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Music / Be-Bop Deluxe

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The best-known lineup. Left to right: Bill Nelson (vocals and guitar), Charles Tumahai (bass), Andy Clark (keyboards), Simon Fox (drums).

Be-Bop Deluxe was a British Progressive Rock/Glam Rock band active from 1973 to 1978. Led by singer/guitar god Bill Nelson, the band basically split up when he decided not to do it anymore.

Their sound can be described (for the most part) as dreamy, measured, precise and melodic while alternating between mellow and aggressive. David Bowie, Jimi Hendrix and Roxy Music are obvious influences, but the band has a sound all their own. Unlike many other prog-rock artists, Nelson and Be-Bop Deluxe were intrigued by Post-Punk and New Wave Music, and incorporated both styles in their music by the time of their final album.

After disbanding Be-Bop Deluxe, Bill Nelson went on to form the short lived Red Noise before embarking on a solo career. He also became a producer, co-producing the first album for A Flock of Seagulls and Warrior by Gary Numan.


Studio Discography:

  • Axe Victim (1974)
  • Futurama (1975)
  • Sunburst Finish (1976)
  • Modern Music (1976)
  • Drastic Plastic (1978)

Live Discography:

  • Live! In the Air Age (1977)

"Between the tropes I go, I go":

  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Their first album (Axe Victim) is a more straightforward glam rock album as opposed to their later prog efforts. The fact that the line-up except for Nelson was completely different may have something to do with it.
  • Fading into the Next Song: On Futurama, "Between the Worlds" fades into "Swan Song".
  • Idiosyncratic Cover Art: One CD edition of the above albums when lined up spelled B E * B O P on the top of the spines and D E L U X E at the bottom.
  • Power Trio: The band was this for the Futurama album, when the lineup consisted of Nelson (who doubled on guitar and keyboards as well as singing) and the rhythm section of bassist Charles Tumahai and drummer Simon Fox. Afterwards, keyboardist Andy Clark (who was already augmenting this lineup on stage) joined full-time, completing the classic lineup that lasted for the rest of the group's career.
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  • Raygun Gothic: A common aesthetic in the band's artwork and lyrics, as well as Bill Nelson's solo works.
  • Shout-Out: The cover of Live! In the Air Age is a still from Metropolis.
  • Title Track: Axe Victim and Modern Music have them. Live! In the Air Age, named after the song "Life in the Air Age'', plays with the trope.