Don’t forget that it was the Raspberries’ “Go All the Way” spotlighted in the Guardians of the Galaxy film—and that Badfinger’s “Baby Blue” was in the series finale of Breaking Bad…
By Blurt Staff
Noted music journalist and author Ken Sharp has just published Play On! Power Pop Heroes: Volume One (Jetfighter), which is the first installment of a three-volume series. In it Sharp — no stranger to the genre, having penned books on the Raspberries and Cheap Trick — “honors the musical innovators who built the genre’s foundation.”
Sharp explains that the term power pop took root via a quote from Pete Townshend back in ’67 when describing the Who’s new 45 “I Can See for Miles.” Sharp notes that a slew of classic tunes appeared in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s to help cement the description, while earlier examples only served to make the foundation all that much stronger: “A Hard Days Night”…”You Really Got Me”…”Glad All Over”…”Feel A Whole Lot Better”…”Pictures of Lily”…”She’s Not There”…”Carrie-Anne”…”Walk Away Renee”…”Tin Soldier”…”Happy Together”… “Lies”…”Do Ya”…”Open My Eyes”…”Go All the Way”…”No Matter What”…”September Gurls”
“These classic songs share one common thread,” says Sharp. They contain all the ingredients that make up a musical form known as ‘power pop.’ From the ’60s to present day, power pop music has gone on to mean different things to different people. For some, the term conjures the guitar crunch of Badfinger and Cheap Trick; for some, it’s the intricate orchestrated melodicism of the Beach Boys, the Zombies or Jellyfish; while for others it epitomizes the quirky jagged pop tread by acts like Squeeze, XTC and Fountains of Wayne. But the stylistic glue that welds it all together into one thrilling two-to-three-minute musical joyride is a collective reverence for a picture-perfect melody that will take your breath away and a supersonic hook, the size of the Empire State Building, that’s near impossible to forget.”
The 480-page book includes a foreword by Eric Carmen of Raspberries plus extended interviews with 20 artists that defined the genre, including members of the Beatles, the Who, the Kinks, the Beach Boys, the Byrds, the Hollies, the Dave Clark Five, the Zombies, Bee Gees, the Turtles, the Left Banke, Small Faces, the Move, Jeff Lynne and others. Also covered in this volume are representatives of the first generation of dedicated acolytes who followed the progenitors’ trail: Badfinger, Raspberries, Big Star and Emitt Rhodes. Track-by track commentary is provided about seminal albums including Pet Sounds (the Beach Boys), There Are But Four Small Faces (Small Faces), The Nazz (Nazz), Side 3 (Raspberries) and Emitt Rhodes (Emitt Rhodes) plus select artist commentary about classic recordings from members of The Zombies, The Turtles, The Hollies, The Knickerbockers and Badfinger.. Illuminating conversations with renowned producers George Martin (the Beatles), Shel Talmy (the Who) and John Fry (Big Star), engineers Geoff Emerick and Ken Scott (the Beatles), and songwriters Tony Asher (the Beach Boys), Graham Gouldman (the Hollies) and Garry Bonner (the Turtles) add to the inside story of this influential genre.
Play On! Power Pop Heroes: Volume One is available exclusively until the end of October from http://www.ken-sharp.com/power_pop/index.html . Two additional volumes will be published in 2015.