Halfway through the Seventies, Gary Numan formed the band Tubeway Army, which would later change its name to simply Gary Numan. In 1979 a track they released as a single would become a massive hit: Are Friends Electric? As a result, the track has later been covered by countless bands who were inspired by the synhtpop track, such as Republica (which features Gary Numan’s vocals), Moloko, Information Society and even Weezer. There is however also a track that takes its cues from the original in a rather bizarre history. To track that back we need to jump back a bit.

In 1995 Adina Howard released the song Freak Like Me. That song itself is almost worth an entry since it leans heavily on Bootsy Collins 1976 song I’d Rather Be With You, without actually directly sampling it. What the Adina Howard song did sample was a drumloop from Sly and the Family Stone’s 1968 song Sing A Simple Song.

In the early years of the 21st century, producer/remixer Richard X made a mashup of Are Friends Electric by Tubeway Army and Freak Like Me by Adina Howard. The song circled the underground bootleg scene for a while. At some point either cause Richard X wanted to release the song officially but couldn’t get the sample from Adina Howard cleared or cause Island Records requested it (history is not clear on this one), Richard X got involved in something that can only be described as a mashup-sample-cover-remix. Richard X produced a song for the Sugababes in 2002. The then popular girl-group recorded the vocals of Freak Like Me, but on top of a remix with samples of Are Friends Electric. The result is amazing: Sugababes – Freak Like Me.

Though arguably there are ton of tracks that deserve mention here as ‘the original’, I’m gonna go with my personal favourite: Tubeway Army – Are Friends Electric? (And there’s an interesting live version here.)

Like this? Buy me a drink!