Cheap Trick, The Knack and Nick Lowe might be the best known names from the late 70s power pop boom, but the genre and its various micro-scenes saw recordings and releases from other musical heroes between 1975-1980 just as worthy of attention. Fusing power pop and a spikier edge, The Real Kids’ debut is one of the greatest proto-punk discs ever; Earth Quake’s bombast showed the craft of gifted musicians; Fotomaker took the late 70s pop sound and made it even more retro by filtering it through a smoother vocal…and then there was PezBand. With a knack for bouncy tunes rivalled only by The Knack themselves, possession of quirky harmonies straight out of the school of Cheap Trick perfection and a natural gift for a chorus, PezBand were special.
In the first quarter of 2011 Universal Music released a five disc super-deluxe edition of Elton John’s multi-million selling, career defining ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’. While huge chunks of the album are undeniably great, did we really need another deluxe edition of this when an excellent three disc edition was released (complete with SACD compatible material) ten years previously? There are other parts of Elton’s huge body of works worthy of expanding.
Active from the mid to late 80s, The Difference were a progressive rock band that, while indebted to the usual influences from Rush and the big progressive hitters of the era, also tempered their sound with various other more contemporary influences – ranging from 80s pop and AOR to the tight quirks of The Police. On their 1988 EP, the coming together of older prog sounds with an eighties sharpness results in some very pleasing music that, although hampered slightly by budgetary contraints, still presents some great ideas.
After departing Rainbow in 1980 after just one album and tour, Graham Bonnet found himself at a career high. Returning to solo work, the third LP released under his own name, 1981’s ‘Line-Up’ is a huge step forward from his two solo discs from the 1970s. To be fair, it couldn’t be any worse; 1978’s ‘No Bad Habits’, in particular, borders on being a terrible waste of plastic.
Most sensible session musicians would have walked out on Eric Clapton after his hateful, racist outburst in Birmingham on August 5th 1976. However, his regular band of musicians from Tulsa stuck by him throughout the following two years as he battled with the bottle. After the release of the ‘Backless’ album in 1978, Clapton and band took to the road once again for a world tour. A full length movie ‘Eric Clapton’s Rolling Hotel’ was shot at this time during the German leg of the tour, but has never been given a full release.