Why New Wave Mattered

ngd simple minds
A masterpiece of the New Wave era.

One of my earliest musical loves was Simple Minds.  For those of us who grew up deeply loving prog, the late 1970s and early 1980s were a very difficult time.  If we couldn’t get our belovedly and outrageously complex 12-minute or even 24-minute epics, we had to find a worthy—no matter how watered down—substitute.  For me, at least at the age of 12 or 13, I wasn’t willing to go the classic rock route.  No matter how many times the radio played Jackson Brown or Aerosmith, these bands meant nothing to me.  Sometimes less than nothing.  Even worse was Top 40 pop.

In 1981 and 1982, that meant the only real alternative in the rock world was what was being called New Wave.  While their songs were way too short, the use of keyboards and bass—at least in the best of the New Wave sound—I found them rather progressive.  And, just as often, the lyrics were as intense as they were intelligently playful.

The bands I loved most:  ABC; Thomas Dolby; and Simple Minds.  I didn’t just tolerate these bands, I fell in love with them.  I couldn’t even count the number of times I listened to GOLDEN AGE OF WIRELESS or LEXICON OF LOVE.

They played over and over again on my stereo during the early 1980s.

I came to Simple Minds a bit latter than either Dolby or ABC, but only a bit later.  To this day, I think Sister Feelings Call/Sons and Fascination, New Gold Dream, and Sparkle in the Rain are some of the best albums I’ve ever heard.  Even when compared to straight-up progressive albums, I would place anyone of these albums—but especially New Gold Dream—in my top 50 albums of all time.

Anyway, a brief thought about why New Wave mattered.  Until next time. . . .

2 thoughts on “Why New Wave Mattered

  1. For the wife and I, the only reason to relish being born in 79 was the music, particularly, living in the time of the birth of new wave. As much as I love prog and metal, I still have a deep, deep fondness and love for New Wave, and consider it the golden age of modern pop. Brad, I feel the same way about Simple Minds, and never gave them a proper chance, having only been exposed to The Breakfast Club soundtrack…I know, shudder. And then I saw a live clip of Someone Somewhere In Summertime from 83 and was freaking FLOORED. Atmospheric sounds, spiritual themes, and a bad ass rhythm section. I also have to make mention of Tears For Fears, Big Country and certain Flock of Seagulls tracks, namely “Wishing,” the glorious 8 minute version. New Wave, the golden, complex kind. Just as important to me as prog and metal, if not more so.

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  2. WHOA Sir-Brad……………….”Late 70’s”,NO prog.??? I FULLY remember when something from the GREAT-WHITE-NORTH,came out with “THE” BEST-PROG. ALBUM EVER!!! Something known as “Hemispheres”,that came out Oct.29th,1978 that TOTALLY CHANGED the way I LOOKED at music from there ON!!! LOL. 🙂 And still to this day,No matter WHAT ALL OTHER “RUSH” fans think or say,”Hemispheres” is FOREVER,the “BEST” Album they’ve EVER DONE,BAR-NONE!!! 🙂

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