Clean, Clean

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"Clean, Clean"
Single by Bruce Woolley and The Camera Club
from the album English Garden
B-side "Flying Man"
Released 2 November 1979
Format 7"
Recorded 1979
Genre Synthpop, rock
Length 3:16
Label Epic
Songwriter(s) Trevor Horn, Geoff Downes, Bruce Woolley
Producer(s) Mike Hurst
"Clean, Clean"
Clean Clean Single Cover.jpg
Single by The Buggles
from the album The Age of Plastic
B-side "Technopop"
Released 24 March 1980
Format 7", 12"
Recorded 1979
Genre New wave, synthpop
Length 3:53
Label Island
Songwriter(s) Trevor Horn, Geoff Downes, Bruce Woolley
Producer(s) The Buggles
The Buggles singles chronology
"Living in the Plastic Age"
"Clean, Clean"
"Living in the Plastic Age"
"Clean Clean"
The Age of Plastic track listing
"I Love You (Miss Robot)"
"Clean, Clean"
The Age of Plastic track listing
  1. "Living in the Plastic Age"
  2. "Video Killed the Radio Star"
  3. "Kid Dynamo"
  4. "I Love You (Miss Robot)"
  5. "Clean, Clean"
  6. "Elstree"
  7. "Astroboy (and the Poles On Parade)"
  8. "Johnny (on the Monorail)"

"Clean, Clean" is a song composed by Trevor Horn, Geoff Downes and Bruce Woolley. It was recorded first by the latter for his band Bruce Woolley and The Camera Club in 1979, and later by the former two as The Buggles for their debut album The Age of Plastic. It was released as the album's third single on 24 March 1980.[1]

Background and release[edit]

Along with "Video Killed the Radio Star", the song was co-written by Bruce Woolley. "Clean, Clean" was first recorded and originally released in 1979 by Bruce Woolley and the Camera Club. It was issued as a single in the Netherlands and Japan on 7" vinyl via Epic Records.[2] It was the only song that The Buggles fully wrote as a trio. "Video Killed the Radio Star" was also issued as a single by Woolley in 1979.[3] Both songs were included on the album English Garden, which was also issued under the title Bruce Woolley and the Camera Club.[4][5]

The single was released on 7" vinyl via Island Records across Europe, America and New Zealand.[6] In the UK, the single was manufactured and distributed by EMI Records Ltd.[1] The single included the B-side "Technopop" which was written by Downes and Horn. The song was originally exclusive to the single before it appeared as a bonus track on the 2000 remastered re-issue of The Age of Plastic album, amongst other re-issues of the album.[7]

The majority of the releases of the single featured the same track listing, however the main American release of the single featured "Astroboy (And the Proles on Parade)" as the B-side - an album track from The Age of Plastic.[8] Additionally, a promotional version of the single was released in America which featured a stereo and mono version of the song on each side.[9]

In America, the single was also issued on 12" vinyl as a scarce promotional release only.[10] This version featured an extended 12-inch version of the song, whilst the B-side was "Living in the Plastic Age", the duo's previous single release. The release also featured exclusive artwork.[11] The 12-inch version of "Clean, Clean" would later see release as a bonus track on the 2010 Japanese CD re-release of The Age of Plastic.[12]

Following the song's original release, it has appeared on three various artists compilations; the 1980 Warner Bros. Records compilation Troublemakers, the 1994 Oglio Records release Richard Blade's Flashback Favorites, Vol. 3 and the 1995 Polygram compilation Teenage Kicks: 46 Classic Punk & New Wave Tracks.[13]

Composition and critical reception[edit]

The original version of "Clean, Clean" by Bruce Woolley plays at a length of 3 minutes and 16 seconds. The Buggles version of "Clean, Clean" runs for 3 minutes and 51 seconds, and is performed at a tempo of 160 beats per minute.[14] The 12-inch mix of the Buggles version included on the 2010 re-issue of The Age of Plastic plays for 5 minutes and 15 seconds.[12] Lyrically, the song follows the story of a young boy who grows out of being a gangster, and, despite not willing to do so, he will at least try to keep the fighting clean.[15]

A mixed review by David Hepworth was published for the single in Smash Hits: ""Future Winks" from Cuba (Arlola) is another of those fidgety new records, brimming with cleverness and weighed down with smart-ass humour. The same could also apply to "Clean, Clean" by The Buggles (Island) were it not for the cunningly buried hook line that surfaces after a few plays. These boys are masters of the middle eight. But it's as easy to find records like this obnoxious as it is to say they're catchy."[16]

Jeri Montesano of Allmusic highlighted the song as an album standout by labeling it an AMG Pick Track.[17] A review of the album from Audio magazine, noted "Clean, Clean" to be one of "best moments are those coauthored by Wooley" along with "Video Killed the Radio Star".[18] The Independent, on 3 October 2010, spoke of the song in a review of The Buggles' live performance "The Lost Gig" in London, where the author Simon Price stated The Age of Plastic, played in order, and accompanied by films generally involving old footage of things that once, like the songs, felt impossibly futuristic. Then again, minor hits such as "Clean Clean" and "Elstree" sound radiantly relevant now."[19] Krinein magazine's writer L. Vincent described the song as "pop-electronic", along with the album track "I Love You Miss Robot" and the single's own B-side "Technopop".[20] Nicholas Baker of Napster spoke of the song in a review of the album, stating that it was one of the songs from the album that Trevor Horn's "considerable songwriting prowess" was "evident" in.[21]


On 10 April 1980, The Buggles appeared on the UK music show Top of the Pops where they mimed the song.[22][23] The band performed the song live on BBC Radio 1 on 4 October 1980.

On 28 September 2010, The Buggles reunited to play their first full-length live concert. The event was billed as "The Lost Gig" and took place at "Ladbroke Grove's Supperclub", Notting Hill, London, and was a fund raiser with all earnings going to the Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability. Except "Video Killed the Radio Star" and "The Plastic Age" which the band had previously played together, "The Lost Gig" saw the first live performances of all songs from The Age of Plastic, and included Bruce Woolley performing vocals with Horn on "Clean, Clean".[24][25]

Track listing[edit]

7" Single
  1. "Clean, Clean" - 3:54
  2. "Technopop" - 3:48
7" Single (American release)
  1. "Clean, Clean" - 3:54
  2. "Astroboy (And the Proles on Parade)" - 4:40
7" Single (American promo)
  1. "Clean, Clean (Stereo)" - 3:54
  2. "Clean, Clean (Mono)" - 3:54
12" Single (American promo)
  1. "Clean, Clean (Extended Version)" - 5:13
  2. "Living in the Plastic Age" - 5:09

Chart position[edit]

Chart (1980) Peak
Germany (Official German Charts)[26] 60
UK Singles Chart (The Official Charts Company)[27] 38


Additional personnel[edit]


  1. ^ a b "The Buggles - Clean, Clean / Technopop - Island - UK - WIP 6584". 45cat. 2012-07-06. Retrieved 2013-04-28. 
  2. ^ "Bruce Woolley And The Camera Club - Clean Clean at Discogs". Retrieved 2013-04-28. 
  3. ^ "Bruce Woolley And The Camera Club - Video Killed The Radio Star at Discogs". Retrieved 2013-04-28. 
  4. ^ "Bruce Woolley And The Camera Club - English Garden at Discogs". Retrieved 2013-04-28. 
  5. ^ "Bruce Woolley & The Camera Club* - Bruce Woolley & The Camera Club at Discogs". Retrieved 2013-04-28. 
  6. ^ "Buggles* - Clean Clean at Discogs". Retrieved 2013-04-28. 
  7. ^ "Buggles* - The Age Of Plastic (CD, Album) at Discogs". Retrieved 2013-04-28. 
  8. ^ "Buggles, The - Clean Clean (Vinyl) at Discogs". Retrieved 2013-04-28. 
  9. ^ "Buggles, The - Clean Clean (Vinyl) at Discogs". Retrieved 2013-04-28. 
  10. ^ "Buggles, The - Clean Clean / Living In The Plastic Age (Vinyl) at Discogs". Retrieved 2013-04-28. 
  11. ^ "The Buggles Clean Clean USA Promo 12" vinyl single (12" record / Maxi-single) (53493)". 1995-09-27. Retrieved 2013-04-28. 
  12. ^ a b "Buggles, The - The Age Of Plastic (CD, Album) at Discogs". 2010-02-24. Retrieved 2013-04-28. 
  13. ^ "Clean, Clean - Buggles : Listen, Appearances, Song Review". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-04-28. 
  14. ^ The Buggles - The Age of Plastic. Accessed from 1 May 2013.
  15. ^ Burley, Ted (24 April 1980). Fine production puts Woolley ahead of the new wave pack. Montreal Gazette. Accessed on 27 July 2013.
  16. ^ Smash Hits. Volume 35, p. 30.
  17. ^ Montesano, Jeri. "The Age of Plastic - Buggles : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-04-28. 
  18. ^ Radio Magazine Volume 64 Issues 2-6. Retrieved 2013-04-28. 
  19. ^ Simon Price (2010-10-03). "The Buggles, Supperclub, LondonTim Robbins and the Rogues Gallery Band, Duke of York's Cinema, Brighton - Reviews - Music". The Independent. Retrieved 2013-04-28. 
  20. ^ "Critique Buggles - The Age of Plastic - Krinein France". 1999-09-20. Retrieved 2013-04-28. 
  21. ^ Nicholas Baker (1980-01-01). "The Age Of Plastic : The Buggles". Napster. Archived from the original on 2014-02-27. Retrieved 2013-04-29. 
  22. ^ YouTube (2010-02-15). "BUGGLES - Clean Clean ►TOTP 10.4.80 (HQ) audio in-sync". YouTube. Retrieved 2013-04-28. 
  23. ^ "Cheggers Plays Pop". Retrieved 2013-04-28. 
  24. ^ "Buggles All Around". Mojo (205): 15. December 2010. 
  25. ^ Petridis, Alexis (29 September 2010). "Buggles: The Lost Gig". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 November 2010. 
  26. ^ " – Buggles Single-Chartverfolgung" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH. Retrieved 12 July 2013.
  27. ^ "The Official Charts Company - Clean Clean by The Buggles Search". The Official Charts Company. 6 May 2013.