Keyboard players Trevor Horn
, Gary Langan
, Anne Dudley
and Jonathan 'JJ' Jeczalik
, hit-makers behind ABC
, conceived A.O.N. - named by media manipulator and lyricist Paul Morley
after a 1920s futurist manifesto. After their debut EP Into Battle With...
(1984), transatlantic dancefloors resounded to 1984's Hip-Hop
", which added to their anonymous image and erroneously suggested the group was black.
Their next album, (Who's Afraid of) The Art of Noise? (1984) yielded the UK hits "Close (To The Edit)", and "Moments in Love", to which Madonna walked up the matrimonial aisle with Sean Penn. JJ, Dudley and Langan then jumped ship from Horn's label ZTT Records to Chrysalis, charting singles with guitarist Duane Eddy ("Peter Gunn", 1986), TV novelty Max Headroom ("Paranoimia", 1986) and Tom Jones (1988's Prince cover, "Kiss").
After recording In Visible Silence (1986), In No Sense? Nonsense! (1987) and Below the Waste (1989), they bowed out with 1990's The Ambient Collection, but posthumous compilations The FON Mixes (including a Prodigy remix of Instruments of Darkness) (1992) and The Drum and Bass Collection (1997) demonstrated their influence on dance, most notably with The Prodigy, who sampled "Close (To The Edit)" for their hit "Firestarter". After Art Of Noise, Dudley has enjoyed the most visible career, including the acclaimed collaboration with Killing Joke's Jaz Coleman (Songs From the Victorious City, 1990), the quasi-Classical Ancient And Modern (1995), orchestral arrangements for Pulp, Boyzone, Elton John and Tina Turner, and film scores The Crying Game (1992) and The Full Monty (1997).
They also released an album in 1999: The Seduction of Claude Debussy which received mixed reviews.