Music / The Buggles

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/buggles78-2_3009.jpg
Geoff Downes (left) and Trevor Horn (right)
I heard you on my wireless back in '52,
Lyin' awake intent on tuning in on you,
If I was young it didn't stop you coming through,
Oh a oh
"Video Killed the Radio Star"

The Buggles were a band from 1977 to 1982, recognized for the first video played on MTV, 1979's "Video Killed the Radio Star". Its members include Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes. Band friend and songwriter Bruce Woolley was also integral early on, co-writing "Video" and "Clean Clean". They released only two albums, The Age of Plastic in 1980 and Adventures in Modern Recording in 1981.

Riding high on the success of The Age of Plastic, the band were asked by their management to write for the band Yes, which culminated in Yes' 1980 album Drama including Horn and Downes as members. After Yes broke up in 1981, Horn released Adventures as a glorified solo act while Downes went on to form the Progressive Rock band Asia. Horn would become one of the music industry's most in-demand producers and helped shaped the characteristic sound of 1980s pop music as the mastermind behind ZTT Records and its signees, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Propaganda, The Art of Noise and more.


Adventures in Modern Troping:

  • All There in the Manual: The instrumental coda to "Video Killed the Radio Star" is indexed on an album sampler as "Polythene Symphonia".
  • End of an Age: "Video Killed the Radio Star" (for radio), "Elstree" (for the British film industry).
  • Foreshadowing: The bass-heavy "I Love You (Miss Robot)" points towards their later contributions to the Yes album Drama, which is stylistically similar.
  • Kiss Me, I'm Virtual: "I Love You (Miss Robot)".
  • I Am the Band: Adventures in Modern Recording is pretty much a Trevor Horn solo album, as Geoff Downes had joined Asia.
  • Iconic Item: Trevor Horn's glasses, to the point where the cover of Adventures in Modern Recording features them prominently as a hint that Horn basically was The Buggles at that point.
  • Imaginary Friend: "Kid Dynamo" has the titular character, a fictitious creation remembered by an adult whose over-exposure to media as a child has him recalling Dynamo into action on a daily basis.
  • Lead Bassist: Trevor Horn.
  • Lyrical Dissonance (if not outright Hypocritical Humor): Pretty much their entire output was synthesised shiny hypermodern machine pop... bemoaning the impact of technology on modern life.
  • New Technology Is Evil: The world outlook on The Age of Plastic is depression and disappointment with the embracement of technology at that time in society.
  • Raygun Gothic: Most of their lyrics.
  • Shout-Out: "Video Killed the Radio Star" is based on the short story "The Sound-Sweep" by J.G. Ballard, about a mute boy who "vacuums up" sound in a future where ultra-sonic sound has replaced audible, regular sound, happening upon an opera singer in an abandoned theatre.
  • Spell My Name with a "The": They did, though whoever designed their sleeves didn't always (both albums notably just feature "Buggles" on them.)
  • Spiritual Successor: Two albums by Yes are essentially Buggles albums, rendering them "Yes In-Name-Only":
    • 1980's Drama featured unused Buggles tunes "White Car" and "Into the Lens", the latter of which becoming an actual Buggles tune, "I Am a Camera", a year later. Though production is credited to "Yes and Eddie Offord", it's very clear that Horn was behind the boards the whole time.
    • 2011's Fly from Here featured Downes playing keyboards, with Horn producing the album and providing backing vocals, and is largely made up of unused Buggles songs: the "Fly from Here" suite includes two Buggles originals ("We Can Fly"; "Sad Night at the Airfield") and new sections written alongside Yes' Chris Squire and Steve Howe; and "Life on a Film Set". All three of those songs were originally written in 1980, with a live recording of "We Can Fly" from 1980 appearing on live album The Word Is Live.)
  • Title Track: Played with "Living in the Plastic Age" on The Age of Plastic. Played straight on Adventures In Modern Recording.

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