Prince Charming

Adam And The Ants

EMI, 1981

REVIEW BY: Phil Jones


You always want to be able to look back at your teen years and be able to reminisce about how cool you were (especially when you have reached 40!!). Now, one of these rights of passage is the first records you bought with your own money – not the dreadful disc that your Aunt had bought you for Christmas. My first 45, Golden Brown by The Stranglers, fits the bill. However much I would like to claim that my first LP was The Clash, Buzzcocks or U2 (and thankfully it was not Duran Duran or Phil Collins), in reality, it was Adam & The Ants’ Prince Charming.

It was a nervous moment when I recently replaced the long-gone vinyl copy with a CD, but thankfully it was a pleasant surprise when played. There is a great argument that the early ‘80s was the last golden age of pop music before the soulless manufactured acts from Stock Aitken & Waterman and X Factor, and Adam & The Ants proves the point. Can you imagine the pitch in the EMI offices – “I’ve found this group who dress like a cross between 18my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 th century dandies, highwaymen, and pirates, and sings about pantomime characters, sex, and red Indians; right, let’s offer them a big record deal!” But luckily, that is what happened and Prince Charming finds the group at the height of their success.

The first thing to note is this album, compared to most pop albums, is not hit singles surrounded by filler; every tune has its merits. However, let’s start with the songs that everybody knows: the title track is a monster with the opening “Ehaw Ahaw” and the drumming kicking in (which was always a feature of the Ants’ work), and I defy anybody not to be doing the dance, crossing your arms above your head. Alongside this is “Stand And Deliver,” where Adam establishes his highwayman character.

The final single from the disc, while flawed, shows the group’s desire to try something new: “Ant Rap.” Adam’s MC skills certainly aren’t going to challenge Chuck D, but I couldn’t help but join in with the chorus: “I Got Marco, Merrick, Terry Lee, Gary Tibbs and yours truly in the naughty North and in the sexy South / We’re all singing I have the mouth.”

Meanwhile, “Scorpios” or “Picasso Vista El Planta De Los Simios” both could easily have been substituted in to replace any of the three singles with the potential to be just as successful.

Adam manages to slip “Mile High Club” and “S.E.X.” through, both of which are clear in their subject matter and again shows the license that ‘80s pop stars were allowed.

The other track that stands out is “Five Guns West,” which is all about the famous female pirates Mary Read & Ann Bonny and dangerous women which contains the line “I’m a big tough man with a big tough plan / Gonna take a whirl with a big tough gal.”

While the extra tracks, which are all demos for the album, don’t particularly added anything to the record, they do prove in this age of the plastic popstar controlled by the Simon Cowell’s of this world, that Adam & the Ants was a genuine band who could play their instruments and write their own songs.

Rating: A

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© 2010 Phil Jones and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of EMI, and is used for informational purposes only.