The Ledge #543: Power Pop, Pt. 1 (The Past)

On a fairly regular basis I’m asked what type of music I most enjoy. It’s a pretty tough question to answer, to be honest. The standard answer I hear in return is “I love all kinds of music”, which to me is code for “I only like what’s popular”. Sorry, but having a playlist on Spotify that includes both Drake, Meghan Trainor, and Luke Bryan isn’t the proof of versatility most of these poeple believe it is.

So what is the genre or sub-genre that is closest to my heart? “Punk” is a little too confining, and honestly there is a lot of shitty music under that moniker. “Alternative” doesn’t mean the same today as it did 30 years ago since maintstream rock radio has co-opted it. “Garage rock” is indeed getting closer but still doesn’t feel right.

I think deep in my heart the term power pop, or at least my version of the term, best describes my music taste. I was, after all, born the day The Beatles recorded their first single, and the first two rock and roll albums I owned just out of my toddler phase was the first Monkees record and the A Hard Day’s Night soundtrack. 

My teen years coincided with the rise of punk rock, and the initial blast of punk was primarily sped up power pop. Catchy tunes played fast, and that is where my description of power pop may be a little bit different from what others consider power pop. There’s a lot of bands in this genre that, honestly, sound a little too wimpy for me. I emphasize the “power” portion of the term.

Tonight’s show is not only a remembrance of bands and records from that time, but is also a reaction to reading a couple of great books that I recently acquired. Go All The Way: A Literary Appreciation of Power Pop and Go Further: More Literary Appreciations of Power Pop are collections of essays on the genre compiled by Paul Myers and S.W. Lauden. This led me to dig through my iTunes archives to reacquaint myself with some long lost fave, and also asked for some suggestions on Facebook.

This show is part one of a two part series. Here’s almost 2 1/2 hours of my favorites from the past. Next week will be a show devoted to current (or somewhat current) bands continuing to carry the torch for guitar-driven pop songs. Do you have some favorite current power pop bands or songs? Please let me know!!!

I would love it if every listener bought at least one record I played on either of these shows. These great artists deserve to be compensated for their hard work, and every purchase surely helps not only pay their bills but fund their next set of wonderful songs. And if you buy these records directly from the artist or label, please let them know you heard these tunes on The Ledge! Let them know who is giving them promotion!

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3 Responses to The Ledge #543: Power Pop, Pt. 1 (The Past)

  1. Ledge-
    Thanks s for the Power Pop Show! Listened to it while I worked outside doing house related stuff. Thanks also for the turn on to the Paul Collins compilation. That one slipped by me. Also, that was a different mix of Starry Eyes which I liked much better than the radio version. I have been a Tommy Keene fan since day one. I have seen him a dozen times. he actually called me on stage to play drums on Little Child in the early 90’s at bar up in Milwaukee. I would like to get an email to send you some tunes from my bands. I have also attached a podcast that I did on the same genre.
    Looking forward to part 2.


  2. Ledge
    Thanks for the power pop show. I listened while outside doing house stuff. Thanks also for the turn on to the Paul Collins compilation. Not sure how that one got by me. I also liked the Starry Eyes mix. Better than the radio mix. I am also a huge Tommy Keene fan having seen him a dozen times. Interesting that you did the power pop podcast around the 5 year
    anniversary of his death Nov. 23. Tommy actually called me on stage to play drums on a few tunes in the early 90’s at a bar in Milwaukee. If I could get an email address I would like to send you some links to music of bands I play/played in.
    I have also attached a podcast link to a podcast that I did promoting one of our new songs.
    Power pop and I think you may dig some of the tunes I selected. Many deep cuts actually more on the obscure side!

    Thanks and looking forward to part 2!


    • Thanks, Dave, for the comment! I’m so happy you enjoyed the episode. That’s so cool that you got to play with Mr. Keene. I was lucky enough to be writing for a local indie paper when he played in Sioux Falls in the early 90 so I got to actaully interview him. I believe it was fate that led me to do a power pop show this past week as I didn’t realize until after the fact that it was Keene’s anniversary.

      Anyway, yes, please send me some tunes to check out. My email is and thanks again for listening!