The Day Video Killed the Radio Star

10/18/2011
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(Gibson) On this day in 1979, The Buggles hit no. 1 on the U.K. singles chart with "Video Killed the Radio Star." The group was a studio band featuring producer Trevor Horn. Famously, the clip for the song was the first ever music video shown on MTV. Gibson takes a look back: Two years before they helped kick off MTV (when pictures came and broke your heart), The Buggles had a hit single with "Video Killed the Radio Star." Although the synth-pop confection just scraped the Top 40 in America, it topped the charts in more than 16 countries. On this day, The Buggles became radio stars with their first, and only, #1 single.

The band that became The Buggles formed in 1977, with charter members Trevor Horn (bass, vocals) and Geoff Downes (keyboards, drums) with Bruce Woolley (guitar). The three had become friends during the '70s as musicians for hire in Britain. The three began working on songs with technological themes. As such, the tunes were meant to have a synthetic feel.

"Video Killed the Radio" star was a collaboration between all three, although Woolley was mostly responsible for the music and Horn was in charge of the words. The singer was inspired by a J.G. Ballard short story called The Sound-Sweep, in which a boy is charged with vacuuming all the music in the world, but comes upon a hiding opera singer. The song became a lament for a bygone age, because Horn said he felt "an era was about to pass." more on this story

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