He was born Stuart Goddard, but '80s fans all over the world know him as Adam Ant: the nattily-dressed New Romantic with facepaint accenting those killer cheek bones and a treasure chest brimming with raucous pop-rock melodies. As the frontman of Adam and The Ants, he took his native England by storm in the early '80s before training his eye on America, breaking through with the help of some flashy videos on the fledgling MTV.
In the 2010s, the clarion call of Antmusic grew louder and louder with the release of a studio album in 2013 - his first in nearly two decades - and a constant balance of touring that endears him to thousands of fans young and old on both sides of the Atlantic. Today, we stand and deliver you 10 of Adam's biggest hits.
"Dog Eat Dog" (1980)
Adam Ant started the '80s in a tough spot: his debut album with Adam and The Ants, 1979's Dirk Wears White Sox, was only a modest success, and punk rock impresario Malcolm McLaren ended up stealing his backing band to form Bow Wow Wow. Undeterred, he started a new version of the band with guitarist Marco Pirroni and an ensemble that included two drummers inspired by the percussionists of the African republic of Burundi. This rhythmic onslaught, combined with a memorable performance on England's Top of the Pops, earned Adam and The Ants a Top 10 hit.
The secret to The Ants' early success was treating their fans like a secret club - people whose support was recognized and celebrated. Thus, their second single, an open celebration of the Ants ethos, outpaced its predecessor, climbing to No. 2 in England. (It was held off by John Lennon's "Imagine," reissued in the wake of his murder.)
"Kings of the Wild Frontier" (1980)
As Antmusic burned even brighter in England, it took the title track of The Ants' 1980 sophomore album up the charts to No. 2 after initially missing the Top 40 on its first run. "We'd written the music as a soundtrack to the visuals – very Eighties," guitarist Pirroni recalled to Mojo in 2007. "I was trying to get everything I liked into that record. And it worked."
"Stand and Deliver" (1981)
With an updated look for 1981 - trading British military jackets for French-inspired highwaymen costumes - Adam and The Ants took no prisoners with "Stand and Deliver." The track debuted on top of the charts in England and became a cult hit elsewhere; Sugar Ray and No Doubt covered it in the ensuing decades.
"Prince Charming" (1981)
Driven by a woozy rhythm and a hypnotic acoustic riff, the title track to Adam and The Ants' third album Prince Charming followed "Stand and Deliver" to No. 1 in the U.K. charts. The lavish video, featuring Adam as a gender-swapped Cinderella of sorts, was a favorite on early music video programs.
"Ant Rap" (1981)
Deemed "the weirdest of the weird" British pop hits by The Guardian in 2007, "Ant Rap" (a No. 3 U.K. hit) is notable for being an early, prototypical example of hip-hop making its way into the local charts.
"Goody Two Shoes" (1982)
Adam suddenly split up The Ants in the spring of 1982; from now on he would march solo, retaining Marco Pirroni as his songwriting partner. "Goody Two Shoes" was the lead single from his first proper solo album Friend or Foe and not only became another U.K. No. 1, but gave Adam his first hit in America as well.
"Puss 'N Boots" (1983)
For his next solo act, 1983's Strip, Adam fused his distinctive rock sound to a more pop-leaning framework. Phil Collins even got involved, lending his distinctive drums to "Puss 'N Boots" and the title track - and Adam got another U.K. Top 10 for his trouble.
"Apollo 9" (1985)
1985's Vive Le Rock was marked by a lot of hardship for Adam: his set at Live Aid was cut down to one song when acts started running over their allotted time, and poor promotion meant this was his first album in years to not have a Top 10 single. But the space-age aesthetic of "Apollo 9" and bright production by David Bowie collaborator Tony Visconti deserves a second look.
"Room At the Top" (1990)
After taking several years off from recording to get into acting, Adam returned to the scene in 1990 with Manners and Physique, co-produced by Minneapolis bassist André Cymone (Prince's childhood friend and first band member). The stomping dance-pop of "Room At the Top" brought Ant back to the Top 20 around the world, setting the scene for a new chapter of his ongoing musical career.