Friday, June 02, 2006

This Band Needs More Lovin'

Today in Music History:

In 1973, Paul McCartney had both the No.1 positions on the US charts when 'Red Rose Speedway', went to the top of the album chart and 'My Love', started a four week run as the No.1 single.
You'll have to forgive me if today's post looks familiar. Way way back I did a post on these guys but it was kinda half assed. I will give them the star treatment this time. Full assed, so to speak.

off broadwayIf you grew up in the Chicago area, then you've heard of these guys and have probably even seen them perform. Off Broadway was a late-'70s power pop group from Chicago. This band was similar to Cheap Trick with their hopped-up melodies and catchy hooks, but with a little more quirky, almost new wave sort of bent to it. But they were doomed to obscurity because they did not have the personality or the hardness that Cheap Trick did. Opening for heavy metal acts didn't do much for their careers either, putting two different genres of music together is risky at best and metalheads are not particukarly fond of powerpop, thus a lot of people hated them. They wrote catchy songs and managed to sell around 200,000 copies of their 1979 debut album, On. They may never have reached the big time but they are remembered quite fondly by power pop enthusiasts such as myself. I saw these guys back in 1981, I think they opened for Nazareth. They had a good set and the music was good, but unfortunately their stage presence was less than exciting. Vocalist Cliff Johnson had nowhere near the style and range that Robin Zander did. The band slogged it out until 1983 and finally called it quits. I think the comparisons to Cheap Trick literally killed them.

Four members of the original band got together in the late '90s as Black on Blond and began playing clubs in the Chicago area. Due to audience requests, they began adding Off Broadway material to their set and soon decided to become Off Broadway again. In 1997, the band recorded and released their first record in 17 years, Fallin' In, and followed it with a live set in 1998, Live at Fitzgeralds.
But I still like these guys and I consider their first album a classic, must own album. In fact if you can find either of their first two albums, you might be pleasantly surprised. In fact homercat demands you find and buy.

Their first album On has to be one of the most criminally overlooked albums in rock history. While some bands were getting "hits" with songs about sleazy girls named Sharona, this group was showing how it's really done with 10 great powere pop songs dealing with issues that young people really face. Simply put, this is one of the best pop albums of all time! This cut was their only minor hit from that album.
Stay in Time by Off Broadway
Buy It

Their second album is obviously not the stunner their first one was, but still there's not a bad song on it. This album's production is actually rawer than the first one, with more of an emphasis on rock rather than pop. This is the first track from that album.
Automatic by Off Broadway
Buy It

Good weekend all and stay safe.
Funny Toon