Registration with

register

lost password recovery

recover my password

sign in

  • If you registered before August, 2014, you will need to register again. Sorry for the inconvenience.
  • remember me
sign in

Suggest a Songfact / Artistfact

Sign up for our newsletter

Get the Newsletter

True by Spandau Ballet

Album: TrueReleased: 1983Charted:
4
1
  • 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."
  • P.M. Dawn sampled this on their 1991 hit "Set Adrift On Memory Bliss." It was also sampled on Nelly's 2004 song "N Dey Say."
  • 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)
or Register to post comments

Comments: 25

One thing many people are missing out on is the cut in the end of the song. It's original length is 6:30. This is where some of the richest sounds are found. Throughout the song TRUE, Spandau Ballet used a PROPHET-5 synthesizer to flow along with many parts of the bass track, complimenting in a piano sound. The 5 polyphonic monochrome style synthesizer enabled waveless strings-straight as an arrow, the initial atmosphere synth melody and the unique piano/bass sounds.John - Canon City, Co
and tell me who, who doesn't love a little power ballad, mixed with a little techno, mixed with a little rock and roll & TO top off the cherry on the cake of it all a freaking sax. Uuuuh! What a phenominal tune! The epitome of the 1980's! Bravo! ps: song is memorialized in the film 16 candles at the HS dance.Mark - Providence, Ri
One of my all-time favorite songs with great depth. After thinking about this song for a long time, I believe the overall point of the song is this: The author/singer wants to tell the truth but he never does. He says "I know this much is true" but never finishes his sentence, and he never gets to the truth. It's irony at its best.Shane - Los Angeles, Ca
ive heard this song play at many weddings, its a true love song and the words "seaside arms" come from the most magnificent novelJennifer - Brisbane, Australia
What is it that makes this song a classic? The perfect blend of singer's voice, lyrics, melody, and that catch phrase "I know this much is true" sung various ways throughout the song. Fabulous saxophone, too, that seems to express, perhaps, in sound, those words the writer is searching for in vain. And, by the way, this is another one of those songs that women hear and think, yeah, I'd like the man of my dreams to be singing this to me.Camille - Toronto, Oh
To me, the lyrics, "I bought a ticket to the world ... write the next line" mean "I was going to start over and I left so that you wouldn't destract me, but I couldn't leave because I realized I don't want this to be over: now the ball is in your court - I'm leaving the next move up to you."
To me, this song as a whole is about actually WRITING a song (or story or novel) that is essentially a CONFESSION by the author about his love for someone. The song or story can be written FOR the loved one as a revelation of his feelings OR it could be written ABOUT the couple's relationship as a sort of tell-all. I think this because of the references to Nabakov's Lolita - this novel was a tell-all that the character writes while he is in prison about the unrequited love of an under-aged girl. Because of the references to Lolita, I think the song could be interpreted as being about unrequited love, and possibly also about loving someone it would be inappropriate to be with. I also think a kind of fall from grace could be implied, as the author of Lolita writes his story after being arrested. It could be about so many things or situations, and I think that's one of the reasons this song is so great!
Melissa - Windsor, Canada
spendau was a prison, and r hess was there till hes death, nuff said, just a brill song and have to agree with paul of london, sends chills down my spine and reminds me of my saled days (if you will excuse the pun) back in the 80s when everything seemed so right.Tony Cook - London, United Kingdom
What are sea side arms??? wrap your seaside arms around me and write the next line!!!!???Siobhan - Harrogate, United Kingdom
Also to add is that when Steve sing "True" in Wedding Singer(which is at the end of the movie) he improvises the line "Robbie and Jullli a aa a"

Also I love this song a great 80's pop classic.
Travis - Grandisland, Fl
"True" was also sung by Steve Buscemi in the movie Wedding Singer(1998) starring Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler.

And was done again in the film 50 First Dates(2004) which then was performed by Will I Am and Fergie, but the lyrics are changed for rapping in the Will I Am parts
Travis - Grandisland, Fl
This song was popular when my daughter was less than a year old. I used to dance her to sleep to it. She's getting married in a few weeks and she dosn't know it yet but this will be our father-daughter dance.Greg - Batavia, Ny
what is it that is true? somebody should provide an explanation. i wanna know what is "true" in this song. But anyway i love it.Fulu Thompho - Limpopo, South Africa
The song seems to be Kemp drawing an analogy between his life and Marvin Gaye's.Dale - Santa Fe, Nm
This song was about taking acid and expanding your horizions. It's a beautiful song but not once does it reference anything regarding "love". Thrill in my head, pill on my tounge... Sound of my soul... Seaside arms... Bought my ticket to the world (LSD)... Hard to write the next line.. This much is true! This guy is writing based on a very deep LSD inspired evening.Russ - Richmond, Va
Seems like Drew Barrymore love the song True...it's in 50 First Dates and Charlie's Angels.Sui - Cebu City, Other
I know this much is... TrUUUuee! hahahaNeal - North, Nj
You need to be careful which sources you trust on the net! Spandau prison was in the capital, Berlin. It was built in 1876 and so existed long before WWII. It was not an Auschwitz-like death camp with gas chambers. The prisoners who were hung at Spandau were the senior Nazis found guilty at the Nuremberg trials. They were sentenced to death on 1 October 1946 and hanged on 6 October 1946. Other senior Nazis, like Rudolf Hess, were imprisoned there, too.Stu - Fife, Scotland
Luke, what I find on the net is that the prisoners of Spandau were gassed, not hung. Google "spandau ballet nazi," and it's easy to find.Billy Rhythm - Rockland, Me
Where my last post IS true (pardon the pun), the band changed their name after seeing some Grafiti in Berlin after being called 'the Makers'Luke - Manchester, England
yduR, Knoxville - Stop talking out of your arse son... When inmates of the Spandau prison were hung, the corpses moved on the rope, seeming to dance as the last breath escaped, this was known as the "Spandau Ballet"Luke - Manchester, England
Will.i.am and Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas did a reinterpretation of this song for the 50 First Dates Soundtrack that was decent.Adam - Poplar Bluff, Mo
Spandau was a special prison built for Nazi war criminals at the end of the Nuremburg trials. A "Spandau Ballet" was a homosexual courtship/seduction between the inmates. In the end, it was solely occupied by Rudolph Hess.Ydur - Knoxville, Tn
This is my Ultimate Chill-Out Summer Song of all-time and one of the few songs ever to send chills down my spine. I love this song and Tony Hadley's vocals really shine here.Paul - London, England
Has Something to do with Marvin Gaye ('Listening to Marvin, all night long)Jammon - Jammon, England
Nelly, also used this song to sample in his song N Dey Say, which is his fifth single (in the UK off his double album SweatSuit.K - Leicester Uk, England