“True” by Spandau Ballet

Turning back the clock to the music of the early 80’s, the music of my teenage years, let’s take a listen to “True” by Spandau Ballet.

Do you have any memories attached to “True”? Any thoughts, or feelings, about the song?


“True” by Spandau Ballet
from the album, True (1983)

“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.”

spandau-ballet-true-1983

“True” by Spandau Ballet
from the album, True (1983)
My Top 5 – February 1, 2011

My Top Five Thoughts on “True” by Spandau Ballet

1. This song always, without exception, reminds me of the first high school dance I ever went to. One of those start of the year, casual dances. Freshman year. It was held in basement of a church. The memory of walking in with my best friend at the time, and hearing “True” playing from the DJ’s speakers always mixes and blends with the school dance scene from Sixteen Candles. Samantha seeks Jake Ryan dancing with his girlfriend to “True”, her heart breaking a little while the song plays. 

2. The album version of this is six minutes long. The single that played on the radio was shorter. It was written as a tribute to Motown and Marvin Gaye (see the lyric: “listen to Marvin all night long.”) It is one of the best known 80’s love songs.

3. Lyrically speaking, though, “True” never seemed like a love song to me. It seems to be more about some kind of personal struggle with finding one’s own “true” self. The search for one’s place in the world – more than a search for “true” love.

4. Spandau Ballet did a meet-and-greet at a Music Plus record store that was walking distance from my high school. It was my sophomore year. My friends and I ran there as soon as the last bell rang and stood in line for hours, excited to get to meet one of our favorite New Wave bands. We were part of the last group to go in. The band had stopped signing albums by then, but they did let us talk to them, and take a few pictures (sadly, when I developed them they were over-exposed and blurry, but I can sort of make Tony Hadley and Steve Norman out). Steve Norman was my favorite. I gave him a ring of mine that I used to wear everyday back then. He took it, smiling, thanking me with his English accent, then he unclasped a chain he was wearing around his neck and slid the ring onto it – melting my teenage heart in the process. I was over the moon that he did that, and almost cried the next day when I saw the band being interviewed on a local music video show (Video One) – he was still wearing the chain with my ring on it.

5. I actually prefer the album that came out after True. Their 1984 album Parade. Their debut album, Diamond, released in 1982, is my second favorite. That said, I will always hold a “true” soft spot for the song “True”, and all the memories it evokes.

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