Gang of Four (band)

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For other uses, see Gang of Four (disambiguation). Gang of Four (band)_sentence_0

Gang of Four (band)_table_infobox_0

Gang of FourGang of Four (band)_header_cell_0_0_0
Background informationGang of Four (band)_header_cell_0_1_0
OriginGang of Four (band)_header_cell_0_2_0 Leeds, EnglandGang of Four (band)_cell_0_2_1
GenresGang of Four (band)_header_cell_0_3_0 Gang of Four (band)_cell_0_3_1
Years activeGang of Four (band)_header_cell_0_4_0 1976–1984, 1987–1997, 2004–2020Gang of Four (band)_cell_0_4_1
LabelsGang of Four (band)_header_cell_0_5_0 Gang of Four (band)_cell_0_5_1
WebsiteGang of Four (band)_header_cell_0_6_0 Gang of Four (band)_cell_0_6_1
Past membersGang of Four (band)_header_cell_0_8_0 Gang of Four (band)_cell_0_8_1

Gang of Four were an English post-punk band, formed in 1976 in Leeds. Gang of Four (band)_sentence_1

The original members were singer Jon King, guitarist Andy Gill, bass guitarist Dave Allen and drummer Hugo Burnham. Gang of Four (band)_sentence_2

There have been many different line-ups including, among other notable musicians, Sara Lee, Mark Heaney and Gail Ann Dorsey. Gang of Four (band)_sentence_3

After a brief lull in the 1980s, different constellations of the band recorded two studio albums in the 1990s. Gang of Four (band)_sentence_4

Between 2004 and 2006 the original line-up was reunited; Gill toured using the name between 2012 and his death in 2020. Gang of Four (band)_sentence_5

The band played a stripped-down mix of punk rock, funk and dub, with a lyrical emphasis on the social and political ills of society. Gang of Four (band)_sentence_6

Gang of Four are widely considered one of the leading bands of the late 1970s/early 1980s post-punk movement. Gang of Four (band)_sentence_7

Their debut album, Entertainment! Gang of Four (band)_sentence_8 , was ranked as fifth greatest punk album of all time and at Number 483 in Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Gang of Four (band)_sentence_9

In 2004, the album was listed by Pitchfork Media as the 8th best album of the 1970s and, in 2020, by Pop Matters as "Best Post Punk album ever". Gang of Four (band)_sentence_10

Their early 80s albums (Songs of the Free and Hard) found them softening some of their more jarring qualities, and drifting towards dance-punk and disco. Gang of Four (band)_sentence_11

David Fricke of Rolling Stone described Gang of Four as "probably the best politically motivated band in rock & roll. Gang of Four (band)_sentence_12

". Gang of Four (band)_sentence_13

History Gang of Four (band)_section_0

Early years and Entertainment! (1976-79) Gang of Four (band)_section_1

The band initially consisted of vocalist Jon King, guitarist Andy Gill, drummer Hugo Burnham and bass guitarist Dave Wolfson. Gang of Four (band)_sentence_14

After two or three gigs, Wolfson was replaced with Dave Allen. Gang of Four (band)_sentence_15

Gang of Four's music brought together an eclectic array of influences, ranging from the Frankfurt School of social criticism to the increasingly clear trans-Atlantic punk consensus. Gang of Four (band)_sentence_16

Gang of Four was named by Andy Corrigan, a member of the Mekons, while driving around with Gill and King when he came upon a newspaper billboard on the intra-Party coup against China's "Gang of Four". Gang of Four (band)_sentence_17

The Gang's debut single, "Damaged Goods" backed with "(Love Like) Anthrax" and "Armalite Rifle", was recorded in June 1978 and released on 10 December 1978, on Edinburgh's Fast Product label. Gang of Four (band)_sentence_18

It was a Number 1 indie chart hit and John Peel radio show favourite. Gang of Four (band)_sentence_19

Damaged Goods was voted one of the 100 Greatest debut singles of all time in 2020's Rolling Stone Poll Two Peel radio sessions followed, which, with their incendiary live performances, propelled the band to international attention and sold-out shows across Europe and North America. Gang of Four (band)_sentence_20

They were then signed by EMI records. Gang of Four (band)_sentence_21

The group's debut single with this label, "At Home He's a Tourist", charted in 1979. Gang of Four (band)_sentence_22

Invited to appear on top rated BBC music program Top of the Pops, the band walked off the show when the BBC told them to sing "rubbish" in the place of the original lyric "rubbers", as the original line was considered too risque. Gang of Four (band)_sentence_23

The single was then banned by BBC Radio and TV, which lost the band support at EMI, who began to push another band, Duran Duran, instead. Gang of Four (band)_sentence_24

King's lyrics were always controversial and a later single, "I Love a Man in a Uniform", was banned by the BBC during the Falklands War in 1982. Gang of Four (band)_sentence_25

Critic Stewart Mason has called "Anthrax" not only the group's "most notorious song" but also "one of the most unique and interesting songs of its time". Gang of Four (band)_sentence_26

It's also a good example of Gang of Four's social perspective: after a minute-long, droning, feedback-laced guitar intro, the rhythm section sets up a funky, churning beat, and the guitar drops out entirely. Gang of Four (band)_sentence_27

In one stereo channel, King sings a "post-punk anti-love song", comparing himself to a beetle trapped on its back ("and there's no way for me to get up") and equating love with "a case of anthrax, and that's some thing I don't want to catch." Gang of Four (band)_sentence_28

Meanwhile in the other stereo channel (and slightly less prominent in the mix), Gill reads (on the original EP version) a detailed account of the technical resources used on the song, which on the re-recorded album version is replaced by a deadpan monologue about public perception of love and the prevalence of love songs in popular music: "Love crops up quite a lot as something to sing about 'cause most groups make most of their songs about falling in love, or how happy they are to be in love; and you occasionally wonder why these groups do sing about it all the time." Gang of Four (band)_sentence_29

Although the two sets of lyrics tell independent stories they occasionally synchronise for emphasis. Gang of Four (band)_sentence_30

According to critic Paul Morley, "The Gang spliced the ferocious precision of Dr. Feelgood's working-class blues with the testing avant-garde intrigue of Henry Cow. Gang of Four (band)_sentence_31

Wilfully avoiding structural obviousness, melodic prettiness and harmonic corniness, the Gang's music was studded with awkward holes and sharp corners." Gang of Four (band)_sentence_32

At the time, the band was recognised to be doing something very different from other white guitar acts. Gang of Four (band)_sentence_33

Ken Tucker, in Rolling Stone, 1980, wrote: "...rarely have the radical edges of black and white music come closer to overlapping... the Gang of Four utilize their bass guitar every bit as prominently and starkly as the curt bass figures that prod the spoken verses in (Kurtis Blow's "culture defining" huge summer hit) "The Breaks." Gang of Four (band)_sentence_34

Later years (1980-83) Gang of Four (band)_section_2

In 1981, the band released their second LP, Solid Gold. Gang of Four (band)_sentence_35

Like Entertainment! Gang of Four (band)_sentence_36 , the album was uncompromising, spare, and analytical; such songs as "Cheeseburger," "He'd Send in the Army," and "In the Ditch" exposed the paradoxes of warfare, work, and leisure. Gang of Four (band)_sentence_37

Van Gosse, in a Village Voice review said: "Gang of Four embody a new category in pop, which illuminates all the others, because the motor of their aesthetic is not a 'personal creative vision.'" Gang of Four (band)_sentence_38

Dave Allen (who later co-founded Shriekback, King Swamp, Low Pop Suicide and the Elastic Purejoy) had left in 1981, and had been briefly replaced by Busta "Cherry" Jones, a sometime player with Parliament, Brian Eno, and Talking Heads. Gang of Four (band)_sentence_39

After working with the Gang to complete their North American tour obligations, Jones left and was replaced by Sara Lee, who was Robert Fripp's bassist in the League of Gentlemen. Gang of Four (band)_sentence_40

Lee was as good a singer as bassist, and she helped give the band's third studio album, Songs of the Free, a more commercially accessible element. Gang of Four (band)_sentence_41

Although "I Love a Man in a Uniform" from the album was the band's most radio-friendly song, it was banned in the UK shortly after its release because Britain went to war in the Falkland Islands. Gang of Four (band)_sentence_42

In the spring of 1983, Burnham left the band after the release of Songs of the Free and formed Illustrated Man. Gang of Four (band)_sentence_43

Gill and King continued Gang of Four, releasing Hard in 1983. Gang of Four (band)_sentence_44

After that, the band broke up, and Lee moved to the United States where she has worked with a number of artists, including the B-52's. Gang of Four (band)_sentence_45

1986 saw the release of The Peel Sessions, a collection of rawly rendered material recorded during the period 1979 to 1981 for British radio BBC. Gang of Four (band)_sentence_46

Melody Maker dubbed the album "a perfect and classic nostalgia trip into the world of gaunt cynicism." Gang of Four (band)_sentence_47

Gill and King reunion (1987-1997) Gang of Four (band)_section_3

Gill and King reunited to record Mall in 1991, and finally Shrinkwrapped in 1995. Gang of Four (band)_sentence_48

Mall featured Gail Ann Dorsey, later famous for her longtime association with David Bowie, on bass. Gang of Four (band)_sentence_49

Changing line-ups (2004-2012) Gang of Four (band)_section_4

The original lineup of Jon King, Andy Gill, Dave Allen and Hugo Burnham reformed in November 2004. Gang of Four (band)_sentence_50

A UK tour in January 2005, shows in Europe and Japan and tours of the United States in May/June and again in September. Gang of Four (band)_sentence_51

In October 2005, Gang of Four released a new disc featuring new recordings of songs from the albums Entertainment!, Solid Gold and Songs of the Free entitled Return the Gift (which featured Mark Heaney on drums) accompanied by an album's worth of remixes. Gang of Four (band)_sentence_52

In January 2011, the band, now featuring Mark Heaney on drums, and Thomas McNeice on bass, released a new album, Content, which was called "their best record since the Seventies". Gang of Four (band)_sentence_53

Jon Pareles, in a New York Times 4-star review, declared that [the band] "have reclaimed, with a vengeance, their old attack". Gang of Four (band)_sentence_54

Following successful tours of the US, Australia and Europe in 2011, King and Gill disagreed about the band's direction and ceased working together. Gang of Four (band)_sentence_55

Final line-up (2012-2020) Gang of Four (band)_section_5

Gill toured and recorded under the Gang of Four name, releasing What Happens Next in 2015, Complicit in 2018, and Happy Now in 2019, which featured a range of guest artists, including Herbert Grönemeyer, Alison Mosshart, Robbie Furze, and John "Gaoler" Sterry. Gang of Four (band)_sentence_56

Complicit was reviewed in media including the Washington Post and Newsweek. Gang of Four (band)_sentence_57

January 2019 saw the release of "Paper Thin", the first single from their latest album. Gang of Four (band)_sentence_58

XSNoise said "The album is as intense as any ever released on their discography." Gang of Four (band)_sentence_59

Andy Gill died on 1 February 2020, and obituaries across the world hailed his legacy and impact. Gang of Four (band)_sentence_60

He was "one of the most influential musicians of the post-punk era, leading his band Gang of Four to huge acclaim with his intense, angular, staccato guitar work that blended rock with funk," said the Independent. Gang of Four (band)_sentence_61

Gang of Four's "brusque, angular style would directly or indirectly influence post-punk and indie-rock bands like Red Hot Chili Peppers (who chose Mr. Gill to produce their debut album), The Jesus Lizard, Nirvana, Rage Against the Machine, Franz Ferdinand and Protomartyr," said the New York Times. Gang of Four (band)_sentence_62

"Michael Hutchence of INXS once said that Gang of Four’s music 'took no prisoners,' adding, 'It was art meets the devil via James Brown.'" Gang of Four (band)_sentence_63

The NME wrote: "Great musicians encapsulate their age; the very best echo endlessly onwards, and Andy Gill...has been reverberating along the baseline of alternative culture for 40 years." Gang of Four (band)_sentence_64

Two EP's, This Heaven Gives Me Migraine, and Anti Hero were released after his death featuring some final studio recordings, Gang of Four (band)_sentence_65

Legacy Gang of Four (band)_section_6

Gang of Four influenced a number of successful alternative rock acts throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Gang of Four (band)_sentence_66

R.E.M. Gang of Four (band)_sentence_67

frontman Michael Stipe cites Gang of Four as one of his band's chief influences; Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers has stated that Gang of Four were the single most important influence on his band's early music. Gang of Four (band)_sentence_68

Kurt Cobain stated that Nirvana started as "a Gang of Four and Scratch Acid ripoff". Gang of Four (band)_sentence_69

Gang of Four's debut album Entertainment! Gang of Four (band)_sentence_70

was ranked 13th in Kurt Cobain's list of his 50 favourite albums in his journal. Gang of Four (band)_sentence_71

Andy Kellman, writing in AllMusic, argued that Gang of Four's "germs of influence" can be found in many rap metal groups "not in touch with their ancestry enough to realize it". Gang of Four (band)_sentence_72

Sara Lee was also a judge for the 5th annual Independent Music Awards to support independent artists' careers. Gang of Four (band)_sentence_73

From the 2000s, the band enjoyed a resurgence in popularity, initially due to emergence of new post-punk revival bands such as Clinic, Liars, the Rapture, Neils Children and Radio 4, and then the rise of Franz Ferdinand, We Are Scientists and Bloc Party. Gang of Four (band)_sentence_74

Band members Gang of Four (band)_section_7

Gang of Four (band)_description_list_0

Gang of Four (band)_unordered_list_1

  • Andy Gill – co-founder, guitars, lyrics, vocals (1977–1983, 1987–1997, 2004–2020; died 2020)Gang of Four (band)_item_1_0
  • Thomas McNeice – bass, backing vocals (2008–2020)Gang of Four (band)_item_1_1
  • John "Gaoler" Sterry – lead vocals, percussion (2012–2020)Gang of Four (band)_item_1_2
  • Tobias Humble – drums (2016–2020)Gang of Four (band)_item_1_3

Gang of Four (band)_description_list_2

Gang of Four (band)_unordered_list_3

  • Jon King – co-founder, lead vocals, lyrics, melodica (1977–1983, 1987–1997, 2004–2012)Gang of Four (band)_item_3_4
  • Dave Allen – co-founder, bass, vocals (1977–1980, 2004–2008)Gang of Four (band)_item_3_5
  • Hugo Burnham – co-founder, drums (1977–1983, 2004–2006)Gang of Four (band)_item_3_6
  • Busta "Cherry" Jones – bass (1980; died 1995)Gang of Four (band)_item_3_7
  • Sara Lee – bass, backing vocals (1980–1983)Gang of Four (band)_item_3_8
  • Gail Ann Dorsey - bass (1991)Gang of Four (band)_item_3_9
  • Mark Heaney – drums (2006–2013)Gang of Four (band)_item_3_10
  • Jonny Finnegan – drums (2014–2016)Gang of Four (band)_item_3_11

Timeline Gang of Four (band)_sentence_75

Discography Gang of Four (band)_section_8

Studio albums Gang of Four (band)_section_9

Gang of Four (band)_unordered_list_4

  • Entertainment! (EMI, 1979) – UK Number 45, Australia Number 39Gang of Four (band)_item_4_12
  • Solid Gold (Warner Bros., 1981) – UK Number 52, US Pop Number 190Gang of Four (band)_item_4_13
  • Songs of the Free (Warner Bros., 1982) – UK Number 61, US Pop Number 175Gang of Four (band)_item_4_14
  • Hard (Warner Bros., 1983) – US Pop Number 168Gang of Four (band)_item_4_15
  • Mall (Polydor, 1991)Gang of Four (band)_item_4_16
  • Shrinkwrapped (Castle, 1995)Gang of Four (band)_item_4_17
  • Return the Gift (V2, 2005) – re-recordings of earlier tracksGang of Four (band)_item_4_18
  • Content (Yep Roc, 2011)Gang of Four (band)_item_4_19
  • What Happens Next (Metropolis/Membran, 2015)Gang of Four (band)_item_4_20
  • Happy Now (Gill Music Ltd, 2019)Gang of Four (band)_item_4_21

Live albums Gang of Four (band)_section_10

Gang of Four (band)_unordered_list_5

  • At the Palace (Mercury, 1984)Gang of Four (band)_item_5_22
  • Live...In The Moment (Metropolis, 2016)Gang of Four (band)_item_5_23

Compilation albums Gang of Four (band)_section_11

Gang of Four (band)_unordered_list_6

  • The Peel Sessions (1990), Strange Fruit/Dutch East IndiaGang of Four (band)_item_6_24
  • A Brief History of the Twentieth Century (1990), Warner BrosGang of Four (band)_item_6_25
  • 100 Flowers Bloom (1998), RhinoGang of Four (band)_item_6_26
  • Gang of Four 77-81 (2020), MatadorGang of Four (band)_item_6_27

Extended plays Gang of Four (band)_section_12

Gang of Four (band)_unordered_list_7

  • Yellow (EMI, 1980) – US Pop Number 201Gang of Four (band)_item_7_28
  • Another Day/Another Dollar (Warner Bros., 1982) – US Pop Number 195Gang of Four (band)_item_7_29
  • The Peel Sessions (16.1.79) (1986), Strange FruitGang of Four (band)_item_7_30
  • Die Staubkorn Sammlung (Membran, 2015) (credited as Herbert Grönemeyer + Gang of Four)Gang of Four (band)_item_7_31
  • Complicit (замешанная) (2018) (download only)Gang of Four (band)_item_7_32
  • This Heaven Gives Me Migraine (2020)Gang of Four (band)_item_7_33
  • Anti Hero/ This Heaven Gives Me Migraine (Gill Music Ltd., 2020)Gang of Four (band)_item_7_34

Singles Gang of Four (band)_section_13

Gang of Four (band)_table_general_1

YearGang of Four (band)_header_cell_1_0_0 TitleGang of Four (band)_header_cell_1_0_1 Chart positionsGang of Four (band)_header_cell_1_0_2 AlbumGang of Four (band)_header_cell_1_0_5
US Modern RockGang of Four (band)_header_cell_1_1_0 US Dance ClubGang of Four (band)_header_cell_1_1_1 UKGang of Four (band)_header_cell_1_1_2
1978Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_2_0 "Damaged Goods"Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_2_1 Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_2_2 Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_2_3 Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_2_4 Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_2_5
1979Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_3_0 "At Home He's a Tourist"Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_3_1 Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_3_2 Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_3_3 58Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_3_4 Entertainment!Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_3_5
"Damaged Goods"/"I Found That Essence Rare"Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_4_0 Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_4_1 39Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_4_2 Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_4_3
1980Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_5_0 "Outside the Trains Don't Run on Time"Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_5_1 Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_5_2 Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_5_3 Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_5_4 Solid GoldGang of Four (band)_cell_1_5_5
1981Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_6_0 "What We All Want"Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_6_1 Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_6_2 30Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_6_3 Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_6_4
"Cheeseburger"Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_7_0 Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_7_1 Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_7_2 Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_7_3
"To Hell With Poverty!"Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_8_0 Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_8_1 38Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_8_2 Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_8_3 Another Day/Another DollarGang of Four (band)_cell_1_8_4
1982Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_9_0 "I Love a Man in a Uniform"Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_9_1 Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_9_2 Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_9_3 65Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_9_4 Songs of the FreeGang of Four (band)_cell_1_9_5
"I Love a Man in a Uniform" (US release)Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_10_0 Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_10_1 27Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_10_2 Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_10_3
"Call Me Up"Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_11_0 Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_11_1 Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_11_2 Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_11_3
1983Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_12_0 "Is it Love?"Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_12_1 Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_12_2 Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_12_3 88Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_12_4 HardGang of Four (band)_cell_1_12_5
"Is it Love?" (US release)Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_13_0 Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_13_1 9Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_13_2 Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_13_3
"Silver Lining"Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_14_0 Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_14_1 Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_14_2 Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_14_3
1984Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_15_0 "I Will Be a Good Boy" (live)Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_15_1 Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_15_2 Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_15_3 Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_15_4 At the PalaceGang of Four (band)_cell_1_15_5
1990Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_16_0 "Money Talks"Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_16_1 Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_16_2 Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_16_3 Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_16_4 MallGang of Four (band)_cell_1_16_5
1991Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_17_0 "To Hell With Poverty!"Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_17_1 Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_17_2 Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_17_3 100Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_17_4 A Brief History of the Twentieth CenturyGang of Four (band)_cell_1_17_5
"Don't Fix What Ain't Broke"Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_18_0 14Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_18_1 Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_18_2 Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_18_3 MallGang of Four (band)_cell_1_18_4
"Satellite"Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_19_0 Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_19_1 Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_19_2 Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_19_3
"Cadillac"Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_20_0 Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_20_1 Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_20_2 Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_20_3
1995Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_21_0 "Tattoo"Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_21_1 Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_21_2 Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_21_3 Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_21_4 ShrinkwrappedGang of Four (band)_cell_1_21_5
2008Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_22_0 "Second Life"Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_22_1 Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_22_2 Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_22_3 Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_22_4 Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_22_5
2011Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_23_0 "You'll Never Pay for the Farm"Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_23_1 Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_23_2 Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_23_3 Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_23_4 ContentGang of Four (band)_cell_1_23_5
"Who Am I?"Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_24_0 Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_24_1 Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_24_2 Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_24_3
2019Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_25_0 "Paper Thin"Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_25_1 Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_25_2 Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_25_3 Gang of Four (band)_cell_1_25_4 Happy NowGang of Four (band)_cell_1_25_5

Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: of Four (band).