Year / Jahr              1983 

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"One of the most misunderstood albums of the eighties..."


"ABC have become U2 with a Nelson Riddle production. A sickeningly smug revelation of over-30's rock, glossed over with a thin veneer of big band sound." - Sounds


"Boy George has more soul in his little finger than Martin Fry's entire, awkward body." - Melody Maker


"Get off the picket line, boys, and get back to the boudoir or the ballroom." - NME


"Beauty Stab may be one of the few really excellent albums of '83, a year of great singles and lesser LPs. With seven sure kills out of eleven songs, this one could have a surprisingly long shelf life." - Musician


"After their very successful debut record The Lexicon of Love ABC decided to switch things up for their 1983 sophomore release. Where their first album had a more styled production, Beauty Stab leaned more towards a guitar-based sound. Did this change cost them? The album did not sell nearly as well and only reached number 12 on the UK album charts and number 69 in the US.The first single “That Was Then But This Is Now” opens the first side. In went up to number 18 on the UK singles chart; in the US it reached number 89 on the Billboard Hot 100. The catchy up-tempo track talks of leaving the past behind and of taking a new lease on life. I like the instrumental bridge between the last verse and the final rounds of the chorus.The stronger guitar emphasis is very evident on “Love’s a Dangerous Language”. For me, it almost has a bit of a Duran Duran feel to it. I like the jazzy bridge that starts with “the buckle is tied…”; it is like an oasis amidst the sea of rocking waves.“If I Ever Thought You’d Be Lonely” has a slower saunter that is supported by a strong synth line. It gives a great feeling of dread and finality. The symbolism in the lyrics presents an interesting view of a divorce.“The Power of Persuasion” uses what appear to be random phrases of gibberish to make a statement on advertising and its ability to convince people they need so many things to be happy.The le track “Beauty Stab” is next. This two minute instrumental track has a good beat to it that puts the spotlight on the band’s musical chops.“By Default by Design” slows things down a bit. The orchestration on this one is reminiscent of the first album and really showcases Martin Fry’s vocal skills at turning a phrase.The second side starts with the rocking “Hey Citizen!” The bridge has a nice stripped down guitar riff.“King Money” is a straight-forward statement about those who let the pursuit of wealth rule their lives. There is another amazing rapid-fire guitar hook at the 2:50 mark going into the bridge; it is very funky indeed.“Bite The Hand”, another hard rocker, speaks of working together for a better future by taking things into our own hands.The up-tempo “Unzip” is very ually charged with the music perfectly matching the words.The second and final single from the album was “S.O.S.” which went to number 39 on the UK charts but failed to pierce the US Billboard charts. This slow synth ballad allows Fry plenty of opportunity to croon, something he does so well. I love how the simplicity of the chorus works so well.The album closes with “United Kingdom”, a strong political statement regarding the British government and the monarchy at the time.Beauty Stab was released during the time when I was making a transition in my life, moving from being at the top of the heap in my high school graduating clin a small town to starting a new life as one of thousands of freshman at a large private university in a large city. I was already a content ABC fan with their first album so I really hadn’t made much effort to get the second one. I knew the singles from the radio and that sufficed me for a few years.Still, I am a fan of this record today and my appreciation for it grows with each listen on my iPod. While far from being my favorite record from ABC, I can see what directions they were trying to take and applaud them for going the more challenging route (as opposed to just putting out a carbon-copy of the successful The Lexicon of Love). [] 

Tracks / Titel   Minuten
01: "That Was Then But This Is Now"
02: "Love's A Dangerous Language" 03:39    
03: "If I Ever Thought You'd Be Lonely"
04: "The Power Of Persuasion"
05: "Beauty Stab"
06: "By Default By Design"
07: "Hey Citizen!"
08: "King Money"
09: "Bite The Hand"
10: "Unzip"
11: "S.O.S."
12: "United Kingdom"

Title/Titel Label Cat# Country/Land Year/Jahr
Beauty Stab (LP) Neutron NTRL2 UK 1983
Beauty Stab (LP) Phonogram 814661-1 UK 1983
Beauty Stab (Cass)

Neutron /




UK 1983
Beauty Stab (LP) Mercury 814661-1 GER/D 1983
Beauty Stab (CD) Mercury 814661-2 GER/D 1983
Beauty Stab (LP) Mercury 814661-1 NL 1983
Beauty Stab (LP) Mercury 814661-1 FRA 1983
Beauty Stab (LP) Mercury 814661-1 SPAIN 1983
Beauty Stab (LP) Mercury 814661-1 ITA 1983
Beauty Stab (LP) Mercury 814661-1 FIN 1983
Beauty Stab (LP) Mercury 814661-1 GR 1983
Beauty Stab (LP) Vertigo VOG-1-3332 CA 1983
Beauty Stab (LP) Mercury Phonokol NTRL 2 Israel 1983
Beauty Stab (Cass)

Vertigo /


814661-4 CA 1983
Beauty Stab (LP) Mercury 25PP-103 JAPAN 1983
Beauty Stab (LP) Mercury 814661-1 USA 1983
Beauty Stab (Cass) Mercury 814661-4 USA 1983
Beauty Stab (CD Re-Release) Mercury 536397-2 UK 1997
Beauty Stab (CD Re-Release) Mercury 983378-2 UK 2005
Credits Notes Information    

Arranged By [Strings] – ABC, David Bedford

Artwork By [Design] – ABC, Keith Breeden

Vocals – Martin Fry

Bass – Alan Spenner

Drums – Andy Newmark

Engineer – Bob Kraushaar, John Kurlander, Keith Nixon

Guitar, Piano, Synthesizer – Mark White

Oboe – David Theodore

Percussion – Luis Jardim

Photography – Gered Mankowitz

Producer – ABC, Gary Langan

Recorder – Adrian Brett

Saxophone [Alto] – Stephen Singleton

Saxophone [Tenor, Baritone] – Howie Casey



All songs written and arranged by Fry, Singleton, White