#38: The Globe by Big Audio Dynamite
Michael Geoffrey Jones was born in London, UK, in 1955. Jones’ maternal grandmother Stella was born in 1899 to Jewish parents in Russia and escaped the Russian pogroms by migrating to the United Kingdom. Growing up, Jones learned to play guitar and in the early 70s was in a glam rock band called The Delinquents. He moved on to The London SS. When that band broke up, in 1976 Jones became an original bandmate with The Clash. In 1983 Jones was expelled from The Clash. Late that year he formed General Public which released a debut album, All the Rage in January 1984. Jones left the band and later that year formed Big Audio Dynamite as lead guitarist.
Don Letts was born in London in 1956. After high school he became a DJ and film director and manager of the punk band the Slits. In 1978 he released the documentary The Punk Rock Movie. He filmed the music videos for a series of Clash singles including “White Riot”, “London Calling”, “Tommy Gun”, “Bankrobber”, “Rock The Casbah”, and “Should I Stay Or Should I Go”. Letts also filmed music videos for The Pretenders (“Back On The Chain Gang”), Elvis Costello and the Attractions (“Everyday I Write The Book”), Bob Marley (“One Love”), The Wailers (“Get Up, Stand Up”), Eddy Grant, the Psychedelic Furs and others. Letts contributed sampling and vocals to Big Audio Dynamite.
Original keyboard player with Big Audio Dynamite was Dan Donovan. And Londoner, Greg Roberts (born 1956) provided drums and vocals for the original lineup. The debut album for the band in 1985 was This Is Big Audio Dynamite. A 1986 single from the album, “E=MC2″, climbed to #11 in both Ireland and the UK. In 1988, “Just Play Music” climbed to #1 on the Billboard Alternative Airplay chart. In 1989, “James Brown” peaked at #2 on the Alternative Airplay chart in the USA.
In 1990 the band reformed with only Mick Jones remaining. Joining the band were guitarist Nick Hawkins (born 1965) from Luton, England; Bass guitarist Gary Stonadge (born 1962), and former Sigue Sigue Sputnik drummer, Chris Kavanagh.
In 1991 the single “Rush” peaked at #1 on both the Australian and New Zealand singles charts. It became a Top Ten hit in Hamilton (ON). It was the debut single from The Globe. Their next single release was “The Globe”.
Mick Jones and Gary Stonadge co-wrote “The Globe”. In “The Globe” the singer is concerned about the world we live on as it spins on its axis. There is a “global warning” about the way things are. The singer asks “Where is the failure? Not in this land…you know it’s bad…” In troubled times, better go party down at The Globe where you can dance under the strobe lights. “It’s 1AM, let’s go out to a rave,” encourages the singer. So, no matter how dire the news of the day may be, shake it off and boogie down at the club.
“The Globe” peaked at #1 in Vancouver (BC), #8 in Sacramento (CA) and #12 in Tempe (AZ). Internationally, the single peaked at #8 on the Australian singles chart. The single stalled at #72 on the Billboard Hot 100.
After The Globe Big Audio Dynamite struggled to find commercial success, though they continued to record. The band went through several lineup changes and split in 1999. In 2011 the original lineup had a reunion.
April 12, 2023
Kris Needs, “Big Audio Dynamite II: Class Of ’92,” Loudersound.com, June 19, 2013.
“Mick Jones: ‘Spaghetti House was the place to go when we were writing in Joe Strummer’s squat’,” Guardian, August 21, 2016.
“Vancouver’s Official Top 40,” CKLG 730 AM, Vancouver, BC, April 6, 1992.
For more song reviews visit the Countdown