Gang of Four were formed in 1976 in Leeds. The original members were singer Jon King, guitarist Andy Gill, bass guitarist Dave Allen and drummer Hugo Burnham. There have been many different line-ups including, among other notable musicians, Sara Lee, Mark Heaney and Gail Ann Dorsey. After a brief lull in the 1980s, different constellations of the band recorded two studio albums in the 1990s. Between 2004 and 2006 the original line-up was reunited; Gill toured using the name between 2012 and his death in 2020.
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 are widely considered one of the leading bands of the late 1970s/early 1980s post-punk movement. Their debut album, Entertainment!, was ranked as fifth greatest punk album of all time and at Number 483 in Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. 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”. 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. David Fricke of Rolling Stone described Gang of Four as “probably the best politically motivated band in rock & roll.”.