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Andy Bell is an English musician best known as the lead singer of the pop duo Erasure.
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English musician Andy Bell is best known as the lead singer of the British synthpop group Erasure, which also includes keyboardist Vince Clarke. Erasure has sold more than 25 million albums worldwide. Known for their up-tempo hits, the group enjoyed immense success in the United Kingdom, and produced three Top 20 U.S. hits, including "A Little Respect," "Chains of Love" and "Always." An openly gay man, Bell has garnered a large LGBT following. In 2004,
he publicly announced that he is HIV-positive.
Andy Bell was born Andrew Ivan Bell on April 25, 1964, in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, England. The first of six children, Bell's mother was only 17 years old when she gave birth to him; his father was 18. Bell developed a love for music at a young age, joining the school choir at the Dogsthorpe Infants and Junior School. He was a promiscuous child, he was always getting into trouble, but managed to spend a large amount of time listening to musical influences like Japan, the Tourists, Souixsie and the Banshees, Yazoo and Blondie.
As a young adult, Bell moved to London to pursue a career in music. After brief stints with The Void, Baume and Dinger, he began working with musician Vince Clarke. Together, they formed the English synthpop duo Erasure, with Clarke on the keyboard and Bell on lead vocals. They released their debut single, "Who Needs Love Like That," in 1985, along with their first album, Wonderland. Their fourth single, "Sometimes," became their first big hit, peaking at No. 2 on the U.K. charts, and at Top 5 on Billboard's "Hot Dance Music/Club Play" chart. The song "It Doesn’t Have to Be" also made it to the top of music charts.
Despite immense success in the United Kingdom, the duo only produced three Top 20 U.S. hits: "A Little Respect," "Chains of Love" and "Always." The band, known for their up-tempo pop hits, has sold more than 25 million albums worldwide.
In 2005, Bell embarked on a solo career, producing albums Electric Blue (2005) and Non-Stop (2010). In addition to his music career, his personal life has made headlines. As an openly gay man, Bell has become a music icon within the LGBT community. In 2004, he publicly announced that he is HIV-positive.
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In the 1990s, London's artists and cultural tastemakers embraced their British roots. Pop acts like Oasis, Elastica and the Spice Girls dominated 90's music, and reinforced British pride with symbolic use of the Union Flag—Oasis member Noel Gallagher famously used a Union Jack guitar while "Ginger Spice" Geri Halliwell wore the symbol on her trademark, flashy dress. The period was also marked by influential designers like John Galliano and Alexander McQueen, whose unique designs established numerous fashion trends for the decade. Biography.com celebrates these prominent figures, and the many others who led the way for "Cool Britannia."
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