Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Video Killed the Radio Star

First recorded by Bruce Wooley & the Camera Club (1978).
Hit version by The Buggles (US #40/UK #1/CAN #6/AUS #1/IRE #1/ITA #1/SWE #1/JPN #1 1980).

From the wiki: “‘Video Killed the Radio Star’ was written by Trevor Horn, Geoff Downes and Bruce Woolley in 1978, and was first recorded by Bruce Woolley & the Camera Club (with Thomas Dolby on keyboards) for the album English Garden.

“Horn, Downes and Woolley wrote ‘Video Killed the Radio Star’ in an hour of one afternoon in 1978, six months before it was first recorded. Horn has said that the short story ‘The Sound-Sweep’, in which the title character – a mute boy vacuuming up stray music in a world without it – comes upon an opera singer hiding in a sewer, provided inspiration for ‘Video’, and he felt ‘an era was about to pass.’ Horn claimed that the German synth-group Kraftwerk was another influence of the song: ‘…It was like you could see the future when you heard Kraftwerk, something new is coming, something different. Different rhythm section, different mentality.’

“Horn and Downes would, in 1979, go on to form The Buggles, cover ‘Video’ and release it as the Buggles’ debut single in September 1979 from the album The Age of Plastic. The single peaked at #40 in early 1980 on the Billboard Hot 100 but topped music charts in several other countries. (And, in 1980, Horn and Downes were invited to join the rock group Yes; Horn becoming the lead vocalist, replacing Jon Anderson.)

“The ‘Video Killed the Radio Star’ music video became a pop culture icon, well-remembered as the very first music video shown on MTV in the United States at 12:01am on 1 August 1981, and as the first video shown on MTV Classic in the United Kingdom on 1 March 2010. Overall, the song has received several critical accolades, such as being ranked #40 on VH1’s 100 Greatest One-Hit Wonders of the ’80s and a perennial appearance on the Guardian newspaper’s annual Top 100 British Number 1 Singles list (#95 in the 2020 rankings).”

The Buggles, “Video Killed the Radio Star” official music video (1981):

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