Cynics – I Need More …. Power Pop Friday

I’ve posted a song by the Cynics before and now they remain in my playlist. They had a great recording engineer…they always capture the guitar wonderfully.

There was quite a big garage band scene in the 80s from all over the world. These bands stuck close to their ancestors but with a little more punch in the modern recording. They avoided the dated sound unlike some of their more popular peers.

The Cynics were from Pittsburgh and along with the Chesterfield Kings, the Milkshakes, and the Fuzztones were early founders of the 1980s garage rock revival movement. They pick up where the garage bands from the 60s left off.

This band is not limited to garage rock. I’ve heard everything from power pop to folk from them in songs.

Gregg Kostelich started the Cynics in 1983. The other members were drummer Bill Von Hagen, vocalist Michael Kastelic who joined in 1985, bass player Steve Magee, and keyboardist Becky Smith who debuted with their first album, Blue Train Station in 1986.

This song is not from the 80s but from 2011. It’s off of their album Spinning Wheel Motel. The guitar walk-down in this song is great…you can hear it right after each chorus. It could have been made in 1968. My favorite part of the song? The intense feedback at the end!

I Need More

I hope this letter finds you wellThere’s not too much for me to tell

I mailed it from another highwayAnd I don’t know what I’m looking forI don’t know who I am so I’m taking it door to doorI try to understand, but I just can’t take it no more

It doesn’t matter what you sayPeople only pay to hear you play

I mailed it from another highwayAnd I don’t know what I’m looking forI don’t know who I am so I’m taking it door to doorI try to understand, but I just can’t take it no more

I’ve had as much as I can takeWhy does everybody have to break?

I mailed it from another highwayAnd I don’t know what I’m looking forI don’t know who I am so I’m taking it door to doorI try to understand, but I just can’t take it no more

Can’t take it no moreHey, what’s the scoreYou’re such a boreAnd I need more

Orange Humble Band – Down In Your Dreams…. Power Pop Friday

Bruce from Vinyl Connection referred me to this song after The Stems post I did last week. I liked it the minute I heard it. This song was off of an EP called Down in Your Dreams released in 1998.

This band at one time or another included Darryl Mather, Mitch Easter, Ken Stringfellow, Jody Stephens, Bill Smith,  Jon Auer, Dave Smith, and Rick Steff.

You may recognize some of those names. Ken Stringfellow and Jon Auer were in the Posies and the later Big Star with Alex Chilton, Mitch Easter was the producer of R.E.M. and a member of Let’s Active. Darryl Mather was in the Australian band Lime Spiders.

Mather along with his bassist friend Bill Gibson formed this band in 1994 in Australia. The band released 3 albums… Assorted Creams (1997), Humblin’ (Across America) (2001) and Depressing Beauty (2015). They had one EP and that would be this one and two singles named Apple Green Slice Cut and Any Way You Want It. 

I’ve dived into their catalog and song after song shows different styles and really likable music. I would strongly suggest you checking this band out. Plus…what a cool name!

Down In Your Dreams

Sorry…I could NOT find the lyrics.

Stems – At First Sight

I’m really into this band at the moment. This is one band I wish I would have known about in the 1980s. This song was on their album At First Sight, Violets Are Blue. The album is still rated as one of the best Australian guitar pop releases. In the early nineties, Rolling Stone included it in the top 100 Australian releases of all time. At First Sight became their signature song. 

The Stems were a garage punk band formed in Perth, Western Australia in late 1983 by member Dom Mariani. They were hugely popular in Australia. They would release 7 singles, 2 albums, and 2 EP’s between 1985-1987.

They debuted in March 1984 and released a series of independent records on Sydney’s Citadel Records. Each release made it to number one on the Australian alternative charts. Dom Mariani’s earliest influences included The Beatles, The Raspberries, Badfinger, and Big Star. He formed his first band (The Go Starts) in 1981 and The Stems in 1984. The members included Mariani (songwriter, guitar, and vocals) Richard Lane (guitar/keyboard/vocals), Gary Chambers (drums) and Julian Matthews (bass).

The band broke up after this album in 1987. They regrouped in 2003 and played to packed houses across Australia and Europe. They disbanded again in 2009 and regrouped in 2013 and still play from time to time.

The song peaked at #90 in the Australian Kent Music Charts but I’ve read where it peaked at #1 on the alternative charts there as well…along with two more singles from this album.

On the 30th anniversary of the album….founding member Dom Mariani: “It seems like a long time, doesn’t it? Music’s one of those funny things that never dies, it’s there forever. It’s always going to be there and what we did 30 years ago has connected with people, and it’s a bit of a historical thing. Personally, I’ve kept doing it (playing music) because it gave me the confidence to keep writing songs and stay interested in it. If it had been a flop I might have taken a different path.”

Back then I would have never thought much of it. You can’t look into the future but we had high hopes, and thought we’d be chart topping & tour the world etc. We were lucky enough that what we did was popular, we had some good tunes, and we loved what we were doing. Where I’ve ended up, I’m pretty happy with though. If we’d had any degree of success that was ‘life changing’, we probably wouldn’t have done all the music that we did since then. I’ve had a great journey, and it’s always been about rock and roll. The art form is more important than owning a mansion.”

At First Sight

Just say the word and I would die for you
And I’ll be a flower if you wanted to
‘Cause I never met anyone quite like you
I lose my head my heart starts pounding too
And all I had to do was look at you
At first sight

I’ll be the motor in your car
And I’ll be the fire in your flaming star
And I’ll be the water in your waterfall
‘Cause I’d hit the ceiling I’d feel ten feet tall
And all I had to do was look at you

At first sight

Just say the word and I would die for you
And I’ll be a flower if you wanted to
‘Cause I’ve never met anyone quite like you
I lose my head my heart starts pounding too
All I had to do was look at you
At first sight

All I had to do was look at you
At first sight
At first sight
At first sight
At first sight

At first sight
At first sight
At first sight
At first sight
At first sight
At first sight
At first sight
At first sight

Who – Mary Anne With The Shaky Hand

This song was on the album called The Who Sell Out. I’ve said before that titles sometimes grab my attention and this one certainly did. This one has had many covers from other bands and artists.

The Who Sell Out is A Pop Art album that was fashioned after Pirate radio. The Who created spoof promo slots for Radio London, Premier Drums and Rotosound Strings, recorded in the brash ad-speak of 60s pirate radio. John Entwistle wrote two commercial jingles for Heinz Beans and Medac spot pimple cream.

Pete Townshend: “I’d already written two songs for [co-manager] Kit Lambert for the American Cancer Society – Little Billy and Kids! Do You Want Kids? – and I had Odorono, about a girl who loses a record contract. It wasn’t meant to be a commercial, it was just a song about body odor.”

I always thought it was a brilliant idea and remains a great satirical take on 60s consumerism.

The song would be the B side in America to I Can See For Miles.

The album was released on December 16, 1967. It peaked at #13 in the UK and #48 in the Billboard Album Charts. Their album Tommy would be released 2 years after this one and it would be their breakthrough all over the world.

Critic Dave Marsh called it “the greatest rock and roll album of its era” and “the Who’s consummate masterpiece, the work that holds together most tightly as concept and realization”.

Pete Townshend on the album: I’d demoed ‘Tattoo’ in my hotel room in Las Vegas during our three-day vacation, and a song called ‘Odorono’, named after a deodorant stick. ‘Odorono’ led us to the most perfect pop idea of all time: we would make our next record a vehicle for advertising. When we called Kit to explain, he was as excited as we were. I suggested we link the gaps between songs with jingles like those on commercial pirate radio.

John and Keith leapt on the idea, and, inspired by ‘Odorono’, began making up advertising jingles for all kinds of things, like Medac spot cream, Premier Drums and Heinz Baked Beans. But when the album was ready to be put together we were still short of tracks. John’s track didn’t feel right either, so he quickly produced a demo for another song called ‘Silas Stingy’, which, to be honest, was equally eccentric. But this was obviously going to be a very eccentric record.

Who – Mary Anne With The Shaky Hand

I danced with Linda
I danced with Jean
I danced with Cindy
Then I suddenly see

Mary-Anne with the shaky hands
What they’ve done to her man
Those shaky hands

Mary is so pretty
The prettiest in the land
Guys come from every city
Just to shake her shaky hands

Linda can cook
Jean reads books
Cindy can sew
But I’d rather know

Mary-Anne with the shaky hands
What they’ve done to her man
Those shaky hands

Mary-Anne with the shaky hands
What they’ve done to her man
Those shaky hands

Mary-Anne with the shaky hands
What they’ve done to her man
Those shaky hands

Big Star – Don’t Lie To Me ….Power Pop Friday

This will wrap up Power Pop Friday for this year…it will return in 2023. 

I never travel far, without a little Big Star
The Replacements

I hold Big Star’s music up along with The Who, Beatles, Stones, and Kinks…they never had the sales but they did have a giant influence. Big Star released their debut album #1 Record in August of 1972. 

Alex Chilton and Chris Bell wrote most of the songs and wanted to emulate Lennon/McCartney and they did a great job but with an obvious American slant to make it their own. After the commercial failure of this album, Chris Bell quit but the other three continued for one more album and then bass player Andy Hummel quit after the second album, and Chilton and drummer Jody Stephens recorded the third.

When their albums were finally discovered by eighties bands, they influenced many artists such as REM, The Replacements, Cars, Cheap Trick, Sloan, Matthew Sweet, KISS, Wilco, Gin Blossoms, and many more. They influenced alternative rock of the 80s and 90s and continue to this day. Billboard went as far as to say, “Every cut could be a single” on their debut album.

Big Star returned in 1993 with a new lineup when guitarist Jon Auer and bassist Ken Stringfellow joined Chilton and Stephens. Auer and Stringfellow remained members of the Posies. In 2005 the reformed band released their last album called In Space

Jody Stephens: “All of a sudden I’m playing with these guys that can write songs that are as engaging to me as the people I’d grown up listening to, so I felt incredibly lucky.” 

Here is the reformed Big Star with original members Alex Chilton and Jody Stephens in 1994. Filling out the rest was two Posies members Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow. 

I did find a date that I will go to when I get a time machine..March 31, 1974. Big Star opened for Badfinger. 

Below is Big Star on that date. 

Don’t Lie To Me

Don’t lie to me
Don’t lie to me
Don’t lie to me
Don’t lie to me

I know where you been
And I know what you been doing
Don’t lie to me

Don’t push me ’round
Don’t push me ’round
Don’t push me ’round
Don’t push me ’round

I don’t like that
Now, I’m telling you
Don’t push me ’round

Don’t cross me babe
Don’t cross me babe
Don’t cross me babe
Don’t cross me babe

You said you wouldn’t
And I’m just making sure
Don’t cross me babe

Marcy Playground – Sex and Candy

I’m doing this post for Jim’s Song Lyric Sunday! The subject today is “Power Pop” so I could not pass this by. Power pop is my favorite genre of music. Today I’m focusing on the 1990’s band Marcy Playground. The main song today is “Sex and Candy” AND I also included their other hit “Sherry Fraser” above Sex and Candy at the bottom of the post. Give them both a listen if you can…and thank you Jim for inviting me.

With lyrics that included “Like disco superfly” and “In platform double suede” plus “Like disco Lemonade” my “like” meter went off the charts. I love the 70s-like phrases and the interplay between guitar and lyrics in this late 90s power pop song. It’s not a high-energy pop song by any measure but it keeps me interested.

I loved the overall sound of this band and was excited about what would come next. They really never hit with anything else after this. Sex and Candy was written by singer-songwriter and guitarist John Wozniak. Wozniak got their name from his childhood school called “Marcy Open School” located in Minnesota.

This song peaked at #8 on the Billboard 100 and #29 in the UK in 1997. The song was on their self-titled debut album. It peaked at #21 in the Billboard Album Charts, #16 in Canada, and #61 in the UK in 1998. It also peaked at #1 in the Billboard Heatseeker charts.

They released 3 more albums but none of them charted in Billboard 200. The band still releases albums and tours.

John Wozniak: “Where did I get the ‘sex and candy’ part from? Well, I was dating a girl and she was going to Bryn Mawr College and it’s where my dad teaches. And I was probably 17 or something like that and she was like 18. I always liked the older girls. (laughs) But we were in her dorm room, and her roommate came in and she saw us there, and she was like, ‘Oh, it smells like sex and candy in here.’ And I always remembered that. And that was back in the late ’80s.

And then when I was writing the song and I was coming up with all these weird disco-era references that I was making up, ‘platform double suede’ and all that business, I was like, hey, let’s just throw in that phrase that’s been sticking in my head for the last 5 years or whatever. So I wrote that song in ’92, ’93, somewhere around there. And it didn’t really come out until ’97. That song had been at least in my consciousness since the late ’80s. At least with the concepts behind it.

But it’s just about seeing some sexy girl and then falling in love, and then asking a dumb question to yourself… well, it’s not even asking a question. It’s just – I don’t know!! I don’t know. (laughing) I’m just gonna be straight up honest. I don’t know. I’m telling you, when I was very young I experimented with drugs, but when I was writing these songs, I wasn’t high. But it sounds like I was high.

Sex and Candy

Hangin’ round downtown by myself
And I had so much time
To sit and think about myself
And then there she was
Like double cherry pie
Yeah there she was
Like disco superfly

I smell sex and candy here
Who’s that lounging in my chair
Who’s that casting devious stares
In my direction

Mama this surely is a dream
Yeah mama this surely is a dream
Yeah mama this surely is a dream

Hangin’ round downtown by myself
And I had too much caffeine
And I was thinkin’ ’bout myself
And then there she was

In platform double suede
Yeah there she was
Like disco lemonade

I smell sex and candy here
Who’s that lounging in my chair
Who’s that casting devious stares
In my direction

Mama this surely is a dream
Yeah mama this surely is a dream
Yeah mama this surely is a dream

I smell sex and candy here
Who’s that lounging in my chair
Who’s that casting devious stares
In my direction

Mama this surely is a dream
Yeah mama this surely is a dream
Yeah mama this surely is a dream
Yeah mama this must be my dream

Cheap Trick – If You Want My Love ….Power Pop Friday

A great Cheap Trick song. In 1982 it was released off the album “One on One” and peaked at #45 on the Billboard 100 and #57 on the UK Charts. That low charting surprised me somewhat because it received heavy airplay on MTV when they actually played music videos.

When I heard the bridge of this song I noticed the strong Beatle influence. I would tell people in the 80s…if the Beatles released a song now…this is what it would sound like. Just a couple of years before, their album All Shook Up was produced by no other than George Martin.

This song was off the album One On One which was produced by Roy Thomas Baker. I bought the album and is one of my favorites by them. John at 2loud2oldmusic reviewed this album a while back. It peaked at #39 on the Billboard Album Chart, #39 in Canada, and #95 in the UK. The two hit singles were If You Want My Love and She’s Tight.

Original bassist Tom Petersson left the band in 1980 and was replaced by Pete Comita. Comita didn’t make it through the recording of this album and he was replaced by Jon Brant. Brant played on Saturday at Midnight, If You Want My Love, and She’s Tight. The rest of the album’s bass tracks were recorded by Rick Nielson. Brant left on good terms in 1987 after playing on the next three albums. Tom Petersson returned after that. Brant has filled in for Petersson when he wasn’t able to tour.

A similar instance happened with Tom Petty and The Heartbreaker’s original bass player Ron Blair. He left the band in 1982 only to return in 2002.

Cheap Trick was always one of the hardest-working bands ever…they toured relentlessly. Rick Nielson has said If You Want My Love is one of his favorite songs he ever recorded. 

If You Want My Love

If you want my love, you got it
When you need my love, you got it
I won’t hide it
I won’t throw your love away, ooh

If you want my love, you got it
When you need my love, you got it
I won’t hide it
I won’t throw your love away, ooh

Yes, I thought you were a mystery girl
A special girl in this crazy old world
You couldn’t see me when I laid eyes on you

Lonely is only a place
You don’t know what it’s like
You can’t fight it
And it’s a hole in my heart, in my heart

If you want my love, you got it
When you need my love, you got it
I won’t hide it
I won’t throw your love away, ooh

You hold the secrets of love in this world
I’m hypnotized by your every word
A special face, a special voice, a special smile in my life

‘Cause lonely is only a place
You don’t know what it’s like
You can’t fight it
And it’s a hole in my heart, in my heart

If you want my love, you got it
When you need my love, you got it
I won’t hide it
I won’t throw your love away, ooh

If you want my love, you got it
When you need my love, you got it
I won’t hide it
I won’t throw your love away, ooh

If you want my love, you got it
When you need my love, you got it
You won’t hide it
You won’t throw your love away, ooh

Sloan – Spend The Day …. Power Pop Friday

My friend Deke got me into this power pop band from Canada. Deke and Dave have introduced me to many Canadian artists that I hadn’t heard of before like Blue Rodeo, The Moist, Justin Bieber (Just Kidding Guys!), Tragically Hip, and more.  It still puzzles me why some very successful Canadian bands in the 80s-90s didn’t translate in the US.

Sloan got its start in Halifax during the early ‘90s. The band played around the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design before moving to Toronto. They got their name from a pot-smoking musician they knew in Halifax. He worked in a restaurant as a busboy and used to be known as “the slow one.”

The band made their recording debut on the Halifax, Canada CD compilation “Hear & Now” with the song  “Underwhelmed” before releasing their debut EP “Peppermint” in 1991 on their own label Murderecords. In 1992 Sloan signed with Geffen Records and released their full-length debut “Smeared”. The album had somewhat of a grunge style. They soon switched to power pop and they have some fantastic songs.

Hearing this band is encouraging for Power Pop. A few weeks ago I posted a song about The Beths and now Sloan who have new albums out. Their influences have been listed as The Beatles, Sonic Youth, Fleetwood Mac, and more. In this song, I hear a little Beatles and Who.

This song is on their new album called Steady released on October 21, 2022. It’s their 13th album to date. Guitarist Patrick Pentland wrote this song. There is a great review of this album here. I would recommend giving this power pop band a try.

Spend The Day

It’s not like living in your real worldIs better than my life on The Other SideI’m sick of wired and I’m tetheringAnd weathering somewhere out of my mind

Hide awaySpend the day in here with me a whileHide awaySpend the day in here with me a while

It’s not like every time your wide eyesLook at something that it’s full of liesYou’re gonna try and findThe who what why whereI refuse to recognize

Hide awaySpend the day in here with me a whileHide awaySpend the day in here with me a while

It’s not that living in your real worldIs better than my life on The Other SideI’m sick of wired and I’m tetheringAnd weathering somewhere out of my mind

Hide awaySpend the day in here with me a whileHide awaySpend the day in here with me a whileHide awayHide awaySpend the dayHide awayHide awayWith me a while

Shivvers – Teen Line ….Power Pop Friday

I featured a song by The Shivvers a couple of years ago. Most of the songs I heard from them are very good. It’s a shame they couldn’t get a big label interested in the early 80s.

The Shivvers were a power pop band from Milwaukee, active from 1978 to 1982. Milwaukee was not exactly the center of the rock universe at the time. They had their roots in the 60s music, They were more new wavey than punk but retained from the latter a sense of urgency that could be heard in their sole single “Teen Line” released on the Fliptop independent label in 1980.

They thought about moving to LA or New York in the 80s but decided not to. It’s a shame because they did have some famous fans that included Lou Reed and Eric Carmen. In 1993, Kossoris moved to Nashville, where she worked with The Mavericks among others, and recorded a record, “Invisible,” released in 2001.

The Shivvers were Jill Kossoris (vocals), Jim Richardson (drums), Mike Pyle and Jim Eannelli (guitars) and Scott Krueger (bassist/songwriter).

Jill Kossoris:  I’ve been influenced by so many different kinds of music. My parents listened to everything. My sister listened to everything. They were all into power pop like Badfinger, Big Star, the Flamin’ Groovies, Motown music. I liked really catchy, soulful, well-written songs.

Jill Kossoris: You can always look back and see how you could have improved your life in a lot of ways. But at one point, we were just so frustrated that we kind of imploded. You can really get stuck in that whole “bar band” thing. Back in those days, most bands played AT LEAST three- or four hour-long sets. Not to brag, but we were all pretty tight before we started doing that. We were all pretty seasoned musicians. Our time was there. We were ready. Everybody doesn’t get better by grinding it out on the club circuit for five years.

Teen Line

Last night I got a call on the telephone
As long as it can ring I am not alone
And the night don’t seem so far away
It’ll be alright someday
And the sun don’t have to shine
Because my heart’s on a teen line

All you do is call in this love on a teen line

You say feel so fine, you’ve got everything
You’ve got a big black car and bird that sings
And it’s right, ’cause you called me yesterday
And I had so much to say
And the sun don’t have to shine
Because my heart’s on the teen line

All you do is call in this love on the teen line
Nothing matters at all (not at all)
Give us just a little and call on your teen line
Say that you love me and that you’ll think of me tonight

If we were older, we wouldn’t have to wait so long
But as long as you love me, nothing really matters at all

Last night I didn’t know, I was wondering
I sit by the phone waiting for your ring
And the sound makes my heart beat fast
‘Cause you had so much to say
And I know this love will last
‘Cause my heart’s on the teen line

All you do is call in this love on a teen line
Nothing matters at all
Give us just a little and call on your teen line
Say that you love me and that you’ll think of me tonight

Love on the teen line makes me feel loved
Love on the teen line
Love on the teen line
Love on the teen line
Love on the teen line

Beths – Expert In A Dying Field ….Power Pop Friday

I learned about this band from Graham at Aphoristic Album Reviews. I think the subject of this song is brilliant. It’s the title song on the album Expert In A Dying Field. The album was released in September of 2022 and is their 3rd studio album to date. It peaked at #1 in New Zealand and #80 in Australia in 2022.

Beths

Through the years in power pop…the lyrics take a back seat to the music many times.  The Beths music excites me because they don’t produce empty songs…they have substantial lyrics to go along with their irresistible hooks.

The Beths are a band out of New Zealand, that was formed by Elizabeth Stokes in 2014. The songs are full of guitar hooks along with Stokes’s clever writing and voice… make them fun to listen to. They have some 90s indie sound with a little of the 60s thrown in at times.

The members include Elizabeth Stokes ( lead vocals, rhythm guitar ), Jonathan Pearce (lead guitar, backing vocals), Benjamin Sinclair (bass, backing vocals)
and Tristan Deck (Drums, backing vocals).

Here is a link to the entire album on youtube.

From Allmusic by Marcy Donelson on the album

After quickly building a fan base in New Zealand and Australia with their live shows, Auckland’s the Beths burst onto the broader indie scene with an infectious, hook-crammed debut, 2018’s Future Me Hates Me. As suggested by the album’s title, Elizabeth Stokes’ self-depreciating lyrics were part of its charm, and the follow-up, 2020’s Jump Rope Gazers, reflected an even more hapless outlook as it explored strained relationships caused by the band’s new life on the road. Without skipping a hook, third album Expert in a Dying Field delves still deeper into melancholy, with lyrics navigating a breakup as well as pandemic life. Churning fuzz and ringing lead guitar begin a downcast but nonetheless driving opening title track that asks, “How does it feel/To be an expert in a dying field?/How do you know/It’s over when you can’t let go?” The song’s chorus picks up multi-tracking, vocal countermelodies, group harmonies, and crashing cymbals by its final incarnation.

It could be said that much of the album continues in kind, with memorable melody after memorable guitar hook after air-drum-compelling fill on a series of songs that border on midtempo, but the way it plays out is something much more off-balance. The Beths lean on the accelerator three tracks in, on the polyrhythmic “Silence Is Golden,” for instance, a song whose punky, racing rhythms and guitar histrionics are matched by a rambling, lilting vocal that only stops to breathe before the chorus’s repeated “Silence is golden.” Nearing the halfway point of the track list, the two-minute “I Want to Listen” is a gentler, McCartney-esque ditty with more complex chords and shifting harmonic progressions than are typical for the onetime jazz majors. Later, the chanting “Best Left” (“Some things are best left to rot”), while still wistful in tone, plays to the arena crowds. The group have said that Expert in a Dying Field was made with live performance in mind, and on that point, it delivers, right up until the plaintive closing ballad, “2 a.m.,” which finds Stokes left alone in a flash of headlights (“There’s a song that never fails to make you cry”). The album also delivers on vulnerable, rock-solid songs, a juxtaposition the Beths continue to master.

Elizabeth Stokes: “I really do believe that love is learned over time. In the course of knowing a person you accumulate so much information: their favorite movies, how they take their tea, how to make them laugh, how that makes you feel. And when relationships between people change, or end, all that knowledge doesn’t just disappear. The phrase ‘Expert in a Dying Field’ had been floating around my head for a few years, I was glad to finally capture it when writing this tune.”

Elizabeth Stokes: “When I first started this band … I was looking back towards [what] I liked when I was younger, sweetly sung melodies and super depressing lyrics”

Expert In A Dying Field

Can we erase our history?Is it as easy as this?Plausible deniabilityI swear I’ve never heard of itAnd I can close the door on usBut the room still existsAnd I know you’re in it

Hours of phrases I’ve memorizedThousands of lines on the pageAll of my notes in a desolate pileI haven’t touched in an ageAnd I can burn the evidenceBut I can’t burn the painAnd I can’t forget it

How does it feel (how does it feel)To be an expert in a dying field?And how do you know (how do you know)It’s over when you can’t let go?You can’t let go, you can’t stop, you can’t rewindLove is learned over time‘Til you’re an expert in a dying field(How does it, how does it feel?)

The city is painted with memoryThe water will never run clearThe birds and the bees and the flowers and treesThey know that we’ve both been hereAnd I can flee the countryFor the worst of the yearBut I’ll come back to it

How does it feel (how does it feel)To be an expert in a dying field?And how do you know (how do you know)It’s over when you can’t let go?You can’t let go, you can’t stop, you can’t rewindLove is learned over time‘Till you’re an expert in a dying field

Can we erase our history?Is it as easy as this?Maybe in other realitiesThe road never took this twistAnd I can close the door on usBut the room still exists

How does it feel (how does it feel)How do you know (how do you know)Can’t stop, can’t rewindLove is learned over time‘Til you’re an expert in a dying field

Oh, an expert in a dying field

Smithereens – Behind The Wall Of Sleep …. Power Pop Friday

This song has a Rolling Stones connection in the lyrics. I love the first line “She had hair like Jeannie Shrimpton back in 1965.” Shrimpton dated Mick Jagger before he was with Marianne Faithful. The second reference is an odd one to Bill Wyman, the Stones’ bass player.

The song was on their debut album  Especially for You released in 1986. They had released a couple of EP’s before this album. Pat DiNizo wrote the song and was influenced by the title of the H.P. Lovecraft short story, “Beyond the Wall of Sleep.” The song was about Kim Ernst. She was the bass player of The Bristols.

Pat DiNizo: “We’d done a gig with The Bristols, four fabulous women who looked, sounded and dressed like Roger McGuinn’s The Byrds, Kim had black hair, really long: ‘She [had hair like] like Jeannie Shrimpton back in 1965, she had legs that never ended, I was halfway paralyzed. She was tall and cool and pretty, and she dressed as black as coal. If she asked me to I’d murder, I would gladly lose my soul.’ Our first two hits were ‘Blood And Roses,’ about suicide, and this one, ‘If you’d ask me to I’d murder’—very dark material [laughs].”

In 1985 they recorded the album at The Record Plant, the famous recording studio that hosted John Lennon and Bruce Springsteen among others. They had to save up gig money to record.

Drummer Dennis Diken: “Those sessions actually almost didn’t happen, we had recorded Beauty and Sadness in Studio B. That was the room where Springsteen recorded The River, and a lot of other big stuff was done there. Studio A was also famous for historic sessions; John Lennon worked there. But we were the low guys on the totem pole, so we got a call on the afternoon of Good Friday 1985—when we were supposed to go in that night—saying, ‘Sorry, but we have a more important session booked in B now. We’re going to have to kick you upstairs to C,’ which was a much smaller room.

“We got on the phone with each other and said, ‘Hey, this ain’t too cool. Maybe we should wait until larger rooms become available again,’ but in the end, reluctantly, we went for it.”

The album peaked at #51 in the Billboard Album Charts. The song peaked at #23 in the Mainstream Rock Play charts.

Behind The Wall Of Sleep

She had hair like Jeannie Shrimpton back in 1965
She had legs that never ended
I was halfway paralyzed
She was tall and cool and pretty and she dressed as black as coal
If she asked me to I’d murder, I would gladly lose my soul

Now I lie in bed and think of her
Sometimes I even weep
Then I dream of her behind the wall of sleep

Well she held a bass guitar and she was playing in a band
And she stood just like Bill Wyman
Now I am her biggest fan
Now I know I’m one of many who would like to be your friend
And I’ve got to find a way to let you know I’m not like them

Now I lie in bed and think of her
Sometimes I even weep
Then I dream of her behind the wall of sleep

Now I lie in bed and think of her
Sometimes I even weep
Then I dream of her behind the wall of sleep

Got your number from a friend of mine who lives in your hometown
Called you up to have a drink
Your roommate said you weren’t around
Now I know I’m one of many who would like to be your friend
And I’ve just got to find a way to let you know I’m not like them

Now I lie in bed and think of her
Sometimes I even weep
Then I dream of her behind the wall of sleep
Behind the wall of sleep
Behind the wall of sleep
Behind the wall of sleep

Raspberries – Go All The Way

I wrote this for Dave’s Turntable Talk at A Sound Day. Be on the lookout for that series at A Sound Day. He has some interesting topics. This one was on One Hit Wonders.

This song has a mixture of The Who, Beach Boys, and The Beatles… a pretty good mixture! I’m cheating a bit…The Raspberries had 4 top 40 hits but this was the only top ten hit and the song they are most known for. The song starts off with a strong Who-like loud riff then continues on with hooks galore.

When people think of The Raspberries this is the song most think of. Personally, I always thought Overnight Sensation was their best song but this one is great and the masses agreed.

The song peaked at #5 on the Billboard 100 and #5 in Canada in 1972. This song was on their self-titled debut album released in 1972. The American and Australian versions of this LP carried a scratch-and-sniff sticker with a strong raspberry scent.

They were one of the 3 great power pop bands of the early 70s. Badfinger, Big Star, and The Raspberries. Out of those three, Badfinger was the most successful but all were good. Many alternative bands that followed would list all three or at least one of them as an influence. The Raspberries released 4 albums in total between 1972 and 1975. They broke up after their last album Starting Over (#143) and the great single Overnight Sensation only charted at #18. After you listen to Go All The Way…check out Overnight Sensation…it’s an epic song.

I moved to a different town when I was 8 and in a new school (we would move back later that year) we went on a field trip to some college. Thinking back, it was a small college and the students there put on a small show for us kids. After the show, they showed us the grounds and I remember Go All The Way booming out of a room. It’s funny how music can send you back to a place and I can remember the smell also.

Eric Carmen said he was inspired by The Rolling Stone’s performance of “Let’s Spend The Night Together” on the Ed Sullivan Show when Mick Jagger had to sing it as “Let’s spend some time together.”

This was before Eric Carmen went solo and started doing ballads and songs on soundtracks such as Dirty Dancing. Carmen hit it big solo but personally, I think his music with the Raspberries was the best he did.

This song appears in the 2000 film Almost Famous but was not included on the soundtrack. It did make the soundtrack to the 2014 film Guardians Of The Galaxy, which went to #1 in America and revived many ’70s hits. My son got the soundtrack mostly for this song.

Fans of the band included John Lennon and Bruce Springsteen. They did reunite in November of 2004 and toured shortly until 2006.

Eric Carmen: “I knew then that I wanted to write a song with an explicitly sexual lyric that the kids would instantly get but the powers that be couldn’t pin me down for.”

Eric Carmen:  “I remember ‘Go All The Way’ vividly. The year was 1971. I was 21. I had been studying for years. I had spent my youth with my head between two stereo speakers listening to The Byrds and The Beatles and later on The Beach Boys – just trying to figure out what combinations of things – whether it was the fourths harmonies that The Byrds were singing on ‘Mr. Tambourine Man’ – I must have worn out 10 copies of that first Byrds album listening to it over and over, and turning off the left side and turning on the right side trying to figure out why these certain combinations of instruments and echo and harmonies made that hair on your arms stand up. I did the same thing with Beatles records, and I tried to learn construction.

Go All The Way

I never knew how complete love could be
‘Til she kissed me and said

Baby, please, go all the way
It feels so right (feels so right)
Being with you here tonight
Please, go all the way
Just hold me close (hold me close)
Don’t ever let me go

I couldn’t say what I wanted to say
‘Til she whispered, I love you

So please, go all the way
It feels so right (feels so right)
Being with you here tonight
Please, go all the way
Just hold me close (hold me close)
Don’t ever let me go

Before her love
I was cruel and mean
I had a hole in the place
Where my heart should have been

But now I’ve changed
And it feels so strange
I come alive when she does
All those things to me

And she says
(Come on) Come on
(Come on) Come on
(Come on) Come on
(Come on)
I need ya (come on)
I love ya (come on)
I need ya (come on)
Oh, oh, baby

Please, go all the way
It feels so right (feels so right)
Being with you here tonight
Please, go all the way
Just hold me close (hold me close)
Don’t ever let me go no

XTC – Senses Working Overtime ….Power Pop Friday

What a great-sounding band XTC has been for years. I was exposed to many bands in the 80s like The Replacements, REM (before they hit), and Big Star but not XTC. I didn’t find out about them until their 2002 release I’m The Man Who Murdered Love. When I heard that song I knew I had to find out about this band. Way back when I published that post I also looked up this song that a fellow blogger (run-sew-read) suggested. It’s only taken me 4 years but I’ve finally posted it!

This song was released in 1982 on the album  English Settlement. The album peaked at #48 on the Billboard Album Chart, #15 in Canada, #12 in New Zealand, and #5 in the UK. The song peaked at #10 in the UK, #31 in Canada, #37 in New Zealand, and #38 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock charts.

When they went on tour for this album… it would be their last. That didn’t exactly help them cross over to a mass audience. Andy Partridge had a fear of flying and severe stage fright that could have been heightened by withdrawing from valium that he had taken since childhood. On April 3, 1982, they performed their last show in San Diego. After that first night of the American tour, the rest of the tour was canceled. My friend Dave from A Sound Day has more info on this band and album.

I do think XTC would have broken through to a mass audience if they could have toured. At the time some people in America had thought that Partridge died and some bands held tribute shows.

Allmusic Stephen Thomas Erlewine: XTC was one of the smartest – and catchiest – British pop bands to emerge from the punk and new wave explosion of the late ’70s. … While popular success has eluded them in both Britain and America, the group has developed a devoted cult following in both countries that remains loyal over two decades after their first records. … XTC’s lack of commercial success isn’t because their music isn’t accessible – their bright, occasionally melancholy, melodies flow with more grace than most bands – it has more to do with the group constantly being out of step with the times. However, the band has left behind a remarkably rich and varied series of albums that make a convincing argument that XTC is the great lost pop band.

Drummer Terry Chambers on their last concert: “The audience was electric, everyone was on their feet and cheering throughout. It was the first date of our first major U.S. headlining tour, playing decent-sized venues, and the future looked good. I had no idea that Andy [Partridge, singer] was in such bad shape. Even after the gig, when we were traveling to LA, we had no clue that anything was wrong.”

Andy Partridge: “We were bullied back onto the road and that really started to wind me up, I’d be there onstage thinking: ‘I hate doing this.’ The anger towards being made to tour and the mental stress it was causing me began to manifest itself in stage fright, which I’d never had in my life. It didn’t help that my mental state was being exacerbated by the impact of Valium withdrawal, which I’d been on since my early teens.”

“And I had no concept of withdrawal, and I had no concept of what would happen to you if you stopped taking this stuff, which… your brain becomes dependent on it,” Partridge said in 2006. “And after 13 years of quite high doses, you’re really dependent on it. … I was losing my memory, I was getting bouts of amnesia, I was getting physical problems like pains in my stomach, I was getting weird events like I couldn’t move my legs. And my brain came unwound. I started having panic attacks.”

Senses Working Overtime

Hey, hey, the clouds are whey
There’s straw for the donkeys
And the innocents can all sleep safely
All sleep safely

My, my, sun is pie
There’s fodder for the cannons
And the guilty ones can all sleep safely
All sleep safely

And all the world is football-shaped
It’s just for me to kick in space
And I can see, hear, smell, touch, taste
And I’ve got one, two, three, four, five
Senses working overtime
Trying to take this all in
I’ve got one, two, three, four, five
Senses working overtime
Trying to taste the difference ‘tween a lemon and a lime
Pain and pleasure, and the church bells softly chime

Hey, hey, night fights day
There’s food for the thinkers
And the innocents can all live slowly
All live slowly

My, my, the sky will cry
Jewels for the thirsty
And the guilty ones can all die slowly
All die slowly

And all the world is biscuit-shaped
It’s just for me to feed my face
And I can see, hear, smell, touch, taste
And I’ve got one, two, three, four, five
Senses working overtime
Trying to take this all in
I’ve got one, two, three, four, five
Senses working overtime
Trying to taste the difference ‘tween a lemon and a lime
Pain and pleasure, and the church bells softly chime

And birds might fall from black skies (Whoo-whoo)
And bullies might give you black eyes (Whoo-whoo)
And buses might skid on black ice (Whoo-whoo)
But to me they’re very, very beautiful (England’s glory)
Beautiful (A striking beauty)

And all the world is football-shaped
It’s just for me to kick in space
And I can see, hear, smell, touch, taste
And I’ve got one, two, three, four, five
Senses working overtime
Trying to take this all in
I’ve got one, two, three, four, five
Senses working overtime
Trying to tell the difference ‘tween the goods and crimes
Dirt and treasure
And there’s one, two, three, four, five
Senses working overtime
Trying to take this all in
I’ve got one, two, three, four, five
Senses working overtime
Trying to taste the difference ‘tween a lemon and a lime
Pain and pleasure, and the church bells softly chime

Blue Ash – Pleasant Dreams

Blue Ash is one of those bands that should have made it to the masses. That has always interested me why great bands like Blue Ash, Big Star, and so many others couldn’t find their way to mass popularity. I’ve been listening to their debut album and it stacks up against their peers at the time and definitely now!

This song reminds me of a great FM album track. Blue Ash toured and opened for such acts as The Stooges, Bob Seger, Aerosmith, Ted Nugent, and more but for lack of sales they were dropped by Mercury Records in May 1974. You would think with those bands they would have picked up a lot of fans.

Blue Ash was formed in the summer of 1969 in Ohio by bassist Frank Secich & vocalist Jim Kendzor. Guitarist Bill “Cupid” Bartolin and drummer David Evans were recruited later that summer. They got their name from a road sign outside of Cincinnati, Ohio, pointing towards a small town called Blue Ash. During a three-year stretch of 1970-1973 the band recorded numerous songs along with hitting the road playing western New York, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia along with Ohio, performing over 250 shows a year. Think about that for a second… 250 – 300 shows a year!

Their first album No More, No Less was released in May 1973 and received rave reviews in the rock press. This album is usually always in people’s top twenty power pop albums. It is considered a power pop classic and is regarded as highly collectible among fans of that genre.

This one transports me to the seventies.  The intro is around a minute but I love the sustained guitar that kicks in after the intro ends.

Pleasant Dreams

When day is done and night has begun
A smile comes on my face
I know that I’ll be taking me
To a very pleasant place
It’s half-way across my mind
It’s not so hard to find

I’ve been there many times before
And everytime ti’s seems
I know that I’ll be back for more
I’m hooked on pleasant dreams
Without reality there’s
Nothing i can’t see

Can’t wait to go to sleep
It’s gonna be alright, It’s going to be alright
Can’t wait to climb in bed
Lay me down so I will have
Pleasant dreams tonight
Pleasant dreams tonight
I know that tonight
It’s gonna be alright

A copper king, a movie star
I’m anything I please
I slip into my private world
Which sets my mind at ease
I do the things I feel you know
I feel the the things I do

Can’t wait to go to sleep
It’s gonna be alright, It’s going to be alright
Can’t wait to climb in bed
To lay me down so I will have
Pleasant dreams tonight
Pleasant dreams tonight
I know that tonight
It’s gonna be alright

I wake up in the morning and
It seems I’ve come undone
I make believe I’m not asleep and
I’m pretending that it’s fun
I’m half the man I am
I’m twice the man I’m not

Can’t wait to go to sleep
It’s gonna be alright, It’s going to be alright
Can’t wait to close my eyes to
Lay me down so I will have
Pleasant dreams tonight
Pleasant dreams tonight
I know that tonight
It’s gonna be alright

Records – Rock ‘n Roll Love Letter ….Power Pop Friday

If you like power pop…this band’s debut album is fantastic.

Rock ‘n Roll Love Letter was released as a non-album single back in 1979 in the UK. It was later included on their Shades In Bed CD as a bonus track. Tom Moore wrote this song but his version wasn’t successful. The Bay City Rollers covered it and had a top 40 hit.

I like this version because The Records put a little edge to it. Their best-known song would be Starry Eyes on the Shades In Bed released in 1979. Music City Mike reviewed the Shades In Bed album here.

The Records were an English powerpop band formed in 1978. The band included John Wicks – rhythm guitar, vocals, Huw Gower – lead guitar, vocals, Phil Brown – bass guitar, vocals, and Will Birch – drums, vocals.

Their influences included Big Star, The Raspberries, Blue Ash, Badfinger, Stealers Wheel, and the Beatles’ Revolver LP.

Rock ‘n Roll Love Letter

Dear sister poet, dear brother poet too
These tears that words are
Make me wanna be with you
But I need to spend my body
I’m a music makin man
And no page can release it like this amplifier can
This is my rock and roll love letter to you
This is my rock and roll love letter to you
Gonna sign it, gonna seal it, gonna mail it away
Gonna mail it today

God I must be crazy to express myself this way
But there ain’t much romance livin in the U.S.A.
This guitar is a blessing, This piano is a muse
And electricity’s a devil with a twenty amp fuse

This is my rock and roll love letter to you
This is my rock and roll love letter to you
Gonna sign it, gonna seal it, gonna mail it away
Gonna mail it to, gonna mail it today

Dear mama, papa hey your boy is doin fine
And this energy, you gave him
Keeps on tryin to unwind
‘Cause I see an ancient rhythm
In a man’s genetic code
Gonna keep on rock and rollin
Fill my genes explode
(repeat chorus)
This is my rock and roll love letter to you
This is my rock and roll love letter to you
Gonna rock it, gonna seel it, gonna slake it away
Send me back one, send me back on someday