Every now and then you hear a sound in a song, a riff, a baseline and it just makes your mind go HUH?
Have I heard that before??
Remember the whole Queen vs Vanilla Ice thing.
Sampling. It was a thing. These days only the rich artists who can afford the rights do much sampling. You could say that the Vanilla Ice thing seemed to usher in its downward spiral. Whether do do do da dado da and do do da do da dado da were fundamentally the same or not was irrelevant really.
That whole thing popped into my head as I was listening to Gary Numan’s Telekon album.
Now, I love Gary Numan, but the brain tilt that happened when I heard the beginning of the song “Remind Me To Smile” was immense. I know that opening synth phrase!
It took me a moment, but I figured it out. It is almost the same as Blondie’s “Heart Of Glass” opening from Parallel Lines:
So weird. Apparently this was a sound created by a Roland CR-78 and many bands were using it, so it was probably less of a copying the same sound as it was experimentation and adopting a similar sound organically as it fit the sound of the time.
Then suddenly I wondered who was there first. Turns out Gary’s album was out in 1979 and Blondie’s in 1978. So they beat him. Although it can be said that Gary Numan took it to a whole other level and made electronic music a cornerstone of his sound.
At this point I need to take a moment to recommend Gary Numan’s first 2 albums which had the moniker Tubeway Army. Especially this one:
This album blew my mind. I love it. The second Tubeway Army album “Replicas” is also fantastic. Rush out and buy them now.
On a tangential rant against Spotify… why are the Blondie albums “Parallel Lines” and “Eat To The Beat” not on Spotify? Sigh. I have to believe there is some corporate licensing reason, because at least “Parallel Lines” was a blockbuster for them.
The rabbit hole grabbed me then and I ended up listening to Debbie Harry “Kookoo”. This was Debbie’s first solo album. I had the tape.
I recall liking this tape and I have some very specific memories of listening to this in the student union on my headphones and tuning out the world. The lighthearted and poppy, even a little 70’s white rappy attitude it had was perfect for the time. I loved “The Jam Was Moving” which was SO not Blondie.
“CRAZY CRAZY CRAZY!!” You feel me.
You go Debbie.