The story of Cars - Gary Numan

How Good It Is


Gary numan was at the forefront of a punk band called tube way army at the age of nineteen back in nineteen seventy seven. It wasn't long after that in nineteen seventy nine that the band appeared on the show. Top of the pops newman seven an interview with billboard magazine that. The appearance was a fluke. Top of the pops had a regular feature during which they showcase bands that were incoming and during the week in question. It was between them and simple minds. According to newman two-way army was selected. Because it was a more interesting band names and simple minds but the appearance led to the band's songs are friends electric. Which is what you're hearing now. Going to number one on the u k pop charts and stayed there for four weeks. It was also top ten in ireland. The netherlands and top twenty australia and several countries in europe bad. I know what you're thinking. Because i thought much the same thing you're thinking this sounds more like new wave than honking. It'd be kind of right and kind of not see here in the us. We have this image of punk music being all rapid fire. Hard cords and lyrical content. That advocates unindo spitting on your mother or some such but acts like patti smith. The ramones for runaways and i would even include early joe jackson. All part of the punk movement is wealth so while two way army had a little bit more sensitive it was still a punk band. That said numan did want to move away from punk and into more of a pop slash new kind of sound so he jettisoned the rest of the band and he began working solo album. Now when newman began work on what became the pleasure principle said his intention was to write a whole bunch of throwaway pop stuff for it because the previous album was just so heavy. Newman said the two thousand and eight interview with mojo magazine that the song was inspired by road rage. Not his other people's. He said he was in london and a couple of guys started peaking in his windows and for whatever reason they took a dislike to him so he had to take evasive action. He locked the doors he swerved onto the sidewalk scattering people everywhere even hit him scared them away any made his escape from. That incident occurred to him. That when you're in your car in the modern world you feel somehow safe. He said in a two thousand and one interview that quote. When you're in it. Your whole mentality is different in a car. it's your own little personal empire with four wheels on it unquote so while on its surface. It sounds like an ode to people getting around. It's really got a little bit of a darker intent to it. It's a feeling of isolation created by being in the vehicle. In retrospect gary numan has said that he don't really know why the song has done so well over the years he wrote it on bass guitar. He says and it took him about ten minutes to compose the keyboard. Parts came later. Voting had the main melody and the arrangement locked in pre quickly newman said in that. Same two thousand and one interview that he really couldn't even play bass so we bought a bass guitar in order to learn how to play properly. He never did get very good at the face. He says but those opening notes of cars was among the purse. Things he played did make a video for the song of course because nineteen seventy nine. But it's actually kind of hard to watch because of the video effects us which are a little bit on the silly side nowadays but they were pretty cutting edge then but when. Mtv launched in the summer of one thousand nine hundred eighty about a year later. They didn't have a lot of videos in their library. So this one got a lot of airplay early on and that meant that. The song's popularity kind of endured in the united states. The record was released in august of one thousand. Nine hundred seventy nine and went to the top of the charts in the uk and canada was a number nine record australia and on the billboard hot one hundred chart here in the us and a top forty record in a few other european countries the song has re chartered a few times over the years in the uk because of remixes being released now over. The years newman has updated a lot of his older material but cars seems to resist that kind of treatment. He said he's tried to update. But it doesn't sound any better too so when the heavy metal band fear factory approached him in one thousand nine hundred ninety eight about doing remix slash update. He was getting a little paranoid about having that one thousand nine hundred eighty s tag on fear factory. It turns out to have been playing the song shows since about nineteen ninety six so they sought his input. Newman said the experience was quite positive and actually learned a lot from it. The fear factory version is a little bit more guitar heavy which makes sense since aren't any guitars on the original version. And you've got every middle band here and in some verses newman's voice has actually been allowed to bubble up a little bit more prominently and at the same time. It's a weirdly bright recording considering fear factory's usual pretty good track the album is a whole is one of their bestsellers and the single did okay on the uk singles chart but it managed to reach number sixteen on the billboard mainstream rock chart and number thirty eight on the modern rock tracks chart and yes. There is a video and it's a little easier on the eyes and the nineteen seventy-nine version

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