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Gary Numan

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Hammersmith, West London, UK (1979 – present)

Gary Numan (born Gary Anthony James Webb on 8 March 1958) is an English singer, composer, and musician. Most widely known for his chart-topping 1979 hits “Are ‘Friends’ Electric?” (as Tubeway Army) and “Cars”, Numan achieved his peak of mainstream popularity in the late 1970s and early 1980s, but maintains a loyal cult following.

Numan, whose signature sound consists of heavy synthesizer hooks fed through guitar effects pedals, is considered a pioneer of commercial electronic music.

One of the founding fathers of synth pop, Gary Numan’s influence extends far beyond his lone American hit, “Cars,” which still stands as one of the defining singles. That seminal track helped usher in the era on both sides of the Atlantic, especially his native England, where he was a genuine pop star and consistent hitmaker during the early ’80s. Even after new wave had petered out, Numan’s influence continued to make itself felt; his dark, paranoid vision, theatrically icy alien persona, and clinical, robotic sound were echoed strongly in the work of many rock and (especially) artists to come. For his part, Numan just kept on recording, and by the late ’90s, he’d become a hip name to drop; prominent alt-rock bands covered his hits in concert, and a goth-flavored brand of industrial dance christened looked to him as its mentor.

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