The Buggles ~ Video Killed The Radio Star 1979 Disco Purrfection Version

  • Published on:  Friday, November 1, 2019
  • "Video Killed The Radio Star" is my favorite single of 1979. It entered the chart on November 10, 1979 and instantly fell in love with it. I was out at the club when this was teased with the "oh a oh" over The Flying Lizard's "Money" break to let me know it was coming up. I wondered what the hell it was, cos it was so bright and unexpected! The next thing I know the Lizards faded out quickly as the piano riff for "Video" opened up and the club went dark with a little white light ray blinked around the floor and then went full on after the piano and vocal led into the booming disco beat and I was in heaven! Gawd it was almost an out of body experience. I heard it so many times over that Christmas break and played the crap out of the single. It is a new wave song that topped the charts around the world and has become an anthem since then. Geoff Downes and Trevor Horn formed the band in London during 1977. This was their debut single for the album that was released the following year, "The Age of Plastic". They came up with the name Buggles after naming themselves "The Bugs" a reference to the studio insects that caused havoc with the recordings (ie spanner in the works). Taking a cue from the Beatles, the name was adjusted to Buggles and they were off. Horn was a jingle writer and performer who also produced punk rock bands. Downes was a keyboardist who met Horn at an audition for Tina Charles backing band. Bruce Woolley joined them for these sessions. Indian producer Biddu (Carl Douglas - Kung Fu Fighting, #1) was working with Charles and they learned all they could from him. Working on various demos to secure a record deal, they began work on "Video Killed" thanks to Charles who sang on the demo and financed the recording session . Linda Jardim is the female voice they chose and her performance helped The Buggles attain greatness. They approached various labels but had no takers, and tried Island Records three times before Chris Blackwell heard the song and rushed to sign them. Woolley decided to leave the band shortly before the song was finalized and did end up releasing his own version of "Video" with Camera Club, but it was shaded by the Buggles version. Critics sided with Woolley's version as truer to the written song but acknowledge that The Buggles production was high quality. Of course, the sonically vivid electronic sounds Horn came up with were aimed at the clubs and radio. Woolley's version is more heartfelt and gentle. The Buggles created a worldwide smash, topping the chart in 16 countries except in the US where it barely made the top 40 by peaking at #40, making them a one hit wonder there. The band was usurped by the supergroup Yes in 1981 to replace the departed Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman. The results were not spectacular, so Horn decided to reconvene Buggles for a second LP "Adventures In Modern Recording" which resulted in the lovably goofy "On TV". However, Downes left Horn alone in the studio and went on to form Asia. Horn forged ahead and completed the album, but it was the last breath for the band. Horn went on to become the producer of Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Grace Jones, Art Of Noise, the reconstituted Yes (Owner Of A Lonely Heart, #1) Art of Noise and most notably ABC (The Look Of Love). His experimentation during the era of the Buggles is what gave him the experience. The Buggles reunited with Downes and Woolley in 2004 to perform "Video Killed the Radio Star" for a one off show. In 2010 they performed The Age Of Plastic in its entirety with Woolley joining Horn on the vocals for Clean Clean. 2011 saw another reunion and in 2013 Downes spoke of yet another reunion show which led to a 2016 studio session. Horn says the idea behind The Buggles was the use of technology as an art form. My version has added on a coda of the instrumental Polythene Symphonia at the end that was recorded for the original, but cut from the single and album version upon release. I think it lends a wistful air to a song that reminisces about the past. Here is my gift to you, the most wonderful song from 1979. A testament to its power was its use as the first video on MTV on August 1, 1981.
  • Source: