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Big Audio Dynamite

Big Audio Dynamite (later known as Big Audio Dynamite II and Big Audio, and often abbreviated BAD) were a British musical group formed in 1984 by the ex-guitarist and singer of The Clash, Mick Jones. The group were noted for their effective mixture of varied musical styles, incorporating elements of punk rock, dance music, hip-hop, reggae, and funk. BAD's one constant throughout frequent shifts in membership and musical direction was the vocals provided by Mick Jones.

Big Audio Dynamite (1984 - 1990)


The group's initial incarnation, founded by Jones and film director Letts (maker of The Punk Rock Movie, various Clash music videos, and later the Clash documentary Westway to the World), debuted with the 1985 release This Is Big Audio Dynamite. The album's cover shows the group as a four-piece (minus Donovan); the full group is pictured on the back cover.

1986's No. 10, Upping St. reunited Jones for one album with former Clash band-mate Joe Strummer, who was a co-producer of the album and co-writer of a number of its songs. BAD supported U2 on their 1987 world tour, then released 1988's Tighten Up, Vol. '88 and 1989's Megatop Phoenix. Tighten Up, Vol. '88 contained "Just Play Music!", which was the second #1 single on Billboard's Modern Rock Tracks.

In 1990, the original lineup wrote and recorded the song "Free" for the soundtrack to the movie Flashback. This would be the final song written with the original lineup, as the band would dissolve shortly after. Later in 1990, Mick Jones would debut Big Audio Dynamite II and release the UK only album 'Kool-Aid'. Dan Donovan would remain in BAD II for one song, a re-working of the final BAD track "Free" renamed "Kickin' In".

Big Audio Dynamite II (1991-1993)


For 1991's The Globe, only Jones remained from BAD, and the band was now called Big Audio Dynamite II. This new line-up, featuring two guitarists, was more "Clash-like" and, possibly as a result, often played more alternative rock-influenced music. The Globe featured the band's most commercially successful single, "Rush" which hit #1 on the US modern rock charts. "Innocent Child" and "The Globe" were also released as singles. BAD supported U2 on their ZooTV tour and released the live ep "On The Road Live '92".

Big Audio (1994)


  • Mick Jones - guitar & vocals
  • Nick Hawkins - guitar & background vocals
  • Gary Stonadge - bass & background vocals
  • Chris Kavanagh - drums & background vocals
  • Andre Shapps - keyboards
  • Michael 'Zonka' Custance - DJ, percussion & background vocals

The band later recruited keyboardist Andre Shapps (co-producer of The Globe) and Michael "DJ Zonka" Custance as DJ and vocalist. Both appeared on the band's 1994 album Higher Power, which was released under the shortened name "Big Audio,". The album wasn't as well-received as The Globe or previous BAD albums.

After signing with Gary Kurfirst's Radioactive Records in 1995, the band released their least successful album, F-Punk to date, which (despite the same personnel as Higher Power) was credited to Big Audio Dynamite.



Radioactive Records refused to release the next proposed BAD album, Entering a New Ride. The line-up contained vocalist Ranking Roger (The Beat, General Public). In 1998, the band launched a new web site, primarily as a means to distribute songs from the Entering a New Ride album.

As of 2005, Jones is working on a project with Tony James (ex-member of Generation X and Sigue Sigue Sputnik) called Carbon/Silicon.

In early 2007, a BAD II live dvd was released.



Year Album UK U.S. Additional information
1985 This is Big Audio Dynamite 27 103 as "Big Audio Dynamite"
1986 No. 10, Upping St. 11 135 as "Big Audio Dynamite"
1988 Tighten Up, Vol. 88 33 102 as "Big Audio Dynamite"
1989 Megatop Phoenix 26 85 as "Big Audio Dynamite"
1990 Kool-Aid 55 - as "Big Audio Dynamite II", Limited Release
1991 The Globe 61 76 as "Big Audio Dynamite II", Gold Certified
1994 Higher Power - - as "Big Audio"
1995 F-Punk - - as "Big Audio Dynamite"
1997 Entering a New Ride - - released on the Internet

Other albums

Year Album UK U.S. Additional information
1990 Flashback soundtrack 98 86 as "Big Audio Dynamite"
1991 Ally Pally Paradiso - - The "Live Official Bootleg", as "Big Audio Dynamite II"
1992 On The Road Live '92 - - A live 5-track EP released during their 1992 US tour.
1993 The Lost Treasures of Big Audio Dynamite I & II - - double album compilation of rare 12" cuts and b-sides
1995 Planet B.A.D. - - general "best of" compilation for all B.A.D. variants
1999 Super Hits - - general "best of" compilation for all B.A.D. variants

Chart singles

Year Song UK U.S. U.S. rock U.S. dance Album
1986 "The Bottom Line" 97 - - 33 This Is Big Audio Dynamite
"E=MC²" 11 - - 37
"Medicine Show" 29 - - 42
"C'Mon Every Beatbox" 51 - - 19 No 10, Upping Street
1987 "V Thirteen" 49 - - 15
"Sightsee MC" 94 - - -
1988 "Just Play Music!" 51 - 1 45 Tighten Up, Vol. 88
"Other 99" 81 - 13 -
1989 "James Brown" - - 2 19 Megatop Phoenix
"Contact" 86 - 6 18
1990 "Free" - - 22 47 Flashback soundtrack
1991 "Rush" - 32 1 36 The Globe
"The Globe" - 72 3 28
1994 "Looking For a Song" 68 - 24 - Higher Power

Other information

  • 'E=MC2' features samples from the 1970 gangster film Performance starring James Fox and Mick Jagger
  • 'E=MC2' has been covered live by the band Hard-Fi. On 18 May 2006 they were joined onstage by Mick Jones one song into their three song encore for their final performance of 'E=MC2'.
  • Mick Jones was noted for playing a high-tech British-made guitar called the Bond Electraglide with BAD. It's worn by Mick Jones on the cover of No. 10 Upping St.
  • During the 1980s, "The Bottom Line" was used as the music for the opening credits to "Sports Sunday", a weekly sports magazine TV show shown on the Nine Network, an Australian television station.

See also

External links

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