Cars – Gary Numan | Top 40 Chart Performance, Story and Song Meaning

Chart Performance: Pop (#9); 1980

Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne

In his teens, shy Gary Webb took on an icy persona and appropriated the name of a plumber he found in the telephone book. Now he was “Gary Numan,” leader of Tubeway Army! The Army’s first album came and went unnoticed, however, the second – Replicas – became a #1 smash after Are ‘Friends’ Electric? topped the singles chart. The failed first album then had a run on the chart along with the third, The Pleasure Principle. All this three-way album action took place during four months of 1979, making Gary Numan (Tubeway Army having been dropped from the billing) a star. The designated single from The Pleasure Principle, Cars, hit #1 the same week the album debuted atop its list. Its robotic sound and theme of alienation jumpstarted a string of charters In England, however, here Numan was a one hit wonder. In 1996, Cars was featured in a British TV commercial for Carling Premier Lager, prompting its return to the Top 20.

This content and all Song Meaning articles were created and written by Top 40 Contributing Editor Ed Osborne. © 2023 Ed Osborne. All Rights Reserved. In addition to these song meaning articles, Ed has written our “Year in Music 1960s-1990s” articles.

Produced by:

  • Gary Numan

Lyrics Written by:

  • Gary Numan