Thursday, January 26, 2017

Fourth volume of Ken Sharp's "Play On! Power Pop Heroes" set for publication in February 2017

Okay, this is a book I can't wait to read! When you start talking about Crowded House, The Bangles, The Smithereens and Matthew Sweet, you definitely have my attention!

“You can’t talk about power pop without getting into a discussion of what it is. I always think about Supreme Court Justice Stewart’s famous comment about pornography here—‘I know it when I see it.’ While not necessarily naughty, power pop does have a funny place in the rock category pantheon. It can’t quite escape being a guilty pleasure for many. I am happy to say I have no guilt whatsoever about my pop, power or otherwise!”
Mitch Easter, Let’s Active

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."
Louis Gutierrez, left, and Michael Querico of The
Three O'Clock performing at Coachella in
April 2013. Photo: Robert Kinsler

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 Smithereens in 2011.
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 (over a $ retail value) 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.

Play On! Power Pop Heroes: Volume Four is available exclusively from
Matthew Sweet, left, with Robert Kinsler at The
Coach House in San Juan Capistrano, CA, in
August 2008.

Acts featured in Volume Four:
The dB’s
The Producers
Tommy Keene
Let’s Active
The Go-Go’s
The Spongestones
The Bangles
The Three O’Clock
The Smithereens
Crowded House
Hoodoo Gurus
Redd Kross
Matthew Sweet
Teenage Fanclub
The Pursuit of Happiness
Michael Penn
Parthenon Huxley

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.

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