Why did Yes want…The Buggles – Part 2 – 555

Produced by Ken Fuller, Wayne Hall and Jeffrey Crecelius

We are finally back with part 2 of our look at the Buggles and why Yes might have wanted them. For this, we’ve been listening to the first album from the duo, The Age Of Plastic, seeing if we can pick up some pointers. As usual, it was a revealing and enjoyable experience and quite topical as Trevor Horn’s autobiography is being advertised across all of my social media at the moment. Let us know what you think of our views in the show notes for this week.

  • Does the album sound dated in 2022?
  • Is there more to it than just Video Killed The Radio Star?
  • Is it obvious why Yes wanted Downes and Horn to join them?

Take a listen to the episode and then let us know what you think below!

Courtesy of Doug Curran

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Theme music

The music I use is the last movement of Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite. This has been used as introduction music at many Yes concerts. My theme music is not take from a live concert – I put it together from:

4 replies on “Why did Yes want…The Buggles – Part 2 – 555”

The Buggles were wanted because they were talented young singers, musicians, songwriters & producers, and they were available! As with much of life, especially in the arts, timing & luck have much to do with success, hand in hand with hard work.
The Buggles first album is a pop masterpiece, and should be required listening for anyone who enjoys the ‘Drama’ album, if you haven’t already heard it. Better late than never!

While I agree with most of the comments you both make about this, the other vital factor in the recruitment of Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes to Yes was the fact that the next tour had been booked and the band had reportedly already spent much of the money! So they needed to finish an album and get out on the road as soon as possible. Brian Lane and Chris Squire saw the solution in the next studio, and did the deal.

Having Trevor as a live singer didn’t work out but, as you say, the ‘Drama’ album has only grown in stature over the years. I wasn’t convinced at the time (and found the lead vocals at the concerts I went to in Brighton and London little short of embarrassing)… but in the end, this adventurous piece of recruitment saved the band, provided a bridge into the ’80s, and paved the way for several further reincarnations. It was an odd alliance at the time, but weirdly it predominantly worked.

Aside from the more experimental side of Art of Noise, the music that Trevor has been most involved in over the years is not my scene at all, but his talent is undeniable and I’ll be intrigued to read his memoire. Geoff, meanwhile, has helped cement the band together in recent years. So their contribution overall has been substantial. And these days I appreciate ‘Drama’ in a way I couldn’t at the time. As an album it is cunningly of its time, and yet also – as with the best Yes music – ahead of its time and beyond the limits of time.

Well I was going to just say what the other two have really, spot on. Thankfully it happened but in those moments as a fan it definitely didn’t feel it back in 1980.

As with any change with Yes it kept them going and we are left with probably the most interesting and unquestionably one of the most complex histories of any rock band to date, it just never seems to stop being interesting.

Drama is a brilliant album in its own right with very strong compositions and as you pointed out, is so well produced. Far better sounding since any other of their albums since TFTO.
The problem we had at the time was Trevor and Geoff performing the classic YES back catalogue. Trevor couldn’t sing like Jon and Geoff couldn’t be Rick. It was a total culture shock as a live event having what had gone before.
The album however has stood the rest of time and is better than the preceding one with the classic line up (sorry Kevin)

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