Thursday, December 27, 2012

Island Records: Video Killed The Radio Star

It wasn’t the first recording of the song, but The Buggles’ release of “Video Killed the Radio Star” did better than Bruce Woolley and the Camera Club’s version that was issued several months earlier. The song was co-written by Woolley and the two members of The Buggles: Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes. This Island Record release was also issued twice – originally in 1979 where it charted at #40 and later in 1983 when it failed to chart.

The second release of the song was issued by Island Records to capitalize on the popularity of the song’s video on MTV. It is reported that The Buggles version was the first video to be played on the popular music television network when it debuted in 1981.

To get the telephonic sound on the lead vocals, Horn’s voice was passed through a Vox guitar amp, compressed, and equalized. Partially due to the success of “Video Killed the Radio Star,” both members of the band were asked to join Yes to replace Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman who exited the band in 1980. They recorded one album with Yes, "Drama," which did not have the success of Yes’ previous recordings.

When Yes broke up after the release of "Drama," Downes formed Asia with Yes guitarist Steve Howe, bassist John Wetton and Carl Palmer. Downes later rejoined Yes in 2011. While not a performing member of Yes when it reformed in 1983, Horn remained as a studio sideman and producer through 1987. He resumed this role in Yes from 2010 to 2011.

The name The Buggles was a play on The Beatles with the initial reference of “bugs” referring to the term given to electrical issues that occur occasionally during recording.

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