This month in 1980, Devo performed to a playback of “Girl U Want” on French TV.
Promoting their newly released third album Freedom of Choice, Devo appeared on the French TV show Le Collaro Show to mime to “Girl U Want”, their current single.
The French crowd didn’t quite know what to make of the group—then again the Devo phenomenon was a pretty new thing in Europe.
Stripped of the quirky spikiness which characterised Q: Are We Not Men? Freedom of Choice was more of a whole than previous albums. Packed with eminently danceable rhythms and eminently memorable melodies, the 12 tracks here found Devo eschewing lead-guitar breaks for bursts of punctuative rhythm guitar.
According to the main songwriter, Mark Mothersbaugh, “Girl U Want” was allegedly inspired by the song “My Sharona” by the Knack, although Devo bassist and co-writer Gerald Casale has denied this claim. The lyrics, in typical Devo style, describe a relationship marked by unrequited love/lust for a woman.
Greg Prato of AllMusic called the song as one of the most overlooked gems to surface from the early-’80s new wave movement.
“Girl U Want” has been covered by Robert Palmer, Soundgarden, Superchunk, Doomriders, and a few other indie acts.
Text via Decade 77-87, AllMusic, and Wikipedia