On this date in 1976 Stuart Goddard (Adam Ant) placed the following ad in the classified section of Melody Maker: “Beat on a bass, with the B-Sides.” Andy Warren responded to the inquiry and the pair went on to form Adam and The Ants.
In the beginning, May to November 1977, they were known simply as The Ants and achieved considerable cult popularity. The band played their first gig on 5 May 1977 at a bedroom in Muswell Hill, north London.
In late 1977 the group adopted the longer Adam and the Ants band name. The band made their radio debut on the John Peel show with a session recorded on 23 January 1978.
Although popular, the outfit were, according to critic Simon Price, “dismissed by the punk cognoscenti as something of a joke band”.
In October 1979 Adam and the Ants released their debut studio album, Dirk Wears White Sox. It got a lukewarm response by the general public. It gained a cult following rather than commercial success.
In early 1980 guitarist Marco Pirroni (an ex-member of Siouxsie and the Banshees) joined the new version of Adam and the Ants. Pirroni would become an influential member of the group, co-writing all of their new songs with Adam Ant. In mid 1980 they signed a major label deal with CBS Records and released Kings of the Wild Frontier in November 1980. It was a massive hit: reached no. 1 on UK album charts, UK number 1 selling album, won Best British Album at Brit Awards.
Adam and the Ants have inspired several artists that have emerged since the band’s short career, including Nine Inch Nails. Their most famous song, “Stand and Deliver”, seemed to be a fairly commonly covered track (one of the most notable covers was by Sugar Ray)
With romantic costumes and heavy make-up, the band was often seen as an early example of the New Romantic movement.
Stand and deliver, dandy highwaymen!