YouTube Gold: The BBC4 Synthpop Documentary Synth Britannia

Nov 20, 2009 at 12:14 pm

The mere existence of this documentary should send post-punk fans, synth dorks and music historians into spasms of ectasy. The BBC's Synth Britannia examines the rise of the UK's early '80s synthpop movement. More specifically, it's a 90-minute, thorough examination of the genre's roots, major players and nascent bands -- all placed into historical, economic and pop-culture context. Musicians and labels featured are first-rate: OMD, Fad Gadget, Visage, Mute Records, Throbbing Gristle, Human League, Kraftwerk, Pet Shop Boys, Depeche Mode...

Eight of the doc's nine parts are on YouTube. Below is part four, which features a small bit about the Silicon Teens, a fake band dreamed up by Mute founder Daniel Miller. The act's shtick was synthed-up versions of classic rock & roll songs, a roster of songs which included Chuck Berry's "Memphis, Tennessee." Check it below in the middle of the clip. (But keep watching: Right after this segment ends, Gary Numan gives make-up tips.) Hat tip to the awesome retro '80s blog Slicing Up Eyeballs for blogging about this.