I was first introduced to Sigue Sigue Sputnik by a friend of mine during my first year at UF. We were in the same RPG group together (we played Robotech and Cyberpunk), and at the time his Walkman and headphones were ever present (this was fall of 1988). I asked him once what he was always listening to, and rather than just telling me he made me listen.
I think I was hooked right away. Almost 23 years later, I own boxes of Sputnik remixes and singles, several t-shirts, autographed posters, and at least one book. I've bought new Sputnik merchandise as recently as last month.
A lot of punk and rock bands in the `80's adopted a futuristic/post-apocalypse look, but Sputnik applied that theme and aesthetic to the music as well, and in fact it informed everything about how they presented themselves. If Max Headroom and The Road Warrior raided Bootsy Collins' closet and built the Terminator, it would be Sigue Sigue Sputnik. They fit in perfectly with a cyberpunk world. One could easily imagine turning on a radio in the R. Talsorian Cyberpunk universe, and the corporate trash music that would pour out would be Sputnik.
Sputnik raised gaudy excess to an art form and portrayed selling out as a virtue. For their first record "Flaunt It" they sold advertising space on the album (to this day I still use Studio Line hair gel because of this), and conspicuously displayed Sony gadgets in their videos. This was the `80's, after all.
Their songs and sound samples weave a story of a post-nuclear dystopian future with lunar hotels, revolution on Mars, androgynous cyborgs run amok, and makeup & hair care products in greater demand than fossil fuels. It was a vision of the future that didn't exactly come to pass (yet), but to my knowledge the scattered sound bytes from the future only ever referenced one explicit date.
"This is July 13th, 2011! The forecast is heavy acid rain, many expected highs, a few lows, and mostly crowdy. And now the news!"
The 21st Century may have started in 2001, but to me the future starts today! 8-)
It's definitely not for everyone, but take a listen to what the future sounded like in this alternate timeline: