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Trevor Horn's Big '80s

by Mosi Reeves

Trevor Horn's Big '80s

About this playlist

When MTV launched on August 1, 1981, the first video it showed was The Buggles' "Video Killed the Radio Star," a clip marked by the bespectacled image of British musician Trevor Horn. MTV's support not only turned the 1979 song into a belated U.S. top 40 hit, it also signified how much an impact Horn would have on the decade. His greatest feat was track editing, cutting sounds into the crazy drum explosions in the middle of Yes' "Owner of a Lonely Heart," the stabbing bass rhythms underneath Frankie Goes to Hollywood's "Two Tribes," and the back-and-forth scratch echoes of Malcolm McLaren's "Buffalo Gals." As one-fourth of the Art of Noise, he virtually pioneered the idea of remixing tracks over and over again into multiple drafts of the same recorded material. Their "Beat Box" and its sundry versions is one of the best electronic pop moments of the era, and was a major influence on dance pop producers like Arthur Baker (vis-à-vis New Order) and KLF, as well as hip-hop pioneers like Mantronix and Marley Marl. Horn had a few incredibly innovative years between 1982 and 1985. This playlist recounts the highlights.

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