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Album: TrueReleased: 1983Charted:
Band member Gary Kemp wrote this when he was in the middle of an unrequited love affair. He wrote of the song on his website: "I wanted to write a Soul song a la Al Green or Marvin Gaye. I still remember sitting on my bed at my parents' house writing it on guitar and calling Martin (his brother and Spandau Ballet bass player) in to listen to it. It became a song about trying to write a love song to someone who didn't know your true thoughts, but how difficult it is to spell out your feelings without seeming too foolish. The lyrics were delicately influenced by Nabakov's Lolita, a book that she'd given me to read at the time. Unfortunately, she never got the message! We never realized the full potential of this song until we started to record it at Compass Point. On the ECD's home movie footage of Nassau you can see the moment where we're playing back the song, half finished, in the studio, and everybody, including the roadies, are singing along to it. It was at that moment that I knew we had something special."
A specific lyric that Kemp took from Lolita
is "Take your seaside arms and write the next line."
One of the song's producers, Tony Swain, recalls in 1000 UK #1 Hits
by Jon Kutner and Spencer Leigh, "We made the True
album in the Bahamas and I am sure that a lot of that place got into the album. True was not a complicated song but it has really got something. There is something timeless about it: it has had over 2 million radio plays in America and it has been used in the wedding scenes for lots of films. It's very nice to have made a record that has lasted that long and I still feel good about it."
This was a huge worldwide hit, going to #1 in 21 countries.
The video for this song helped its chart fortunes considerably. Directed by Russell Mulcahy, it got lots of airtime on MTV, which was just two years old at the time.
There was plenty of production value, but no real storyline in the video, which was intentional. Gary Kemp explained: "I didn't want to dictate what 'True' should be like. I'm sure when people hear that record they've got their own idea of what it means and what it looks like. So we just performed it, and lit it well – shooting light through water and broken glass – and it worked."
This has been used in a number of movies and TV shows, including The Wedding Singer, Sixteen Candles, Wedding Crashers, The Office, Spin City and The Simpsons. (thanks, Fulu Thompho - limpopo, South Africa)