3:50
8. “Montreal” – 4:23
9. “Navel to Neck” – 3:41
10. “Amazon” – 3:50

Recorded Summer 1983 in Stockholm, Sweden
Adam Ant – vocals, bass, guitars (2), percussion (9)
Richard James Burgess – keyboards (2-5, 7-10), drums (2-5, 7-10), percussion (2-5, 7-10)
Marco Pirroni – guitars (1, 3-10)
Phil Collins – drums (1, 6), percussion (1, 6)
Rutger Gunnarsson – brass and string arrangements
Anni-Frid Lyngstad – additional vocals (1)

Phil Collins – producer (1, 6)
Hugh Padgham – co-producer (1, 6), engineer (1, 6)
Adam Ant – producer (2-5, 7-10), cover design
Richard James Burgess – producer (2-5, 7-10)
Marco Pirroni – producer (2-5, 7-10)
Paris Edvinsson – engineer (2-5, 7-10)
Michael B. Tretow – mixing (2-5, 7-10)
Anders Andersson – production assistance
Jean-Luc Fauvel – production assistance
Mark Freegard – production assistance
Radu Wouk – production assistance
Allan Ballard – photography

Oct 1983
A: Puss ‘n Boots
B: Kiss The Drummer

Dec 1983
A: Strip
B: Yours, Yours, Yours


Non-album shortplayer sides:

  • “Young Parisians” / “Lady” (1978)


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