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Picture your dad with a full face of make up
Cakey white face, heavy black eyeliner and if you're lucky, a PVC suit on. A spine tingling image that lends itself to the now middle aged heroes of the 1980s. In the run up to our Chilled Electronic 80s compilation, which features the likes of Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Scritti Politti and The Cure, we dug around to find out precisely what has happened to the stars of our parent's record collections.
As a woman in a male dominated music industry, Alison Moyet has had years of struggle to gain control of her career. Finding fame as half of Yazoo with Depeche Mode’s Vince Clarke, Moyet’s solo career took off in 1984, with tracks that propelled her from Essex to the world. After a struggle and final relinquishment from her label, the 21st century has seen Moyet return after an eight-year hiatus to release four albums and appear in two stage shows.
Unsurprisingly, Robert Smith is the only member of The Cure who has withstood the test of time. In the thirty years since the band’s inception, Smith is the last man standing, the one unchanged member. He’s evidently done something right, as The Cure have retained their popularity, this summer headlining Bestival for the second time in recent years. Dubbed the “most successful alternative band”, their sad lad sensibilities have made Robert Smith’s hits loved the world over.
Gary Numan spent much of the 70s and 80s performing under a mask of white paint and eyeliner. Though his gloomy façade was owed to a last minute fix due to a breakout of acne, the vibe of the songs he and Tubeway Army produced were certainly tinged with a particular type of electric dismay. Numan paved the way for the likes of artists like The Human League and Adam And The Ants, though his own career had taken a quieter turn by the 1990s. The turn of the century saw Numan gather his thoughts and his output, finding a new generation of musicians like Nine Inch Nails to be collaborators.
Signed off the back of nine shows, Brixton based Bronski Beat brought issues of social and political relevance to the table. Their debut track, Smalltown Boy, with its haunting refrain “run away/ turn away/ run away” referred to a young gay man escaping his hometown. As an openly gay band in the 80s, Bronski Beat wrote music that affected more than just the community it sang about. The group toured Europe and the States, but left their popularity in the mid 80s, going on to become music producers for other groups.
Kate Bush broke records across the board as a musician. Having already established herself by the late 70s, she became the first woman to earn a UK number 1 with a song she’d written herself. Her live shows were scarce, having completed one tour by the close of the 20th Century. It was only in 2014 that fans were able to witness a Kate Bush concert, thirty-five years after her last string of dates. Her musical output has been limited in recent years: despite the rumours, new material has yet to appear.
Pet Shop Boys
Ah, the Pet Shop Boys. The pin ups of 1908s electronic music, and the comeback kings of 2016. According to the Guinness Book of Records they are the most successful duo in the history of UK music, dedicated to the cause of releasing consistently quality music. Their newest album, Super is their thirteenth, and has been lauded as just that. The Pet Shop Boys have no more miles left to gain, but yet they’re still bringing the goods with no relent.
You can find all these stars and many others on our new compilation, Chilled Electronic 80s - get your copy here.