Between late 1979 and the end of 1989, there were nearly 500 (real) one-hit wonders of the 80s that reached the BILLBOARD Hot 100 just one time, a list that includes Soft Cell, Gary Numan, Timbuk 3, The Church, Bronski Beat, Nik Kershaw, The Buggles, The Waitresses, Ultravox and two different bands named The Silencers. Once a week, I’ll highlight a (real) one-hit wonder for you.
As we gear up for what should be a historic Presidential election here in America on Tuesday, November 8th, on my little 20-year-old 80s radio program, STUCK IN THE 80s (on WMPG community radio in Portland, Maine) two days before the election, I’ll be presenting a show about the only politics I can get behind – THE POLITICS OF DANCING: PRE-ELECTION DANCE FAVORITES.
One of the songs I’ll be featuring is “State Of The Nation,” a 1983 New Wave gem courtesy of a band originally named Industrial Complex and formed in New York City in 1978 – Industry.
Industry released a couple of EPs in 1980 and 1981, but in 1981, there were some major lineup changes for the band, which, after the changes consisted of singer / keyboardist Jon Carin, guitarist Brian Unger, drummer Mercury Caronia (the only remaining original member of Industry) and bassist Rudy Perrone. 1981 was also the year that Industry was signed by Capitol Records.
In 1983, the band once referred to as “The American Spandau Ballet” released a self-titled, five-song “mini-LP” (what most folks would call an EP; U2’s UNDER A BLOOD RED SKY, released in 1983 as well, was also initially listed as a “mini-LP”). The five songs featured on the INDUSTRY EP would all be featured on the band’s only full-length album, 1984’s STRANGER TO STRANGER, but not before “State Of The Nation” became a surprise hit.
Released during the heart of the Cold War in the 1980s, “State Of The Nation” is an anti-war song that made a slight dent into the BILLBOARD Hot 100, debuting at No. 92 in mid-November 1983, spent a couple of weeks at its peak position of No. 81 before Christmas, and a total of eight weeks on the chart. It would be the only time Industry would reach the Hot 100.
NERDY FUN FACT: In the original video for “State Of The Nation,” set on an aircraft carrier / naval ship, the band is surrounded by actual dancing members of the United States Navy (along with some actors / dancers meant to look like they were members of the U.S. Navy).
Interestingly enough, “State Of The Nation” found a huge audience in other parts of the world, including the Philippines, Italy and a No. 10 peak on the singles chart in Sweden. In fact, because of their success in Europe in 1983 and 1984, Industry opened for acts like INXS, Billy Idol and Talk Talk.
But, the band Industry was not meant to be, and sometime in 1984, they broke up. Lead singer Jon Carin became a successful session musician, including being a permanent member of Pink Floyd’s live band and co-wrote the band’s 1987 hit, “Learning To Fly.”
In October 2014, 30 years after the demise of Industry, the original lineup for the band – vocalist / guitarist Andrew Geyer, bassist Sean Kelly and drummer Mercury Caronia – formed the next installment of the band, called MASS (before changing their name back to Industry). They recorded hours of new material, but to date, nothing has been released, and that incarnation of Industry split up in July 2016.
I don’t really know what the state of the nation will be like here in the U.S. after the Presidential election on Tuesday, November 8th, but at the very least (for a few minutes anyway), this is a “State Of The Nation” I (and hopefully you) will be happy with…
(“There’s no place like home / There’s no place like home / There’s no place I don’t want to be anywhere else…”)