Legacy 7″ Singles Box – 4

Tubeway Army – are ‘friends’ electric?
Beggars Banquet BEG 18
1979 UK

That this still sounds fresh to me even today is testament to the impact it had when it was originally released. There has been much talk about Numan appropriating this or that from various places, but nobody did this like he did this.

I had a load of singles once upon a time but I gave them away when I was 16 and moved to a new town, that is a regret I have as I can’t remember now what half of them were, but each one was so carefully chosen as they cost all the money I had.

the rest of the records in the box

Top 50 Gary Numan

As I previously mentioned I saw Gary Numan again a couple of weekends ago and, because I seem to enjoy punishing myself, I did yet another list. These lists are hard and I will want to change it as soon as I publish it, but a line has to be drawn somewhere so here goes.

gary-numan2

There are many reasons for the inclusions and exclusions, and where they appear in the list, and all of those reasons are mine, so I have no doubt that somebody will see something as glaringly omitted or ridiculously included. Please feel to question the list, I’ll probably agree with you to be honest as this is one of the most difficult I’ve done, partly due to the number of tracks and both the difference in quality (Mid Period Numan is difficult for me) and the difference in styles.

POS. TITLE ALBUM/YEAR
50 Bombers (Tubeway Army – 1978)
49 Listen To The Sirens (Tubeway Army – 1978)
48 I Dream of Wires (Telekon – 1980)
47 She’s Got Claws (Dance – 1981)
46 What God Intended (Savage (Songs from a Broken World) – 2017)
45 White Boys And Heroes (I, Assasin – 1982)
44 Telekon (Telekon – 1980)
43 Music for Chameleons (I, Assasin – 1982)
42 I, Assassin (I, Assasin – 1982)
41 Pray (Sacrifice – 1994)
40 Dark (Exile – 1997)
39 Pray For The Pain You Serve (Savage (Songs from a Broken World) – 2017)
38 Ghost Nation (Savage (Songs from a Broken World) – 2017)
37 Dominion Day (Exile – 1997)
36 It Must Have Been Years (Replicas – 1979)
35 This Wreckage (Telekon – 1980)
34 Remember I Was Vapour (Telekon – 1980)
33 We Take Mystery (To Bed) (I, Assasin – 1982)
32 Praying to the Aliens (Replicas – 1979)
31 Rip (Pure – 2000)
30 Absolution (Exile – 1997)
29 Dead Heaven (Exile – 1997)
28 A Prayer for the Unborn (Pure – 2000)
27 Splinter (Splinter (Songs from a Broken Mind) – 2013)
26 Mercy (Savage (Songs from a Broken World) – 2017)
25 When the Sky Bleeds, He Will Come (Dead Son Rising – 2011)
24 Dead Sun Rising (Dead Son Rising – 2011)
23 Jagged (Jagged – 2006)
22 My Name Is Ruin (Savage (Songs from a Broken World) – 2017)
21 Haunted (Jagged – 2006)
20 We are Glass (Single – 1980)
19 In a Dark Place (Jagged – 2006)
18 Here in the Black (Splinter (Songs from a Broken Mind) – 2013)
17 Complex (The Pleasure Principle – 1979)
16 We’re the Unforgiven (Splinter (Songs from a Broken Mind) – 2013)
15 Halo (Jagged – 2006)
14 M.E. (The Pleasure Principle – 1979)
13 Airlane (The Pleasure Principle – 1979)
12 I Am Dust (Splinter (Songs from a Broken Mind) – 2013)
11 Metal (The Pleasure Principle – 1979)
10 Everything Comes Down to This (Splinter (Songs from a Broken Mind) – 2013)
9 Love Hurt Bleed (Splinter (Songs from a Broken Mind) – 2013)
8 I Die: You Die (Single – 1980)
7 Me! I Disconnect from You (Replicas – 1979)
6 Films (The Pleasure Principle – 1979)
5 Engineers (The Pleasure Principle – 1979)
4 Down in the Park (Replicas – 1979)
3 Pure (Pure – 2000)
2 Cars (The Pleasure Principle – 1979)
1 Are ‘Friends’ Electric? (Replicas – 1979)

Here is my Top 10

You may well be asking yourself how on earth ‘Pure’ ended up where it did? Well, it was the song that I first heard after a long hiatus that made me first think that Numan had more to offer and wasn’t just a late 70’s, early 80’s pop star living off old hits.

What’s in the bag? (40-48)

I am an incompletist, this is clear to me, this is very similar to a completist, but without the need to get absolutely everything. What I have is the need to get a lot, but not all. This is evidenced but my previous desire to get a couple of Gary Numan/Tubeway Army albums on vinyl, namely ‘The Pleasure Principle’ and ‘Replicas’. What happened next is a manifestation of my incompletism, which may very well be an ilness. I went a bit obsessive. It’s calmed down a bit now, but it isn’t over. So this is what I ended up getting, remember, I started out wanting two:

Now, I’ve spoken before about how Numan somehow never manages to be cool and there has been ridicule over the years, however, he has put out some great albums over the last few years that, sadly, have been mostly ignored. Take ‘Pure’ as an example, it really is some of the best music he’s ever done (mine is a double in red vinyl, lovely thing) which goes back as far as 2000. Have a listen, it’s really very good:

Ok, maybe this will work better:

Gary Numan – Guitar, Keyboards, Programming, vocals
Richard Beasley – drums
Steve Harris – Guitar
Rob Holliday – Guitar, Keyboards
Monti – Drums, Keyboards, Programming

The album received mixed reviews, from rather scathing to warm, which is a shame, but there seem to have been sections of the media that have never taken to Numan. Jumping back a little further, there is ‘Exile’, which is worth having just for the track ‘Dead Heaven’, one of my favourites, but the whole album is good.

Gary Numan – vocals, producer, keyboards, guitar, engineer, mixing
Mike Smith – keyboards
Rob Harris – guitar

Here is Numan the one time I’ve seen him live back in 2011, two of the musicians didn’t turn up but they carried on regardless, was a good gig.

Chances are I’ll pick up a few more, bound to happen really.

What’s in the bag (9)

IMAG0451The press in the late 70’s and early 80’s never really took to Gary Numan, in fact, they bloody well hated him. It’s difficult to be sure quite why they did, but he was so vilified that they didn’t seem to rest until they had indoctrinated the record buying public into believing that it was actually wrong to like him, wrong to like his music, and, eventually, when he was at his lowest commercial and creative ebb, they ignored him. In many ways, this was worse as, in their opinion, he was not doing anything that was even worthy of comment. It was their vilification that was partially responsible for the reduction in quality of his output, they got what they wanted.

It is not unfair to say that ‘Middle Period’ Numan is at very best, patchy, although Numan himself is rather more scathing about his own releases from this period. I remember a guy in Didcot, when I was nearing the end of my school life, who was a Numanoid. He wore make up and a Numanesque boiler suit, he really did look a total dick. Despite this, it was good that he had his own thing, sort of. So many of us at that time were somewhat lacking in identity, drifting from one thing to the other whilst trying to like the same things as our friends liked. It took guts to walk through the park past a group of lads who were laughing at him in his ridiculous clothes (and they were ridiculous, in that setting), so fair play to him.

So what’s in the bag? Back to the beginning (almost, as this is the second album), to 1979, ‘Tubeway Army’ and ‘Replicas’.

IMAG0480

 

Obviously this has ‘Are Friends Electric?’, the breakthrough song and the one, along with ‘Cars’ that is most often referenced and best remembered, but this is not one of those albums that has the big hit and a load of filler.

“Me! I Disconnect from You” – 3:23
“Are ‘Friends’ Electric?” – 5:25
“The Machman” – 3:08
“Praying to the Aliens” – 4:00
“Down in the Park” – 4:24
“You Are in My Vision” – 3:15
“Replicas” – 5:01
“It Must Have Been Years” – 4:02
“When the Machines Rock” – 3:15
“I Nearly Married a Human” – 6:31

Of the above the two other stand out tracks for me are the opener, ‘Me! I Disconnect from You’ and, with what must surely be some of the darkest lyrics of the time, ‘Down in the Park’:

Down in the park where the machmen meet
The machines are playing ‘Kill-by-numbers’
Down in the park with a friend called ‘Five’

I was in a car crash or was it the war?
Well, I’ve never been quite the same
Little white lies like I was there

Come to Zom-Zom’s, a place to eat
Like it was built in one day
You can watch the humans try to run

Oh, look, there’s a rape machine
I’d go outside if it looks the other way
You wouldn’t believe the things they do

Down in the park where the chant is death, death, death
Until’ the sun cries mornin’
Down in the park with friends of mine

We are not lovers, we are not romantics
We are here to serve you
A different face but the words never change

Apparently Numan took short stories that he had written and turned them into songs, or based songs on them. Which is where this one came from and explains the theme of the album as a whole.

All the other tracks stand up in their own right and create a really solid album where everything has its place and is in it’s place. By design or accident it is a fabulously constructed album, which could even be considered one of the dreaded ‘concept’ albums, and part of this concept is the coldness of it, the distance and the space, perhaps the sense that the narrator in the songs is always outside looking in.

I’ve rambled on enough, have a listen (the first 10 tracks are what’s on the vinyl).

9.1/10