Buggles (no “The”, please) began as a trio, featuring future super-producer Trevor Horn, future Asia keyboardist Geoff Downes and Bruce Woolley, who would leave the group prior to their debut release to form The Camera Club…but not before co-writing the Buggles’ major claim to fame, “Video Killed the Radio Star”. For a song that peaked at a paltry #40 on the Hot 100, “Video…” has enjoyed enduring fame, branding Buggles as one-hit wonders, true enough in the States. Overseas however, Buggles had a couple more UK hits, affording them the opportunity to head into the studio to record a follow-up album.
It was during these recording sessions that Horn & Downes found themselves in a studio next door to ’70s prog-rockers Yes, who were reeling from the departure of both their longtime vocalist and keyboardist. Things got chummy and before you could say “culture shock” or “Roger Dean cover”, Buggles soon found themselves as the newest members of Yes. It was probably the most literal example of When New Wave Happens To Old Artists.
The new-for-the-80s lineup of Yes produced one album, Drama, which wasn’t too bad considering. Horn sounded strangely comfortable filling Jon Anderson’s platform shoes, and the duo was not shy about contributing to the songwriting duties. One of the Horn/Downes tunes, “Into the Lens” actually began life as a Buggles song drafted for Yes-delayed second Buggles LP. Drama did reasonably well, but the new line-up found itself winding down. The down Downes left to help form a new prog-rock combo, Asia, while Horn went back to finishing that second Buggles album.
Adventures In Modern Recording was essentially a Horn solo project, with plenty of guest stars lending a hand. The title track is a fun, lightweight pop song about, well, making fun, lightweight pop songs.
The single didn’t chart, but a second single was worked, this one a little more familiar to Yes fans…“I Am A Camera” was that demo Buggles had prepared prior to joining Yes and watching it morph into “Into The Lens”. The Buggles version is a mellower, less hyper affair, perhaps even more prog-rock than the Yes version.
After the singles and album failed to catch fire like the first, Horn turned his attention to producing and one of his first of many huge successes behind the audio board came with 90125, the big 1983 comeback album for…Yes.
“Adventures In Modern Recording” and “I Am A Camera” both failed to chart.
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