January 29, 2007
Although a small label had unsuccessfully released some singles in 1963, most American rock and roll fans were introduced to a new band from England via Capitol Recordsâ€™ 1964 album, â€œMeet the Beatles
That album, and the subsequent visits by the mop-topped Liverpudlians to the U.S., sparked by appearances on TV including historic performances on the â€œEd Sullivan Show,â€ re-set an entire generationâ€™s emotional gyroscope. Beatlemania brought with it a different kind of music, pop that popped with surging harmonies and was driven by hard, clangy rhythms, shot through with the soul and R&B of rockâ€™s roots but also energized with a new kind of electricity.
The Beatles were the prototype for power pop, a genre that generations of bands, fans and rock critics have been seduced by ever since â€œMeet the Beatles.â€
The list of power-pop artists that have been critically heralded is long even though few have hit the charts and become rich and famous: the Byrds (as much power pop as folk-rock and later, country); Alex Chilton and Big Star, Marshall Crenshaw, Windbreakers, Bram Tchaikovsky, the Records, Flaminâ€™ Groovies, Letâ€™s Active, Bangles, Nick Lowe, Matthew Sweet, Rubinoos, the Shoesâ€¦ the list goes on and on.
One power pop band that actually has hit songs to its credit, the
Smithereens, has gone full circle with its latest recording, â€œ
Meet the Smithereens.â€ Itâ€™s a song-by-song replica of â€œMeet the Beatles,â€ only done as the Smithereens.