Helpless Dancer

The Endless Note

Blast From The Past – Devo

Devo (pronounced /ˈdiːvoʊ/ DEE-voh, originally /diːˈvoʊ/ dee-VOH) are an American band formed in Akron, Ohio in 1973.

While in the US they are perhaps best known for their 1980 hit “Whip It”, which made it to #14 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

The band in the UK, and particularly to me,  are best identified via their cover of the Rolling Stones “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” which was released as a single in 1977.

“(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” –  Devo

Gerald Casale has stated that Mick Jagger’s assertion that he liked Devo’s rendition was “a setup” and that a Warner Brothers lawyer had asked him to approve the cover.

 Steve Huey of Allmusic stated that the cover version “reworks the original’s alienation into a spastic freak-out that’s nearly unrecognizable”.

Their style over time has shifted between punk, art rock, post-punk, and New Wave. Their music and stage show mingle kitsch science fiction themes, deadpan surrealist humor, and mordantly satirical social commentary. Their often discordant pop songs feature unusual synthetic instrumentation and time signatures that have proven influential on subsequent popular music, particularly New Wave, industrial and alternative rock artists.

Devo was also a pioneer of the music video, creating many memorable clips for the Laser Disc format, with “Whip It” getting heavy airplay in the early days of MTV.

One of their more famous phrases from the single “Jocko Homo eventually became the title for their 1978 debut album “Are We Not Men? : We Are Devo”

They tell us that
We lost our tails
Evolving up
From little snails
I say it’s all
Just wind in sails
Are we not men?
We are Devo!
Are we not men?
D-E-V-O

We’re pinheads now
We are not whole
We’re pinheads all
Jocko homo
Are we not men?
We are Devo!
Are we not men?
D-E-V-O
Are we not pins?
We are Devo!

Monkey men all
In business suits
Teachers and critics
All dance the poot
Are we not men?
We are Devo!
Are we not men?
D-E-V-O
Are we not pins?
We are Devo!
Are we not men?
D-E-V-O

I got a rhyme that comes with a riddle
O-HI-O
What’s round on the ends and high in the middle?
O-HI-O

God made man
But he used the monkey to do it
Apes in the plan
We’re all here to prove it
I can walk like an ape
Talk like an ape
Do what a monkey can do
God made man
But a monkey supplied the glue

Are we not men?
We are Devo!
Are we not men?
We are Devo!
Are we not men?
We are Devo!
Are we not men?
We are Devo!

We must repeat
D-E-V-O
We must repeat
D-E-V-O
We must repeat
D-E-V-O
We must repeat
D-E-V-O
We must repeat
D-E-V-O
We must repeat
D-E-V-O
We must repeat
D-E-V-O
We must repeat
O.K. let’s go!

The album received somewhat mixed reviews from critics and peaked at number 12 on the U.K. album charts and number 78 on the U.S. Billboard charts. Recent reviews of the album have been more uniformly positive, with the album charting on several retrospective “best of” lists from publications including Rolling Stone, Pitchfork Media and Spin.

Thereafter the quaint quirkiness of Devo faded away for me though they still exist that first album was as far as I went with them.

To buy the music of Devo click HERE

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May 18, 2010 - Posted by | Blast from The Past, Old Music, Video | ,

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