BE BOP DELUXE: Modern Music LP 1976. A masterpiece; most under-rated rock band ever. Art rock, progressive rock. Check audio + audio / video reviews of the album


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Format: vinyl LP album (LP record)
Ranked: Best ever BE BOP DELUXE album
Record Label: Harvest
Catalogue No: SHSP 4058
Country of Origin: UK  

Modern Music is the fourth studio album by the British progressive rock group Be-Bop Deluxe. It was produced by band leader Bill Nelson and producer/engineer John Leckie. As AllMusic reviewer William Ruhlmann states in his review, “the album charted high in England and made the Top 100 in the U.S., but it was Be Bop’s peak, not its breakthrough.”

Track listing
All songs written and composed by Bill Nelson.

Side one:
“Orphans of Babylon” – 3:15
“Twilight Capers” – 4:25
“Kiss of Light” – 3:11
“The Bird Charmer’s Destiny” – 1:20
“The Gold at the End of My Rainbow” – 3:54
“Bring Back the Spark” – 3:38
Side two:
“Modern Music” – 3:40
“Dancing in the Moonlight (All Alone)” – 2:09
“Honeymoon on Mars” – 1:22
“Lost in the Neon World” – 0:48
“Dance of the Uncle Sam Humanoids” – 2:12
“Modern Music (reprise)” – 1:39
“Forbidden Lovers” – 5:03
“Down on Terminal Street” – 4:00
“Make the Music Magic” – 1:53

Length 42:29

Bill Nelson – lead vocals, guitars, percussion
Andrew Clark – keyboards, percussion
Charlie Tumahai – bass, backing vocals, percussion
Simon Fox – drums, percussion

5.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece, 12 Mar 2007
The standard description under the “Review” heading gives you a pretty fair indication of what to expect here. Please read and inwardly digest. I can also only echo what the other five star reviewers have to say. This is a masterpiece and difficult to separate from their other masterpieces. An amazing conglomeration of musical styles and talented musicianship. Start with the old vinyl side two at “Modern Music” and follow the dreamy concept through to “Down on Terminal Street”. Bliss!
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolute brilliance,
This album is a beautiful masterpiece from the most under-rated band of all time. Bill Nelson is a genius, and one of the greatest guitarists and song-writers in history. Listen to this beautiful album. Marvel at the lyricism of the 50s sci-fi influenced songs…..the guitar-playing is other-wordly. A once-in-a-lifetime album of immeasurable brilliance. Jeez, what a band……..
5.0 out of 5 stars Picture this.,
Bill Nelson is still Britain’s best kept musical secret and he deserves wider recognition. “When you’re lonely and you’re far away…When those blue guitars begin to play…Please don’t let them steal your heart away…From me.” Do buy this. Then play anytime and just be glad.
5.0 out of 5 stars Music in Dreamland,
Lets get this straight, Bill Nelson was nothing like David Bowie. Or Roxy Music. Ever. Comparisons like that are totally misleading and quite frankly, demeaning to all concerned. No-one was ever like Be Bop Deluxe. We all have our heroes and we are all influenced by great musicians, but Bill was always his own man. You buy something original here, forever.

I heard Axe Victim on the same night as Queen I in my friends sisters bedroom and my life changed completely. Even in Guildford in some crumby hall somewhere Be Bop Deluxe were magic, completely different, relentlessly creative and original. Bills guitar playing was the opposite of pop. Suddenly the top 20 became irrelevant.

Modern Music captured the moment between the rawness of the early albums and the smooth production techniques that were becoming studio standards. Modern Music and Crying to the Sky from Sunburst coincided with my first heartbreaking romance. Do you hear these programs deep within? She did. The music connected us, a vision of what could be. Nights of Wonder maybe, Nights of Wondering Why more likely. Dance of the Uncle Sam Humanoids – no-one was doing that kind of stuff. It pitched you into a New York Street, not a bar or a western cliché, but into the traffic and the madness. It hauled you out of English suburbia (Terminal Street – basically any road in Portsmouth around 1975) by the heart and hurled you into a different world (Neon). Dreams, possibilities, other ways of looking at things. Ideas. That’s what you get. Make the Music Magic. Its fantastic.

So when is this beauty going to get her makeover? Bring on the remastering droids…
5.0 out of 5 stars *Painting pictures*,
I read the reviews and so agree with the comment: *rock music that paints pictures* That is so accurate! With each track you get a virtual mini drama in your head of the characters and happenings in the songs which are so vivid. Sounds hard to believe? Ok, You do need to have an imagination but seriously these tunes do this to me. When I wanted to take a break from reality I would listen to this LP over and over again when I was in my teens. Curious now?…buy it, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed…Happy listening-Hubbies better half.
5.0 out of 5 stars Modern Music today,
Looking back on this great – and I mean great – work, I am tempted to wallow in my youth when these sounds became, to me any rate, the only music that painted pictures. Actually it is probably the only rock music that paints pictures. Today, the music is still undimmed, the guitar work still brilliant and the themes still beautiful and sad. I always played the second side first as this was logical – we therefore start with Modern Music and its touching reprise. An astonishing track at the time – it must be played first. Anyone who attended BBD concerts will know they shared something fine. I remember Bill played a Yamaha Guitar at his shows against a backdrop of moving pictures. I recall this exactly as it was… whilst other bands have faded from view. Welcome back Modern Music – you still Bring Back The Spark.
5.0 out of 5 stars The Wakefield Wizard Strikes Again,
All the other reviews are positive about this album, its impossible to buck the trend. I too was a teenager when this album came out. For the last 34 years i have never climbed off this wondrous rocket ship to the stars, romance and vintage sci fi blended with incredible melodic rock, its heavenly! This is my fave album of all time. must bid you farewell, the rocket ship is waiting again.
5.0 out of 5 stars Modern Music by one of the greatest bands to come out of the uk
I bought this album on vinyl back in 1976 at the tender age of 14. To this day it is one of the finest albums i have ever heard and is certainly one of the most timeless. The lyrics are sheer poetry, the guitar solos are – well just listen, and i will defy anyone to find a weak song on the album. It is without doubt one of the most underestimated albums ever recorded. As you can guess i love this album to pieces and as a professional musician of twenty four years i write this from a professional aspect. To finish up all i can say is – Listen, enjoy, and be blown away.

Bill Nelson (musician)

Associated acts

Be-Bop DeluxeBill Nelson’s Red NoiseJohn Cooper ClarkeA Flock of SeagullsMonsoonYellow Magic Orchestra (YMO), Yukihiro TakahashiMasami Tsuchiya, Culturemix, Joe HisaishiDr.Jan (guru)Gary NumanSkidsFiat Lux, The Revox Cadets, Orchestra Arcana, David SylvianCabaret VoltaireRain Tree CrowRamon TikaramRoger EnoKate St John, Channel Light Vessel, Nautilus PompiliusHarold BuddFila Brazillia, Bill Nelson and the Lost Satellites, Bill Nelson and his Lighthouse Signal Mechanism Orchestra, Orchestra Futura, Bill Nelson and the Gentlemen Rocketeers, Matt HowarthReeves Gabrels


Andy Clark Associated acts: Mother’s Pride, Be-Bop Deluxe, Bill Nelson’s Red Noise, David Bowie, Peter Gabriel

5 stars Bill Nelson’s music in the mid 70s was a stew of glam, pop and prog, with no particular emphasis on either. A restless musical spirit, he’s always been difficult to pin down in terms of genre, which is why his fans love him. What’s indisputable is his talent for melody and his great lead guitar playing. Modern Music is one of the finest examples of these things. While the band had started as a Bowie-sque glam group and moved on to pomp and prog stylings on their next two albums (you may remember their hit “Ships in the Night”), Modern Music finds Nelson streamlining the band’s sound, which he would do even more on 1978’s Drastic Plastic. He ended up being on the first wave of the new wave, so much so that he’s never been given due credit for it.

Modern Music cuts back on the guitar heroics but features some of Nelson’s best, most moving songs. The title track is a linked suite of songs based on Nelson’s observations of America while touring there. The album also contains muscular rockers (Forbidden Lovers) and beautiful ballads (The Gold at the End of the Rainbow) driven by the usual great ensemble playing, particularly Simon Fox’s drumming, and an elegant, classy, intellectual atmosphere overall. Be Bop Deluxe is THE great unsung rock band of the 70s, and this is one of their best efforts, so if you don’t know them and you’re a Queen or Roxy Music fan who likes great melodies, this is a great place to start exploring the band.

BE-BOP DELUXE: Axe Victim LP Gatefold 1974 original, 1st press UK. A total classic mid 70’s art rock. Check audio + and audio /video reviews of the album

BE BOP DELUXE: Drastic plastic LP UK. 1978 Killer Art Rock. Check ALL samples + and audio review of the album.


Additional information

Weight 0.25 kg


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