Strings on ABC’s new single are arranged by Anne Dudley (credited correctly on paper-label copies of Ocean Blue, but misspelled ‘Ann’ on the awful injection-moulded version). It’s not her first work with the group: she was brought in to work on their debut album, 1982’s The Lexicon of Love, by producer Trevor Horn, with whom she would continue to collaborate on works by other Smash Hits covers stars such as Malcolm McLaren and Frankie Goes To Hollywood. It was her membership of another Horn project that would bring her the most attention in the mid-80s: the ambient synth group The Art of Noise produced several memorable hits, beginning with the innovatively produced Close (to the Edit) on ZTT (the label Horn founded with band mate Paul Morley). The group’s original line-up would not last long though. An acrimonious split occurred in 1985 when Dudley and two other members left, taking the name The Art of Noise to another label and continuing without Horn and Morley. Their time on China saw them collaborate with an eclectic selection of musicians such as Welsh singer Tom Jones and American guitarist Duane Eddy, record the theme to the 1987 movie Dragnet, and regularly visit the UK Top 40.
While retaining her membership of The Art of Noise, throughout the second half of the 80s she was much in demand as an arranger; her name cropped up regularly in connection with artists as diverse as Liza Minnelli, Paul McCartney and Lloyd Cole and the Commotions. She conducted a full orchestra on Getting Away With It by Electronic, which featured members of Pet Shop Boys, New Order and The Smiths. But it was her work as a writer of film and television scores that would give her the most plaudits. In particular, she wrote, performed and produced material included in the soundtrack to the movie Buster, which at the end of the decade would win a Brit Award for Best Soundtrack/Cast Recording.
She would have another win at the Brits (and the Oscar for Best Original Music Score, Musical or Comedy) for producing, orchestrating and conducting the score to The Full Monty (1997-8). Her writing has also included composing operas and a piece for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012. Throughout this period though she remained active in pop music and does so to the present day, with numerous credits as writer, producer or session musician.
NEW SINGLES on sale from Jan. 3
CHINA CRISIS Wishful Thinking (Virgin VS647)
ABC Ocean Blue (Neutron NT110)
Holly JOHNSON Love Train (MCA MCA1306)