Review of ‘(R)evolution: The Autobiography’ by Gary Numan

It’s Gary Numan’s 64th birthday so I thought it was an ideal day to post my review of his memoir, which I read last year. Gary Numan is known as a pioneer of electronic music, having a turbulent relationship with the press and for dramatic highs and lows in his career. I think it’s fair to say he’s something of a legend and has been a huge influence on many musicians, plus he is an inspiration to other people with Asperger’s. He seems like a down to earth bloke with a good sense of humour. I’ve read a lot of autobiographies and this is one of the most brutally honest. You don’t have to be a superfan to read it. I don’t know all of his work but I definitely enjoyed this book.

Each chapter chronicles one year, mostly, up to 2020. There is a lot packed into this book, plus 2 sections of plates. It’s not all about music. Gary’s other obsession, piloting aeroplanes and taking part in aerial displays, gets substantial coverage. His wife Gemma, whom he credits with many good decisions in his career, is the other main character. The book is a tribute to the family, friends and fans who have supported him. The only criticisms I have are that some more editing and proofreading were needed, plus a little trimming of content.

I found that Gary’s attitude towards his early songs was very interesting. ‘Cars’ and ‘Are ‘Friends’ Electric?’ are still his best known songs. They catapulted him to fame at a young age but when he wanted to move on, those songs were all that anyone wanted him to play. In later years, bands started doing cover versions and the media opinion changed, recognising him as a pioneer. He felt kinder towards his older work and was able to put a new twist on it in concert. His music is now attracting younger fans who know him for his later work.

Recommended for Gary Numan fans (obviously). Ideal for reading ‘down in the park’ (…with a friend called Five).

Published in 2020 by Constable.

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