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Replicas (album)

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Original Style Artwork (Replicas Redux has “Gary Numan + Tubeway Army”)
Studio album by
Released4 April 1979 (1979-04-04)
RecordedDecember 1978 and January 1979
StudioGooseberry Sound Studios (London)
ProducerGary Numan
Tubeway Army chronology
Tubeway Army
Singles from Replicas
  1. "Down in the Park"
    Released: 16 March 1979
  2. "Are 'Friends' Electric?"
    Released: 4 May 1979

Replicas is the second and final studio album by the English new wave band Tubeway Army, released on 4 April 1979 by Beggars Banquet Records. It followed their self-titled debut from the previous year. After this, Tubeway Army frontman Gary Numan would continue to release records under his own name, though the musicians in Tubeway Army would continue to work with him for some time. Replicas was the first album of what Numan later termed the "machine" phase of his career,[1] preceding The Pleasure Principle (1979) and Telekon (1980), a collection linked by common themes of a dystopian science fiction future and transmutation of man/machine, coupled with an androgynous image and a synthetic rock sound.

Fuelled by a surprise No. 1 hit single, "Are 'Friends' Electric?", the album also reached No. 1 in the UK charts in July 1979 and was certified Gold by the BPI for sales in excess of 100,000 copies.[2]


A loose concept album, Replicas was based on a dystopian book Numan hoped to eventually complete,[3] set in a not-too-distant future metropolis where Machmen (androids with cloned human skin) and other machines keep the general public cowed on orders from the Grey Men (shadowy officials). While the album's setting and lyrics were directly inspired by the science fiction of Philip K. Dick, particularly his seminal work Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, the title was not. Although Numan's Machmen were similar to Replicants, the term used for androids in Ridley Scott's Blade Runner (based on Dick's book), Scott's film came out three years after Tubeway Army's album and Dick never used the word "Replicant" in his original 1968 novel. The album cover shows Numan as a Machman staring out from his room at a waning crescent moon hovering above "The Park" as a barely visible man stands outside while Numan's reflection stares back at himself.

Recording and music[edit]

Replicas was recorded in late 1978 at Gooseberry Studios, London and completed in February 1979 with overdubs and remixing at Marcus Music Studios.[4]

Musically, Numan's main influence was the commercially unsuccessful John Foxx-led incarnation of Ultravox. Tracks like "Speed of Life" and "Breaking Glass" from David Bowie's Low were also cited, along with Kraftwerk's The Man-Machine album, in particular the long and wistful track "Neon Lights".[5][6]

The recording built upon the sound of the first Tubeway Army album. While the tracks "The Machman", "You Are in My Vision" and "It Must Have Been Years" recalled the earlier album's guitar-oriented rock, the rest were built solidly around an analog synthesizer, the Minimoog. Along with "Are 'Friends' Electric?", this included "Me! I Disconnect from You", the atmospheric "Down in the Park" (released as a single prior to the album and acquiring cult status though not commercial success), the multi-layered title track and the closing instrumentals "When the Machines Rock" and "I Nearly Married a Human", the latter featuring Numan's first use of a primitive drum machine; it appeared the following year in Carl Sagan's TV series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage.[7]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Christgau's Record GuideB+[9]
The New Zealand Herald[12]
Record Collector[13]
Record Mirror[14]
Smash Hits8/10[15]

The New York Times deemed the album "weird synthesizer effects and fashionably adenoidal songs and vocals over an accessibly rocking rhythm section."[18]


Promoting the 2008 album tour

Replicas' synthesizer sound and occasionally nihilistic lyrics greatly impacted the industrial acts that came to prominence in the mid-1990s such as Marilyn Manson and Nine Inch Nails, both of whom covered Numan's songs on record. Both Manson and Foo Fighters released versions of "Down in the Park". "Are 'Friends' Electric?" was covered by a number of artists, and was most notably the basis for Sugababes' No. 1 hit "Freak Like Me" in 2002. Numan has continued to play tracks from Replicas on his live tours, with "Me! I Disconnect from You", "Are 'Friends' Electric?" and "Down in the Park" being mainstays, whilst "Praying to the Aliens" and "Replicas" have also lately become part of his live repertoire.


The 1999 and 2008 reissue editions included several bonus tracks, including three single B-sides: "We Are So Fragile" (from "Are 'Friends' Electric?"), and "Do You Need the Service?" and "I Nearly Married a Human (2)" (from "Down in the Park"). "The Crazies", "Only a Downstat" and "We Have a Technical" were outtakes from the Replicas sessions.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Gary Numan.

1979 Beggars Banquet LP and MC (BEGA/C 7) and 1995 Beggars Banquet CD reissue (MUSCD509)[edit]

The lightbulb on the front sleeve artwork was removed for the 1995 reissue to allow for a larger print of the album title.

  1. "Me! I Disconnect from You" – 3:23
  2. "Are 'Friends' Electric?" – 5:25
  3. "The Machman" – 3:08
  4. "Praying to the Aliens" – 4:00
  5. "Down in the Park" – 4:24
  6. "You Are in My Vision" – 3:15
  7. "Replicas" – 5:01
  8. "It Must Have Been Years" – 4:02
  9. "When the Machines Rock" – 3:15
  10. "I Nearly Married a Human" – 6:31

1997 Beggars Banquet CD remastered reissue bonus tracks (TKCB-71194)[edit]

  1. "Do You Need the Service?" - 3:40
  2. "The Crazies" - 2:54
  3. "Only a Downstat" - 3:36
  4. "We Have a Technical" - 8:04
  5. "We Are So Fragile" - 2:56
  6. "I Nearly Married a Human 2" - 6:38

2008 Beggars Banquet "Redux" CD reissue (BBQCD 2057)[edit]

To coincide with Numan's 15-date Replicas Classic Album Tour in 2008, Beggars Banquet issued an expanded 2CD and limited 3CD version of Replicas, titled Replicas Redux.

Disc One

  1. "We Are So Fragile" - 2:55
  2. "Do You Need the Service?" - 3:39
  3. "I Nearly Married a Human 2" - 6:38

Disc Two This disc contained a complete earlier version of the Replicas album, recorded in late 1978 and January 1979.

  1. "Me! I Disconnect From You" - 3:24
  2. "Are 'Friends' Electric?" - 5:25
  3. "The Machman" - 3:08
  4. "Praying to the Aliens" - 4:08
  5. "Down in the Park" - 4:24
  6. "Do You Need the Service?" - 3:42
  7. "Only a Downstat" - 3:35
  8. "We Have a Technical" - 8:00
  9. "You Are in My Vision" - 3:22
  10. "Replicas" - 5:02
  11. "It Must Have Been Years" - 4:04
  12. "When the Machines Rock" - 3:15
  13. "The Crazies" - 2:54
  14. "I Nearly Married a Human 3" - 6:24
  • The early version of "When the Machines Rock" featured vocals by Numan, unlike the instrumental standard album version.

Disc Three - Replicas - Mixes + Versions (GNCD 2008)
This disc of bonus tracks was only available for a limited time when Replicas Redux was purchased via Numan's official website.

  1. "Are 'Friends' Electric?" (Renegade Soundwave Mix) - 5:15
  2. "Replicas" (Early Version 2) - 5:05
  3. "Down in the Park" (Early Version 2) - 4:23
  4. "Are 'Friends' Electric?" (Early Version 2) - 5:28
  5. "Replicas" (Early Version 3) - 5:00
  6. "Are 'Friends' Electric?" (Renegade Soundwave Instrumental) - 5:14

40th Anniversary Edition[edit]

To celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the release of Replicas, a special edition of the album, Replicas: The First Recordings was released on 11 October 2019.[19] Released on 2 LP coloured vinyl and 2 CD editions.

CD 1
  1. "You Are in My Vision" (Early Version)
  2. "The Machmen" (Early Version)
  3. "Down in the Park" (Early Version)
  4. "Do You Need The Service?" (Early Version)
  5. "The Crazies"
  6. "When The Machines Rock" (Early Version)
  7. "Me! I Disconnect From You" (Early Version)
  8. "Praying to the Aliens" (Early Version)
  9. "It Must Have Been Years" (Early Version)
  10. "Only A Downstat"
  11. "I Nearly Married a Human 3" (Early Version)
  12. "Replicas" (Early Version)
  13. "Are 'Friends' Electric?" (Early Version)
CD 2
  1. "Replicas" (Early Version 2)
  2. "Down in the Park" (Early Version 2)
  3. "Are 'Friends' Electric?" (Early Version 2)
  4. "We Have A Technical"
  5. "Replicas" (Early Version 3)
  6. "Me, I Disconnect From You" (BBC Peel Session)
  7. "Down in the Park" (BBC Peel Session)
  8. "I Nearly Married a Human" (BBC Peel Session)


Tubeway Army



Chart (1979–80) Peak
Australian Albums (Kent Music Report)[20] 11
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[21] 45
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)[22] 44
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[23] 8
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[24] 37
UK Albums (OCC)[25] 1
US Billboard 200[26] 124
Chart (2008) Peak Position
UK Albums (OCC) 96
Chart (2019) Peak Position
UK Albums (OCC) 31
Year-end chart (1979) Position
UK Albums (OCC) 16


Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[27] Gold 35,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[2] Gold 100,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ Numan, Gary (1981). Living Ornaments '79 and '80 (liner notes). Gary Numan. Beggars Banquet Records.
  2. ^ a b "British album certifications – Tubeway Army/Gary Numan – Replicas". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 2 November 2020.
  3. ^ Lott, Tim (9 June 1979). "Confessions of an honest poseur". Record Mirror. p. 26.
  4. ^ Gary Numan Replicas – The First Recordings Beggars Arkive
  5. ^ Eddy, Chuck (22 June 2012). "We Are Also the Robots: 8 Essentials of Post-Kraftwerk Pop". Spin. Retrieved 2 November 2020.
  6. ^ CloneDaddy (21 January 2011). "Gary Numan discusses John Foxx and early Ultravox". Archived from the original on 20 May 2019 – via YouTube.
  7. ^ "The Complete Music of Cosmos". cosmic_voyager.tripod.com. Retrieved 24 March 2021.
  8. ^ Prato, Greg. "Replicas – Tubeway Army". AllMusic. Retrieved 3 July 2014.
  9. ^ Christgau, Robert (1981). "N". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor and Fields. ISBN 0-89919-026-X. Retrieved 8 March 2019 – via robertchristgau.com.
  10. ^ "Gary Numan and Tubeway Army: Replicas". Mojo. No. 172. March 2008. p. 122.
  11. ^ Shepherd, Sam (25 February 2008). "Gary Numan – Replicas Redux". MusicOMH. Retrieved 3 July 2014.
  12. ^ Perrott, Alan (6 April 2008). "Gary Numan & Tubeway Army, Replicas Redux". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 2 November 2020.
  13. ^ Doran, John (March 2008). "Gary Numan & Tubeway Army – Replicas Redux: Expanded 2008 Tour Edition". Record Collector. No. 347. Retrieved 3 July 2014.
  14. ^ Westwood, Chris (21 April 1979). "A One Man Army". Record Mirror.
  15. ^ Starr, Red (14–27 June 1979). "Albums". Smash Hits. Vol. 1, no. 14. p. 25.
  16. ^ Price, Simon (September 1998). "Retro Active". Spin. Vol. 14, no. 9. pp. 188–89. Retrieved 20 September 2015.
  17. ^ "Gary Numan and Tubeway Army: Replicas". Uncut. No. 130. March 2008. p. 96.
  18. ^ Rockwell, John (14 September 1979). "The Pop Life: Veteran British rock bands alive and well". The New York Times. p. C11.
  19. ^ Sinclair, Paul (21 August 2019). "Gary Numan / 40th anniversary reissues". Super Deluxe Edition. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
  20. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 314. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  21. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Tubeway Army – Replicas" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 2 November 2020.
  22. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Tubeway Army – Replicas" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 2 November 2020.
  23. ^ "Charts.nz – Tubeway Army – Replicas". Hung Medien. Retrieved 2 November 2020.
  24. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Tubeway Army – Replicas". Hung Medien. Retrieved 2 November 2020.
  25. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2 November 2020.
  26. ^ "Gary Numan Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved 2 November 2020.
  27. ^ "International Certifications". Cash Box. 5 July 1980. p. 43. Retrieved 3 December 2021 – via World Radio History.


  • Paul Goodwin (2004). Electric Pioneer: An Armchair Guide to Gary Numan

External links[edit]