Gary Numan is considered to be one of the true pioneers of electronic music, and more specifically electronic rock music. In 2016 he received the Moog Innovation Award from Moog Music – a previous feature of ours. He could be identified by his heavy synthesiser hooks that were fed through guitar effects pedals.
Numan is now widely accomplished as a singer, songwriter, musician, composer and record producer which did not appear to be the way his life was going as a ‘troubled youth.’ He struggled with inter-personal relationships and would regularly shout and scream or even break things. He was prescribed antidepressants and would be diagnosed with asperges later in life. He struggled through various jobs but a constant passion was music and he loved his Gibson Les Paul guitar which was gifted by his father.
Numan started out with the pseudonym ‘Valerian’ which thankfully didn’t take. True inspiration would strike while reading through the plumbing section of the Yellow Pages where the name ’Neumann’ caught his attention – not long after Gary Anthony James Webb would become ‘Gary Numan’.
His first move in the music industry was with the band Tubeway Army, a new wave band of the late 70s, still using the name ‘Valerian’ – he was 18 at the time. In 1979 Numan went solo and ended up topping the UK Albums chart with singles “Are ‘Friends’ Electric?” and “Cars”.
His dry, straight forward and slightly unpleasant persona gained Numan a cult following which continues to this day. In 2017 he received an Ivor Novello award for Inspiration. Numan typified the renegade personalities that are often known to be trendsetters and will be remembered long after his time.