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PLAY ON! Power Pop Heroes

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"I think the essence of power pop is its transcendent ability to put a smile on your face and make the hair on your arms stand up—That's what it's always done for me."   --Eric Carmen

FIRST VOLUME OF KEN SHARP'S "PLAY ON! POWER POP HEROES" SERIES RELEASED
 
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," 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 One (Jetfighter/$39.97), the just-released first installment of a three-volume series, 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"..."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: 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 Eric Carmen of Raspberries, the 480-page book culls exclusive 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.
 
Two additional volumes will be published in 2015.
 
Acts featured in Volume One:
 
The Beatles
The Beach Boys
The Dave Clark Five
The Kinks
The Hollies
The Byrds
The Who
The Turtles
The Knickerbockers
The Zombies
The Left Banke
Bee Gees
Small Faces
The Move
Jeff Lynne
The Nazz
Emitt Rhodes
Badfinger
Raspberries
Big Star
  
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
 
Ken Sharp is a New York Times best-selling author who has penned more than 15 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, 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, Reputation is a Fragile Thing: The Story of Cheap Trick, Kooks, Queen Bitches and Andy Warhol: The Making of David Bowie's Hunky Dory.
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Batman   

Too bad they couldn't get all those acts together for one of those PBS specials where each group comes onstage and performs one or two of their best hits.

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Received my volume one yesterday.:)

pg. 438 - GATW...conceived on piano and not guitar as most of us here already know...

Eric:

"...Wally Bryson is a brilliant guitarist, a fine singer and wonderful songwriter. His work speaks for itself. He played that incredible intro better than anyone else could have, because I conceived it knowing he was going to play it! And now, he is forever the guitarist that played that magnificent intro on the top five million-selling hit "Go All The Way." To me, that beats Brian Jones' rhythm guitar on "Satisfaction." And that's not too shabby." Very nice, Eric.

Your Foreward mentions power pop's ability to put a smile on your face. You've helped to make me smile for 45 years and that's a rare quality indeed. :)

Also, I heard Marv's Raspberries - Reflections may be donated to the Cleveland HOF. Can anyone verify that information?

Mary Ellen

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redd   

Dear c-girl,

Awww, what a sweet post re: "Power Pop" :) That's a terrific question about Marv's "R's Reflections". I thoroughly enjoyed reading it! Do remember talk of it being donated to the HOF....

redd :)

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