Lion of the Blogosphere

The Buggles – Video Killed The Radio Star (Live 2004)

This is maybe the best concert video I’ve ever seen. One of the most iconic one-hit wonders, The Buggles, play their first live concert 25 years after recording the song whose music video became the first video ever played on MTV.

I like this live rendition better than the original studio recording. The lead singer is more mellow, and his voice is better without the tacky “futuristic” sound effects.

This was at an event sponsored by Prince Charles’ charity, which is why you see Prince Charles in the first row.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

May 28, 2018 at EDT pm

Posted in Music videos

38 Responses

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  1. I didn’t watch MTV when it first arrived but I remember shortly thereafter being startled by the relative collapse of what I considered the still rising group of new artists of quality, Elvis Costello/Nick Lowe/Talking Heads, in favor of acts I considered utter rubbish, Madonna/Hair bands. Now we see the dominance of pretty but useless singer-songwriters (Taylor Swift?) and a comparative desert of good new song of the sort previously written and performed by less attractive women (King/Nyro/Mitchell/Cass). I suspect a connection.

    Curle

    May 28, 2018 at EDT pm

    • Hey whoah, whoah, whoah. Taylor Swift is all right.

      Two in the Bush

      May 28, 2018 at EDT pm

  2. Geoff Downes, one of the members of The Buggles, later went on to found the progressive rock supergroup Asia.

    Oswald Spengler

    May 28, 2018 at EDT pm

    • OMG. I just googled that after listening to the first part of the Buggles vid. The start of the verse for each song sounds almost identical.

      trey

      May 28, 2018 at EDT pm

    • That’s an interesting tidbit. I am knowledgeable about music but never knew that.

      Jay Fink

      May 28, 2018 at EDT pm

    • What is a “supergroup”?

      J1

      May 30, 2018 at EDT am

      • You could Google for the definition. A group of people who were previously in other successful groups.

  3. I wouldn’t be surprised if they cheated somehow. The sound sounds pretty close to studio quality.

    fortaleza84

    May 28, 2018 at EDT pm

    • “I wouldn’t be surprised if they cheated somehow. The sound sounds pretty close to studio quality.”

      It does seem amazing that the backing singers sound EXACTLY the same. Surely a person’s voice changes a little in thirty years?

      prolier than thou

      May 28, 2018 at EDT pm

      • It looks like there are a couple younger backup singers on stage, but yeah it does sound pretty close to the original.

        Anyway, I’m not an audio engineer, but from what I understand, recording studios have foam on the walls so that sound won’t echo off and make the recording less crisp. By contrast, a live venue has a lot of hard surfaces, not to mention ambient noise from concert-goers, so I would think that it would be difficult or impossible to achieve the sound quality of a studio.

        Also, in a studio you can re-record until things are close to perfect; you can even re-record certain tracks and combine those later.

        The upshot of this is that the studio version of a song usually sounds a lot better than a live version. Which is why I am suspicious, since this supposedly live version sounds really really good.

        fortaleza84

        May 29, 2018 at EDT am

      • Even live recordings need to be mixed, and depending how it’s done it can greatly change how a song comes off. You can see this at the end, where a single piano is overpowering an entire orchestra. That’s a mixing decision. The people in the hall didn’t necessarily hear what we’re hearing.

        Richard

        May 29, 2018 at EDT am

    • Yes, I was wondering the same… too good to be true? The sound and singing is very good, and the lead says they haven’t played it in public for 25 years!

      Steverino@steverino.com

      May 28, 2018 at EDT pm

      • Actually, he meant that they NEVER played it in public, they only recorded the song in studio and never did concerts.

  4. I just died In your arms live 2002 with FULL orchestra:

    guest

    May 28, 2018 at EDT pm

  5. I watched the very same video a few weeks ago and had the same reaction as you. It’s a really good quality recording.

    What do you suppose happened after this clip ends? Does Buggles say ‘and now for a song off our latest album…’ followed by a mass stampede for the exits? I’ve always liked the song, but there was never any part of me that ever thought ‘this Buggles intrigues me, I must explore his oeuvre’. I’m not even sure if he has any oeuvre.

    It’s not exactly a novelty song like The Firm’s Star Trekkin’ but in your heart you knew you were never going to see Buggles again, except on future nostalgia tv shows (or for the really far sighted, middle-aged 21st century bloggers blogs).

    All this talk of 80’s one hit wonders inspired me to watch the video to the ‘Lambada’ song. I did not remember that the video is about an angry dad trying to stop his little daughter dancing the Lambada with a horrible ethnically-challenged street urchin kid. Surprisingly, the whole racial angle must have passed me by when I watched it first time around. Bigger things to worry about I suppose.

    prolier than thou

    May 28, 2018 at EDT pm

    • “What do you suppose happened after this clip ends?”

      They walked off stage. They played two songs, and that’s it. There were several other bands at the concert.

      ALL of the bands at the concert, however, were bands that Trevor Horn, the lead singer, was involved with, mostly as a producer.

    • They have at least a couple other good songs:

      And JS’ official song:

      All of those wild American bilinguals
      Who’ll talk to you in Paris of their lonely lives
      School days and last days out there in the Midwest
      They climb on the liners to rejoin their wives

      Walking down boulevards electric eyes
      Would gaze at the waveforms and gasp at their size
      Let them be lonely and say you don’t care

      Astroboy… (I’m watching the proles on parade)
      Astroboy… (I’m watching the proles on parade)

      Ulla with blond hair
      Would stand by your side
      And the friends who were hungry
      Could swallow your pride
      Chromium headsets, their video screens
      Would show pictures of helplessness
      Old kings and queens

      Radio stations that fade as in dust
      All their transmitters are crumbling with rust
      Let them be broken and say you don’t care

      Astroboy… (I’m watching the proles on parade)
      Astroboy… (I’m watching the proles on parade)
      Astroboy… (I’m watching the proles on parade)
      Let them be broken and say you don’t care
      Astroboy… (I’m watching the proles on parade)

      snorlaxwp

      May 28, 2018 at EDT pm

      • So I came to the conclusion that NYC is the only place that has any lasting status in America. It represents the home of our 1% elites, DC is their lawyer’s office, the Bay Area is a home for their well paid employees who create value for them, and Southern California is their sunny getaway.

        The rest of America is just a place for proles.

        JS

        May 28, 2018 at EDT pm

  6. This is maybe the best concert video I’ve ever seen.

    Stop Making Sense ?

    snorlaxwp

    May 28, 2018 at EDT pm

  7. I try to listen to an 80’s hour they play on the radio while at at work each day. I still generally prefer the more guitar-oriented 80’s music, but have learned to appreciate the more synth/keyboards-driven (usually British) stuff that was mad popular in the early 80’s.

    My two faves I think are Talk Talk’s It’s My Life and the one where the guy and girl trade verses about what they thought their relationship was (I can’t think the name now but it’s very famous). Also Spandau Ballet’s True is a top-flight rep of the early 80’s Brit blue-eyed soul-ish genre.

    trey

    May 28, 2018 at EDT pm

    • the one where the guy and girl trade verses about what they thought their relationship was (I can’t think the name now but it’s very famous).

      The Human League, “Don’t You Want Me”. The girl singer has a very prole voice. According to Wikipedia the only jobs she’s ever had besides singer are hairdresser and ice cream salesgirl.

      Richard

      May 28, 2018 at EDT pm

      • I’ve noted many times that actors and actresses come from rich backgrounds, but musicians from poor backgrounds.

  8. Propaganda- another Trevor Horn band- first heard this used over a basketball scene in a Miami Vice episode

    dried peanuts

    May 28, 2018 at EDT pm

  9. I like music played with unusual instruments:

    There once was a Royal Marine
    Who tried to fart God Save the Queen.
    When he reached the soprano
    Out came the guano
    And his drawers were a sight to be seen.

    Peter

    ironrailsironweights

    May 28, 2018 at EDT pm

  10. dried peanuts

    May 28, 2018 at EDT pm

  11. Off Topic: Here’s an interesting article on widening class inequality in the June 2018 issue of The Atlantic.

    https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/06/the-birth-of-a-new-american-aristocracy/559130/

    The Atlantic — June 2018

    “The 9.9 Percent Is the New American Aristocracy”

    By Matthew Stewart

    1.

    The Aristocracy Is Dead …

    For about a week every year in my childhood, I was a member of one of America’s fading aristocracies. Sometimes around Christmas, more often on the Fourth of July, my family would take up residence at one of my grandparents’ country clubs in Chicago, Palm Beach, or Asheville, North Carolina. The breakfast buffets were magnificent, and Grandfather was a jovial host, always ready with a familiar story, rarely missing an opportunity for gentle instruction on proper club etiquette. At the age of 11 or 12, I gathered from him, between his puffs of cigar smoke, that we owed our weeks of plenty to Great-Grandfather, Colonel Robert W. Stewart, a Rough Rider with Teddy Roosevelt who made his fortune as the chairman of Standard Oil of Indiana in the 1920s. I was also given to understand that, for reasons traceable to some ancient and incomprehensible dispute, the Rockefellers were the mortal enemies of our clan. Only much later in life did I learn that the stories about the Colonel and his tangles with titans fell far short of the truth.

    At the end of each week, we would return to our place. My reality was the aggressively middle-class world of 1960s and ’70s U.S. military bases and the communities around them. Life was good there, too, but the pizza came from a box, and it was Lucky Charms for breakfast. Our glory peaked on the day my parents came home with a new Volkswagen camper bus. As I got older, the holiday pomp of patriotic luncheons and bridge-playing rituals came to seem faintly ridiculous and even offensive, like an endless birthday party for people whose chief accomplishment in life was just showing up. I belonged to a new generation that believed in getting ahead through merit, and we defined merit in a straightforward way: test scores, grades, competitive résumé-stuffing, supremacy in board games and pickup basketball, and, of course, working for our keep. For me that meant taking on chores for the neighbors, punching the clock at a local fast-food restaurant, and collecting scholarships to get through college and graduate school. I came into many advantages by birth, but money was not among them.

    I’ve joined a new aristocracy now, even if we still call ourselves meritocratic winners. If you are a typical reader of The Atlantic, you may well be a member too. (And if you’re not a member, my hope is that you will find the story of this new class even more interesting—if also more alarming.) To be sure, there is a lot to admire about my new group, which I’ll call—for reasons you’ll soon see—the 9.9 percent. We’ve dropped the old dress codes, put our faith in facts, and are (somewhat) more varied in skin tone and ethnicity. People like me, who have waning memories of life in an earlier ruling caste, are the exception, not the rule.

    By any sociological or financial measure, it’s good to be us. It’s even better to be our kids. In our health, family life, friendship networks, and level of education, not to mention money, we are crushing the competition below. But we do have a blind spot, and it is located right in the center of the mirror: We seem to be the last to notice just how rapidly we’ve morphed, or what we’ve morphed into.

    The meritocratic class has mastered the old trick of consolidating wealth and passing privilege along at the expense of other people’s children. We are not innocent bystanders to the growing concentration of wealth in our time. We are the principal accomplices in a process that is slowly strangling the economy, destabilizing American politics, and eroding democracy. Our delusions of merit now prevent us from recognizing the nature of the problem that our emergence as a class represents. We tend to think that the victims of our success are just the people excluded from the club. But history shows quite clearly that, in the kind of game we’re playing, everybody loses badly in the end….

    Oswald Spengler

    May 28, 2018 at EDT pm

    • America’s upward mobility is a myth, because the 1% ensures the middle class and stupid people, especially those with a lower impulse control to lather in ceaseless consumption and dysfunction, so they could never join the ranks.

      JS

      May 28, 2018 at EDT pm

  12. Frankie Goes to Hollywood was yet another 1980s band that Trevor Horn produced.

    Oswald Spengler

    May 28, 2018 at EDT pm

    • That’s not their famous song.

      • Two Tribes and Relax were both phenomenal, critically and commercially. Almost three and a half decades after their release, the two singles and their associated videos still have the power to shock and disturb.

        Roli

        May 29, 2018 at EDT am

  13. Little known fact about prince charles is he has repeatedly visited mt athos. He is one of the few well known western figures who has spoken out against persecution of christians in the middle east. This may be why a coptic priest spoke at the recent royal wedding.

    toomanymice

    May 28, 2018 at EDT pm

    • That’s interesting, and good to know. Also, I’m not sure if this has been mentioned on these pages, but Tommy Robinson was recently arrested and given a term of 13 months in prison. For those who may not know, Robinson is an Englishman and a one man army who has doggedly waged a war against the Islamization of Britain. During the past decade or so, he has regularly faced physical attacks from British Islamists and legal attacks from the British establishment for being a conservative vlogger. Three days ago, he was live streaming from outside a courthouse, reporting on yet another network of Pakistani pedophiles—something that’s become a regularly occurring phenomenon in Britain. For this act of reporting politically incorrect news to his conservative followers, Robinson was plucked from the street by the police, taken to court, and without access to a jury or his own counsel, and in the space of about two hours, he was found guilty on trumped up charges and sentenced to 13 months behind bars. As horrific as all of this sounds, it does actually get worse. In contemporary Britain, it is commonly understood that those deemed to be enemies of Islam are dealt with very harshly by Muslim gangs who dominate many of Britain’s prisons. A man recently sentenced to prison for throwing a baloney sandwich at a mosque, was murdered within three weeks of starting his sentence, murdered by an Islamicist prisoner for committing an unIslamic crime. Now imagine Tommy Robinson, Britain’s most well known and most recognized anti-Islamist in the hands of these prison dwelling goons. The sense among many of Robinsn’s friends is that he will not make it out of prison alive. Oh and it gets better still, the British government has made it illegal for any journalist or media outlet to report any part of this story about Tommy’s arrest. Even writing this comment would be illegal over there.

      Roli

      May 29, 2018 at EDT am

  14. Yet, “Video Killed The Radio Star” is simply a minor chapter in the life of Trevor Horn. As a producer, he’s worked with pretty much everybody:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trevor_Horn_discography#Productions

    He even endured a personal tragedy.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trevor_Horn#Personal_life

    And in the oral history “I Want My MTV” (I own a copy,) he has the last quote. He says he once ran into some British politician. Here’s how the conversation went:

    Poltician: Oh, you’re that “Video Called The Radio Star” bloke.
    Horn: Yes, and they’ll remember me long after they’ve forgotten you, mate.

    njguy73

    May 28, 2018 at EDT pm

  15. “his voice is better without the tacky “futuristic” sound effects”

    I thought the effect on the recording wasn’t futuristic but nostalgic, meant to sound as if he were singing through a megaphone (a thing in the 1920s maybe into the 30s)

    cliff arroyo

    May 29, 2018 at EDT am

  16. Here is a New Wave rock version of “VKTRS” by one of the song’s co-writers, Bruce Woolley. I have always liked this one way better than the Buggles one.

    Bruce Woolley and the Camera Club (1979) is one of the best albums — all the way through, I mean — of the New Wave era, yet sadly today most have never heard of it. Very good songs and musicianship. New Wave-y, yet rocks out. I think in England the album may have been called English Garden, but in U.S. it was eponymous.

    I was fortunate to grow up in a non-metropolitan area which, miraculously because of a bunch of enthusiasts, had an amazing commercial FM “progressive” radio station that immediately embraced the exploding punk/New Wave movement during those magical years (ca 1977-’82). The Police, U2, Talking Heads, Squeeze, Elvis Costello, Joe Jackson, XTC, Pretenders, The Clash, The Specials, Nick Lowe/Dave Edmunds/Rockpile, Laurie Anderson, Lene Lovich, and so many more, famed or now-obscure.

    And Bruce Woolley and the Camera Club was one which they played a lot. I urge you to check out the whole album; in order, if possible, because there is a flow to the tracks.

    (I think this feeling of a whole album with a flow to the song order — not just a collection of downloadable tracks — is something that is mostly lost today.)

    Pentheus

    May 29, 2018 at EDT am

  17. Oh, also I should mention that Thomas Dolby was a member of Bruce Woolley and the Camera Club and is on this album. Possibly his first real music gig.

    Pentheus

    May 29, 2018 at EDT am

  18. good song. thanks for sharing, lion . Video was a huge deal 30 years ago, which we now take for granted.

    grey enlightenment

    May 29, 2018 at EDT am

  19. Ever since I read Neil Gaiman’s American Gods years ago, I think of it when I hear this song and vice versa. Basically, one of the themes of the novel is that new god are taking over from the old ones. The idea was that gods derived their power from their followers. The more followers and stronger their faith the stronger the gods becme. But people were abandoning the old gods for newer ones ie computers media, etc. This kicks off a war where the old and new are trying to gain power over and kill each other. See how this fits in with “video killed the radio star”?

    destructure

    May 29, 2018 at EDT pm


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