Gang of Four, are an English post-punk group from Leeds. Original personnel were singer Jon King, guitarist Andy Gill, bass guitarist Dave Allen and drummer Hugo Burnham. They were fully active from 1977 to 1984, and then re-emerged twice in the 1990s with King and Gill. In 2004, the original line-up reunited but in 2006 Allen was replaced on bass by Thomas Mcneice and later Burnham on drums by Mark Heaney.
They play a stripped-down mix of punk rock, with strong elements of funk music, minimalism and dub reggae and an emphasis on the social and political ills in society. Gang of Four are widely considered as one of the leading bands of the late 1970s/early 1980s post-punk movement. Their later albums (Songs of the Free and Hard) found them softening some of their more jarring qualities, and drifting towards dance-punk and disco. Their debut album, Entertainment!, ranked at #490 in Rolling Stone's The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. David Fricke in Rolling Stone said "Gang of Four are probably the best politically motivated dance band in rock & roll."
Gill and King, the creative forces in the band, brought together an eclectic array of influences, ranging from the neo-Marxist Frankfurt School of social criticism to the increasingly clear trans-Atlantic punk consensus. Gang of Four was named by a member of the Mekons when while driving around with Gill and King he came upon a newspaper article on the intra-Party coup against China's "Gang of Four".
According to critic Paul Morley, "The Gang spliced the ferocious precision of Dr. Feelgood's working-class blues with the testing avant-garde intrigue of Henry Cow. Wilfully avoiding structural obviousness, melodic prettiness and harmonic corniness, the Gang's music was studded with awkward holes and sharp corners." At the time, the band was recognised as doing something very different to other white guitar acts. Ken Tucker, in Rolling Stone, 1980, wrote: "...rarely have the radical edges of black and white music come closer to overlapping... the Gang of Four utilize their bass guitar every bit as prominently and starkly as the curt bass figures that prod the spoken verses in [Kurtis Blow's "culture defining" huge summer hit] “The Breaks.”
Hope you enjoyed my little wander into "politically positioned post punkism"