New Wave Music: Creativity Meets Punk

New Wave Music was the name given to a creative tide of music that rose out of the late 70's.  It was deeply inspired by the punk movement and was really given to anything that was new and out of the box. Some of new wave music had reggae influences as well.  It started out being the cutting edge of alternative rock and quickly became pop music.  “One of the first misconceptions to fall by the wayside will be the notion that new wave/punk rock is raw, offensive, noncommercial music,” wrote Greg Shaw in a 1978 issue of Billboard. “In fact, it’s now widely recognized that the new wave represents a full spectrum of musical styles with the common factor being a fresh, honest approach and a sense of cultural involvement between artists and audience.”

Although early new wave owed a lot to punk, New Wave became the realm of synth-driven pop. New wave music helped developed indie rock and was the roots of college radio.  New wave bands had the reputation of being creative and ahead of their time.  They were perceived to giving rock and blues based rock music a breath of fresh air.  Several bands that surfed in on the new wave tide became established music powerhouses like The Police, Blondie, Elvis Costello, The Pretenders, The Talking Heads, and The Cars.  Even early Tom Petty was considered new wave.  

 

The theory generating new wave music was that anyone can start a band.  New wave artists were  influenced by the lighter side of 1960s pop music and 1950s fashion and were able to reach mainstream more than the harder punk rockers.  Bands, like the Knack, were heavily influenced by The Beatles.  The Knack's debut album and single were monster successes.  They called their debut Get The Knack and tries to duplicate the hype of the early Beatles except they infused their music with sexually inspired lyrics to get a modern, alternative edge.

"Get The Knack" was obviously patterned after "Meet The Beatles."

 

New wave was catchy and fun and the artists bizarre appearances helped jump start MTV.  Their zany appeal created interesting videos.

In fact, it was new wave band The Buggles that were features in MTV's first video.

 

I was drawn to the quirkiness and novelty appeal of Devo.  I started noticing in the early 80s that synth driven new wave like Human League's "Don't You Want Me" was replacing disco as the music girls wanted to dance to in clubs.

A website created a list of 100 songs, that while is not official, does show some of the new wave classics.

https://digitaldreamdoor.com/pages/best_songs-newave.html 

1. Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) - Eurythmics (1983) 
  2. Don't You (Forget About Me) - Simple Minds (1985) 
  3. Everybody Wants to Rule the World - Tears For Fears (1985) 
  4. Relax - Frankie Goes to Hollywood (1983) 
  5. One Way Or Another - Blondie (1978) 
  6. Burning Down the House - Talking Heads (1983) 
  7. Tainted Love - Soft Cell (1981) 
  8. Down Under - Men At Work (1982) 
  9. I Ran (So Far Away) - A Flock of Seagulls (1982) 
10. Don't You Want Me - Human League (1981) 
11. You Might Think - The Cars (1984) 
12. I Melt With You - Modern English (1983) 
13. Take On Me - a-ha (1985) 
14. Hungry Like the Wolf - Duran Duran (1982) 
15. Once in a Lifetime - Talking Heads (1980) 
16. Whip It! - Devo (1980) 
17. Blue Monday - New Order (1983) 
18. Peace, Love And Understanding?, (What's So Funny 'Bout) - Elvis Costello (1979) 
19. Don't Stand So Close To Me - The Police (1980) 
20. Shout - Tears For Fears (1985) 
21. People Are People - Depeche Mode (1981) 
22. True - Spandau Ballet (1983) 
23. Brass In Pocket - The Pretenders (1980) 
24. Something About You - Level 42 (1986) 
25. Hold Me Now - Thompson Twins (1984) 
26. Turning Japanese - The Vapors (1981) 
27. She Blinded Me With Science - Thomas Dolby (1984) 
28. Psycho Killer - Talking Heads (1977) 
29. Is She Really Going Out with Him? - Joe Jackson (1979) 
30. Poison Arrow - ABC (1982) 
31. Rock Lobster - B-52s (1979) 
32. Need You Tonight - INXS (1987) 
33. Come On Eileen - Dexy's Midnight Runners (1982) 
34. Heart Of Glass - Blondie (1978) 
35. Everyday I Write The Book - Elvis Costello (1983) 
36. Cars - Gary Numan (1980) 
37. Tempted - Squeeze (1981) 
38. Who Can It Be Now? - Men At Work (1982) 
39. It's My Life - Talk Talk (1982) 
40. West End Girls - Pet Shop Boys (1985) 
41. Do You Really Want to Hurt Me - Culture Club (1982) 
42. Pump It Up - Elvis Costello (1978) 
43. Doctor! Doctor! - Thompson Twins (1984) 
44. Promises, Promises - Naked Eyes (1983) 
45. Spirits In The Material World - The Police (1981) 
46. Goody Two Shoes - Adam Ant (1982) 
47. More Than This - Roxy Music (1982) 
48. Pulling Mussels (From the Shell) - Squeeze (1980) 
49. Love My Way - Psychedelic Furs (1982) 
50. Wouldn't It Be Good - Nik Kershaw (1984) 
51. Two Tribes - Frankie Goes to Hollywood (1984) 
52. Senses Working Overtime - XTC (1982) 
53. Obsession - Animotion (1984) 
54. Save It for Later - The English Beat (1982) 
55. Alive and Kicking - Simple Minds (1985) 
56. Saved By Zero - The Fixx (1983) 
57. Here Comes the Rain Again - Eurythmics (1984) 
58. Tenderness - General Public (1984) 
59. Voices Carry - Til Tuesday (1985) 
60. Mexican Radio - Wall of Voodoo (1982) 
61. Beds Are Burning - Midnight Oil (1988) 
62. Send Me An Angel - Real Life (1983) 
63. Always Something There to Remind Me - Naked Eyes (1982) 
64. Steppin' Out - Joe Jackson (1982) 
65. Why Me? - Planet P Project (1983) 
66. No One Is To Blame - Howard Jones (1986) 
67. Shake It Up - The Cars (1982) 
68. The Metro - Berlin (1982) 
69. You Spin Me 'Round (Like a Record) - Dead Or Alive (1985) 
70. The Safety Dance - Men Without Hats (1983) 
71. One Thing Leads to Another - The Fixx (1983) 
72. She's a Beauty - The Tubes (1983) 
73. Rock Me Amadeus - Falco (1986) 
74. In a Big Country - Big Country (1983) 
75. Life In a Northern Town - The Dream Academy (1985) 
76. Major Tom (Coming Home) - Peter Schilling (1983) 
77. Just What I Needed - The Cars (1978) 
78. Time (Clock of the Heart) - Culture Club (1983) 
79. The Sun Always Shines On TV - A-Ha (1985) 
80. Come Back and Stay - Paul Young (1983) 
81. Der Kommissar - Falco (1986) 
82. Video Killed the Radio Star - The Buggles (1979) 
83. Girls on Film - Duran Duran (1981) 
84. Only the Lonely - The Motels (1982) 
85. Wishing (If I Had a Photograph of You) - A Flock of Seagulls (1982) 
86. Avalon - Roxy Music (1982) 
87. I Want Candy - Bow Wow Wow (1982) 
88. Too Shy - Kajagoogoo (1983) 
89. Fade to Grey - Visage 
90. Dance Hall Days - Wang Chung (1984) 
91. A Little Respect - Erasure (1988) 
92. Our House - Madness (1983) 
93. Reap the Wild Wind - Ultravox (1982) 
94. Destination Unknown - Missing Persons (1982) 
95. I Don't Like Mondays - Boomtown Rats (1979) 
96. Messages - OMD (1980) 
97. Love Plus One - Haircut 100 (1982) 
98. I Got You - Split Enz (1980) 
99. So In Love - OMD (1985) 
100. Lawnchairs - Our Daughters Wedding (1980)

 

Leave a comment

    Add comment