The Evolution of New Wave Music – Part 2

As New Wave made itself known in the U.S., two well-known middle-class new journals (‘Newsweek’ and ‘Time’) both featured front page stories on the New Wave/Punk movement. New Wave had truly arrived in America, although critics offered mixed reviews, being somewhere unsure about the transition.

This was one of the reasons why music from this genre spent some time out of the spotlight. During this time, bands began small, playing at small venues in a bid to build up their name, along with the genre itself. In ’78 and ’79, bands began to gain sufficient popularity and found themselves on the Billboard Charts. Acts like The Cars, Talking Heads, and Blondie were climbing higher in the charts than other bands as a result of having larger fan bases. New Wave had now replaced Punk as a definition for new music in the UK. Artists that began in the punk genre, like the Buzzcocks, became known as New Wave, along with artists like The Clash. That was also true of new artists such as Elvis Costello and The Police.

Major artists

There are numerous individuals and bands who could be considered to be major artists or players in New Wave. Along with the ones mentioned above, the majority of those Post-Punk bands that could be termed ‘New Wave’ and that encompassed numerous various styles include Joy Division, The Cure, and Blondie, as well as, of course, as already mentioned, Talking Heads. Talking Heads are, in fact, a great example of how far New Wave had progressed from its earlier Punk connection as the songs had become more lyrically, musically, and rhythmically complex. The band were commonly referred to as being New Wave’s artistic face. While Talking Heads didn’t appreciate that label, there were so many big players in the genre that the question of who were those at the forefront was down to taste. Another band that could be considered worthy of the label was The Knack. While it’s not necessarily true of the band, one of the more important songs in New Wave is The Knack’s My Sharona. The song was named 1979’s Number 1 Single by Billboard Magazine. This prompted numerous record companies to quickly try and sign New Wave acts. While The Knack wasn’t hugely successful beyond My Sharona, the success and the significance of the song places them in the arena of prominent acts.

Modern influence

The prominent acts could possibly be described as the acts that developed the genre from its very early days to becoming the huge influence that still exists today on many modern New Wave, Indie, and Alternative bands. Maybe, therefore, we needn’t look beyond the likes of Talking Heads, The Cure, and Elvis Costello.

As the genre evolved, the term underwent a slight change as it was used to describe a quieter, synth-based pop sound. Bands like Gang of Four, Joy Division, and The Cure were termed “Post-Punk. These bands had an initial involvement in New Wave but led to the new genre as they are regarded as being menacing and reflective.