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365 Days of Power Pop: A Playlist (Final Edition)

Power pop has figured prominently at since it debuted in the mid-1990s.

Here’s proof: quotable moments from some of the genre’s best.

Vicki Peterson of The Bangles, when asked what was the first record she ever bought – “You won’t believe this. It was the ‘We Can Fly’ album by the Cowsills. I bought it with my allowance money. This is true; this is archived. I’ve answered this question before I was engaged to the drummer (John Cowsill).”

When Kinks guitarist Dave Davies was 15, he was tinkering with his 10-watt amplifier at his parents’ home in Muswell Hill, England – “I started to experiment with it. I was an inquisitive kid. I always wanted to know how things work, not knowing whether you’re supposed to do it or not do it. I got so fed up with this little amplifier, that I just fed it into a bigger amplifier, not knowing whether it would work.”

When he turned it on, a shock passed through his body, hurling him across his bedroom. “My mum came into the room, because all the lights had fused in the house, and she found me in a little bundle on the floor,” he said, chuckling. “Some of the best moments come out by accident, and mine was a near-death experience.”

After plugging, unplugging and switching chords, he slashed the amplifier’s speaker cone with a razor blade. He finally got what he wanted: a crackling, distorted guitar sound. A year later, Davies’ method of madness paid off, constructing the notorious, always-imitated-but-never-duplicated guitar riffs on the Kinks’ first worldwide hit, “You Really Got Me.”

Tommy Heath, aka Tommy Tutone, on the lasting popularity of “867-5309 / Jenny” – “A lot of people can tell me where they were when they heard the song, what they were doing. It nails a time and place for people.”

Matthew Sweet, trying to deflect praise from his fans and their frustrations over his lack of commercial success – “I try; I want to be good. The people I idolized are people like Brian Wilson, John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Sometimes I feel like so many people say that, god, maybe I should’ve had more radio exposure or something. It does seem strange, and sometimes I wish that I had had label situations where they had really, really gone to bat for something. It never seemed to last very long. Although I can’t really trash anyone, especially the early years of Zoo; everybody was like a family. They worked really hard for me.”

Andy Partridge, thanking loyal XTC fans for keeping the faith. He finds their devotion equally reassuring and scary – “I’m not on the Internet. A few times, people have sent me print-outs of stuff they’re talking about. Not only is most of it incredibly wrong, it’s the disinformation highway. Rumor is rife on there; it’s Chinese whispers. Not only is it wrong, it’s so congratulatory and effusive; it’s so ludicrous, I don’t believe it. They say, ‘They’re better than the Beatles’ and ‘They picked up where the Beatles left off,’ blah-blah. So, wait a minute, we’ve got some part of it that’s just plain lies, and the effusiveness can’t be true because it feels wrong to my ears. And the other part of it is criticism, which you don’t want to believe because it’s so hurtful.”

The late Jim Ellison of Material Issue – “To me, good pop is solid melody with good vocalization, not too watered down to the point where it’s sappy. Just because you play pop doesn’t mean you have to play acoustic guitars and piano. I think you can still punch a lot of rock ‘n’ roll into pop … ‘Ballroom Blitz’ is a great example. I mean, it’s a pretty heavy song but still really, really melodic.”

Todd Rundgren – “I’ve always wanted to be able to experiment with other styles, and plus my influences weren’t limited to R&B. My parents never listened to pop music. They liked show music and classical music, so there’s a lot of that in my so-called grab bag.”

Bassist John Power, on being disappointed in The La’s self-titled debut album despite global acclaim – “It’s really good that people like the music, but they don’t know the problems we’ve had with this album. We didn’t even want it coming out, because it doesn’t sound like us. We recorded it, but Steve Lillywhite mixed it up, mixed it himself. The record company released it without us even on the cover sleeve and everything. We had nothing to do with it, and I’m being polite about it.”

Drummer Bun E. Carlos, on Cheap Trick being caught off-guard with their success in Japan and the subsequent recording of “Cheap Trick At Budokan” – “At the end of two weeks, it was nice to go home and get away from it, because we couldn’t leave our rooms. We couldn’t look out the windows because the fans might back up into the street and get hit by a car. We couldn’t go anywhere, and we really didn’t know about Japan. We didn’t know about Japanese food or going to Roppongi (the nightclub district) or any of that stuff, so we sat in our rooms and ate bad room-service burgers.”

Now comes our final selections for “365 Days of Power Pop.” As you’ll see, there are 400 in total … the “bonus tracks” are there to make up for some songs that aren’t on Spotify (like the Beatles and Badfinger).

Our three two editions here: Part 1Part 2 and Part 3 (featuring Eric Carmen).

(Follow along with our Spotify playlist.)


295 Slackjawed, The Connells

296 Dream All Day, The Posies

297 Tell It to Carrie, The Romantics

298 Live, The Merry-Go-Round

299 People Got A Lotta Nerve, Neko Case

300 For Pete’s Sake, The Monkees

301 Trampoline, The Greenberry Woods

302 Cleveland Rocks, Ian Hunter

303 Mr. Tambourine Man, The Byrds

304 Ring Ring, Chris Rainbow

305 Roadrunner, Jonathan Richman

306 We Gotta Get Out of This Place, The Animals

307 Lavender, Ray LaMontagne

308 In Your Room, The Bangles

309 You Baby, The Turtles

310 My Girl (Gone, Gone, Gone), Chilliwack

311 Amity Gardens, Fountains of Wayne

312 Here She Comes, Dwight Twilley Band

313 Getting Better, The Beatles

314 January, Pilot

315 So Says I, The Shins

316 Substitute, The Who

317 Nice Day, Persephone’s Bees

318 I’d Knew I’d Want You, The Byrds

319 Sunday Girl, Blondie

320 Look Through Any Window, The Hollies

321 I’m Looking Through You, The Beatles

322 Precious to Me, Phil Seymour

323 Calling All Girls, Queen

324 Everything Works If You Let It, Cheap Trick

325 The Wall Street Shuffle, 10cc

326 Can You Dig It? The Mock Turtles

327 Do You Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah), Joan Jett & the Blackhearts

328 Hate to Say I Told You So, The Hives

329 Star, Stealers Wheel

330 Twin Steps, Woods

331 Kite, Nick Heyward

332 I Wish I Never Met You, Splitsville

333 Girls Who Don’t Exist, The Records

334 Picture Book, Young Fresh Fellows

335 You Were So Warm, Nada Surf

336 They Got Me Covered, Dirty Looks

337 867-5309 / Jenny, Tommy Tutone

338 New Little Girl, Off Broadway

339 Cynical Girl, Marshall Crenshaw

340 All the Myths on Sunday, Diesel Park West

341 Ecstasy, Raspberries

342 I’ve Been Wrong Before, The Everly Brothers

343 Just a Room, The Turtles

344 Rosalyn, The Pretty Things

345 Never Say Never, Romeo Void

346 My Mind’s Eye, Small Faces

347 Keep the Blue Skies, Cliff Hillis

348 Paint It, Black, The Rolling Stones

349 Blame It On Yourself, Ivy

350 She, The Monkees

351 Is That Love?, Squeeze

352 Rolene, Moon Martin

353 Don’t Look Back, The Remains

354 Just Like Me, Paul Revere & The Raiders

355 She Means a Lot to Me, Smyle

356 Rip in Heaven, ’til tuesday

357 My World Fell Down, Sagittarius

358 Pretty (Ugly Before), Elliott Smith

359 Surf’s Up, Brian Wilson

360 The Rain, the Park & Other Things, Cowsills

361 Mind Mischief, Tame Impala

362 Sit Down I Think I Love You, The Mojo Men

363 Lust For Life, Iggy Pop

364 Come On Down to My Boat, Every Mother’s Son

365 Change, The Lightning Seeds

366 There She Goes Again, The Velvet Underground

367 I Can’t Let Go, Linda Ronstadt

368 Here Comes My Baby, The Tremeloes

369 Can’t Let a Woman, Ambrosia

370 S.F. Sorrow Is Born, The Pretty Things

371 Come Out and Play, The Paley Brothers

372 You Oughta Know, The Pop

373 Walking Out on Love, The Breakaways

374 Tomorrow Night, Shoes

375 Jean’s Not Happening, China Syndrome

376 Same Thing, The Grays

377 Superman, Lazlo Bane

378 Five O’Clock World, The Vogues

379 Lonely You, Badfinger

380 The Waiting, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

381 My Girl, Hoodoo Gurus

382 Let’s Be Friends Again, The Toms

383 Positive Vibrations, The Soft Boys

384 Liar, Liar, The Castaways

385 How Much More, The Go-Go’s

386 Dirty Water, The Standells

387 Leave My Heart Alone, The Rubinoos

388 Night-Time, The Strangeloves

389 Fly High Michelle, Enuff Z’Nuff

390 Lies, The Knickerbockers

391 April’s Fool, The Merrymakers

392 Can’t Seem to Make You Mine, Alex Chilton

393 Closing Time, Semisonic

394 Marquee Moon, Television

395 We Are, Vertical Horizon

396 She’s Just My Baby, Artful Dodger

397 Get On, Me, The Brother Kite

398 One Way or Another, Blondie

399 The Middle, Jimmy Eat World

400 Girlfriend, Matthew Sweet

Past Editions: 365 Days of Power Pop, Part 1

365 Days of Power Pop, Part 3 / 365 Days of Power Pop, Part 4

Gerry Galipault @

Gerry Galipault debuted Pause & Play online in October 1997. Since then, it has become the definitive place for CD-release dates — with a worldwide audience.

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