Automatic Gainsay wrote: GuyaGuy wrote:
Automatic Gainsay wrote:It's some guy who had a rock band that had a hit in the U.S. in 1979 that had a synthesizer in it.
Hrm. He was obviously a fan of Bowie and sure there were guitars and real drums. But most of the riffs and textures in Tubeway Army and Numan songs are from the synths. Karl Bartos has even dissed Numan for ripping off not only Kraftwerk's sound but also their look. That's not entirely accurate either, as far as I'm concerned, but it demonstrates that he was definitely considered electro at the time.
Or did you mean Randy Newman?!
I would definitely say he was inspired by Bowie and Kraftwerk, and absolutely... there were synths.
But I do feel inclined to bash at the mythos that has developed largely due to the internet and the very different European perspective.
When "Cars" came out, I was entranced. I had never heard anything like it, really (although amusingly enough, he reminded 10 year-old me a little bit of some of the darker synthy parts of The Cars). I bought "The Pleasure Principle," just like some Americans did. There was no internet to tell us it was anything other than rock with synths and a dark robotic mood. And that's what it was. There was much more "futuristic" and "electronic" music that came out 10 years before it. It was just rock with a cool aesthetic, and a focus on the synth (despite the fact that there was a bass player and drums). It was just another song on the radio, and synth-dorks-in-the-making like me really liked it and the rest of the album.
Nobody called it "Electro." Everyone called it "New Wave."
Frickin' "Wonderful Christmastime" had more synths in it.
I know that Numan was FAR more popular in Europe, and since the synthesizer/popular electronic music community is international and tight-knit, it's easy to blur history to fit a general perspective. But in 1979, all of us American kids just called this "rock." Just like we did with Bowie, and Tangerine Dream, and etc.
And as far as I recall, Numan only had the one hit in the U.S. And, if you were someone who lived in New York or L.A., and were able to go to clubs, you may have heard more from him. But as a 10 year old, if it wasn't on the radio, it simply didn't exist. Yeah, there were record stores, and sometimes they had weird stuff you didn't hear on the radio... but still. Gary Numan, in American terms, was a rock one-hit-wonder.