Gary Numan: The hit keeps on coming.

Gary Numan

If Gary Numan had to be remembered as a one-hit wonder, well, at least he gets to be remembered as the one who gave the world "Cars," a paranoid portrait in icy detachment that finds him alone in his car and enjoying it not because he's doing something twisted like Prince would be doing or driving off into the sunset like Springsteen. No, he likes it there because he "can lock all the doors" and "feel safest of all." And the riff? Well, the riff is amazing. Hell, it's practically a synth-rock "Satisfaction." But like any one-hit wonder worth a second listen, there was always more to Numan than what those who dig no deeper than what Casey Kasem tells them could imagine, both in terms of killer songs ("Are 'Friends' Electric?", "Metal") and importance, having cut a stylish little path from Bowie's doorstep to the brave new worlds of industrial dance, the Rentals, goth and Bowie's first post-"Cars" excursion into what certainly felt like the future of rock at the time, Scary Monsters. There's a reason everyone from Damon Albarn to Magnetic Fields participated in a Numan tribute album. And it goes beyond the fancy makeup — although that was nice, too.


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