Following on from M who I looked back at recently, this is another group who found fame in the 70s with a song that would help to set the shape of early-80s music (I have no idea what that means, but it is a rather good turn of phrase). Buggles are a British production group who formed in the late-70s, and consisted of Trevor and Geoff. They hit the big time almost straight away.
In September 1979 “Video Killed The Radio Star” was released. This was their biggest hit single by some distance, this was a chart-topper in the UK for one week, and this was also their only Top 40 hit in America. This has been a hugely influential song, which has been covered by lots of groups. And of course, in August 1981, this was the first-ever video to be shown on MTV. This was such a clever idea, I can only hope that whoever thought of this got a pay rise.
They did go on to have some more hits, but their fame dropped off fairly quickly. Next in January 1980 was “The Plastic Age”, which reached no. 16. Not long after, their debut album “The Age Of Plastic” made the Top 30. Next in April 1980 was “Clean Clean” which made no. 38, and this would be the final time that they made the Top 40.
And in November 1980, “Elstree” reached only no. 55. Looking back at some of these songs now, they really do come across as so futuristic, so pioneering, this was a time when listeners really hadn’t heard anything like this before, there was something of a “this is what life will be like in the year 2000” tone to it, which must’ve been very exciting. It makes it all the more surprising that their final hit was barely a year after their first.
They did continue for a while yet though. in 1981, their second and final album “Adventures In Modern Recording” didn’t make the chart, and some more singles, including “On TV”, were released, the last being in 1982. After this, the members of Buggles have gone on to work on several other musical projects, with Trevor especially being a hugely successful producer.
“Video Killed The Radio Star” is a song that has deservedly endured. And it would seem that the talent runs in the family, because in 2012 Trevor’s son contributed to a chart-topping single, placing the two of them on a rather short list of a father and son who have achieved this in the UK. I suppose that a little of the production magic rubbed off on the next generation.