Gutted! Great tracks that bombed 1. S.O.S by ABC (1984)

Pic of ABC SOS Sleeve

There is a sense that they were asking for it, now that I actually see the cover.

This reached the lofty position of no. 39 in the UK singles chart, which was a major flop seeing as only the Top 30 got attention back then. And this was ABC's first single to miss the Top 30. Ooops. Apparently, Martin Fry felt uncomfortable with their Lexicon Of Love success, flushed his gold lamé suit down a toilet in Japan and decided to go a bit 'rawk' on Beauty Stab.

Which is why the lack of success is somewhat of a pity as the track is, like the Lexicon stuff, still wonderfully produced (Gary Langan instead of Trevor Horn, although both men were to become the Art of Noise along with Anne Dudley). It has unclear lyrics (fine), but still manages some glamour (something about millionaires and caresses). It all sounds darkly romantic and conspiratorial and urgent. As all good misunderstood pop should.

And THEN they decided to become cartoon characters and recruited Shannon's producers and a little bald guyPic of David Yarritu and a lady in a wig Pic of Eden. Commercial suicide complete – yay!

But executed in style…..

Download S.O.S. by ABC

Like this? Buy the album Beauty Stab



  1. peto

    I used to think Brian Ferry and ABC were one in the same. And I did love when smokey sings on commercial radio here in the states. SOS does make me feel decadent.

  2. Enda P Guinan

    Mmmm, decadence.

    I think Fry was very much influenced by Roxy Music- that blue-eyed sophistication and clever-cleverness. ABC were always that little bit more vulgar though (!). And I mean that as a compliment!

  3. no milk

    beauty stab was the departure album for ABC, i enjoyed it anyway. singles-wise, ABC continued to create some very cool grooves like “when smokey sings”, “the night you murdered love”, “king without a crown” and the very dancey album “how to be a zillionaire”. i was never sure why they recruited david yarritu and eden, except for their looks. i don’t think they performed any instruments did they?

  4. eguinan

    God, how I loved Zillionaire-era ABC. The idea of their just being animated characters. Getting the producers of Shannon’s stuff in on the album. Having two band members present only because it ‘made them look more like a band’. Having a GIRL and an *American* in ABC! Fantastic.

    Of course some Yarritu and Eden say a few words on ‘A to Z’, but is it really them? And does Eden really say: “I’m Eden. And I want you to kiss my snatch”?

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