502. ‘Goody Two Shoes’, by Adam Ant

In which Adam breaks away from the Ants, and goes solo with a chilled-out, lo-fi, slow-burn debut…

Goody Two Shoes, by Adam Ant (his 1st and only solo #1)

2 weeks, 6th – 20th June 1982

Or not. ‘Goody Two Shoes’ is even more frenetic than either of his band’s chart-toppers. It’s a bit of throwback – twanging rockabilly mixed with a jiving big-band brass section – and it’s all kept galloping along by a relentlessly simple drum beat that Does. Not. Let. Up. Once.

Like ‘Prince Charming’ it is a repetitive song that you need to be in the mood for. Goody two goody two goody goody two shoes… I can see why this might get on some people’s nerves. But if you are in the mood for Adam’s hyperactive musical mind, then this is a great pop single, and the perfect song on which to launch a solo career. We don’t follow fashion, That would be a joke…

People repeat to Adam (in the video it’s a crowd of journalists) the song’s iconic hook: Don’t drink, Don’t smoke, What do you do…? He doesn’t give the press what they want! He doesn’t conform! Is he up to something…!? This might be the first chart-topping example of a ‘haters gonna hate’ hit, the art form so beloved of Taylor Swift. No-one’s gonna tell me, Who to eat with, Sleep with…

What does he do, then? In the lyrics, the answer is an ambiguous: Must be something inside… In the video it’s a little less subtle: he takes the sexiest journalist to bed and shows her just what he does do. Phwoar! It is a bit repetitive, but it’s short, and pacy, and doesn’t outstay its welcome. Of Ant’s three number ones in just over a year, I’d sandwich this nearer to ‘Stand and Deliver!’ (the best) than ‘Prince Charming’ (the worst).

For this record he kept a guitarist and the drummer from his earlier band, letting the other members go due to a ‘lack of enthusiasm’. Sadly this didn’t launch Adam Ant to a long-lasting solo career. He’d have two more Top 10s and two more albums before moving into acting later in the decade (shout out here for my favourite of his solo singles, the characteristically bonkers ‘Apollo 9’). There have been a few comeback albums, alongside some mental health issues. He still writes and performs, and has a tour ready to go when covid allows.

I may not have truly loved any of his chart-toppers, but I am glad that Adam Ant has had his moment at the top of the UK charts. A year in which he was undeniably the biggest pop star in the country. He’s a true British eccentric, always interesting, with a great sense for the theatricality of pop. Line this up alongside the preceding #1, Madness’s ‘House of Fun’, and it has made for a technicoloured, hyperactive double at the top of the charts.

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17 thoughts on “502. ‘Goody Two Shoes’, by Adam Ant

  1. This is a goodie, literally. Adam still at his peak but about to go into sudden decline. Maybe the biz success was too exhausting for him. A few years back i did an online poll between adam and abc, expecting abc to have weathered better amongst older and younger music fans, but in fact Adam seems have retained affection among those who were young then and appeals more to some younger music fans. Me, i think The Lexicon Of Love album is Trevor Horn perfection and they put on a way better live show, and ABC’s very delayed follow up Lexicon Of Love II in the 2010s is as good as most of the best of their back catalogue. Just goes to show some people still like fun 80s rockpop music over slick 80s soulpop…

    • Personally, I do like the ’81-’82 mini-glam revival that gave us Adam Ant, and Shaky, and maybe Bucks Fizz. There’s still a roughness to it, before tastes, or production techniques, changed and everything went very slick. When I look ahead to the mid-eighties, I think I might get a bit bored. I’m willing to be proven wrong, though!

      • Well there are 4 80s chart toppers that are pop perfection from the mid 80s to late 80s. No clues but in an online poll of best 80s number one 3 by this act were in the top 10 and the other just missed. People voting were 20 through 64, and they rightly came out top amongst all age groups really. No pressure hah! 🙂 of course i may be biased cos i rate them 3rd behind beatles and abba in the pop perfection ratings…:)

      • (Sorry, pressed send way to early…) And I have to admit of their 4 #1s, the one I don’t like thaaaat much is the one everyone loves, the watershed moment, the one the Guardian recently named ‘greatest number one single of all time’… So sue me. Who knows, maybe it’ll finally click?

      • Well, its a sin if you dont “heart” songs which are always on my mind – but hey throbbing basslines arent for everyone and which do you choose the hard or soft option…:)

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  3. This is the first one I remember being big over here on MTV. I didn’t hear him much on rock radio at that time. He always reminded me of what a male stripper would dress like lol.
    His songs were likeable and big huge productions…of course it went with the times.

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