Gary Numan

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Gary Numan
Gary Numan
Numan performing live in Manchester, 2011
Background info
Full name Gary Anthony James Webb
Birthday/Birthplace (1958-03-08) 8 March 1958
Hammersmith, London, England
  • Synth-pop
  • new wave
  • electronic
  • industrial rock[6]
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • composer
  • musician
  • record producer
  • Vocals
  • keyboards
  • guitar
Active Years 1977–present
Record Labels
  • Atco
  • Beggars Banquet
  • Numa
  • NBR
  • Illegal
  • I.R.S.
  • Eagle
  • Machine Music Ltd.
  • Jagged Halo
  • Cooking Vinyl
  • Metropolis
  • Cleopatra
  • Mortal
  • BMG
Worked with
  • Tubeway Army
  • Dramatis
  • Nine Inch Nails
  • Paul Gardiner
  • Bill Sharpe
  • The Wave Team
  • Fear Factory
  • Battles
Official Website

Gary Numan (born Gary Anthony James Webb ; Hammersmith, March 8, 1958) is a British singer-songwriter, pioneer of synth pop. He is best known for his participation in the Tubeway Army band and for his solo international hit “Cars” (1979).

Gary_Numan’s Biography

The beginnings

Gary Numan’s musical career began in the mid-1970s when he formed a punk band called Mean Street , with which he played on various tours (part of one of them can be found in the live compilation Live At The Vortex, whose show was held at a venue called Vortex). Then he joined the punk band The Lasers (from London), where he played as guitarist and where he met bassist Paul Gardiner.

Tubeway Army

For more information, see: Tubeway Army

After leaving The Lasers, he forms together with Gardiner his own group: Tubeway Army. After recording a first demo album closer to punk, they were hired by the independent record label Beggars Banquet Records in 1978 and quickly released two singles, none of which entered the charts. That same year, the one that is considered debut album, of the same name as the band and in essence of New Wave style, exhausts its first limited edition and introduces Numan’s fascination with dystopian science fiction and, what would be more important, the synthesizers. Until then unknown, Tubeway Army are placed highest in the English charts in 1979 with the single Are Friends Electric ?, and the album that contains it, Replicas, simultaneously goes up to number one.


Months later, the achievement is repeated now under the name (taken from an advertisement in the yellow pages) of Gary Numan with the song Cars, which also enters the top 10 American, and the album The Pleasure Principle. Reaching number one simultaneously with single and album was remarkable, doing it twice in less than 6 months was impressive. The disc was followed by a tour that sold out locations where it happened. The pleasure Principle was a rock album without guitars, instead Numan used synthesizers powered by guitar effects pedals, to get a different sound. It was produced in a very short time and with little money, but The pleasure Principle sounded like something new, and is still considered one of Gary Numan’s best works.

Numan dressed extravagantly and put on make-up, openly proclaiming his influences: David Bowie, Marc Bolan and electronic music groups of the time such as Ultravox or The Human League. In the interviews he showed himself as an absent, presumptuous and somewhat unpleasant person, all of which would later be attributed to the form of Asperger’s Syndrome he suffers from. The great popularity of Numan and his openly demonstrated love for money, was hit hard by critics and even some fellow musicians; the group Yes recorded a song satirizing Numan, called White Car on his 1980 album Drama, referring to Gary Numan’s habit of walking around London in the white Chevrolet Corvette that his record label gave him; also his former idol David Bowie, made them cancel their appearance in an episode of the program The Kenny Everett Video Show in which both were expected to coincide.

Numan baffled the press, but sold. He was a 21-year-old creative young man, tormented and lonely, still living with his parents. He was not a punk, nor was he a new romantic, and retrospectives about this period tend to forget him and his influences. Even so, Gary Numan generated a legion of self-styled Numanoids fans, who remained loyal to his idol even during the most difficult moments of his career, such as the latter half of the 1980s.

Experimental period

In 1980 it again reached number one on the album charts with Telekon, although none of the three singles topped the top 5. By now, Numan was overcome by the pressure of success and announced his “retirement” just before a series of concerts already sold, at the Wembley Arena. The decision to leave his career would last a short time, but it would have a disastrous effect on his popularity, Numan saw how the fickle pop audience soon diverted his attention to other artists.

Following this professional resignation in 1981, Gary Numan dedicated himself to his other great hobby, flying. He became a professional pilot and undertook a trip around the world during which he was briefly imprisoned in India accused of smuggling and espionage, after making an emergency landing. Contrary to the press of the time, Numan said that it was not he who piloted the plane during that landing.

Numan’s first album after the short retirement, the sad and experimental Dance (1981), reached number 3 on the UK charts, but he fell out of them in just eight weeks. The most animated and danceable I, Assasin (1982) did not work better, not even with three singles in the charts, the album managed to pass the test and lasted six weeks. Warriors (1983) was considered the best album of Gary Numan in some time, melancholic pop and menacingly aggressive guitars, the album reached number 12 and as his predecessor he spent only six weeks in the British top. This was the last album recorded by Numan for Beggars Banquet Records, and featured a 40-concert tour in the British Isles, the first English performance of Numan since the cancellation at Wembley.

Turning his back on the electropop, Numan decides to experiment with different styles such as jazz, funk or pop. His success plummeted, eclipsed at first by Adam Ant, and later by groups like Duran Duran, Culture Club or Depeche Mode, he spent a decade of continuous creative crisis trying to recover his presence in the charts, with mediocre albums , adopting the artistic style of musicians like Robert Palmer or Prince. In each new work, Numan presented a different image, none of which even remotely managed to capture the attention of the public to the level that the solitary android of the late 70s achieved. Gary Numan stopped being a pioneer and went on to become one more. His collaborations with Bill Sharpe, keyboard of Shakatak did not help much, although the simple Change Your Mind recorded by the duo reached the lists of successes. Numan released his own label in 1984, Numa Records, in the midst of an idealistic excitement, not even albums as meritorious as Berserker (1984) or The Fury (1985) and the singles that accompanied them, got more than brief appearances on the charts. successes and was the lethargic Strange Charm (1986) the album that supposed its closing. In addition to the failure of Numa, the absence of sales and the lack of radio promotion, they squandered the kneaded fortune (estimated at 5.4 million pounds) during the 1970s. In the late 1980s, Numan signed for the IRS label Records and the innovative Metal Rhythm (1988) with his funky-industrial harvested positive reviews in England and connected with his audience, although he did not have good sales.

After Outland (1991), his second and last album with IRS, an unfortunate return to the lack of ideas, Numan reactivates Numa Records, under which he launches his next two works. Even so, the own Numan considers Machine + Soul like a failed attempt of commercial launching with the aim of paying his debts, that only sold a few hundred copies. In 1994 Numan decides to cease his attempt to exploit the pop market and instead focuses on new personal interests, including his vocal atheism. His future wife, Gemma, recommended him to get rid of the influences of previous stages. Numan reoriented his career in a more industrial and harsher direction with his work on the album Sacrifice, for the first time he played almost all of the instruments himself. The decision was well received, in that the darker sound of Numan was reflected in bands influenced by the artist such as Nine Inch Nails who in turn began to enjoy some popularity. The influence was reciprocal with Numan coming to claim that the song ‘Closer’ by Nine Inch Nails was his favorite single in the history of music and that came to influence their own music. Sacrifice was the last work produced by Numa Records before closing definitively. The following two albums by Numan, Exile (1997) and Pure (2000) restored the critical reputation of Gary Numan who even toured the United States to promote the first of these works; his first performances since the eighties.

The resurgence

After years of ridicule in the press, Numan found himself described as “the godfather of electronic music” and an artist respected by his colleagues, with musicians like Dave Grohl (of the Foo Fighters), Trent Reznor (of Nine Inch Nails) or Marilyn Manson including the work of Numan between his influences and making versions of successes of the own Numan. Basement Jaxx achieved great success in 2002 with the single ‘Where’s Your Head At?’, Based on a sample of the track ‘M.E.’ of The Pleasure Principle. Likewise, the Fear Factory band produced a version of ‘Cars’ with the special collaboration of Numan himself.

Since 2006 the song Are friends electric? that Numan wrote in 1979 appears honored in the syntony of header of the British comedy The IT Crowd a series of cult geek.

In 2004, Numan again took control of his own business affairs, creating a new record company: Mortal Records, and releasing a series of live DVDs in anticipation of the new studio album, Jagged, published on 13 March 2006 and well received by critics. The following Saturday he celebrated a performance for the new album at the Forum in London. Numan announced a tour of the United Kingdom in April 2006 and plans to extend it to other countries, including the United States, during the same year, in support of the new work. It also intends to reissue on DVD the famous concert of 1981 (previously published as Micromusic on VHS) for November 2006, as well as the publication of a DVD version of the concert on the occasion of Jagged later that year.

On October 14, 2013, Gary Numan returns with a new studio album titled “Splinter (Songs From A Broken Mind)”, released by the label “Mortal Records”. This new production will be presented on a tour of the United Kingdom during the month of November 2013.

Gary Numan Net Worth – $7 Million

More Facts about Gary Numan

The Gary Numan’s statistics like age, body measurements, height, weight, bio, wiki, net worth posted above have been gathered from a lot of credible websites and online sources. But, there are a few factors that will affect the statistics, so, the above figures may not be 100% accurate.

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