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Meet Gary Numan [PHOTOS/VIDEOS]

Gary Numan_Cars_45
My 1980 vintage “Cars” 45…complete with “record insert!” (Craig Allen photo)

Gary Numan achieved his greatest success in 1979…and 1980 in America…and is considered a pioneer of commercial electronic music!

Gary Anthony James Webb was born in Hammersmith, England on March 8, 1958.

His father was a British Airways bus driver, based at Heathrow Airport.

Gary attended a technical college as a teen, and joined the Air Training Corps. Some of his later jobs included: fork lift truck driver, air conditioning ventilator fitter, and clerk in an accounting department.

On the musical side of his life, Gary Numan’s father gave him a Gibson Les Paul guitar, when he was 15…one of his most-treasured possessions to this day!

He was soon playing in local bands, including “Mean Street” and the “Lasers.”

Gary Numan formed his own band, “Tubeway Army,” with his uncle, Jess Lidyard, and Paul Gardiner.

Initially, he called himself “Valerian,” while he was playing with the band…later, he picked the name “Numan” out of the yellow pages…where he spotted “A. Neumann,” Plumber.

As the main singer for Tubeway Army, plus their songwriter and producer, Numan started to gather a loyal following by the late 1970s.

After putting together an album’s worth of punk-influenced songs, Tubeway Army was signed to a small label in 1978. Their debut singles, “That’s Too Bad,” and “Bombers” failed to chart.

The self-titled, new wave “Tubeway Army” album, in 1978, didn’t spawn any hit singles either…but it introduced Numan to the world of synthesizers, a new-found passion.

The next album, “Replicas,” went to #1 in England in 1979, at the same time that the single “Are Friends Electric?” went to #1. The song did not chart in the U.S….

But Gary Numan was poised for success! On BOTH sides of the Atlantic!

“The Pleasure Principle” album was released as a Gary Numan album in 1979.

“Cars” would go to #1 in Britain in 1979…it would soar to #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 (U.S.) charts…in 1980.

Hence, Gary Numan is a “Saturday Night Jersey 80s” artist on New Jersey 101.5!

“Cars” is a song about how people use technology and material goods (like cars) to isolate themselves from others…

“The Pleasure Principle” album is described as a rock album without guitars! Instead, Numan used synthesizers fed through guitar effects pedals, in order to achieve a distorted, phased, metallic tone.

Sadly, this was Gary Numan’s only appearance on the pop charts in America!

Among the places in American pop culture over the years where “Cars” has show up: Grand Theft Auto video games, on TV, its been used in “The Simpsons,” “Family Guy” and “Two And A Half Men.” Both Oldsmobile and Nissan have used the song in commercials to SELL cars.

Gary Numan remains a vital music force in England and throughout Europe…touring through the decades to support hit records, and putting out 17 additional albums to date, including the 2013 release “Splinter (Songs from A Broken Mind).” He continues to have somewhat of a cult following in England.

In his personal life, Numan describes himself as a “positive atheist.”

He married a member of his fan club, Gemma O’Neill, in 1997. They have three children.

After being harassed during the England riots of 2011, Numan decided to move his family to America. They have lived in the Los Angeles suburbs for the past 2 years.

What else is Gary Numan up to? Check out his official website by clicking here!

 

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