#867: 1979, Gary Numan and the Tubeway Army, Are Friends Electric?

by Ray_North on March 18, 2014

Ah, I can remember it as if it was yesterday – Renee North calling me up to her bedroom and showing me the weirdest thing I had ever seen – a vinyl picture disc. ‘What’s that?’ I asked. ‘A record,’ she said. But it didn’t look like a record to me, it wasn’t black it was all weird, swirling colours and pictures of a rather odd looking fellah with a white face.

She put it on – and it was great – I got it straight away, despite the fact that I was only ten – this was electro-pop at its very best. The syncopated rhythm, the pounding bassline that doesn’t change much from the opening bars, the rather self-indulgent lyrics that don’t really mean much but are sung in the same robotic way as the rest of the song. It was brilliant. I remember thinking that it was the best song I’d ever heard, and that the picture disc, made it even more special.

At that age, I treated pop bands like football clubs, I was now officially a supporter of Gary Numan.

A few months later, Renee told me that Gary Numan was an idiot because he was supporting the Tories at the general election and that all he cared about was cars. I remember being confused about this – it didn’t seem right, how could my hero, the man who written such an amazing bassline, be a Tory?

Gary Numan, never reached the heights of Are Friends Electric? again. But, who cares, this is his moment of immortality.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

George_East March 19, 2014 at 12:29 pm

The fact that Gary Numan was a Tory, leads to that always interesting question. Good right-wingers in music? They are really few and far between. Off the top of my head:

Mark E Smith
Johnny Ramone
Mo Tucker
Neil Young went through his Reaganite phase, but that seems to have ended with the first Iraq war.



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