The pop song Brian Eno called “the sound of the future”

(Credit: Brian Eno)

One of the most influential musicians of the 1970s and 1980s, Brian Eno was a revolutionary artist who helped to innovate contemporary British music throughout the late 20th century. Describing himself as a “non-musician,” Eno helped to herald in a new unconventional, conceptual sound to the industry, collaborating with the likes of Harold Budd, David Bowie, and David Byrne.

Born and raised in Suffolk, Eno immersed himself in painting and experimental music at the art school of Ipswich Civic College in the mid-1960s, joining the glam rock group Roxy Music as the synthesiser player shortly after in 1971. Recording two albums with the band before leaving in 1973, Eno kickstarted his own solo career, releasing multiple albums including Here Come the Warm Jets in 1974 and Discreet Music in 1975, before changing music forever by coining the term ‘ambient music’ with the release of 1978s Ambient 1: Music for Airports. 

Thriving with his solo projects, Eno later collaborated with such artists as Robert Fripp, Harmonia and Cluster, establishing himself as a pivotal musician of the decade, as well as a well-sought after producer. This led him to work on albums from influential figures including  John Cale, Jon Hassell, Laraaji, Talking Heads, Ultravox, and Devo, among many others. 

As a keen innovator and revolutionary music mind, Eno also kept an eye on the wider industry, recognising the feats that Donna Summer’s classic disco song ‘I Feel Love’ reached upon its release in 1977. 

Closing the celebrated 1977 album I Remember Yesterday, ‘I Feel Love’ became a cultural sensation thanks to its unprecedented sound, created using the Moog synthesiser. 

As producer Pete Bellotte said of his intent for the release of the album: “My next idea was to record an album that chronicled popular music until the present and into the future. So, we started with a ‘50s song, ‘I Remember Yesterday’, and continued with a bit of rock, a Tamla Motown number, and so on, and then brought it up to date with disco. Before the final, futuristic song was ‘I Feel Love’”.

Working with David Bowie when he first heard the song, the iconic ‘Life on Mars’ artist recalls, “[Brian Eno] came running in [to the studio] and said, ‘I’ve heard the sound of the future’. He puts on ‘I Feel Love’ by Donna Summer. He said, ‘This is it, look no further. This single is going to change the sounds of club music for the next fifteen years’. Which was more or less right”. 

Listen to the classic disco track ‘I Feel Love’, below, a song that Brian Eno believed was “the sound of the future”.

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