Category Archives: 4Ever Songs

4Ever Songs: The B-52’s ‘Planet Claire’

The B-52’s were ’70s punks molded not from the syringes and leather of New York City, but from the campy detritus you might have found in the thrift stores and garage sales of their home of Athens.

They channeled spy soundtracks, exotica, surf music, long-abandoned dance crazes and garage rock — music that was gathering dust by their 1979 self-titled debut LP which includes our 4Ever song of the week: Planet Claire.

The B-52’s were ’70s punks molded not from the syringes and leather of New York City, but from the campy detritus you might have found in the thrift stores and garage sales of their home of Athens

4Ever Songs: Devo ‘Mongoloid’

Devo were – for many young Americans – the first new wave band of any consequence. But their super-stylised image of black humour, dazzling visuals and catchy synth-pop hooks caught the attention of weirdos and outcasts everywhere.

Things really took off on Aug. 28, 1978, with the release of the band’s first studio album, “Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!” The song Mongoloid was included in that debut record.

4Ever Songs: Tom Robinson Band ‘Power in the Darkness’

Anthemic, anti-racist, pro-femme, pro-queer English punk. They were, albeit briefly, one of the bravest, most exhilarating bands of the late 70s. Tom Robinson Band (TRB) were led by an articulate punk hero from a middle-class family with a troubled history.

TRB recorded a hit single, a hit EP and one classic album, Power in the Darkness, that featured promotion for Rock Against Racism on the cover. Then it all went wrong. A second album was far more patchy and the band broke up after two years.

4Ever Songs: Kraftwerk “The Model”

“She’s a model and she’s looking good.” In February 1982, the sophisticated deadpan of Kraftwerk’s Ralf Hütter hovered like a drone over a UK top 10 that included Bucks Fizz and Shakin’ Stevens. “The Model” was originally released on the band’s classic 1978 album The Man Machine, but EMI revived the song as a B-side to “Computer Love.” DJs preferred “The Model”, so the label reissued it as the double A-side and created the first UK number one for an all-German group.

“Das Model” (in its original German version) evolved from a poem the band’s artistic collaborator Emil Schult wrote about the high-fashion models he observed in a Cologne nightclub. Some feminists claim the song objectifies its subject: a woman who only exists for the male gaze, smiling for money. Others defend it as a critique of the consumer society which reduces women to nameless automatons.

4Ever Songs: DAF ‘Dear Mussolini’

The early 80s was a golden age for pop duos: OMD, Soft Cell, Associates, Tears for Fears, Blancmange, Yazoo, Cabaret Voltaire, Wham! With their homoerotic image and Nazi-baiting lyrics, Gabi Delgado-López and Robert Görl were synth-disco rebels bent on pulverising the rulebook.

DAF (standing for Deutsch-Amerikanische Freundschaft, which means German-American Friendship) actually started out in Düsseldorf.  Only with their third album, 1981’s Alles Ist Gut, did they cement their identity as an electronic duo.

4Ever Songs: Fisher-Z ‘So Long’

John Watts’ 42-year career as Fischer-Z includes 20 albums and over 3000 concerts worldwide with success spanning continental Europe and album sales in excess of two million. Fischer-Z developed in punk clubs while Watts was still studying clinical psychology and working in mental institutions. The first Fischer-Z album Word Salad was released in 1979 on United Artist Records. Word Salad was a cult record in the UK (John Peel supported the single Remember Russia ).

The second album, Going Deaf For a Living, firmly established his Watts’ ability to convey worldly political issues in narrative songs against a background of quirky pop music (comparisons were made with both Talking Heads and Ian Dury). The So Long single (1980) was featured heavily on the fledgeling MTV channel.