Tubeway Army - Are 'Friends' Electric (TopPop)

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Description

Broadcast date: 1975/4/5

"Are 'Friends' Electric?" is a synthpop song by English band Tubeway Army from their 1979 album Replicas. It was released as a single in May 1979 and reached No. 1 in the UK Singles Chart, staying there for four weeks. It was written and produced by Gary Numan, the band's frontman and lead vocalist. The song is about an android prostitute.

Despite being over five minutes long and possessing, in the words of its composer, "no recognisable hook-line whatsoever", the single topped the UK charts. Whilst the track's distinctive sound stood out at the time, sales also benefited from the record company's use of a picture disc and Numan's striking, "robotic" performance on the TV shows The Old Grey Whistle Test and Top of the Pops. "Are 'Friends' Electric?" has been a mainstay of Numan's concerts since its release and appears on all ten of his official live recordings to date.

Numan stumbled upon synthesizers by accident. While intending to record a punk album, he noticed a Minimoog synthesizer that had been left in the studio. The keyboard’s massive sound became the inspiration for the Replicas album, and is the dominant sound for this song.

Writing for Smash Hits in 1979, Cliff White described the song as "a dark, threatening wall of synthesized sound" which "throbbed ominously behind a gloomy song of paranoia and loneliness". White went on to say it was "gripping stuff, but cheerful it isn't".

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Artist: Tubeway Army
Video title: Are 'Friends' Electric (TopPop)
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Category: Pop
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