Friday, August 26, 2016

"New Song" by Howard Jones

Song#:  1760
Date:  01/21/1984
Debut:  73
Peak:  27
Weeks:  15
Genre:  Synthpop

Pop Bits:  Englishman Jones began in music at an early age and as a teen formed a band with his brothers called Red Beat. He later joined his first real band, a prog rock outfit called Warrior, but it wasn't long before Jones was out on his own doing shows at the local clubs. He was basically a one-man band and after securing a few opening spots for other established artists, Warner Bros. took a chance on the keyboard wiz. He recorded this first single and soon after its release in August '83, the song would reach #3 on the UK chart. Another Top 10 followed and that led to his debut LP, Human's Lib, taking over the top spot on the UK chart. The success prompted the label to release this song in the US. It did fairly well for a debut single getting into the Pop Top 30 (#58 Rock), but it was a solid hit at Dance reaching #4.

ReduxReview:  This is one of those songs that just makes me happy. It's so upbeat and positive with music that sounds like it could grace any good children's album. It was a bit unusual to hear on pop radio at the time as was the whole concept of being a one-man band. I quickly jumped on board and got the album as soon as it was released. It remains a favorite of mine. There were better songs on the album, but this ditty made for an interesting and memorable introduction to Jones.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Jones and fellow Brit Thomas Dolby, are considered pioneers in keyboard/electronic music. Each were among the first popular artists to be fully contained one-man bands. Jones' performances mainly consisted of him singing and playing behind large banks of keyboards and other equipment. However, he came up with an idea to make his shows more visual. At one of his early club stops, Jones noticed a guy dancing and doing mime to his songs. It sparked Jones' interest and he struck up a conversation with the guy. Soon after, artist Jed Hoile began to perform alongside Jones doing improvisational and choreographed dance and mime routines to Jones' songs. The visual element was a welcome addition and Hoile would remain a fixture in Jones' shows through to 1987. (I saw Jones twice back in the day. The first time was the summer of '84 and he opened for Eurythmics. It was just him on a revolving circle stage of equipment and the mime. It was pretty great and I found the mime fascinating. I saw him again a couple years later and it was him and the mime again, but he had a couple side musicians by that point.)


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