Robert Marlow (aka Allen) has died. According to a post on his Facebook page, made on behalf of the family, he had experienced a sudden illness. The post, by Biba Boele, reads:
I am very sorry to be sharing such sad news with you. Robert Allen (Marlow) passed away yesterday, Thursday 22nd September, after a short and unexpected illness. His family have asked me to share this here as Rob had so many friends and they have no way to make contact with everyone personally. Please would you let other people know what has happened. Details of the arrangements to follow. ❤️❤️❤️
Marlow, who was born in Basildon in 1961, was part of the youthful scenes that gave rise to Depeche Mode and Yazoo. He played in The Vandals, a punk band, with Alison Moyet, as well as The Plan with Vince Clarke and French Look with Martin Gore. He had a solo career with the assistance of Clarke, who signed him to his Reset Records label, but did not achieve the same level of success as his childhood friends.
Marlow worked with Vince Clarke on the album, The Peter Pan Effect, which was recorded in 1983 but only released in 1999 on the Swedish label, Energy Rekords.
In 2012, Marlow released The Blackwing Sessions, a collection of demos from the work with Clarke. The revival of interest in his music led to the release of The Future Remixes in 2013, which featured music recorded by the act, Marlow, a duo he had formed with Gary Durant. Contributors to the album included Vince Clarke, Eddie Bengtsson of Page and SMPJ, Diskodiktator, Octolab, and Angst Pop featuring Technomancer. An appearance followed, in 2014, at a Stockholm music festival headlined by Rational Youth.
Marlow’s legacy is closely bound up with his relationship with the Basildon set that centred around Depeche Mode. He warmed up for them once, as part of the group, Film Noir, but built a cult following of his very own.
Our review of Marlow’s 2014 Stockholm appearance follows:
Stockholm, 3 May 2014
Robert Marlow could have been a contender. While his Basildon contemporaries saw their careers take off with Depeche Mode and Yazoo, Marlow narrowly missed out on stardom. On paper, a label deal and production help from Vince Clarke should have been the ideal platform; instead, he was Andrew Ridgeley in the shadow of the talent he stood closest to. Sales of his singles were slow, and an album recorded with Clarke and Eric Radcliffe was shelved until the end of the 1990s.
Never mind – the crowd at Stockholm’s Nalen venue knows all of the words to the 1980s singles: Claudette, The Face of Dorian Grey and Calling All Destroyers. They sing along contentedly, while Robert Enforsen, the former Elegent Machinery vocalist, handles iPad and keyboard duties and adds harmonies. Marlow’s voice holds up, but the years have clearly weathered the lad from Essex.
“Touch me!” cries a heavily made-up Marlow, extending his free hand from the stage. A sea of friendly Swedish hands reach back; and, at least until the music stops, Marlow is the Smash Hits cover star he always wanted to be.
(Photo used by permission of Per Aksel Lundgreen. L-R: Robert Marlow, Eric Radcliffe, and Vince Clarke)