Friday, December 30, 2005

The First One's Always Free

So I'm online with noted rock critic steve simels last night and he asks me:


If you're still here --

I'm desperate.

What's the name of track 15 on
the New Pornographer's TWIN

You know -- the one that sounds
like the greatest Rick Springfield
song he never wrote.

I can't stop playing it...

I go to Amazon and look: obviously, there is no track 15. I wrack my brain: I burned Twin Cinema for him a couple of months ago; what else would I have put on there? That sounds like Rick Springfield?

A-ha! It comes to me.

Back in the late 70's/early 80's, when power pop was the coin of the realm, there were a few terrific PP bands fronted by women. Often, they were British or Canadian, because the BBC and the CBC were much hipper than American television about the potential for video and music, and a cute front chick was a definite bonus. One of these bands was the almost-lost-to-history Canadian band Toronto.

Their third straight platinum record came in the form of GET IT ON CREDIT in the fall of '82, featuring new drummer Barry Connors and Gary Lalonde (also an ex-member of Rose & later with Honeymoon Suite) on bass. Recorded at Toronto's Eastern Sound and produced by Steve Smith, best known for his work with Robert Palmer, the lead single "Break Down The Barricade" yet again saw furious lick trading between Allen and Alton and Woods' now trademark vocals. Harder than ever, the title-track and the smash "Your Daddy Don't Know" were further evidence a six piece group could act like a well-oiled machine "Start Telllin' The Truth" again showed the diverse writing talents of the group, crossing over to the keyboard-laden easy listening side of the rock realm, yet still keeping the band's renowned 'edge'. Interestingly, the thirteenth song which was eventually dropped was "What About Love", co-written by Jim Vallance. It would turn into a smash hit when Heart recorded it three years later.

(This bio tells me that they were represeted by the same management as Chilliwack, a band I'd almost forgotten about until last week, when someone donated money to VH-1 Classics for Hurricane Katrina, asking for Chilliwack's "Gone So Long" as their request.)

The song must have been, had to be, The New Pornographer's 2002 cover of "Your Daddy Don't Know," something I acquired mysteriously. When Eli came to visit Liberal Mountain last fall, he had on his laptop a video for the TNP version which was, shall we say, a period piece, consisting mostly of drunk Canadians trying to jump over increasingly large piles of garbage in an alleyway. But it's worth it if only to see the band rigged out in 70's gear.

In fact, the opening riff to "Your Daddy Don't Know" bears more than a passing resemblance to the riff from "Jesse's Girl," which is almost certainly why it evoked Springfield for Mr. Simels.

And so we here at PowerPop continue proudly creating addicts of all stripes.


Eli said...

I *love* "Gone So Long"!

Even if their name does make me expect them to start singing about baby back ribs at any moment...

ntodd said...

You know what I'm addicted to? BABIES!

ntodd said...

Do YOU have any babies?

ntodd said...

I'm looking, but I don't see any babies here.

ntodd said...

Man, I STILL don't see any babies. I guess I'll look for a fix over at Altmouse...

Anonymous said...

Chilliwack, Toronto -- god bless the CanCon rules that gave every band in this country airplay.

But the '80's aren't complete without some Payolas, Trooper and April Wine...