There are songs that manage to become the perfect summary of an entire era of music. A 3-minute concentrate, as if it was a time capsule, capable of describing a musical genre in a given place and time. B-Movie’s “Nowhere Girl” is one of those tracks that was able to precisely capture what happened in the first half of Britain’s 1980s.
Synth-pop was a musical and aesthetic trend that, although it had some repercussion in Germany and the USA, had its epicenter in the United Kingdom. Within the musical stampede that New Wave represented in the country, a subgenre emerged where bands were making use of electronic instruments – drum machines and analog synthesizers – generating interest and attention that was rather different to the rest of the bands, that at that time were roaming the charts and live venues.
B-Movie never managed to achieve the same great success like some of the other synth-pop bands (Ultravox, The Human League, Cabaret Voltaire, Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark) of the time. Probably a bit unfairly, this band from Mansfield has gone down in history as a “One Hit Wonder” group. This, however, does not detract from the value of “Nowhere Girl”, which has become a definite eighties classic.
The song was originally released in 1980 as part of a six-track EP, which didn’t have any special impact. Side A featured “Nowhere Girl” at 45rpm and side B included five more songs at 33rpm. After several line-up changes and short tours within the UK, the band decided to re-record a modified version of “Nowhere Girl” in an attempt to get the public’s attention. Originally, B-Movie’s songs were characterised by longer durations (often 6 or 7 minutes) than the usual tracks that were played on the radio. They realised that in order to be successful in the charts they had to reduce the duration of the song to a more radio-friendly version. The new version was recorded in 1982 with a duration of now only 3 and a half minutes and achieved at least some recognition within Europe. In the UK itself, the track only settled for position 99 in the charts.
One of the most curious things about “Nowhere Girl” is the number of different versions available. There are at least 5 alternate examples of this song. Among all of them, the one in the video below is the version that was played on the radio in 1982. The accompanying video material is not the original but a montage of the movie Metropolis created by a fan.
B-Movie broke up in 1985 before reuniting again in 2004 and since then they have released several albums. “Nowhere Girl” however, will always be the one that people of the eighties remember the most. An absolute classic that takes us back to when the nights were long and the days were short.