Gary Numan is widely considered as one of the leading innovators of commercial electronic music. As the frontman, chief songwriter and producer of the band Tubeway Army, Gary Numan introduced science fiction themed pop music to the masses, hits like ‘Are Friends Electric’ and ‘Cars’, made Numan a star at home in the UK and across the pond in the United States. Numan's quirky lyrics and ahead of its time production gave him a musical lane of his own, that certified Numan as the undoubted Shah of synth-pop.
Numan was born Gary Anthony James Webb, on the 8th of March 1958, in Hammersmith, West London. Numan began playing the guitar at a young age, all of which quenched his thirst for mainstream chart success. Before Numan was 21 he signed a record deal with Beggars Banquet (One of the UK’s most successful independent record labels and home to the Prodigy, Adele and formally Dizzee Rascal) alongside his band Tubeway Army. His early recordings were not synth based, on the contrary they portrayed more of a punk theme musically, the groups self-titled debut LP was not considered a success. However, Tubeway Army’s sophomore LP ‘Replicas’, became Numan’s first chart success, as the album topped the charts in 1979, alongside the hit single ‘Are Friends Electric’. Less than a year later, Numan topped the charts again, this time without the help of his bandmates, with the iconic ‘Cars’; the song also reached the top ten in the US. His debut (The Pleasure Principle) and sophomore (Telekon) albums also topped the UK album charts.
Numan is rarely seen in the limelight unless it is in connection with his music; many artists including Basement Jaxx, Armand Van-helden and the Sugababes have sampled his music, the Sugababes topped the charts with a remix of ‘Are Friends Electric’. Numan continues to produce and write music twenty years after signing his first record deal, fans wait with anticipation for the new album ‘The Dead Son Rising’, history tells us that Gary Numan will not disappoint.
Segun Murray Ogunsheye
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