Adam Ant is the stage name of Stuart Leslie Goddard (born November 3, 1954, London, England), lead singer of 1980s pop group Adam and the Ants and also a solo artist. His name allegedly comes from the 1960s BBC television series Adam Adamant Lives! .
Ant's early career was as part of the punk rock movement, firstly as one of the "Art School Punk" contingent who followed the original punk groups, and can be seen in the audience in film of early Sex Pistols gigs. His first band was Bazooka Joe, which got big enough for the Sex Pistols to open for them. He acted in Derek Jarman's 1978 "punk" film Jubilee. His debut as a recording artist was the song "Deutscher Girls", which featured on the film's soundtrack LP, and which was re-released as a single in 1981, after the Ants had achieved mainstream chart success.
In 1979, having released the album Dirk Wears White Sox and gained an enthusiastic fanbase, Ant recruited former Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren, whose main influence was to persuade the three other band members to leave and join his other band Bow Wow Wow.
In early 1980 Adam Ant recruited old friend Marco Pirroni to reform the lineup, sound and image of the band with the new band featuring two drummers and dressed as pirates. This new look was used to market the album Kings of the Wild Frontier, and several singles charted. Accordingly, the group began to acquire a large mainstream fanbase.
The high point of Ant's career came in the period 1980-1983. Firstly with Adam and the Ants, he had several chart-topping hits, including "Stand and Deliver," "Ant Music", "Dog Eat Dog", "Prince Charming" and "AntRap". Ant Music was only kept away from the Number 1 spot by John Lennon's "Imagine", re-released after his murder. Both Stand and Deliver and Prince Charming went to Number 1 in the UK with AntRap making it to Number 3. For more details see: http://www.onmc.iinet.net.au/top/1981.htm
Ant seized the opportunities provided by music videos on the new MTV channel to develop a theatrical, charismatic onscreen persona. With romantic costumes and heavy make-up, he was an early example of the New Romantic movement, with contemporaries such as Duran Duran dressing similarly. Besides, Adam made his reputation by changing his image for every new single. The main changeover was from the "dandy highwayman" to the pseudo-aristocratic look of "Prince Charming" with the characteristic white face-stripe being replaced by two vertical strips of red and a strip of white sandwiched in between.
The Ants split up in late 1981. Newspaper articles of the time offered various explanations for the motivations behind the split. Initially Adam was quoted as saying that the split was amicable but later he was to say that "the interest just wasn't there anymore. It might have been Adam and the Ants on the billboards but not on stage". In addition, it is said that Marco Pirroni quit as he was tired of touring.
After the split, Ant went solo, taking his songwriting partner Pirroni with him. His greatest chart success was 1982's Friend or Foe album, which included the hit single "Goody Two Shoes" which made it to Number 1 in the UK. Other early-80s hits were "Desperate But Not Serious" and "Hello, I Love You". Later in the 1980s, Ant worked with Phil Collins (on the Strip album) and veteran Tony Visconti (Vive Le Rock), achieving varying degrees of chart success. Interestingly, the video of the song "Strip" was banned by the BBC. One cannot help wondering whether Adam was hoping to have a repeat of the success enjoyed by Frankie Goes to Hollywood after their "Relax" and "Two Tribes" videos were also similiarly banned by the BBC, no doubt helping both singles along to becoming roaring chart hits. In 1985, he still had enough appeal to secure a spot at the Live Aid concert, but rather than perform a crowd-pleasing set of old hits - as Queen did to revive their career - he presented songs from the latest album. His sales continued to decline.
As the 80s wore on, Ant's attention turned toward acting, especially TV and movie roles. He spent three months in England on stage starring in Joe Orton's Entertaining Mr. Sloane. He also appeared on American television shows, notably The Equalizer and began taking roles in films such as Nomads and Slamdance. He moved to Hollywood and appeared in a range of largely unsuccesful productions.
In 1990, whilst maintaining an interest in acting, Ant returned to London and re-entered the pop music world with the album Manners and Physique, a collaboration with Andre Cymone, a solo artist and an early member of Prince's band. The album was another moderate success, and featured the hit single "Room at the Top". In 1993, he toured in support of a planned album called Persuasion. For reasons unknown, however, the album remains unreleased.
Ant returned to Los Angeles where he had a relationship with actress Heather Graham. He also acquired a stalker, which placed him under great stress. As Graham became more successful, the relationship faltered.
In 1995, he released another new album, Wonderful. The title track was a successful single, as was a tour of the U.S. in support of the album. While Ant and his group (which retained longtime guitarist Pirroni) played in smaller venues than they had played in the 1980s, the houses were often packed with enthusiastic fans. The tour was curtailed, however, when Ant and Pirroni both contracted a respiratory illness.
A new generation of Ant-influenced artists covered Adam and the Ants' hits during the 90s, including Elastica, Sugar Ray, Trent Reznor, and Robbie Williams.
Antbox, a retrospective box set spanning Ant's career from the late 1970s through the 1990s, was released in late 2001. The box set included 66 tracks on three CDs, and quickly sold the initial 10,000 units. Ant was poised to join an 80s-focused tribute tour in early 2002, but was unable to do so after he was charged with threatening members of the public with an imitation firearm in a London pub . The court also ordered that he undertake rehabilitation, although he was later diagnosed with bipolar disorder (manic depression).
Since the 2002 incident, Ant has occasionally been featured in news stories surrounding potential projects and his medical condition. A television special entitled The Madness of Prince Charming was aired in the UK in 2003 documenting his career and his struggle with mental illness.
In 2004 and 2005, six "remastered" compact discs were released, spanning the years 1979 through 1985. The CDs featured previously unavailable songs, including demos and material culled from the "Ant vault." The project was greatly overseen by Marco Pirroni, and includes a written message from Ant himself, circa 2005.