Friday, May 13, 2011

Worth Another Listen - Sigue Sigue Sputnik

Sigue Sigue Sputnik

I have been on a bit of a SSS tear these days. Sigue Sigue Sputnik were part New Wave, part Punk, and a whole lot of hype that made for a quick rise. It all began in 1982, when Tony James left the Punk superband Generation X, which featured the lead singer, Billy Idol. He went on to form Sigue Sigue Sputnik with Martin Degville. Neal X, Ray Mayhew, Chris Kavanagh, and Yana YaYa. In an interview, James claimed that he had chosen his bandmates for their looks, and the band's slogan was "Fleece the World". James billed the band as "Hi-tech sex, designer violence, and the fifth generation of rock 'n' roll". The name was supposed to come from some Soviet street gang of sorts, although I remember reading the word 'Sigue' is not part of the Russian language, so, who knows? The sounds was very slick, highly produced and every electronic. It was about as far from the raw edge of Generation X as you could get.

Sigue Sigue Sputnik Sigue Sigue Sputnik

After playing a few shows in the UK, there was a huge buzz about the band and they finally released their first single in 1986, Love Missile F1-11. The song was produced by Giorgio Moroder, who had already had Pop success with the soundtrack to Flashdance. The songs soared up the charts in the UK, landing at #3.



As part of the soundtrack to Ferris Bueller's Day Off, the popularity of the song increased worldwide. However, it was not cleared in the US, and was replaced in the movie in the States. Soon it was time for a follow-up, and the band released 21st Century Boy. This song had more edge, a less polished sound that was welcomed by many of the Punk Rockers following the band. The song went to #20 on the UK Pop chart.



The album, Flaunt It, was hit by some seriously bad reviews, yet that did not stop the British public from running out to buy it. It hit the Top 10 on the UK chart, and Top 100 on the US album chart. The album also had another memorable feature - it came with commercials. Management for the band tried to explain that commercialism was so rampant in the world, like putting ads on a record was making a statement, not making money. There was a combination of real sold advertising and some spoofs of ads for the band.

Sigue Sigue Sputnik

There was a 2-year delay before a second album was available for distribution. It was not nearly as successful, despite being called Dressed For Success. The 1988 album did spawn a minor hit in the UK with the single Success. It had the same electronic Rock sound, combining rock and dance sounds.



Within a year, the band were going their separate ways. There was several attempts at reforming the band in various forms in the 90s and 2000s, although it never really lasted long. For more about Sigue Sigue Sputnik, check out the official website here. Much on there was written by band 'creator' Tony James.

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