Raspberries – Overnight Sensation (Hit Record)

This is my second song pick for Hanspostcard’s song draft. The Raspberries  Overnight Sensation (Hit Record).

 Bruce Springsteen: “Overnight Sensation (Hit Record) should go down as one of the great mini-rock-opera masterpieces of all time”

In the nineties I bought the Raspberries greatest hits. I listened with headphones to each song until I heard this one. I stopped and listened to it repeatedly. It’s one of those songs that goes beyond other songs…It is truly a pop-rock symphony. I was amazed that I never heard this before.

Overnight Sensation (Hit Record) is an epic, ambitious, grand, lofty, extravagant, and brilliant song from the Raspberries. They were swinging for the fences when they made this song and they hit it out of the park. It’s on the album Starting Over released in 1974.

Put some headphones on and listen to this completely to the very end… When I hear it, I think this is what it would sound like if The Who, Beach Boys, and Beatles made a song together…this would be it. Musically you have a little of everything. Sliding bass lines, tasteful guitar licks, great vocals, a sax solo that gives way to more lyrics as the song morphs into an AM radio sound… and then comes a solo piano.

Stay until the very end because they dupe you into a fake ending and the drums will come in as if the world is going to end. Then… a Beach Boys final huge crescendo wave will wash over you like a warm summer moonlit night. It’s a wall of sound of ecstasy that you wish would go on forever.

The song is about trying to make it in the music business. It’s Eric Carmen singing with desperation wanting a hit record on the radio. After this album, the Raspberries were no more. This was Eric Carmen at his absolute best before he went solo and became an ordinary pop singer. He would never try anything this ambitious again.

Certain songs we all know are timeless. In a perfect world this one deserves to be on that list. I don’t use the word masterpiece a lot but I would consider this song one. The musical arrangement is second to none in terms of arrangement, production, and harmonies.

Although “Go All The Way” was their big hit of their career…this one is in a different league and they never equaled it. Most people don’t know this song and it’s a musical injustice. I only hope more people discover it.

The three best power pop bands of the early to mid-seventies were Big Star, Badfinger, and The Raspberries. Badfinger were the most successful (and they paid dearly for it), Big Star wasn’t even known, and The Raspberries had one top ten hit with few very good minor ones. All three of these bands were too rock for pop radio and too pop for rock radio…in varying degrees they fell into the cracks of history… none of them had long careers.

John Lennon was said to be a fan of the group. He was producing Nilsson’s Pussycats at the same time The Raspberries were making this album at the Record Plant. John supposedly was blown away by Overnight Sensation.

The song peaked at #18 in the Billboard 100 and #22 in Canada in 1974.

Overnight Sensation (Hit Record)
Well I know it sounds funny
But I’m not in it for the money, no
I don’t need no reputation
And I’m not in it for the show

I just want a hit record, yeah
Wanna hear it on the radio
Want a big hit record, yeah
One that everybody’s got to know

Well if the program director don’t pull it
It’s time to get back the bullet
So bring the group down to the station
You’re gonna be an overnight sensation

I’ve been tryin’ to write the lyric
Non-offensive but satiric too
And if you put it in the A-slot
It’s just got to make a mint for you

I fit those words to a good melody
Amazing how success has been ignoring me
So long
I use my bread making demos all day
Writing in the night while in my head I hear
The record play
Hear it play

Hit record, yeah
Wanna hit record, yeah
Wanna hit record, yeah (number one)

Cheap Trick – Come On, Come On …. Power Pop Friday

It’s been a while since we covered Cheap Trick and the time has come now. This is a power pop gem from the In Color album released in 1977. Cheap Trick is one of those bands that can cross genres with rock, pop, and heavy metal fans liking them.

This album was released the year before their Cheap Trick at Budokan album that would break their career open. This album has the studio version of I Want You To Want Me that would be a hit off of that live album

This album is a great album as well. It has Southern Girl, Hello There, and The Clock Strikes Ten just to name a few.

In Color peaked at #73 in the Billboard Album Chart in 1977 (I found no Canadian chart for this)…and #30 in Japan…a country which would be important in their career. The song was written by  Rick Nielsen.

This song reminds me of a warm seventies evening around twilight cruising with your friends…with a Cheap Trick T-Shirt on of course.

Women's Vintage Cheap Trick Concert T Shirt 70's Iron-On Extra Small –  Black Shag Vintage

Come On, Come On

Ooo I’m feelin’ good
Oh so good
Don’t you ruin it tonight, tonight
It’s been so long since I don’t know when
Ooo treat me, treat me, treat me right
Don’t be like sheep and follow the flock
Show me you really want to be mine

Ooo I’m feelin’ good
Oh so good
Don’t you ruin it tonight, tonight
It’s been so long since I don’t know when
Ooo treat me, treat me, treat me right
Don’t be like sheep and follow the flock
Show me you really want to be mine

Come on, come on
I know you can do it
Come on, come on
There ain’t nothing to it
Come on, come on
I know you believe me
Come on, come on
You can see the real me
Every day, every day
I need you, I want you
Come a little closer to my face
Oh little girl
I need you now

Teenage Fanclub – What You Do To Me ….Power Pop Friday

Power pop was well and alive during the 1990s. I remember this song in the early 90s but I never caught who did it. I heard it on our local alternate channel Lightning 100.

This band was from Scotland and they formed in Bellshill near Glasgow in 1989. They were influenced by Big Star, Badfinger, and the Byrds. They signed to the indie label Creation Records in Britain.

This song was off of their 3rd album Bandwagonesque and it was released in 1991. This was their breakthrough album in the US where it was distributed by Geffen Records. The album was voted album of the year by Spin magazine beating out Nevermind by Nirvana. Some critics called this album Big Star’s 4th because of the influence.

The album had several Top 20 hits on Billboard’s Modern Rock Tracks chart, including Star Sign, The Concept, and this song What You Do to Me. They played this song on Saturday Night Live on April 27, 1992.

Singer guitarist Norman Blake wrong this song.

The song peaked at #31 in the UK and #19 on the US Alternate Charts in 1991. The album peaked at #22 in the UK and #137 in the Billboard Album Charts. The album was #1 in the Billboard Heatseeker Album Charts.

BandwagonesqueCoverArt.png

From Wiki: The cover is designed by Sharon Fitzgerald. When Kiss member Gene Simmons, who had trademarked the logo of a moneybag with dollar symbol, was made aware of the record he sent a letter to Geffen Records, who in turn gave in and sent Simmons a cheque, according to Simmons’s book Sex Money Kiss.

The band is still together and has released a total of 11 studio albums.

What You Do To Me

What you do to me…
I know, I can’t believe
There’s something about you
Got me down on my knees.

What you do to me…
I know, I can’t believe
There’s something about you
Got me down on my knees.

What you do to me…
What you do to me…
What you do to me…
What you do to me…

What you do to me…
I know, I can’t believe
There’s something about you
Got me down on my knees.

What you do to me…
I know, I can’t believe
There’s something about you
Got me down on my knees.

What you do to me…
What you do to me…
What you do to me…
What you do to me…

What you do to me…
What you do to me…
What you do to me…
What you do to me…

Keys – I Don’t Wanna Cry…. Power Pop Friday

This fantastic English band was active between 1979 through 1983. The Keys attracted a lot of attention. They had a producer who I would have never guessed. Joe Jackson…I just never thought of him producing a power pop record.

The band included main songwriter and bassist Drew Barfield, guitarists
Steve Tatler and Ben Grove, and former Paul McCartney and Wing’s drummer Geoff Britton.

They were signed to A&M records and released the U.K. their only LP “The Keys Album”. The album drew rave reviews, but unfortunately it didn’t sell very well. Besides the album, the label released six singles. Due to a lack of interest The Keys split in 1983.

I listen to the album and I see why they got great reviews…I just can’t figure why they didn’t sell. I Don’t Wanna Cry was the A side and the B side was a song called Listening In. I have the video below…both songs are good power pop.

David Silvia from Allmusic: One of powerpop cornerstones ever. A hidden classic and a real masterpiece. Pop at it’s best

The Keys – The Keys Album (1981, Vinyl) - Discogs

I Don’t Wanna Cry

Was it really just our last good night
when I saw the light and I know
that you’ve been telling lies
Oh, no, not me, I don’t wanna cry
You could talk about it all night long
but the feeling’s gone and
I don’t need you to tell me why
Oh no, not me, I don’t wanna cry

‘Cos you know, I’ve got you figured out
and you have got, nothing to shout about
if this is love, I don’t really wanna play
I wanna know why you want to stay

I know all about your little plan
find a fool and check up the thing you can
well, it seems is never gonna be that way
I wanna know what you want to stay
ESTRIBILLO

Oh no, not me, I don’t wanna cry
Oh no, not me, I don’t wanna cry
I don’t wanna cry
I don’t wanna cry
I don’t wanna cry
I want to know what you want to stay

Let’s Active – Every Word Means No…. Power Pop Friday

This is great 1980s college radio power pop. Everything is there you want…the jangle and the jangly hook.

Let’s Active was formed in 1981 by Mitch Easter, a guitarist and songwriter best known as a record producer, with Faye Hunter on bass. Drummer Sara Romweber, then 17 years old, joined to form the original trio two weeks before their first live performance. Their first performance was opening for R.E.M. in Atlanta, Georgia in 1981.

Let’s Active was critically praised but like their peers did not sell a ton a records. This song was on the 1983 EP Afoot and they would go on to release three more LPs in all before breaking up in 1990.

Mitch produced REM on their Chronic Town EP, Murmur, and Reckoning. Easter also produced Marshall Crenshaw, Suzanne Vega, and bunches of indie acts. He also took a trip to Memphis in 1978 with members of the dB’s to meet two members of Big Star.

Romweber quit the band in 1984 after the release of the Afoot EP and their debut full-length, Cypress. Later, she co-founded the group Snatches of Pink and performed with her brother as the Dex Romweber Duo. In 2014, she reunited with Mitch Easter as Let’s Active for a benefit show. She would die of a brain tumor in 2019. Bassist Faye Hunter died in 2013.

Mitch Easter:

“I could not imagine myself singing in a Johnny Winter-style voice about ‘I just wanna make love to you,’ but the new goofball lyrics were something I could pull off,’ “I read an article with Andy Partridge of XTC back then where he was saying at no other time in history would he have been allowed to be the singer in a band. And I felt just like that, you know.

“I had this weird voice, but now maybe I could be allowed to sing without suffering some hopeless comparison to Gregg Allman.’

Every Word Means No

Watching for a sound to lead me to where ever you are
I can’t help it I will always love you

It used to be no words could come between us
Any time was right for secret meetings
It’s different now and when you speak
Every word means no
Every word means no

I’m thinking, of things that never come to life
You’re going through some things so shallow
There’s nothing to fight

It used to be no words could come between us
Any time was right for secret meetings
It’s different now and when you speak and
Every word means no
Every word means no

And it’s just anathema
I haven’t lost my way
I’m looking around in directions
‘Cause all I ever thought about was you
I never noticed anything but you
Predicting, puts me down on shaky ground
I keep on thinking your looking at me
Do you want me around

It used to be no words could come between us
Any time was right for secret meetings
Now and then I forget the rules have changed
You always remind me
That every word means no, every word means no

dB’s – Black and White ….Power Pop Friday

The Db’s were a great unknown power pop band…who would influence many bands but not sale many records. The band members were Peter Holsapple, Chris Stamey, Will Rigby, and Gene Holder.

All of the members are all from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, but the band was formed in New York City in 1978. They never broke through to the masses but they were heard on college radio in the 80s. 

“Black and White,” is the leadoff track to The dB’s debut album Stands for Decibels, and it is pure power pop. The dB’s were signed to the U.K. label Albion, which had trouble licensing the record for American distribution…. and subsequently went un-promoted in radio and only received sporadic play from college radio stations.

The Stands for Decibels album was ranked at number 76 on Pitchforks list of the 100 best albums of the 1980s. The dB’s would released 6 albums in all. The last album was released in 2012 when the members reunited. 

The dB’s broke up in 1988 and Peter Holsapple would go on to be an auxiliary guitarist and keyboardist for REM on the Green tour. He then helped in writing and recording their Out Of Time album. Holsapple subsequently worked with Hootie & the Blowfish as an auxiliary musician.

The dB’s worth checking out. 

Good story on two of the members meeting two Big Star members:

In May of 1978 two members of the dB’s Will Rigby, Peter Holsapple, and future R.E.M producer Mitch Easter made a pilgrimage to Memphis. They were about the only people in America who, while attending high school in the early ’70s, were under the impression that Big Star was a major band.

Their first stop was Danver’s…a restaurant that former Big Star’s Chris Bell worked at and his father owned. They passed a note to the server to talk to Chris and out he came. He was shocked that fans would track him down. It had been 6 years since the Big Star debut album was released.  They were impressed by how nice he was to them.

Bell invited them to join him after work at a ferny bar-café called the Bombay Bicycle Club. Here, while Bell played backgammon with a buddy, the three guys peppered him with questions: What kind of guitar did he play? How did he get those great sounds? 

Bell wondered if the boys were up for maybe checking out a Horslips (local rock band) concert. They instead decided to go over to Sam Phillips Recording Service to visit Alex Chilton, Bell’s former Big Star bandmate, then making his experimental album Like Flies on Sherbert. Bell and Chilton exchanged quiet hellos before Bell went home. 

A few days later Alex Chilton drove Easter and Rigby (Holsapple had already left) around Memphis, showing them the old Sun Studios building (which had a Corvair parked inside it), and taking them up a bluff overlooking the Mississippi. He pulled out a cassette and played a song on a junky little cassette player that took his visitors by surprise.

Chilton played the guys a Chris Bell song. He was raving about it saying it was Chris’s best song and it was the ultimate “Big Star song “…the song was I Am The Cosmos which the public had not heard at this point. 

Chris Bell would die in a car wreck on Decemeber 27, 1978…only 7 months after this happened. 

Chris Stamey on Big Star:“They were my favorite, and as far as I knew they were popular all the way across America. At least for that moment, I forgot about Emerson, Lake, and Palmer.”

Peter Holsapple on meeting Chris Bell and I Am The Cosmos:  “that the person who made all that beautiful music was a right-on kind of guy, too.” “It’s that kind of rife-with-sadness record, but it’s realized with the same imploding beauty that Big Star had. I mean, I Am the Cosmos-it’s just wry enough to make you turn your head and do a double-take, you know, the first sixteen thousand times you listen to it.”

Black and White

I, I never would hurt you
But even if I did you
You never would tell me
Oh, we are finished
As of a long time ago
As of a long time ago
I stop
I don’t enjoy you anymore
Well I guess I just don’t enjoy you anymore
Well I guess it’s all laid out in black and white
You don’t like it at all

Love
Love is the answer
To no question
But thanks for
Oh, the suggestion
I know I don’t care at all
Yeah, I know I don’t know anything at all
But I stop

I don’t enjoy you anymore
Well, I guess I just don’t enjoy you anymore
Well, I guess it’s all laid out in black and white
You don’t like it at all
You don’t like it at all
You don’t like it at all
(In black and white)

Nazz – Open My Eyes ….Power Pop Friday

They were founded by singer,  guitarist, and songwriter Todd Rundgren and bassist Carson Van Osten. Drummer Thom Mooney and vocalist/keyboardist Robert “Stewkey” Antoni would join last. 

In celebration of Todd Rundgren getting in the Jann Wenner Rock and Roll Hall of Fame FINALLY…It makes no sense why the guy wasn’t in there 20 years ago. Not just as a performer but as a producer as well. Rundgren not getting in until now is one of the reasons it’s hard for me to take the Hall seriously…but I’m happy he is finally in. 

In 2016, Rundgren told an interviewer: “It doesn’t have the same cachet as a Nobel Peace Prize or some historical foundation. If I told you about how they actually determine who gets into the Hall of Fame, you’d think that I was bullshitting you, because I’ve been told what’s involved. … It’s just as corrupt as anything else, and that’s why I don’t care.”

He was asked how he felt about finally being inducted and he said: “I’m happy for the fans. They’ve waited a long time for this.” He was probably more happy about the 2016 Honorary doctorate from Berklee College of Music, where he delivered the commencement address, and an honorary doctorate from DePauw University.

The Nazz self titled album was released in 1968. This was the A side of the single released…the B side was “Hello It’s Me”…yes the same song we know but an early version of it. 

They formed in 1967 and their first concert was something to remember…opening for the Doors.  Some say the band took its name from the Yardbirds’ 1966 song “The Nazz Are Blue”, other sources say the name came from a 1952 monologue, “The Nazz”, by the American Beatnik comedian Lord Buckley.

The band would release 3 albums after which Rundgren started a solo career. 

Open My Eyes peaked at #112 in the Billboard Album Charts and Hello It’s Me peaked at #66 in 1968…

Todd would go on and released Hello It’s Me solo and it was a massive hit. It peaked at # 2 in the Billboard 100 and #17 in Canada in 1973.

He would also form the band Utopia in 1973. 

Open My Eyes

Underneath your gaze I was found in
The haze I’m wandering around in
I am lost in the dark of my own room
And I can’t see a thing but the fire in your eyes

Clear my eyes, make me wise
Or is all I believe in lies
I don’t know when or where to go
And I can’t see a thing ’til you open my eyes

I’ve been told by some you’ll forget me
The thought doesn’t upset me
I am blind to whatever they’re saying
And all I can see is the fire in your eyes

Clear my eyes, make me wise
Or is all I believe in lies
I really don’t know when or where to go
And I can’t see a thing ’til you open my eyes
Can’t see a thing ’til you open my eyes
Can’t see a thing ’til you open my eyes
Can’t see a thing ’til you open my eyes

Can’t believe that it’s on your mind
To leave me behind

Clear my eyes, make me wise
Or is all I believe in lies
I really don’t know when or where to go
And I can’t see a thing ’til you open my eyes
Can’t see a thing ’til you open my eyes
Can’t see a thing ’til you open my eyes
Can’t see a thing ’til you open my eyes
Can’t see a thing ’til you open my eyes

Oh my eyes
Oh my eyes
Oh my eyes

Buzzcocks – Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve?)

This song is really catchy and has a punk pop sound. Some times a title is so good that you listen to the song regardless of who it is. This title fits that description and unlike some…it lives up to it.

The song title came from a line Marlon Brando spoke in the 1955 movie, ‘Guys And Dolls’ which Pete Shelley watched in a hotel room while on tour.

The Buzzcocks formed in Bolton, England in 1976 by singer-songwriter-guitarist Pete Shelley and singer-songwriter Howard Devoto.  They chose the name Buzzcocks after reading the headline, “It’s the Buzz, Cock!”, in a review of the TV series Rock Follies in Time Out magazine. The “buzz” is the excitement of playing on stage; “cock” is northern English slang meaning friend.

They released 3 albums and broke up in 1981 after a dispute with their record company. They reunited in 1989 and released 6 more albums. Pete Shelley continued to play with the band until his death of a heart attack in 2018. The band still continues to tour.

The song peaked at #12 in the UK in 1978.

Songwriter Pete Shelley: “The song dates back to November 1977. We were on a roll. It was only six months since we’d finished the first album. Up in Manchester this was what we used to dream of… a whirlwind of tours, interviews, TV. We were living the life. One night in Edinburgh we were in a guest house TV lounge watching the musical Guys and Dolls. This line leaped out – ‘Have you ever fallen in love with someone you shouldn’t have?’ The next day the van stopped outside a post office and I wrote the lyrics there. I did have a certain person in mind, but I’ll save that for my kiss’n’tell. The music just seemed to follow, fully formed.”

“The opening line was originally ‘You piss on my natural emotions,’ but because ‘Orgasm Addict’ hadn’t been getting radio play because of it’s title, I needed something a bit subtler. So I came up with ‘spurn.’ It had the same sort of disregard, but wasn’t so likely to offend!”

The Fine Young Cannibals had a no. 9 UK hit with their cover version, recorded for the soundtrack of the 1986 film Something Wild.

From Songfacts

.In 1987 when Fine Young Cannibals covered this, their more laid back, soulful version peaked at #9 in the UK. They recorded the song after being asked by the director Jonathan Demme to provide him with a song for his upcoming film Something Wild. It is featured on the film’s soundtrack released as “Ever Fallen in Love.”

In the same Uncut interview the song’s producer Martin Rushent recalled: “Pete played me ‘Ever Fallen In Love…’ for the first time and my jaw hit the floor. I felt it was the strongest song that they had written-clever, witty lyrics, great hooklines. I suggested backing vocals-to highlight the chorus and make it even more powerful. No one could hit the high part-so I did it. I’d sung in bands in my youth and I also worked as a backing singer.”

The story of how The Buzzcocks came up with their name: In February 1976 Shelley and guitarist Howard Devoto read an article about a band called the Sex Pistols who had just played in London. “It was a realization of someone else doing what we already wanted to do,” Shelley told Reuters. The pair borrowed a car and drove from Manchester down to London to seek out the Sex Pistols. “We bought a copy of Time Out, which had no mention of them at all,” recalled Shelley. “But in the magazine was a preview for a TV series called Rock Follies. The headline was, ‘It’s the buzz, cock.” And that’s how we got the name.”

Thea Gilmore, Pete Yorn, Will Young, Billy Talent and Anti-Flag are among the acts to cover this song. The New York City band SUSU released their version in 2020 in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. They explained: “A good cover is hard to find. Turns out this one was a telling tale, a perfect sonic and energetic fit. We were a brand new band, consummated on Valentine’s Day, in the pink of our five-week European honeymoon. We found ourselves leaving behind the tour we had just fallen in love with due to circumstances beyond our control – a pandemic. Proper heartbreak. But we all know the first breakup never sticks.”

Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve)

You spurn my natural emotions
You make me feel I’m dirt and I’m hurt
And if I start a commotion
I run the risk of losing you and that’s worse

Ever fallen in love with someone
Ever fallen in love, in love with someone
Ever fallen in love, in love with someone
You shouldn’t have fallen in love with?

I can’t see much of a future
Unless we find out what’s to blame, what a shame
And we won’t be together much longer
Unless we realize that we are the same

Ever fallen in love with someone
Ever fallen in love, in love with someone
Ever fallen in love, in love with someone
You shouldn’t have fallen in love with

You disturb my natural emotions
You make me feel I’m dirt and I’m hurt
And if I start a commotion
I’ll only end up losing you and that’s worse

Ever fallen in love with someone
Ever fallen in love, in love with someone
Ever fallen in love, in love with someone
You shouldn’t have fallen in love with?

Ever fallen in love with someone
Ever fallen in love, in love with someone
Ever fallen in love, in love with someone
You shouldn’t have fallen in love with?

Ever fallen in love with someone
Ever fallen in love, in love with someone
Ever fallen in love, in love with someone
You shouldn’t have fallen in love with?

Fallen in love with
Ever fallen in love with someone
You shouldn’t have fallen in love with?

Tommy Hoehn – Blow Yourself Up… Power Pop Friday

I’ve been reading about the early to mid-seventies Memphis scene and have found out that we missed out on some great power pop that was never heard by the general public. To my readers I have to pass all of this along. I do appreciate of you reading about these more unknown artists…but if one person listens to some of these posts and likes one…it makes it worth it…it also feels good living up to my WP power pop name.

Tommy Hoehn is another in a long line of musicians  who should have been heard but it just didn’t happen. I would have never thought of Memphis as a power pop location but a generation of local musicians were heavily influenced by the Beatles, Who, and the Kinks. They took mid-sixties pop… along with Badfinger and the Raspberries and put a different spin on it.

The most known band from that period from Memphis is Big Star…you won’t hear that sentence a lot. Tommy Hoehn played with Big Star’s Chris Bell and Alex Chilton as well as helping out on Big Star’s 3rd album. “Blow Yourself Up” is full of hooks and his voice is perfect for power pop.

All of these musicians at the time hung out a lot at Ardent Studios. The owner John Fry would let them record and gave many keys to come in when they could and no one took advantage of it for a long time. That is one reason many of these artists sounded really good…they had time to get a sound they wanted.

This song was released in 1977 on Power Play Records, a local Memphis label and it was a regional hit. That same year, Power Play Records released Hoehn’s first solo album Spacebreak, which contained two of the songs Hoehn had recorded with Prix as well as the Blow Yourself Up single.

Blow Yourself Up was featured on Rhino’s D.I.Y.: Come Out and Play: American Power Pop (1975-78) compilation that was released in 1993.

He continued to release albums in the 80s, 90s, and 2000’s. In late 2009, Hoehn began work on a solo album tentatively titled Pi. However, in December 2009, he was diagnosed with cancer, and became too ill to sing lead vocals on the album. He died on June 24, 2010, at the age of 55.

Blow Yourself Up

She lie / in a cool repose / She breathing
Tries to believe I don’t know it
I’m not dull, I show it
She shies away:
Shaken / and I push her just a little
Even enough to fool just her
Ooo I really mussed her
Cutchya’ I’ll blow yourself up

She-vades / Such a crude contempt
I invade
She gets away and I feel it
Then I just can’t hide it
She shies away
Thinkin’ / There’s a full moon, I’m not thinkin’
Stupid as nails she keeps askin’
“Who just opened my door?”
Come in and blow yourself up

Stop! We don’t care!
Step above, I could stare –
In your eyes, for a week
Maybe two
They’re so blue…

She lie! / In a room she made to wonder
Tries to believe in a reason
Frets inside her feelings
Comin’ so close – solo!
And the overcast is breathing
Even the leaves gonna shudder
I see stars and colors
Something to blow yourself up 

Scruffs – Break The Ice —-Power Pop Friday

Memphis in the early 1970s was more than Big Star. Many power pop bands and artists were coming out of there at that time. Not many made it huge but many were recognized later. They formed in 1974 and released their first album Wanna Meet The Scruffs? in 1977. Like the others around this period. Many of the power pop musicians worked with each other. The Scruffs worked with Alex Chilton, Tommy Hoehn, and Jim Dickinson. Break the Ice was the first single off of the album. It reminds me of the Raspberries.

Wanna Meet the Scruffs? - Wikipedia

To show what some rock critics thought of the band…here is Robert Christgau (rock critic):

Only a sucker for rock and roll could love this record, and I am that sucker. A middle-period Beatles extrapolation in the manner of Big Star (another out-of-step Memphis power-pop group on a small, out-of-step Memphis label), it bursts with off harmonies, left hooks, and jolts of random energy. The trouble is, these serve a shamelessly and perhaps permanently post-adolescent vision of life’s pain, most of which would appear to involve gurls. To which objection the rockin’ formalist in me responds, “I wanna hear ‘Revenge’ again.”

Pretty good endorsement right? That is just one of many but again they just couldn’t break through. They did not have the influence like Big Star did but they were a great power pop band. I listened to all of this album and that jangle of the guitar is infectious. The song was a regional hit but was not played outside of Memphis too much. They did move to New York in 1978 had some high profile gigs at  CBGB and Max’s Kansas City.

The Band broke up in 1981 but Stephen Burns the singer, guitar player, and songwriter  would continue recording albums under the Scruffs name into the 2010’s…with Peter Buck from REM guesting on the 2011 Kill! Kill! album .

Sorry I could not find the lyrics.

Van Duren – Chemical Fire —-Power Pop Friday

Van Duren is a power pop musician in Memphis and was managed by Andrew Loog Oldham. He made his first album called Are You Serious in 1978. He is another power pop rocker from the early seventies in Memphis. He was in a band with Big Star’s Chris Bell and drummer Jody Stephens called The Baker Street Regulars. He auditioned as the 2nd guitar player for Big Star just before the band’s demise.

Chemical Fire is an excellent power pop song. It could have very well been played on late seventies radio. It still sounds fresh today.

His style has been compared to Paul McCartney and Todd Rundgren. Personally I hear Marshall Crenshaw also. Big Star wasn’t noticed until over a decade after they recorded their last album. Van Duren waited 30 years before he was properly found.

His second album Idiot Optimism was recorded in 1979 and because of record company problems its wasn’t released until twenty years later. Memphis power artists could not catch a break. There is a documentary about Van Duren that was released in 2019 and his two first albums were re-released also.

According to a documentary, the record label had Scientology connections, which meant they attempted to convert all the acts on their roster. Duren, already in debt, just wanted to finish his record, which he correctly thought was his one shot at stardom. It flopped, and by the mid-80s, after another near-miss with another band, Good Question, his musical career was as good as over.

He is still known in the Memphis area.

Sorry I could not find the lyrics

Big Star – Jesus Christ

A Christmas power pop song that I wish I heard more of than some of the others. It has a strange 20 second intro but after that the guitar starts and then it’s pure Alex Chilton.

The song is on the Third/Sister Lovers album. The album was recorded in 1974-1975 but wasn’t released until 1978. The album has no theme…it’s all over the map with different style of songs. This song…considered a Christmas song didn’t really stand out on the non-Christmas album because it’s so eclectic. 

Guitarist Alex Chilton and drummer Jody Stephens were the only original two left during this album but they had musicians to fill in. This song was written by Alex Chilton.

Today I will be posting some Christmas shows throughout the day…from here until Christmas…powerpop will be completely Christmas programming.

Jesus Christ

Angels from the realms of glory
Stars shone bright above
Royal David’s city
Was bathed in light of love

Jesus Christ was born today
Jesus Christ was born
Jesus Christ was born today
Jesus Christ was born

Lo, they did rejoice
Fine and pure of voice
And the wrong shall fail
And the right prevail

Jesus Christ was born today
Jesus Christ was born
Jesus Christ was born today
Jesus Christ was born
And we’re gonna get born now

The Clarks – Better Off Without You ….Power Pop Friday

This band keeps popping back up in my playlist. Lately in power pop I’ve been listening to Sloan and The Clarks. They complement each other well.

This is a local band out of Pittsburgh that formed in  the mid 80s at  Indiana University of Pennsylvania where most of them were enrolled. They started out as a cover band and soon began playing original songs.

The song was on Let It Go, the fifth studio album by The Clarks, released on June 20, 2000. The album outsold many major national releases in the Pittsburgh area and generated huge local radio hits.

The band still has all of the original members and are going strong.

Better Off Without You

You are sultry, dirty, soft and hard
You are close to me and you’re so far
And I’m thinking of the time we spent together
Now I’ll bury this in my backyard
Sometimes I sit and wonder
But I’ll never dial your number ’cause

I’m having fun looking out for number one
And I’m doing all the things I like to do
I’m having fun ’cause I knew it all along
I’d be better off without you

You are guilty, pretty, high and low
You’re a place to stay and a time to go
And I’m searching through the things you left behind here
Now it’s time for me to let it go
Sometimes I sit and wonder
But I’ll never dial that number ’cause

I’m having fun looking out for number one
And I’m doing all the things I like to do
I’m having fun ’cause I knew it all along
I’d be better off without you

Late at night you pick up the telephone
Call me up and cry ’cause you’re all alone I don’t care
Apologize for taking my cigarettes
Now it’s time to feel all the side effects
Missing the life you had

The Records – Teenarama…. Power Pop Friday

When I started Power pop Friday I started with The Records song Starry Eyes back in July of last year.

I really like this song…you have a crunchy brit sound guitar open it up with another great rhythm guitar intertwining with it.

Mutt Lange produced 4 songs on this album (Shades in Bed) including this one when he had to leave the album for prior commitments. the rest of the album was produced by Tim Friese-Greene. The last song recorded, “The Phone,” was a late addition to the album and was produced by Huw Gower.

Music City Mike reviewed this album here.

The Records were an English powerpop band formed in 1978. Teenarama was off their debut album Shades in Bed. The band included John Wicks – rhythm guitar, vocals, Huw Gower – lead guitar, vocals, Phil Brown – bass guitar, vocals, and Will Birch – drums, vocals.

AllMusic called the album “a pure pop masterpiece”

Teenarama

I wanted a holiday
You sure had a lot
To say every night
I thought that a younger girl
Could show me the world
That was right
Co-co-co-cola
Is all you ever drink
The way you smile
The way you wink

Teenarama
Is what you’re givin’ me
(What you’re givin’ me)
Teenarama
Injections in the knee
(Injections in the knee)
Teenarama
All that mellow drama
Gimme gimme gimme gimme
Gimme gimme
Teenarama

I wanted a change of style
To be with a juvenile
For a week
So I rented an apartment
Then you went and lost the key

Sugar candy
Is all you ever eat
You’re so skinny
You’re so sweet

Repeat Chorus

Monday
School day
You wait
Weeks late
Dirty star
Coffee bar
First bra
Too far
Ahhhh
Co-co-co-cola
Is all you ever drink
The way you smile
The way you wink

Repeat Chorus

Gimme 15x

Teenarama 

Big Star – O My Soul ….Power Pop Friday

This song is from their second album Radio City. Their other guitarist Chris Bell had left the band leaving Alex Chilton as the only guitarist. In this song Chilton’s guitar is pushed to the front and after about a 46 second intro the song is on it’s way.

It’s a bluesy, funky,  rocky, and soulful riff all built into one. Alex just takes off on the guitar with this one all through the song. The guitar has a tone that you don’t hear everyday. Whenever I’m playing guitar I go back to their albums to try to emulate a tone that Chilton found.

Alex Chilton was not the only one writing songs on the album. Bassist Andy Hummel wrote or co-wrote five of the albums’s 12 tracks. Jody Stephens pitched in and co-wrote one song with Chilton and Hummel.

Chilton remained the constant variable that made the band’s music soar. His September Gurls is among the band’s finest songs and one of the prototypical power pop songs.

Radio City is not as polished as their debut album but it’s just as good and many say better.

O My Soul

O my soul mama
I lose control
Go ahead and shake if you wanna
And I’ll never know
Wull come on
You know it’s alright
We’ve got all night
You’re driving me mad
And you shouldn’t do that
We’re going to get on up
And drink till we drop.
You’re really a nice girl
And I think you’re the most
And when we’re together
I feel like a boss

Trying to see you
I’d know off your doors
dying to see you
I’m down on the floor.

I can’t get a license
To drive my car
But I don’t really need it
If I’m a big star.
Never you mind
Go on and have a good time.