Big Audio Dynamite was formed in London in 1984 by ex-Clash guitarist Mick Jones, who was still under contract with CBS. He recruited Dan Donovan, Leo Williams, Greg Roberts and film-maker (and non-musician) Don Letts.
Although their 1985 debut single The Bottom Line soon became a favourite it narrowly missed out on a chart placing. The follow-up single, E=MC2, gave them a close brush with the Top 10 the following year, resurrecting sales of the critically acclaimed but commercially disastrous album This Is . . .
Mick’s unique punk-ish vocals with the funky band sound was not unlike a danceable version of The Clash. The follow-up single, Medicine Show, went Top 30. A second album, No. 10 Upping Street (1986) was even more ambitious, featuring contributions from Jones’ former mucker, Joe Strummer.
The following two years saw the band struggling as Jones survived a near-fatal bout of pneumonia (caught from his baby daughter) and the albums Tighten Up Vol. 88 (1988) and Megatop Phoenix (1989) bravely attempted to further push the boundaries between different genres of music (mixing up reggae, hip-hop, and even country).
By the end of the decade, the B.A.D blueprint was being more successfully and inventively interpreted by a new wave of white kids armed with samples, drum machines and an attitude – enter EMF, Jesus Jones etc . . .
The original line-up split at the turn of the decade although Jones recruited new players for Big Audio Dynamite II – namely Nick Hawkins, Gary Stoneage and Chris Kavanagh (ex-Sigue Sigue Sputnik). The revamped band recorded a further couple of critically and commercially underwhelming albums, Kool-Aid (1990) and The Globe (1991) – with DJ Zonka adding his turntable skills to the latter.
Though Jones continued working under the B.A.D name into the 90s, his output was largely confined to a cult following.