Pop Muzik

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"Pop Muzik"
Single by M
from the album New York • London • Paris • Munich
B-side"M Factor"
Released9 March 1979 (UK)[1]
Songwriter(s)Robin Scott
Producer(s)Robin Scott
M singles chronology
"Moderne Man"
"Pop Muzik"
"Moonlight and Muzak"

"Pop Muzik" is a 1979 song by M, a project by English musician Robin Scott, from the debut album New York • London • Paris • Munich. The single, first released in the UK in early 1979, was bolstered by a music video (directed by Brian Grant) that was well received by critics. The clip featured Scott as a DJ singing into a microphone from behind an exaggerated turntable setup, at times flanked by two female models who sang and danced in a robotic manner. The video also featured Brigit Novik, Scott's wife at the time, who provided the backup vocals for the track.[6]

The single's B-side, "M Factor", was featured in two different versions. The original cut appeared on the first UK and European releases of the single, while a slightly remixed version appeared on the single released in the United States and Canada. "Pop Muzik" reached number 1 on the US Billboard Hot 100, the Australian ARIA Singles Chart, and number 2 in the UK Singles Chart.

Concept and chart performance[edit]

The song was initially recorded in R&B and funk styles before a friend of Scott suggested using synthesisers.[7] He describes the genesis of "Pop Muzik":

I was looking to make a fusion of various styles which somehow would summarise the last 25 years of pop music. It was a deliberate point I was trying to make. Whereas rock and roll had created a generation gap, disco was bringing people together on an enormous scale. That's why I really wanted to make a simple, bland statement, which was, 'All we're talking about basically (is) pop music.'[8]

Cash Box described it as a "quirky Euro-pop number," stating that "the nonsensical lyrics create a catchy cadence."[9] Record World described it as a "totally infectious body-mover."[10]

The single was released in the UK first, peaking at number 2 on 12 May 1979,[8] unable to break Art Garfunkel's 6-week stint at number one with "Bright Eyes". In August of that same year, it was released in North America, where it eventually climbed all the way to number 1 in Canada on 27 October[11] and in the US on 3 November.

Along with Scott, other musicians who played on the track were his brother Julian Scott (on bass), then unknown keyboardist Wally Badarou, Canadian synthesiser programmer John Lewis, drummer Phil Gould (who later became one of the founding members of the group Level 42), Gary Barnacle and Brigit Novik, the backing vocalist, credited as "Brigit Vinchon" on the records and sleeves.

The image of the baby on "Pop Muzik"'s single disc is of Robin Scott's daughter, Berenice. She became a singer, piano/keyboard player and composer and involved in projects with her father's friends Phil Gould and Wally Badarou.[citation needed]


The subsequent full-length album New York • London • Paris • Munich was recorded in Montreux, Switzerland, at Queen's Mountain Studio, with lead singer and guitarist Robin Scott and regular engineer David Richards, as well as Julian Scott, Wally Badarou and Brigit Novik.

Additional musicians on the album included drummer Phil Gould, Gary Barnacle on saxophone and flute, and David Bowie (a friend of Scott and a resident of Montreux at the time) who provided occasional handclaps.

The album was also released in the United States on Sire Records with a different track listing but it was not commercially successful, compared to the album's success in Europe.

Other formats[edit]

The UK 12-inch single version was notable for the A-side having a double groove so that the two tracks ("Pop Muzik" and "M Factor") both started at the outer edge of the record and finished in the middle (with a long silence at the end of "M Factor" since the track was the shorter of the two). This resulted in a random selection of the two tracks, depending on which groove the needle landed in the lead-in. To further market this idea, the UK record sleeve stated "B side included on A side, full length disco mix of Pop Musik on Seaside". 'Seaside' (in other words "C side") was a simple play on words as the letter C, apart from being the logical next "side" after the A and B sides, is pronounced the same way as the English word "sea".

The song was remixed and re-released in 1989 where it reached number 15 in the UK Singles Charts.[12]

Chart performance[edit]

Formats and track listings[edit]

Original 7" single[edit]

Original 7" single released by MCA Records and EMI in Europe.

  1. Pop Muzik – 3:21
  2. M Factor – 2:30

Original 7" single with Prize message[edit]

Original 7" single released by MCA Records and EMI in Europe, and had a special 'Prize Message' at the end of the A-side which said "It's a Winner!" Presenting the record at the retailer entitled you to a small cash prize/ Free gift.

  1. Pop Muzik – 3:29
  2. M Factor – 2:30

Long version single[edit]

Released in both 7" and 12" vinyl single formats in the United States by Sire Records, and as a 12" vinyl in France by Pathé Marconi EMI, all featuring a longer version of the song

  1. Pop Muzik (Long Version) – 4:58
  2. M Factor – 2:30

Netherlands 12" single[edit]

12" single released in the Netherlands by MCA Records. The B-side "M Factor" was featured on the A-side of the vinyl on this release, with a remix of the title song on the B-side.

  1. Pop Muzik
  2. M Factor
  3. Pop Muzik (Long Version)

Sweden 7" 1989 release[edit]

7" single released in Sweden in 1989 by Freestyle Records

  1. Pop Muzik (Edited 1989 Remix) – 3:10
  2. Pop Muzik (Original 7" Version) – 3:20

Sweden 12" 1989 release[edit]

12" single released in Sweden in 1989 by Freestyle Records

  1. Pop Muzik (Extended 1989 Hip Hop Remix) – 5:40
  2. Pop Muzik (7" Version) – 3:20
  3. Pop Muzik (Edited 1989 Dub Remix) – 3:20
  4. Pop Muzik (Original 12" Version) – 5:00
  5. Pop Muzik (Edited 1989 Remix) – 3:10

Germany 12" 1989 release[edit]

12" single released in Germany in 1989 by ZYX Records

  1. Pop Muzik (The Hip Hop Club Remix) – 5:38
  2. Pop Muzik (The Hip Hop Remix) – 3:20
  3. Pop Muzik (Original '79 Mix) – 3:21

Germany CD 2001 release[edit]

CD single released in Germany in 2001 by ZYX Records

  1. Pop Muzik (Britannia '89 Remix) – 3:11
  2. Pop Muzik (Cabinet Remix) – 7:38
  3. Pop Muzik (Original Version) – 3:21

Cover versions[edit]

  • Male vocal and instrumental band All Systems Go entered the UK Singles Chart on 18 June 1988. It reached number 63, and remained in the chart for 2 weeks.[50]
  • In 1997, U2 remixed the song to use as the opening track for their PopMart Tour. The remix features an upbeat tempo and use of synthesizers. In the live version, Robin Scott's vocals were used. The song was released on the "Last Night on Earth" single and Bono's vocals replaced Scott's. The only part of the song Bono added was the line "dance to the PopMart, top of the food chain." Andrew Unterberger of Stylus Magazine said the cover was "hardly the most musically accomplished thing U2 did in this period, but I can't think of a better choice to introduce this period of their career."[51] It is also a featured track on PopMart: Live from Mexico City.
  • In 2000, a music promoter turned recording artist by the name of Marcus was signed by Clive Davis to J Records. The following year he released a cover version with a slightly different spelling: "Pop Musik." The chorus hook from the original song was used ("pop, pop, pop music"), but the lyrics were changed to talk about top pop artists of the day like Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys, Will Smith, NSYNC, and even Marilyn Manson. The song was produced by P.M. Dawn and was released as a CD Single in spring of 2001. The song was included on a BMG Music compilation CD, Cool Traxx! 3, which also featured hit songs from many of the artists that Marcus sings about in his remake. Billboard said of the song, "This is G-rated fun that could connect with the younger side of the top 40 demographic, and it could charm the ears of programmers looking for an instant reaction record— but, boy, does its novelty affect wear thin after only a few lessons…" [52]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "M – Pop Muzik" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 23 July 2013.
  2. ^ Weisbard, Eric; Marks, Craig (1995). Spin Alternative Record Guide. Vintage Books. ISBN 978-06-7975-574-6.
  3. ^ a b Eddy, Chuck (2011). Rock and Roll Always Forgets: A Quarter Century of Music Criticism. Duke University Press. p. 243. ISBN 978-0-8223-5010-1. the weird chart-topping new wave disco single by one-letter-named one-hit-wonder M (real name: Robin Scott) finished second on another chart in 1979
  4. ^ Smith, Troy L. (14 December 2021). "Every No. 1 song of the 1970s ranked from worst to best". Cleveland.com. Retrieved 30 January 2023.
  5. ^ Chiu, David (4 July 2013). "A look back at 1983: The year of the second British Invasion". CBS News. Retrieved 23 July 2013.
  6. ^ "1970s". Defining Decades. 17 April 2015. Vintage TV.
  7. ^ One-Hit Wonders at the BBC. 17 April 2015. BBC Four.
  8. ^ a b Bronson, Fred (1988). ""Pop Muzik" – M". The Billboard Book of Number One Hits (4th ed.). ISBN 0-8230-7641-5.
  9. ^ "Singles Reviews > Singles to Watch" (PDF). Cash Box. Vol. XLI, no. 13. 11 August 1979. p. 15. Retrieved 1 January 2022.
  10. ^ "Hits of the Week" (PDF). Record World. 11 August 1979. p. 1. Retrieved 11 February 2023.
  11. ^ a b "Top RPM Singles: Issue 9459a." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 12 May 2015.
  12. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100: 02 July 1989 – 08 July 1989". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 7 March 2017.
  13. ^ "Australia No. 1 hits -- 1970's". World Charts. Archived from the original on 24 April 2014. Retrieved 10 June 2013.
  14. ^ "M – Pop Muzik" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 23 July 2013.
  15. ^ "M – Pop Muzik" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 23 July 2013.
  16. ^ "Top RPM Adult Contemporary: Issue 6874." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 12 May 2015.
  17. ^ "Top RPM Dance/Urban: Issue 7883." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 12 May 2015.
  18. ^ "Hits of the World". Billboard. Vol. 91, no. 43. 27 October 1979. p. 80. ISSN 0006-2510. See last week peak position.
  19. ^ "UK, Eurochart, Billboard & Cashbox No.1 Hits". MusicSeek.info. Archived from the original on 14 June 2006.
  20. ^ "InfoDisc : Tous les Titres par Artiste". InfoDisc (in French). Select "M" or "M." from the artist drop-down menu. Archived from the original on 27 January 2012. Retrieved 23 July 2013.
  21. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Pop Muzik". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 23 July 2013.
  22. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 24, 1979" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 23 July 2013.
  23. ^ "M – Pop Muzik". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 23 July 2013.
  24. ^ "M – Pop Muzik". VG-lista. Retrieved 23 July 2013.
  25. ^ "South African Rock Lists Website SA Charts 1969 – 1989 Acts (M)". Rock.co.za. Retrieved 23 July 2013.
  26. ^ "M – Pop Muzik". Singles Top 100. Retrieved 23 July 2013.
  27. ^ "M – Pop Muzik". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 23 July 2013.
  28. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 23 July 2013.
  29. ^ "M – Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 31 May 2013.
  30. ^ "CASH BOX Top 100 Singles – Week ending OCTOBER 27, 1979". Cash Box. Archived from the original on 4 September 2011.
  31. ^ "Record World Singles" (PDF). Record World. 27 October 1979. p. 33. ISSN 0034-1622. Retrieved 17 September 2017.
  32. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – M – Pop Muzik" (in German). GfK Entertainment charts. Retrieved 21 February 2019.
  33. ^ "Forum - ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts – Top 100 End of Year AMR Charts – 1970s". Australian-charts.com. Hung Medien. Archived from the original on 6 November 2013. Retrieved 31 January 2014.
  34. ^ "Kent Music Report No 288 – 31 December 1979 > National Top 100 Singles for 1979". Kent Music Report. Retrieved 10 January 2023 – via Imgur.com.
  35. ^ "Jahreshitparade 1979" (in German). Austrian-charts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 31 January 2014.
  36. ^ "Jaaroverzichten 1979" (in Dutch). Ultratop. Hung Medien. Retrieved 31 January 2014.
  37. ^ "1979 Top 200 Singles". RPM. Vol. 32, no. 13. Library and Archives Canada. 22 December 1979.
  38. ^ "TOP – 1979". Top-france.fr (in French). Retrieved 31 January 2014.
  39. ^ "Jahrescharts – 1979". Offiziellecharts.de (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Archived from the original on 8 May 2015.
  40. ^ "Top 100-Jaaroverzicht van 1979" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 31 January 2014.
  41. ^ "Jaaroverzichten – Single 1979" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Hung Medien. Retrieved 31 January 2014.
  42. ^ "Top 20 Hit Singles of 1979". Rock.co.za. Retrieved 31 January 2014.
  43. ^ "Schweizer Jahreshitparade 1979" (in German). Hitparade.ch. Hung Medien. Retrieved 31 January 2014.
  44. ^ "Top Singles 1979". Music Week. London, England: Spotlight Publications. 22 December 1979. p. 27.
  45. ^ "The CASH BOX Year-End Charts: 1979". Cash Box. Archived from the original on 25 August 2012.
  46. ^ "Top 100 Hits for 1980". The Longbored Surfer. Retrieved 31 January 2014.
  47. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank ('Pop Muzik')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie.
  48. ^ "British single certifications – Pop Muzik". British Phonographic Industry. Select singles in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Type Pop Muzik in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  49. ^ "American single certifications – M – Pop Muzik". Recording Industry Association of America.
  50. ^ Rice, Tim; Rice, Johnathan; Gambaccini, Paul (1990), Guinness Book of British Hit Singles & Albums, Enfield, Middlesex: Guinness World Records and Guinness Publishing, ISBN 0-85112-398-8
  51. ^ Unterberger, Andrew (16 October 2007). "U2 – Poopropa". Stylus Magazine. Archived from the original on 9 May 2012. Retrieved 7 August 2015.
  52. ^ "Reviews & Previews - Singles edited by Chuck Taylor" (PDF). Billboard Magazine. 7 April 2001. p. 20. Retrieved 1 January 2024.

External links[edit]