Whether its Raspberries’ naughty testosterone-fueled epic “Go All the Way,” most recently prominently featured in Guardians of the Galaxy or Badfinger’s “Baby Blue,” which scored the climactic final scene in the series finale of “Breaking Bad” or The Knack’s worldwide smash “My Sharona,”power pop is feel-good music whose sonic reverberations continue to make an indelible impact on the culture. In “Play On! Power Pop Heroes: Volume Four” (Jetfighter/$39.97), the forthcoming installment of a five-volume series slated for release in spring of 2017, Ken Sharp honors the musical innovators who built the genre’s foundation.
Back in ’67, in describing their new single “I Can See for Miles,” the Who’s Pete Townshend coined the term “power pop,” not knowing that the genre would come to take its name from his offhand description. “A Hard Days Night”…”You Really Got Me”…”Glad All Over”…”Feel A Whole Lot Better”…”Pictures of Lily”…”Tin Soldier”…””Open My Eyes”…”Go All the Way”…”No Matter What”…”September Gurls”…”Surrender”…”My Sharona”…”Stacy’s Mom” these classic songs share one common thread: 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.
Featuring a foreword by Mitch Easter, the 528-page book culls exclusive extended interviews with 17 artists that defined the genre and is profusely illustrated with rare photographs and original handwritten lyrics.
Track-by track commentary is provided about seminal albums including All Over The Place (The Bangles), Girlfriend (Matthew Sweet), Sixteen Tambourines (The Three O’Clock), Like This (The dB’s), Love Junk (The Pursuit of Happiness), Beat Music (The Spongetones), and Deluxe (Parthenon Huxley) plus select artist commentary about classic recordings from Crowded House, The Smithereens, Teenage Fanclub, Hoodoo Gurus, The Producers, Tommy Keene, Let’s Active, The Go-Go’s, and Michael Penn add to the inside story of this influential genre.
Buyers will receive over tracks of incredible bonus music of rare, unreleased and live music from the dB’s, Redd Kross, The Smithereens, Mitch Easter, The Pursuit of Happiness, Tommy Keene, The Spongetones, Parthenon Huxley. In addition to those artists, there will be out of print and rare tracks from countless other power pop acts spanning the globe.
Acts featured in Volume Four:
The Three O’Clock
The Pursuit of Happiness
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ken Sharp is a New York Times best-selling author who has penned more than 19 music books, contributes to a variety of national music magazines, works on music documentaries and has done liner notes for releases by Elvis Presley, Sly and the Family Stone, Janis Joplin, Small Faces, Santana, Cheap Trick, Raspberries, Eric Carmen, KISS, Hall and Oates, Jellyfish, Heart and others. In addition to the Play On! Power Pop Heroes series, his books include Starting Over: The Making of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s Double Fantasy, Elvis: Vegas ‘69, Nothin’ to Lose: the Making of KISS (1972-1975), Elvis Presley: Writing for the King, Sound Explosion: Inside LA’s Studio Factory with the Wrecking Crew, Overnight Sensation: The Story of the Raspberries, Play on!: Power Pop Heroes, Reputation is a Fragile Thing: The Story of Cheap Trick, Kooks, Queen Bitches and Andy Warhol: The Making of David Bowie’s Hunky Dory.