On Friday June 3rd I will be guest-DJ'ing the Lost Weekend Records Record Store Happy Hour at Ace Of Cups. My Lost Weekend co-worker Brian Baker will be joining me in what we hope will be the ultimate 2 1/2 hours of Power Pop bliss. Brian and I have been digging through our record collections and pulling out what we think will represent the best mix of our favorite music genre....
Power Pop's roots can be traced back to the British Invasion of the early 60's when bands like The Who and The Kinks popped onto the scene. Songs like The Who's "My Generation" and The Kinks' "You Really Got Me" are some of the earliest examples of Power Pop, although at the time the genre did not exist. These songs have tight punchy guitars and well-defined vocal melodies, two ingredients that are essential to the best power pop. The heyday of Power Pop began in the early 70's with bands like Badfinger, Raspberries and Big Star releasing very influential albums. The evolution of Power Pop would continue throughout the 70's and 80's with bands like Cheap Trick, The Cars, The Knack, Shoes, and many others. All of these bands put their own stamp on Power Pop and stretched the boundaries of what Power Pop was. The umbrella of Power Pop has come to include elements of new wave, bubblegum, glam, garage rock, punk and continues to thrive and expand on it's original concept.
Power Pop is a music genre that doesn't get a lot of attention but has a die-hard fan base and is, as my deejay co-host Brian Baker recently said, endless and infinite.
The Lost Weekend Records Power Pop Happy Hour will take place on Friday, June 3rd at Ace of Cups, located at 2619 N. High Street, Columbus, Ohio 43202. The event will start at 6 pm and run until about 8;30 pm.
I thought I would take this opportunity to share some of my favorite Power Pop tunes as a preview of what you will be hearing on June 3rd.
Scott Carr is a guitarist who plays in the Columbus, OH bands Radio Tramps and Returning April. Scott is also an avid collector of vinyl records and works at Lost Weekend Records. So...if you are looking for Scott....you'll either find him in a dimly lit bar playing his guitar or in a record store digging for the holy grail.
1. Raspberries - Play On
This song comes from Starting Over, the last studio record from Raspberries. Bassist Scott McCarl takes lead vocals on this track and proves he is a perfect fit for Raspberries. McCarl joined Raspberries after original bassist Dave Smalley exited the band the previous year.
2. Paul Stanley - Wouldn't You Like To Know Me
While Paul Stanley is best known for writing arena rock anthems with Kiss, he somehow managed to perfectly craft one of the best Power Pop tunes of all time or at least that is what Colin G. thinks. This track appears on his 1978 solo album and stands as one of the best songs Paul has ever penned. Paul has said that the Raspberries were a big influence in the early days of Kiss and it rings through on this track.
3. The Knack - Radiating Love
It was tempting to put "My Sharona" here but everyone has heard that one before, correct? So I present you with the opening track from the bands third album Round Trip. As catchy as anything the band ever recorded and listen to that thumping bass line. The guitar solo is quite tasty too.
4. Sweeney Todd - Tantalize
This track leans a bit more towards the glam side of power pop but it's hooks and harmonies cannot be denied. One of the more interesting facts about this song is the lead vocals are no other than a 15 year old Bryan Adams. Yes "Cuts Like A Knife" Bryan Adams.
5. Aviary - Anthem For The USA
Hard to believe that this song was released in 1979! Aviary are a west coast band that released one album for Epic records during their time in the major leagues. Mixing their pop with a bit of prog Aviary created a sound that was way ahead of it's time.
6. The Spongetones - She Goes Out With Everybody
Hailing from Charlotte, NC but sounding more Beatley than The Beatles on this infectious song. Perfect example of Beatle inspired Power Pop.
7. Any Trouble - Growing Up
Bruce Springsteen isn't the first name you think of when talking about power pop but after listening to Any Trouble's fantastic cover of "Growing Up" you may change your mind. Any Trouble gives "Growing Up" a complete power pop makeover and it works perfectly. It should also be noted that Springsteen jammed on stage with The Knack, so maybe the Boss is more in tune with Power Pop than given credit for.
8. The Searchers - September Girls
It's pretty hard to beat Big Star's original version of "September Girls" but The Searchers do mighty fine job. The Searchers were among the original British Invasion bands and had great success during the early to mid 60's. A reformed version of the band released two magnificent power pop tinged albums in the late 70's early 80's. This version of "September Girls" comes from their 1981 album Love's Melodies.
9. Off Broadway - Automatic
Coming from the same state that brought us the undisputed kings of power pop Cheap Trick, Off Broadway are a relatively unknown band but they managed to release two excellent records for Atlantic Records. "Automatic" is the opening track from the bands second release Quick Turns. A perfect blend of hooky guitars and a great vocal melody. This track in particular reminds me of another band from Illinois that was more associated with the glam metal scene of the late 80's but were a great Power Pop band in their own right, Enuff Z' Nuff.
10. The Quick - It Won't Be Long
This Los Angeles based power pop band released a terrific record on Mercury Records called Mondo Deco in 1976 and not long after that they were gone. The Quick gets credit for doing a Beatles cover that is actually better than the original and that's not easily done. They manged to make "It Won't Be Long" completely their own and it's amazing.