Monday, September 20, 2010

The Buggles

Now that the 2010 Mtv Video Music Awards have come to a close...
Before the Ga Ga's and Bieber's of the world, back when Mtv used to actually air music videos and not much else, there was The Buggles.

Smile! It's The Buggles! Trevor Horn on the left, Geoffrey Downes on the right.

As many of you know, The Buggles poignant "Video Killed The Radio Star" was the very first video to air on the fledging cable network Mtv shortly after it's launch on August 1, 1981, at 12:01 a.m. That song was The Buggles only charting hit in the US, which unfortunately led many to believe that they were a one-hit wonder when infact 6 more of their songs charted as well (although outside the US).
I know I was guilty of the one-hit wonder impression until I finally listened to the album for the first time within the past 5 years or so, and found it to be one of those rare albums that I could listen to from start to finish. Not a bad song in the bunch (although sometimes I'd skip the obligatory "Video Killed The Radio Star").

Trevor Horn then and now.

Trevor Horn is a legendary producer. Almost everything he's touched has turned to gold. Trevor rocketed many of the bands/albums he worked with/on to the height of their commercial success.
I mean just take a look at the Produced By Trevor Horn 2-disc album.
To name just a few...
In 1982 he produced ABC's The Lexicon Of Love album which contained hits "Poison Arrow" and "The Look Of Love", in 1983 he produced the Yes album 90125 (in which he contributed to their biggest hit, "Owner of a Lonely Heart" and the dance hit "Leave It"), in 1984, he was a founding member of Art Of Noise and co-wrote several hits including "Close (To the Edit)", "Beat Box" and "Moments in Love", also in 1984 he produced Frankie Goes To Hollywood Welcome to the Pleasuredome album which included the hits "Relax" and "Two Tribes", in 1985 he produced Godley & Creme's album The History Mix Volume 1 which included the hit single "Cry", and in 1991 he produced Seal's debut album which included the hit "Crazy".

Geoff Downes is a keyboard player, songwriter, and producer, best known as the keyboardist for the bands Asia, The Buggles, and also his stint with Yes in 1980. He also produced the supergroup GTR's only album in 1986. When he was a keyboardist for The Buggles, he played multiple keyboards to achieve a New Wave technopop sound. He was once entered for the Guinness Book Of Records for performing with the most keyboards (28) on stage in one performance.

The Buggles released only two albums, The Age Of Plastic in 1980 and Adventures In Modern Recording the following year.

The Age Of Plastic was re-released in Japan in 2010 with an additional 6 tracks (on top of the 3 bonus tracks from the 2000 re-release).

The Buggles produced a total of 6 music videos. I'm leaving out "Video Killed The Radio Star" (although it can be found on the following blog post).

Living In The Plastic Age


Clean Clean (I'm not sure if this is 'the official' music video)

To be a Buggles completist, one must also listen to the 1980 Yes album, Drama.
From Wikipedia; "Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes of The Buggles (who had recently had a number one hit in the UK with "Video Killed the Radio Star") were working in an adjacent studio, and being Yes fans, introduced themselves. The pair were invited to sit in during rehearsals, and were soon asked to join the band.

Drama featured a much harder-edged Yes with a distinct new wave flavor (in no small part due to Horn & Downes).

Although the songs are all group credited, "Into the Lens" and "White Car" are basically Buggles compositions (an alternate version of "Into the Lens" appeared on the second Buggles album Adventures in Modern Recording as "I am a Camera").
"Machine Messiah" was based on another Buggles composition, but with considerable input from the other three.

Adventures In Modern Recording was reissued by Salvo Records/ZTT on February 15, 2010 containing 10 bonus tracks.
The Buggles second album may not be quite as listenable from beginning to end as the first, but there are still some gems including the title track, Vermillion Sands, I Am A Camera, Inner City and Lenny.

Adventures In Modern Recording

I Am A Camera

In August of 2010, Trevor Horn announced on his website an impending Buggles reunion. The reunion took place September 28, 2010 at the Supperclub in London, North Kensington with all proceeds going to the Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability. The Buggles were set perform The Age of Plastic in full for the first time.

1 comment:

  1. You can get free tickets! The charity the gig is in aid of, the Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability are giving away two I think go to