B100: #68 “Cars” by Gary Numan

More travel based pop in my B100 favourite songs rundown courtesy of “Cars”, Gary Numan’s synth classic.

A UK number one smash in 1979, “Cars” is one of those very familiar tunes that I find myself loving more and more as the years go by.  I’m not by any stretch a Numanoid but the primitive electronic glide and clang of “Cars”, all early synth squelches and huge juddering riffs, makes for an absolute banger of a pop tune.  Fittingly for a song about “Cars”, the sub-Ballardian lyrics certainly clunk(click) every trip, adding to its slightly awkward charms. With “Cars” following hot on the heels of “Are ‘Friends’ Electric?”, Numan’s earlier number one in 1979 as Tubeway Army, this chart-topping double punch is also really important in UK music history as the first truly massive synth pop singles.  All inspired by the masterful Kraftwerk, Numan’s early hits helped to open the chart gates for the early 80s electronic invasion of Human League, OMD, Depeche Mode et al.

“Cars” was showcased on the number one UK album “The Pleasure Principle” from 1979, an enjoyable slab of icy nonsense that also features “Complex” (a number 6 single) and “M.E.” a song that is very familiar as the backbone to Basement Jaxx’s “Where’s Your Head At”.  1980’s follow up “Telekon” also topped the charts and included top 10 singles in “We Are Glass” and “I Die: You Die”. Later 80s albums would however move away from Numan’s electropop origins to declining interest and relevance, before a rebirth in popularity from the 90s onwards as a new generation of artists saluted his influence, most notably Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor.  An intriguingly odd presence with a couple of truly great records, the pop world could always do with more Gary Numans.  For example, bonus Numan fact: in 1997, he married Gemma O’Neill, a member of his fan club from Sidcup.  They have three daughters named Raven, Persia, and Echo.

Gary Numan and some cars


WordPress has now changed its editing format and allows “free” embeds of YouTube videos and Spotify playlists, so I’ll be using these embeds in new blogs from now on…

  • Other great Gary Numan/Tubeway Army songs include: Are ‘Friends’ Electric?, M.E., We Are Glass
“Cars” is featured on my B100 Spotify playlist, as above
“Cars” is also featured on my 379: Electronic Spotify playlist, as above


2 thoughts on “B100: #68 “Cars” by Gary Numan

  1. Pingback: Jumping Fences To Wichita: my 100 favourite songs | No Longer Teenage Fan Club

  2. Pingback: My top 10 albums: 2020 | No Longer Teenage Fan Club

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