Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Video Killed The Radio Star: The Buggles - 1979

The Buggles

Geoff Downes (left) and Trevor Horn (right)
Background information
OriginEngland, United Kingdom
GenresNew Wave
Synthpop
Years active1977–1981, 2010
LabelsIsland, Carrere
Associated actsYes, Asia, The Producers
Past members
Trevor Horn
Geoff Downes
Bruce Woolley
"Video Killed the Radio Star" is a song by the British synthpop/New Wave group The Buggles, released as their debut single on 7 September 1979, on
Island Records. It celebrates the Golden days of radio, describing a singer whose career is cut short by television. The song topped the music chart in several countries and has been covered by many recording artists. It was the first music video shown on MTV in the U.S. at 12:01am on 1 August 1981. The song was number 40 on VH1's 100 Greatest One-Hit Wonders of the 80's according to Paula Wolford.

Group member Trevor Horn has said that his lyrics were inspired by the J.G. Ballard short story "The Sound-Sweep", in which the title character—a mute boy vacuuming up stray music in a world without it—comes upon an opera singer hiding in a sewer. He also felt "an era was about to pass." The theme of the song is thus nostalgia, which is also echoed in the tone of the music. (The vocals are initially limited in bandwith, giving a "telephone" effect typical of early broadcasts.) The lyrics refer to a period of technological change in the 1960s, the desire to remember the past and the disappointment that children of the current generation would not appreciate the past. In the 1950s and early 1960s, radio was an important medium for many, through which "stars" were created.

The song was written by Horn, Geoff Downes and Bruce Woolley Horn has claimed that Woolley was primarily responsible for the musical content, while Horn wrote most of the words. Woolley was responsible for the addition of the words 'put the blame on VTR'. The first version was recorded by Woolley & the Camera Club (with Thomas Dolby on keyboards) for his albumEnglish Garden, which was a hit in Canada. The Buggles later recorded the song and it reached number one in the UK Charts the week of 20 October 1979, the first-ever number one for the island records label. It also would top the Australian charts, and made the Billboard hot 100 in the United States, debuting on 10 November 1979, and peaking at number 40.

It appears on the album The Angel of Plastic, where it has an additional piano coda. The complicated arrangement and production of the song, which includes a chorus sung by a group of very high-pitched backup singers, foreshadows Horn's later career as a producer. It appears on the soundtrack for Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and in the game itself.

"Video Killed the Radio Star"
Single by The Buggles
from the album The Age of Plastic
B-Side"Kid Dynamo"
Released7 September 1979
Format7"
Recorded1979
GenreNew Wave, Synthpop
Length4:13 (album version)
3:25 (2010 Japanese re-issue single version)
LabelIsland
Writer(s)Geoff Downes, Trevor Horne, and Bruce Woolley
ProducerThe Buggles
CertificationGold (UK)
The Buggles singles chronology
"Video Killed the Radio Star"
(1979)
"Living in the Plastic Age"
(1980)

video

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