b. Gary Anthony James Webb, 8 March 1958, Hammersmith, London, England. Originally appearing under the group name Tubeway Army, Numan enjoyed enormous success in the UK at the close of the 70s. His Kraftwerk / David Bowie -influenced electronic music saw Tubeway Army top the UK charts in May 1979 with Are Friends Electric?
By September 1979 Numan abandoned the group pseudonym for the follow-up single Cars which also topped the UK charts and reached the US Top 10. At his peak, Numan was one of the bestselling artists in Britain and his albums The Pleasure Principle and Telekon both entered the charts at number 1. His science fiction-orientated lyrics and synthesizer-based rhythms brought further Top 10 successes with We Are Glass, I Die: You Die, She's Got Claws and We Take Mystery (To Bed).
As the decade progressed his record sales steadily declined and his glum-robotic persona was replaced by that debonair man-about-town who also enjoyed aviation. In March 1982 he attempted to fly around the world in his light aircraft and was arrested in India on suspicion of spying. The charge was later dropped. While his reputation among music critics atrophied amid accusations of anachronism, his fan base remained solid and his recordings continue to reach the lower placings in the UK charts.
His career took an upturn in 1996 following the use of Cars in a television advertisement. Numan promoted the greatest hits album with gusto. Nothing had changed except his hair, which had become much thicker and darker.