Tubeway Army 1 Blee album

Tubeway Army is the name of a new wave post-punk group formed by Gary Numan, Jess Lidyard and Paul Gardiner active from 1976. The group initially released two singles, That's Too Bad and Bombers, as a four piece with Sean Burke on guitar and Barry Benn replacing Lidyard, on the Beggars Banquet label in 1978. An eponymous debut album, also known as 'The Blue Album' due to it being initially pressed on blue vinyl, followed, in November of the same year, recorded by the original Numan / Lidyard / Gardiner line-up and with all songwriting and production by Numan.

Although the group's recorded output failed to gain any major success, it typically gained the attention of John Peel who featured the singles and the album as soon as it was released. He also invited the group to do a session for his show in January 1979. The session featured three new tracks and crucially a more electronic sound which songwriter Numan claims to have developed after discovering a Moog synthesizer 'by chance' in the recording studio. The songs, which also featured an overall science fiction concept, which had also been hinted upon in the debut album, would go on to appear on the new album Replicas, released in April 1979. Peel was again one of the first to feature the album on his show but it was the second single taken from the album Are 'Friends' Electric? which gained wider radio play and became a surprise no.1 hit in the UK for four weeks in June, a success replicated by the album. The success had been fuelled by a groundbreaking performance on Top of the Pops on 24 May 1979 when the single was still at no.48 and a

Smash Hits June 28 - July 11, 1979 - p.01 Numan cover

live performance of two tracks on the Old Grey Whistle Test just two days earlier. In the meantime the group had been invited by Peel to record a second session, recorded on 29 May 1979 and broadcast on 25 June 1979, the day before Are 'Friends' Electric reached the no.1 spot in the UK.

Although the line-up had now expanded to a five-piece with Chris Payne and Billy Currie (biding his time with Ultravox) on keyboards and new drummer Cedric Sharpley, by this time, it had become clear that enigmatic lead singer and frontman Numan would be dissolving the group to embark on a solo career. Presenting the new session, Peel in fact refers to the group as 'Gary Numan's Tubeway Army' stating that this was "his/their fist session".[1] Numan's transition to solo artist was all but complete during the summer. The session featured four tracks which would appear on Numan's first solo album The Pleasure Principle in September 1979, including the future no.1 single Cars.

Replicas live 2008

Live work

Aside from a few early gigs, the Peel sessions and OGWT performance Tubeway Army never played live, partly due to Numan's dislike of the live 'pub' scene so popular with post-punk groups, partly due to technical limitations when the sound was more synthesiser-oriented, and also due to Numan's fear of audiences which resulted in developing his seemingly 'cold' and 'android-like' stage persona which had been so striking on TOTP. Early tracks such as Bombers, The Dream Police, and several tracks from Replicas such Down in the Park and Me, I Disconnect From You later became a part of Numan's live set as a solo artist starting from September 1979. The second Tubeway Army album was performed live in its entirety by Numan in 2008, as documented by the Replicas Live album.[2]

Significant dates

  • February 1978: Debut single That's Too Bad / Oh! Didn't I Say released on beggars Baquet records. Featured by John Peel.
  • July 1978: second single Bombers b/w Blue Eyes, O.D. Receiver. Also featured by Peel.
  • 24 November 1978: eponymous debut album released.
  • 10 January 1979: first John Peel session recorded, broadcast on 16 January 1979.[3] Three new tracks: Me I Disconnect From You / Down In The Park / I Nearly Married A Human.
  • March 1979: new single Down in the Park b/w Do You Need The Service? released.
  • April 1979: new album Replicas released.
  • 04 May 1979: new single Are 'Friends' Electric released.
  • 22 May 1979: performance of Down in the Park and Are Friends Electric? on OGWT. [4]
  • 24 May 1979: First performance of Are 'Friends' Electric? by Tubeway Army on TOTP.
  • 29 May 1979: Tubeway Army record second session for John Peel.[5] The four tracks will later appear on Gary Numan's first solo album in September.
  • 31 May 1979: Smash Hits review Are 'Friends' Electric?: "Gripping stuff but cheerful it isn't"
  • 07 June 1979: second outing for Are Friends Electric? on TOTP with the single now at no.20.
  • 14 June 1979: repeat of above. Single now Top 10 at no.7. Smash Hits print the song lyrics and finally review the Replicas album with 8/10 score.
  • 26 June 1979: Are 'Friends' Electric? reaches no. 1 position in the UK. The Peel session is broadcast the night before.
  • 28 June 1979: Numan on the cover of Smash Hits.[6] Tubeway Army on TOTP in no. 1 position.
  • 04 August 1979: first two Tubeway Army singles and debut album re-released. [7] The album enters the UK Charts reaching a peak position of no.14 four weeks later.[8]
  • September 1984: Retrospective compilation album of previously unreleased demo recordings The Plan is released by Beggars Banquet under the name of Gary Numan/Tubeway Army. The album performed better in the UK charts than Numan's solo contemporaneous album Berserker.
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