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Reunited Gang of Four Brings the Punk

Founded in 1977 and disbanded in 1984, Gang of Four is back together for a new album.
Founded in 1977 and disbanded in 1984, Gang of Four is back together for a new album.

Gang of Four released some of the key albums of the English post-punk era. Their forthcoming album, Whitey's Gift, features the original lineup back together again, with 14 new versions of their classic songs.

Before they became heroes to generations of music fans, Gang of Four formed in Leeds in 1977 -- one year after its namesake, the doomed Communist faction that included the widow of Chairman Mao, was accused of plotting a coup in China.

The band's 1979 debut, Entertainment!, became a sensation -- and a seminal record that aspiring musicians still often cite as an influence or inspiration. Guitarist Andy Gill, bassist Dave Allen and drummer Hugo Burnham gave structure and energy to Jon King's frenetic vocal style.

Since the foursome disbanded in 1984, only King and Gill have played together, on short-lived reunion projects in the 1990s. But now the whole unit has reformed and embarked on a tour that includes the Coachella festival. And for good measure, Entertainment! has been released anew.

And while Gang of Four has its political bent, the band's themes have remained as personal as ever -- two of the group's best-known songs are "At Home He's a Tourist" and "Anthrax." The latter, it should be noted, references the disease to make a point not about revolution, but about love.

Copyright 2005 XPN

David Dye is a longtime Philadelphia radio personality whose music enthusiasm has captivated listeners of World Cafe® since 1991. World Cafe is produced by WXPN, the public radio service of the University of Pennsylvania.