On this day in music history: September 25, 1979 - “The Pleasure Principle”, the third album by Gary Numan is released (UK release is on September 7, 1979). Produced by Gary Numan, it is recorded at Marcus Music AB in London from July - August 1979. Following two successful albums as the front man for the groundbreaking post-punk synth pop band Tubeway Army, musician Gary Numan begins recording solely under his own name in mid 1979. This happens just as the band scores their biggest success in the UK with the single “Are Friends Electric?” (#1 UK) and the album “Replicas” (#1 UK). Continuing to work with Tubeway Army bassist Paul Gardiner, Numan adds musicians Cedric Sharpley (drums and percussion), and Chris Payne (keyboards and viola) to fill out the rhythm section. Heavily influenced by German synth pioneers Kraftwerk, Numan constructs a more synthesizer dominated sound, alternately layering multiple Minimoog and Polymoog parts treated with various effects. He also uses synthesized percussion, including the Star Instruments Synare electronic drum in tandem with a standard acoustic drum kit. The new album also differs from the two Tubeway Army albums as there are no guitars featured on any of the tracks, giving it an even more otherworldly atmosphere. It is released to a rapturous response in Numan’s home country and establishes him as a star on an international basis. It spins off two singles including “Complex” (#6 UK), and the landmark “Cars” (#1 UK, #9 US Pop). Regarded as a classic of the synth pop genre, “Cars” and the rest of “The Pleasure Principle” album also proves highly influential not only on other synthesizer based musicians, but on Hip Hop culture and the Electro-Funk music genre. In 2009, the album is reissued as a two CD set featuring a remastered version of the original album on the first disc, and a second including previously unreleased demo versions and outtakes. “The Pleasure Principle” spends two weeks (non-consecutive) at number one on the UK album chart, peaking at number sixteen on the Billboard Top 200.
At this stage of his career Numan (born Gary Webb) had not yet found his future stage name and called himself ‘Valerian’; his band mates Paul Gardiner ('Scarlett’) and Jess Lidyard ('Rael’) also used assumed names. Webb’s compositional credits on the original vinyl single were under the Valerian pseudonym as well. The back of the original vinyl single’s sleeve contained two discrepancies: Valerian was spelt 'Valeriun’; and the band picture featured live drummer Bob Simmonds, not Jess Lidyard who actually played in the recording session.