One Hit Wonders: The Normal – Warm Leatherette (1978)
The Normal was, of course, the alias of Mute Records founder Daniel Miller. Their sole single nominally featured TVOD as its A-side, but it was the blank robotic chill of Warm Leatherette which proved Miller’s point that anyone could write a great song on a then-new cheap synthesiser. Although the song has since been covered by Grace Jones and Duran Duran, Miller firmly told Classic Pop last year that there won’t ever be a follow-up.
However, TVOD/Warm Leatherette isn’t Miller’s sole foray into performing. Alongside future Throbbing Gristle associate Robert Rental, The Normal played several improvised electronic gigs, compiled on the one-sided album Live At West Runton Pavilion. Miller used Mute to release an album in 1980 as Silicon Teens.
Wanting to “see how it would sound doing Chuck Berry on synthesisers”, the album Music For Parties featured Fad Gadget’s Frank Tovey. Then came 1983’s Duet Emmo, featuring Miller with former Wire mainstays Bruce Gilbert and Graham Lewis, for one-off album Or So It Seems.
Miller has also remixed for Erasure and Depeche Mode, as well as establishing the duo Sunroof with Erasure producer Gareth Jones. Sunroof’s remix CV includes Goldfrapp, Faust and MGMT.