70s Artist Watch; Gary Numan




Gary Webb born in 1958, he became Gary Numan just from picking his name from the phone book and made his impact late in the 1970s with "Are Friends Electric?", which he performed with his group Tubeway Army. The song was classified New Wave and it was something new for sure. I do not recall anything like it before and not much after either and that sound of synthesizers will always be associated with Gary Numan and New Wave and the best of the 70s.






His performances, for which he was normally dressed in black, also showed heavy face make up, which now appears the 21 year old had acne, but it was responsible for giving an image and along with the New Wave sound, that some called Electro-pop, he made sure he dominated the 1979 charts.



"Are Friends Electric" was No.1 in the UK in June1979, from the album "Replicas",

This electric pop record was based on science fiction films like "Blade Runner" and a relationship that went wrong, the relationship said to have been with a lady called Susan Wathan.



Part of the lyrics

It's cold outside

And the paint's peeling off of my walls
There's a man outside
In a long coat, grey hat, smoking a cigarette

Now the light fades out

And I wonder what I'm doing in a room like this
There's a knock on the door
And just for a second I thought I remembered you

So now I'm alone

Now I can think for myself
About little deals and issues
And things that I just don't understand
A white lie that night
Or a sly touch at times
I don't think it mean anything to you


In the same year Gary Numan released "Cars", again a number one, and a record that has been re-released several times since then. This time it came from the "Pleasure Principle" album, but also this time Gary was solo, no Tubeway Army to share the stage eventhough it was 1979 it was still the best of the 70s.

The song which haunts you, was inspired by nothing more than Numan being caught up in a road rage incident, no one was hurt, but an amazing song was born. Incidentally the backing band included a member of Ultravox, who had minor hits in the 1970s, but huge hits in 1980s like "Vienna." You can hear the influence of "Cars" in that song. The bass player was Paul Gardner who died in 1984 aged 25 from a fatal overdose of heroin.



Part of the lyrics
Here in my car
I feel safest of all
I can lock all my doors
It's the only way to live
In cars

Here in my car

I can only receive
I can listen to you
It keeps me stable for days
In cars


Gary Numan interviewed in 1979


Numan went on with more hits in the 1980s and 90s, and still produces, tours and flies helicopters.

Gary Numan official website


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