This latest guilty pleasure in this very occasional series comes at a particularly timely moment. Those who follow our Twitter, or take an interest in the world of music festivals, may have noticed that amongst the cool, contemporary and hip bands announced for the annual September shindig on the Isle Of Wight that is Bestival, which includes Dizzee Rascal, Hot Chip, The Flaming Lips, The XX, LCD Soundsystem, Ellie Goulding, Hurts, The Antlers and French Horn Rebellion, one of the more surprising names on this years line up is the long forgotten 80’s solo synth-pop man with the spiked hair - Howard Jones.
The name Howard Jones may not mean anything if you were born anywhere past around 1975, unless you have happened to visit the Bestival forum. If you have you will be fully aware of a campaign that started four years ago to get the keyboard wizard booked to play one of the most exciting, vibrant and colourful festivals in the UK. You can read all about that campaign, that included You Tube videos, a mad man called Dave in Texas recording a song for the campaign and the DJ tribute act that grew out of that crusade at the Bestival Howard Jones page here.
That tribute act – DJ Hojo Hits - and the slightly obsessed and unstoppable leader of the ‘Get Howard Jones booked for Bestival’ campaign was in fact the author of Breaking More Waves. Yes, outside of the blogosphere we’ve been hammering away on the door of Radio 1 DJ and Bestival curator Rob da Bank with a retro 80’s Jupiter keyboard, not taking no for an answer. Then finally, after starting a postal terrorism attack of seven inch vinyl Howard Jones singles sent to the Bestival HQ, the Bestival head-honcho faltered. In a moment of madness he agreed to open the gates of Robin Hill Country Park to Howard Jones, and this week in the latest confirmation release to the media, besides the names of The Prodigy and Wild Beasts was the name that made Besti-forum regulars weep with joy. Howard Jones was playing Bestival.
So why Jones? We’re not even quite sure ourselves now. But let’s be clear about this, we love his mid 80’s synth-pop. And any man that sings “I don’t want to be hip and cool. I don’t want to play by the rules,” in a big chart hit gets our vote. We’ll probably have those words inscribed on our gravestone. New Song by Howard Jones was his debut single. With an uncanny resemblance to Solsbury Hill by Peter Gabriel, who Jones toured with at one point, it reached number two in the charts and signalled the way for his album Humans Lib to go to number one and remain in the charts for over a year. With a mime artist called Jed (see video below), a bad taste in jumpers and that haircut, New Song by Howard Jones is one of our biggest guilty pleasures.
Enjoy the video, get yourself a ticket to Bestival and we’ll see you down the front for the Howard Jones forum mosh-pit. It’s going to be funny, emotional and brilliant all at the same time.