ABC's(80's Band) Bass Player

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by Halftooth, Jul 4, 2004.

  1. Does anyone know the name of the bass player in the band ABC? I was just listening to some 80's jams this weekend and came across some ABC tracks that blew me away. That guy can play, and on a fretless too! Anyway, I'd like to know more about this guy because he can flat out play. Is he in any other bands?
  2. David Wilson

    David Wilson Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    Mark Lickley. I love his playing on the Lexicon Of Love stuff. Don't know about anything else he did.
    tindrum likes this.
  3. Thanks for the info. After conducting a bit of a search, I found out that the band hired two members for the "How to be a Zillionaire" album purley for visual effects. The two members could not play at all, and one of them was impersonating the bass player, Mark Lickley who did all the playing on that album.

    At any rate, Mark Lickley seems to be a very underated bass player. I really haven't heard much about him, but he seems every bit as talented as Mark King.
  4. TRU


    Apr 12, 2002
    Northern Europe
    Funny. I've been listening Lexicon of love a lot lately. I almost posted a thread about it!

    The beginning of 'Show me' is just phenomenal, sliding harmonics on fretless, etc. This is one of the best albums of 80's, at least bass-wise.
    Iofflight and Greener like this.
  5. I've been listening to some songs off that album as well, and it's absolutley some of the best "80's" playing that I have heard as well.
  6. bbass408


    Mar 15, 2012
    Lest we not forget "Date Stamp" and "4 Ever 2 Gether..."

    When I was learning bass in the early 80's I was just getting into Jaco (a referenced Lickey influence) while playing "The Number of the Beast" in my metal band (Sheehan is another referenced influence) when my bass teacher told me to buy and listen to Lexicon of Love. It's been top 5 ever since and what I reach for first when I want to hear great bass lines with just the right amount of slap.

    Anyway, it seems Mark Lickley now has band called "Rehab" where he's the bass player and vocalist:
    REHAB - Meet The Band - Mark Lickley
    It's different from ABC and he doesn't mention ABC in his bio, just "well known on the Sheffield music scene..." which he was indeed.
  7. fingers25


    Aug 21, 2016
    Mark Lickley did play some of the tracks on the album, but so did a excellent session musician called Brad Lang one of whose major strengths was / is fretless bass.

    Checking Wikipedia gives credits for Mark Lickley for the following tracks,
    "Tears Are Not Enough", "Poison Arrow" and "The Look of Love". The rest sound like Brad Lang's playing...he also worked on some of the follow up albums including "How to Be a ... Zillionaire!" and "Alphabet City".
  8. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    ...there's a nice ABC '80s live show on Concert Vault (Wolfgang's Concert Vault) for members.
    Great sound & mix; bass is very prominent, too.

    ABC concert
  9. alack


    Nov 20, 2000
    Oh man! I need to go back and listen to "Lexicon of Love." Its been too long. But I may be one of the few who prefers "Beauty Stab." Andy Newmark and Alan Spenner are an amazing rhythm section and Spenner's P tone is killer!
  10. Love "Lexicon Of Love". When I started playing bass, I thought I could never ever play as fast as Mark Lickley on "Poison Arrow". I started as a punk just like them and for me in 1981, ABC was still punk. As Anti-Hippie and Anti-Rockist as it goes:)

    BTW as much as I love the track and the album: only years later it occured to me that the bass line to "Poison Arrow" is inspired as much as it gets by "Le Freak" from Chic. Even the fills. But still great on its own.
    On the other hand - as much as I am a huge Bernard Edwards/Nile Rodgers fan and as much as I love many of their songs and compositions: Poison Arrow is the better song. Le Freak is huge for bass players, esp. the mid-section. But as a song? Even Nile Rodgers wrote in his biography that as a song it is not among their masterpieces.
    murphy and tindrum like this.
  11. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    ...there's some ABC vids on YT. Nick Beggs on bass.
    JimmyM, murphy and tindrum like this.
  12. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    ABC is well-arranged, well-produced, choreographed to the max, etc. Image mattered.
    All anathema to the Punk movement.
  13. For me and some others, this was punk to the max. Not just Hippies or Rockists with short hair. Pop-Hedonism.
    BTW Adi Newton and Martin Fry were playing together Pre-Clock DVA and ABC.
    dutchwife likes this.
  14. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    ...and many a Yuppie.

    First time I heard Duran was "Girls On Film". My initial thoughts: "Wow, 'Discofied' bass with a Rock guitar".
    Then I read John Taylor is a big Bernard Edwards' fan. Makes sense.

    The earliest Police stuff had some punk attitude.
    Iofflight and DirkP like this.
  15. Baysman68


    Dec 5, 2009
    Mark Lickley is a wonderful player. What an era for bass (1979-1984) was. The UK was a frontrunner.....and for us here in Australia, it was like a kid in a lolly shop !

    Mick Karn
    Pino Palladino
    Tony Levin
    Nick Beggs
    Robert Bell (The Blue Nile)
    Matthew Seligman
    Paul Webb (Talk Talk)
    Derek Forbes
    Tony Butler
    Curt Smith
    Simon Raymonde
    Graham Maby
    Ewen Vernal

    etc etc etc......
    Bob_Ross likes this.
  16. tvbop


    Mar 11, 2021
    Not to mention Julian Crampton of Heaven 17...similiar band, and similiar extraordinary bass playing.
  17. dalkowski

    dalkowski Supporting Member

    May 20, 2009
    Massachusetts USofA
    Ya Seligman!

    An all-star lineup, for sure. There was something tasty in the UK water back then.
  18. Bob_Ross

    Bob_Ross Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 29, 2012
    I always get ABC confused with Scritti Politti
  19. bolophonic


    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    On the punk scale, I would place ABC on the same level as Wham! or Bruce Hornsby.
  20. The more intellectual punks saw the hedonistic pop of ABC and to a lesser extent Haircut 100 and Spandau Ballet as a kind of very sophisticated affirmative strategy against the system - kind of a radicalized Warhol - after the attitude of punk kind of failed.
    Many recipients of punk in the US often misunderstood punk as rock music, just more aggressive. It was anti-rock music, at least the Sex Pistols.
    At the end of one of the vinyl sides of ABC's "Lexicon Of Love" there is a a message, wishing the guy who tried to assassinate Reagan "Better Luck Next Time". This is not like Wham!!!
    Have a look at the prehistory of ABC and the connection to Clock DVA:

    "ABC's immediate ancestors, the electronic combo, Vice Versa who lasted from 77 to '80 involved three future ABC members — Martin Fry, Mark White and Stephen Singleton one of the leading lights of Sheffield’s music scene of the late 70s.

    Perhaps the most surprising aspect of Vice Versa was that their sound had more in common with NYC’s SUICIDE and Hulls’ THROBBING GRISTLE than the classic synth-pop sound of Sheffield. Theirs was an aggressive and hypnotic pulsebeat augmented by backdrops of cinematic images.

    Sheffield-based Fry had previously edited the fanzine ‘Modern Drugs’ for which he had interviewed Mark and Stephen. He joined the group as keyboardist shortly after and the band embarked on a run of gigs that included a support slot with fellow steelmakers The Human League at Sheffield Uni under the banner ‘What no Drummers’.

    In their short career, Vice Versa founded their own independent label called Neutron Records on which they issued their first EP, ‘Music 4’, and the 1980 EP 'The First 15 Minutes', which featured four Sheffield bands then unsigned: Clock DVA, I'm So Hollow, The Stuntkites and of course, Vice Versa.

    Interestingly, Clock DVA’s Adolphus "Adi" Newton joined the band for one session – a session that so impressed Martin Fry that he considered joining Clock DVA (now there’s a thought)."
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2021
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