So true: Spandau Ballet reform, announce tour

LONDON Wed Mar 25, 2009 6:34pm EDT

British band Spandau Ballet pose for photographers during a photocall on HMS Belfast in central London March 25, 2009. Pictured are (L to R) Martin Kemp, Gary Kemp, Tony Hadley, John Keeble, Steve Norman. REUTERS/Toby Melville

British band Spandau Ballet pose for photographers during a photocall on HMS Belfast in central London March 25, 2009. Pictured are (L to R) Martin Kemp, Gary Kemp, Tony Hadley, John Keeble, Steve Norman.

Credit: Reuters/Toby Melville

LONDON (Reuters) - Twenty years ago they split. Ten years ago they took each other to court over royalties. Today, British band Spandau Ballet are reforming.

The group behind hit ballad "True" announced on Wednesday they would follow a long list of retired acts who have dusted off their guitars and drum kits to launch lucrative comebacks by touring and recording.

Tony Hadley, Gary Kemp, Martin Kemp, Steve Norman and John Keeble are putting past differences, and a reputation for 1980s fringes and glossy pop, behind them.

"As you can see, we're back together again and we're very happy boys," lead singer Hadley told reporters.

"We're embarking on a British tour in October and then on to the rest of the world and we're all very excited. We've had a rehearsal which sounded a million dollars."

The band, which promoters say has sold 25 million records, made the announcement on board HMS Belfast, a British naval ship moored as a museum on the River Thames in London.

The ship was the scene of an early Spandau gig in 1980 where hundreds of fans tried to clamber aboard.

Hadley said the eight-date tour would kick off in Dublin on October 13 and end in Manchester on October 28.

BITTER FEUD

In 1999, London's High Court rejected a claim by Hadley, drummer Keeble and sax player Norman to hundreds of thousands of dollars in royalties from Gary Kemp for songs he had written.

"Initially I just wanted to be able to speak to my old friends again, because we had so many great experiences together," Gary Kemp told the BBC.

"Gradually that started to happen and then it was, you know, may be we should play some music and a few weeks ago we did and it was amazing."

Kemp added that the reunion could go beyond the tour.

"This will take quite a few months and then I'm sure we'll want to make some new music at some stage."

Since the court case, the Kemp brothers enjoyed success as actors, appearing in the 1990 British gangster film "The Krays," and Martin went on to star in hit soap opera EastEnders.

The band will be hoping to replicate the success of other reformed or reborn acts in recent years.

Take That, a former boy band which lost its biggest star in Robbie Williams, has had sellout concerts and chart-topping singles and albums since reforming.

The Police embarked on a world tour in 2007 and 2008 that grossed more than $350 million.

And "King of pop" Michael Jackson sold out a run of 50 concerts in London starting in July, and has discussed a three-and-a-half-year plan which promoters say could be worth up to $400 million to the singer.

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