Sunday, April 20, 2008

We Are Not Alone

In the late 70s arcade games were still in their infancy. One game would revolutionise the whole gaming industry and consume the leisure time of millions of teens worldwide. Space Invaders was unleashed upon Earth in 1978 and within 1 year had invaded nearly every suburban shopping mall and corner shop.

In early 1980 a song paying homage to the new craze was unleashed upon the Australian charts. 'Space Invaders' by the appropriately named artist Player (1) debuted on the Oz charts in early February 1980 and would eventually take over the #3 position.

It was the soundtrack playing on many a jukebox to accompany the frenetic efforts of arcade players across the nation.

Player (1) - not to be confused with U.S. soft rock group Player - was actually a studio collaboration between Russell Dunlop and Bruce Brown. Dunlop was a respected drummer formerly with the band Ayers Rock(two top 50 albums in the mid 70s) turned music producer, who had also worked with the likes of Renee Geyer. He combined forces with Bruce Brown to produce albums for The Reels and Mental As Anything among others.

Their Player (1) project could probably draw comparisons with the studio project Flash And The Pan which was the alias of acclaimed writing/production team George Young and Harry Vanda (they of the Easybeats). But Player (1)'s game was over following 'Space Invaders' and they didn't invade the charts again. They did have a really cool, but arguably also daggy video clip for the song, drawing on inspiration from the whole Star Wars genre of film, but with about a millionth of the budget.
Check it out at here (pretty dodgy sound):

A number of other arcade related tunes hit the airwaves during the 80s (I guess not too dissimilar to those chart hits that mutate from ring tones these days. The most notable effort was U.S. duo Buckner & Garcia's effort 'Pac-Man Fever' which reached #9 on the Billboard charts in early 1982.

I finally scored a CD copy of 'Space Invaders' back in the mid 90s via a Readers Digest box set of 80s hits. It crops up occasionally on such retro compilations but by and large is pretty hard to find these days.

The song 'Space Invaders' has surfaced once more in popular culture in 2014 via a Honda car advertisement.  Any excuse to revisit a classic!

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