As the 70’s-80’s music scene was shifting from punk and hard rock to a more image-driven New Wave synth sound, there was a handful of innovative musicians with remarkable albums that were sure to make the collar on your Polo shirt stand up.  

One of the legends of this era was the iconic sound effects guitarist Adrian Belew, (seen left with an Asterope cable in hand). We had the chance to visit with him at a recent NAMM show. It spurred me to revisit his vast contributions to music during the 70’s, 80’s and into the present day. It’s an amazing portfolio.


Belew started his musical ascent with Zappa and was on one of the Bowie Berlin recordings “Lodger.” He toured with Bowie more than once. Belew later played on Paul Simon’s breakthrough Graceland album, which featured a variety of African polyrhythmic and world influences. 

Belew joined King Crimson during the 80’s, bringing a broader accessibility to its complex sound with three albums, “Discipline”, “Beat” and “Three of a Perfect Pair”… Great stuff!!

The debut album of Belew’s group “The Bears” was an underrated pop gem of the 80’s.  It has great harmonies and musical hooks and plenty of Belew’s whammy bar chops.  It’s worth checking out.  He also has produced a host of solo albums that must be heard.

Always an innovator, Belew has developed an iPhone app called FLUX that is designed to deliver beautiful music in a remarkably creative way.  It will play a mosaic of his compositions in snippets, never in the same order or amount of time, and has cool multimedia images and recording info on your IPhone screen while the music is playing. It has some of his best work to-date and can be easily downloaded on iTunes. As his landing page credo says, he is “a creative force for the good of mankind.” That’s an undeniable fact and an inspiration to us all.