Wednesday, September 29, 2004

eclectic buggle-boo

Everyone and their mom should know by now, thanks in large part to Trivial Pursuit and its ilk, that the Buggles did indeed have the first ever video to be played on MTV* back at midnight on August 1st, 1981. After "Video Killed the Radio Star" changed the course of electro-pop forever, it was straight downhill for the Buggles as a group. The two members, however, proved a lot more durable on their own. Geoffrey Downes went on to grand success with Yes and Asia and Trevor Horn formed the Art of Noise and became a hit record producer (for ABC and Malcolm McLaren) before founding ZTT Records and foisting Frankie Goes to Hollywood on an unsuspecting world.

What most people don't know is that early Buggles associate Bruce Woolley co-wrote several of the band's songs, including "Video Killed the Radio Star" and "Clean Clean." Woolley's own versions of both tunes — predating the Buggles' "Radio Star" hit (which scraped the US Top 40 in December '79) — are contained on English Garden (retitled for American release as Bruce Woolley and the Camera Club), an LP of light power pop reminiscent of certain sides of the Move. As a would-be radio star, Woolley was doomed in the '70s by his devotion to the '60s, and the record vanished in the techno-pop flood.

In the '80s, Woolley abandoned the past and discovered the future. Along with his brother Guy, he formed a semi-experimental oddity, Firmament and the Elements. He later went on to work for Grace Jones, the Pet Shop Boys, Marc Almond, and Thomas Dolby (who was part of Woolley's Camera Club!).

Today's selection is the A-side to the 1981 7inch, Bruce Woolley - Blue Blue (Victoria). It is decidedly more new-wave than the LP that was released and had his direction been this, his future might've been different?

* - After the Buggles, the channel aired five spots introducing MTV's veejays (the spots were played in the wrong order). Then the next music video was broadcast -- the tune was "You Better Run" by Pat Benatar. Some fumbling and dead air followed these first two videos, as engineers and veejays scrambled to play videos in the right order.

Bruce Woolley - Blue Blue (Victoria)


At 7:04 PM, Blogger Eric said...

Ah! Bruce Woolley - a great "Lost band". Welcome to the mp3 blogger world and thanks for the link. I'll add one back to you.

At 2:02 PM, Anonymous Blackpool Tangerine Army said...

I have recordings involving Bruce Woolley going back to 1976 under various band names - currently he is best known as the man behind THE RADIO SCIENCE ORCHESTRA -.which is based around the use of the Theremin instrument.

Check out 'Storm'by Grace Jones on the The Avengers film soundtrack - music by his orchestra .They also have their own website & hopefully cd's available in the near future.

At 3:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i´d love to hear "blue blue victoria"! never heared the original, just the swedish rock star "magnus ugglas" cover called "iq" (big hit in sweden 1983). listen to "iq" at

please, where can i listen to woolley´s original?


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