Martin David Fry was born on 9 March 1958 in Stretford, Lancashire, and grew up in nearby Bramhall, Stockport, alongside his younger brother Jamie, who later went on to join the indie rock band Earl Brutus. In 1978, Fry was editing a fanzine titled Modern Drugs, when he first met future ABC band members Mark White and Stephen Singleton while interviewing them for an article in the fanzine. White and Singleton, then fronting a electronic band called Vice Versa, invited Fry to join their band to play the keyboards.
With Fry in place as lead singer and songwriter, Vice Versa changed its name to ABC and changed its sound to a contemporary pop style that at that time led them to be categorised with bands like Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet and the Human League. Between 1982 and 1991, ABC recorded six studio albums (The Lexicon of Love, Beauty Stab, How to Be a … Zillionaire!, Alphabet City, Up and Abracadabra) and released a greatest hits compilation album, Absolutely. During this time, the band went through numerous personnel changes, with Fry and Mark White being its only permanent members.
Following the Zillionaire album, ABC temporarily fell from prominence while Fry was being treated for Hodgkin’s lymphoma, an uncommon cancer.
ABC disbanded in 1991, with White retiring from music to pursue an interest in Reiki therapy. Fry continued to work with EMI in the months thereafter but was axed from the label before his solo material could be released. Fry resurrected the ABC name in 1997 for the album Skyscraping, a homage to several of his musical heroes, including David Bowie, Roxy Music and the Sex Pistols. The album was a collaboration with Glenn Gregory of Heaven 17 and Honeyroot’s Keith Lowndes.
The band has toured extensively and performed live at events such as the 2001 Night of the Proms, where Fry was supported by a 72-piece orchestra and 50-piece choir. In 2008, Fry released a new ABC album titled Traffic.
In April 2009, Fry and original drummer David Palmer performed The Lexicon of Love album live at the Royal Albert Hall in London. The band was accompanied by the BBC Concert Orchestra. Anne Dudley of Art of Noise fame, who arranged and played keyboards on the original record, conducted the Royal Albert Hall performance.
Fry and Palmer (as ABC) toured the U.S. as part of the 2009 ‘Regeneration Tour’, which also featured Terri Nunn of Berlin, Wang Chung and the Cutting Crew.
In April 2016, a single with a music video “Viva Love” was released as a teaser for The Lexicon of Love II album. The album entered the UK album chart at No. 5, the band’s highest chart position since 1982 and first Top 10 entry since 1990.