It’s 1981, and I’m a senior in high school. My music teacher, George Mastrangelo, would sometimes give us albums that he had acquired. And, for some reason, he gave me this one.
Now I had never heard of Tommy Hoehn, I didn’t know his music, as far as I was concerned, this probably came from a cutout bin and I would have no idea about it.
But I didn’t look a gift horse in the mouth … I took the record home and played it on my phonograph.
Chuck Miller, welcome to power pop music.
Power pop music features artfully crafted three-minute pop songs with wry lyrics and insanely addicted hooks. If you’ve ever heard the Raspberries or Badfinger – or maybe even Big Star or Shoes, you’ve heard power pop. Heck, I even did a K-Chuck Radio blog post about power pop, and most of the YouRube links to the songs still work. 😀
Tommy Hoehn was the lead singer of the Memphis power pop band the Scruffs, and although they had some regional success, they could not break through nationally. Hoehn would later record a solo song, “Blow Yourself Up,” which did actually get some minor nationwide airplay – so much so, in fact, that his regional independent label sold his contract to London Records, and the album Losing You To Sleep was crafted for national release.
This was the single that spurred the album. And the entire album was filled with the hallmarks of power pop – carefully crafted lyrics, strong jangly guitars and punchy drums, an an attitude that just snarls out the lyrics like someone who’s pissed off about a sour-twisted relationship.
Yeah. Definitely works for me.
Here’s the title track, a winding ballad that could have received airplay on any adult contemporary radio station out there, had the record company actually aimed this toward adult contemporary listeners.
And like any good Memphis power pop album, this LP contains a track written by Alex Chilton, the legendary lead singer / creator of the Box Tops and Big Star. Definitely works with Hoehn’s vocal range.
One more from this album. Here’s another love-lost pop song, “I Know I Love You Now,” that was tucked away on Side 2 of this LP. Great stuff, and you just know Michael Stipe was listening to this LP when he came up with the idea for his own group, R.E.M. You just know it.
So yes … another album goes into the coffin for my musical appreciation in the aftertimes. The album brings back lots of great memories for me – and it’s got tracks that, even after hearing them today for this blog post, I’ve now got them stuck in my head for the rest of the day.
Man, at this rate, I’d better not die any time soon – at least not until I get a bigger casket for the albums and the phonograph.