Friday, May 13, 2005

Looking for Citations

I recently asserted that: "Power pop ... was actually an industry euphemism coined to market punk to the masses."

I am hereby correcting myself.

Reader the tree has found the following:

In Wolter and Kimber, The Who in Print, citation 109 (p. 14) says:

Altham, Keith. "Lily isn't pornographic, say Who." New Musical Express, May 20, 1967, 2. A short interview with Townshend and Moon. Townshend defends the lyrics of "Pictures of Lily" and describes the Who's brand of power pop music.

Then reader Bill offered his opinion, which I think is probably right:

the music industry coined the phrase "new wave" so as not to frighten Middle America with the scandalous label "punk."

Always anxious to sort such things out, I asked those who know about the origin of the term "New Wave" (which is probably what I was thinking of all along, and had merely repressed, because that term got co-opted by your Haircut 100s and your Flock of Seagullses).

Anyway, one Steven Simels claims to have originated the term in Stereo Review, possibly in a review of The Fabulous Poodles or The Sports or some never-quite-there band like that. He has promised to look for confirmation of that point, and we here at PowerPop anxiously await his findings. If anyone else has evidence for or against this point, please let us know!

8 comments:

agitprop said...

I always thought 'new wave' waas used to refer to post-punk bands that used less guitar and more keyboard starting in around 1979. There was punk in the late 70's, all rough and hard sounding. Then post-punk was a little more melodic and was seen a new wave of bands with a similar style. Sorry but I don't know of any citations at the moment.

Eli said...

because that term got co-opted by your Haircut 100s and your Flock of Seagullses

Oi! What's wrong with the Flock Of Seagullses? I'm amused that you paired them with Haircut 100, tho...

NYMary said...

Well, Eli, I once had a near-death experience related to A Flock of Seagulls. They came to our local venue, opening for the Go-go's (I'm gonna guess Autumn 1982 or so). Between the acts, there was a crowd push, a big one. And this was still close enough to The Who tragedy in Cincinnati to be scary. I fell under the feet of the crowd, probably not for very long, but for long enough to freak out. A boy I knew (but hadn't seen in months) helped me up, then disappeared.

Thus my associations with AFOS. How are they connected to Haircut 100? I dunno. I just class them together because I bought the albums at the same time. The term definitely has the same connotation for me as it does for agitprop. And thus the submersion of power pop into synth pop.

Whither The Cars?

refinnej said...

I always figgered The Cars as New Wave, but not really.. Maybe that's part of the essence of power pop...

Just thinking out loud... But now that I think about it, i really don't know HOW I would categorize The Cars...

Anonymous said...

Wikipedia says it was, in fact, S.S. who coined the term "new wave."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_wave_music

preznit giv me turkee said...

Oi! What's wrong with the Flock Of Seagullses? I'm amused that you paired them with Haircut 100, tho...

well, when I was in college radio we used to refer to them and their ilk as "Flock of Haircuts"

I think that "New Wave" tended to be more of a synth band vs guitar band. hence DEVO and Blondie got filed as NW and Pistols/Clash/Costello/Ramones got filed as punk. IIRC punk was also seen more as a UK thing, NW as more US oriented. of course the term jumped the pond pretty quickly with OMD etc.

Eric said...

Here's one definition:

http://lostbands.blogspot.com/2004/09/new-wave-doesnt-mean-shit.html#comments

and Sire Records Seymour Stein coined the phrase "New Wave"

Anonymous said...

I always thought New Wave referred to the second wave of British bands to take over the American music scene. The Old Wave was The Who, Beatles, Stones, Yardbirds, etc. that dominated American Pop charts in the late 60s and early 70s.

The New Wave, to me, was made up of bands like Be-Bop Deluxe, Roxie Music, Genesis, etc. Distinctly different sounding bands but all crossing the Atlantic to challenge the 'American band' dominated Pop charts of the day (late 70s and early 80s.)

pseudolus@operamail(dot)com