RIP Robert Marlow, singer/musician is no more


(Photo by Reset Records) English musician and singer Robert Marlow (real name Robert Allen) is no more. Marlow passed away on Thursday September 22 after a short and unexpected illness. The news was shared by a close friend of Marlow on Facebook. He would have been 61 on October 21.

Robert Marlow was an English synth-pop singer, songwriter and musician and grew up in Basildon with future Depeche Mode members Vince Clarke, Martin Gore and the late Andy Fletcher. But in addition, he was also linked to Alison Moyet, with whom he played in a group, the Vandals. He ended up playing in a band, with Vince Clarke, called The Plan, and later French Look, with Martin Gore and Paul Redmond.

In 1983 Marlow formed The Peter Pan Effect. The project originally originated when Marlow was in a band called Film Noir, with future The Cure keyboardist and guitarist Perry Bamonte. After Clarke left Depeche Mode, Marlow approached Clarke and was granted studio time at Blackwing Studios with him and Eric Radcliffe. He was only offered one day, and decided to record “The Face of Dorian Gray”. This led to extra time in the studio. The single was released on Reset Records, a label founded in 1983 by Vince Clarke and Eric Radcliffe. The B-side was the track “The Tale of Dorian Gray”.

After that, he released three more singles: “I Just Want to Dance”, “Claudette” and “Calling All Destroyers”. Due to low airplay and low sales, the album was shelved until 1999 when Swedish label Energy Rekords released it.

In early 2002, Robert Marlow founded Marlow, which was a duo with Gary Durant. The duo released the single “My Teenage Dream” in 2002. An album followed in 2009, “Inside Outside”, on Electro-Shock-Records which would release all of Robert Marlow’s later side project albums. The title track was arranged and produced by Vince Clarke, who had also remixed a track from the album titled “Home”. The follow-up album ‘The Future’ was never released and the duo broke up in 2012. However, in 2013 they would release a reworked version of ‘The Future’ as ‘The Future Remixes’.

After Marlow’s split, Robert Marlow performed again as a solo artist and released a new 7-track EP, “The Blackwing Sessions”, again on German label Electro Shock Records. The release contained tracks with alternate vocals and instrumentals from the “1982–1984 recordings at Blackwing Studios”.

Cleopatra Records would later release standard American versions of “The Peter Pan Effect” and “Nice!” from Family Fantastic. in a limited edition double pack with additional information on Vince Clarke’s involvement in both projects on the back. Family Fantastic was a project formed in 2000 by Clarke and Phil Creswick (ex-Big Fun), featuring various top vocalists from the UK.

(Robert Marlow’s Facebook profile picture posted in 2017)

I had the pleasure of interviewing Robert Marlow a few times, and although he never became a big superstar, he was okay with what he had achieved despite having to wait decades to see his dreams partly come true. A gentle person, perhaps too kind for this world.

Our deepest condolences to Robert’s friends and family.

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