Last week I introduced you to an up and coming young Reggae singer from Jamaica. This week we are taking a trip back to a place in time where we weren’t men, but we were Devo. Those of you who were appreciating music in the early 70’s will probably remember that phrase.
The “Sextet Devo”, more commonly known as just plain Devo, was formed in 1973. The band’s original lineup consisted of 6 people but more commonly performed as a quartet. The name Devo comes from de-evolution and the bands’ idea that society is regressing instead of progressing. This band is from Akron, Ohio and is known for being one of the pioneers for music videos. One of their videos, Whip It, got a ton of airtime on newly created music video channel, MTV.
Devo’s concerts were in some ways a lot like their music videos. They would dress up like theatrical characters such as Booji Boy or Chinaman. Their live concerts were often confrontational and at one point being so much so that their promotors unplugged their equipment. Devo started to get noticed in 1976 by bigger names.
That year a film titled “The Truth about De-Evolution” won a prize at the Anne Arbor Film Festival. This caught David Bowie’s attention who worked to get them a recording contract. Their breakthrough into the mainstream music scene started in the 80’s.
In 1977 Devo released a cover of the Rolling Stones satisfaction which supposedly Mick Jagger was a big fan. Then in 1980 their album “Freedom of Choice” was released with arguably their most famous song, “Whip It”. But this was not the end of their careers. The band is still playing today and a documentary was just released in 2020 titled, “Devolution: A Devo Theory” on streaming platforms only in Australia right now.
I hope you enjoyed this week’s spotlight on Ohio band Devo. Until next week, if you’re a music lover, you can hear, see or learn about new music every day on my Facebook group, Spotify playlist or YouTube playlist. And as always, feel free to reach out and let me know about your favorite new musical discovery.
Devo has disabled the play through for sites off YouTube, but you can find the video here: