Are 'Friends' Electric?
by Gary Numan
It's cold outside
And the paint's peeling off of my walls
There's a man outside
In a long coat, grey hat, smoking a cigarette
Now the light fades out
And I wonder what I'm doing
In a room like this
There's a knock on the door
And just for a second I thought
I remembered you
So now I'm alone
Now I can think for myself
About little deals
And things that I just don't understand
A white lie that night
Or a sly touch at times
I don't think it meant anything to you
So I open the door
It's the 'friend' that I'd left in the hallway'
Please sit down'
A candlelit shadow on a wall near the bed...
This writeup has been given a CST Approved Tag
Are 'Friends' Electric? was a #1 hit song in the United Kingdom about a man living in isolation from humans and living with robots. Unfortunately, it was never a hit in the United States. It was an electro pop ballad written and recorded by Gary Numan with his first band Tubeway Army in the 1978 album Replicas.This masterpiece also started the New Romantics period in England and is considered to be one if not the greatest techno pop song of all time. Though Tubeway Army would become a failure, Numan would have an excellent solo career later on. Are 'Friends' Electric? represented his lyrical genius that he would continue on in his later songs. The lyrics come from the book Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick. Blade Runner (1982) was also based on the Dick novel, indicating how well the theme reflected the times.
The song was created with synthesiser-driven melodies and the orchestral sound of the Minimoog and Memorymoog analog synthesizers. With the combination of these two, the song was created to have a rich and full sound that could not be made by any of the other synthesizers of the time.
Are 'Friends' Electric? was later reformatted by DJ Richard X, mixing Adina Howard's "Freak Like Me". He called his new masterpiece "We Don't Give A Damn About Our Friends" and this became an instant phenomenon' in the dance clubs all around England. However, Adina Howard wasn't happy how her voice was being portrayed and put forth a lawsuit. Universal, the record company which had rights to this song, hired the The Sugababes to replace Howard's voice. The track was remixed by Richard X to go in harmony with the band's voices. The song hit #1 in the UK again in 2002, but in a different form.
JohnnyGoodyear: The first time I heard that song I was playing pinball in an arcade at the seafront in Devon. Strangely rough place. It was raining and the PA was belting out the local radio station. And then 'Are Friends Electric' came surging on. It wasn't like anything I'd heard before. Later,I saw Tubeway Army on TOGWT, and they were just as different. Almost aliens. Mindnumbingly good. I can hear a straight line from that song through to Techno and beyond (while still giving props to Eno and Bowie and all the others in that line). In Engand at least, Numan ended up being seen as something of an oddball, but he earned every second of his fifteen minutes with that song alone.