Dec 2010 / THE POPPEES

For Lucky 13 among these monthly entries, I am going back to 1970's power pop, mainly because I am really enjoying Pop Goes the Anthology (which came out earlier this year), a retrospective album for one of the pioneering power pop bands, THE POPPEES. Bandleader, rhythm guitarist and sometime drummer Bob Waxman and bass player Paddy Lorenzo first began putzing around New York as part of a cover band in 1972 until they started writing songs together. They ran an ad in theVillage Voice and found lead guitarist Arthur Alexander that way; once Donny Jackrel was brought in, who had been the drummer in their earlier cover band, the Poppees were born.
After a few false starts, they were signed by Greg Shaw as the first new band for Bomp! Records ' Bomp is still going strong, issuing the Poppees anthology album this year among other great records, and has several allied labels, such as AIP, Alive, Total Energy, etc. The comprehensive website Allmusic (specifically, Mark Deming) says of the Poppees: '[T]hey lasted just long enough to provide a link from the first stirrings of the power pop movement to the dawn of New York's New Wave scene.' Greg Shaw himself has said: 'In its usual fashion, history has over-simplified what happened in New York; the Poppees are a reminder that it wasn't all ‘blank generation' posing'. (Blank Generation is the title of the first album by Richard Hell and the Voidoids).
But you won't be thinking about any of that when you hear the Poppees; what will be going through your mind is 'Beatles!' In his liner notes for the anthology album, Arthur Alexander recalls that the Village Voice ad that brought him to the band mentioned 'must be into the Beatles' ' and were they ever! You might miss the connection on individual songs buried on a compilation CD as I did; but put two or three songs together, and there is no doubt that this band loved the Beatles as much as anyone ever has. And not just any Beatles: 'I Want to Hold Your Hand'-era Beatles.
Back in 1973, that was about as unfashionable as it got; but the world would soon catch up with them, and the Poppees found themselves right in the thick of one of the most exciting music scenes in rock history, playing clubs throughout the City, including CBGB, the epicenter of New York's punk/new wave scene. At the weeklong Easter Rock Festival in April 1976 at the equally storied Max's Kansas City ' with a line-up that makes me salivate just looking it over ' the Poppees opened for Blondie and Ramones on Easter Sunday.
Bomp! Records released a single for the band in March 1975 (just the third single for Bomp), 'If She Cries' b/w 'Love of the Loved'. The young producer for the 45, Craig Leon, who also played piano on the 'B' side, was the producer for the seminal first album by Ramones the following year. Their second single for Bomp later in 1975 ' 'Jealousy' b/w 'She's Got It' ' was produced by Cyril Jordan of the Flamin' Groovies; the first 45 on Bomp was by this band and was released in December 1974. Though the Poppees mention 'our forthcoming album' during the live tracks on the anthology album, that would have to wait until this year it seems.
Though I have had fun trying to pick up which Beatles song is echoing through the tracks on the album, the Poppees are not Beatles imitators or a cover band. Mostly they play their own material; in fact, the closest they ever came to covering a Beatles song is when they recorded 'Love of the Loved', an obscure Lennon/McCartney song that the Beatles never recorded. (Actually, it turns out that this song was included among the 15 songs on their famed Decca Records audition tape; Pete Best was still drumming then, so it wasn't really the Beatles that we all know at that point). Instead, they passed it along to Cilla Black, a protegÁ© of their manager Brian Epstein who had been a coat-check girl at the legendary Cavern Club, where the Beatles were honing their skills in 1961. Though virtually unknown on these shores, Cilla Black was the only important female artist to emerge from the British Invasion ' and the second-biggest-selling recording artist out of Liverpool (after you know who) ' and has been a beloved entertainer in England for decades. While 'Love of the Loved' wasn't a big hit, her version of 'Anyone Who Had a Heart', which came out in January 1964, eclipsed the original by Dionne Warwick and became the biggest selling record in Britain by any female artist in history: Cilla Black sold 800,000 copies of the single in England and another 1,000,000 worldwide.
'Sad Sad Love' is one of those achingly emotional songs at which John Lennon excelled; two versions of this song are included, and the spare demo version that closes Side 1 of Pop Goes the Anthology might be even better than the studio version. 'Since I Fell for You' sounds like a lost Beatles track and is one of the 'obscure R&B tunes the Fabs would surely have envied' (as Greg Shaw put it). But the Poppees really hit the mark with their hot fast songs; 'She's So Bad' (recorded live at CBGB) and 'She's Got It' (the 'B' side of their second single) recall the fury of the Beatles' 'Twist and Shout' (their biggest cover song; the original was by the Isley Brothers). They also turn in a wonderful live version on Side 2 of the instrumental hit from ages ago, 'Apache'.
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The Honor Roll of the Under Appreciated Rock Bands and Artists follows, in date order, including a link to the original Facebook posts and the theme of the article.
Dec 2009 ' BEAST; Lot to Learn
Jan 2010 ' WENDY WALDMAN; Los Angeles Singer-Songwriters
Feb 2010 ' CYRUS ERIE; Cleveland
Mar 2010 ' BANG; Record Collecting I
Apr 2010 ' THE BREAKAWAYS; Power Pop
May 2010 ' THE NOT QUITE; Katrina Clean-Up
Jun 2010 ' WATERLILLIES; Electronica
Jul 2010 ' THE EYES; Los Angeles Punk Rock
Aug 2010 ' QUEEN ANNE'S LACE; Psychedelic Pop
Sep 2010 ' THE STILLROVEN; Minnesota
Oct 2010 ' THE PILTDOWN MEN; Record Collecting II
Nov 2010 ' SLOVENLY; Slovenly Peter
Dec 2010 ' THE POPPEES; New York Punk/New Wave
Jan 2011 ' HACIENDA; Latinos in Rock
Feb 2011 ' THE WANDERERS; Punk Rock (1970's/1980's)
Mar 2011 ' INDEX; Psychedelic Rock (1960's)
Apr 2011 ' BOHEMIAN VENDETTA; Punk Rock (1960's)
May 2011 ' THE LONESOME DRIFTER; Rockabilly
Jun 2011 ' THE UNKNOWNS; Disabled Musicians
Jul 2011 ' THE RIP CHORDS; Surf Rock I
Aug 2011 ' ANDY COLQUHOUN; Side Men
Sep 2011 ' ULTRA; Texas
Oct 2011 ' JIM SULLIVAN; Mystery
Nov 2011 ' THE UGLY; Punk Rock (1970's)
Dec 2011 ' THE MAGICIANS; Garage Rock (1960's)
Jan 2012 ' RON FRANKLIN; Why Celebrate Under Appreciated?
Feb 2012 ' JA JA JA; German New Wave
Mar 2012 ' STRATAVARIOUS; Disco Music
Apr 2012 ' LINDA PIERRE KING; Record Collecting III
May 2012 ' TINA AND THE TOTAL BABES; One Hit Wonders
Jun 2012 ' WILD BLUE; Band Names I
Jul 2012 ' DEAD HIPPIE; Band Names II
Aug 2012 ' PHIL AND THE FRANTICS; Wikipedia I
Sep 2012 ' CODE BLUE; Hidden History
Oct 2012 ' TRILLION; Wikipedia II
Nov 2012 ' THOMAS ANDERSON; Martin Winfree's Record Buying Guide
Dec 2012 ' THE INVISIBLE EYES; Record Collecting IV
Jan 2013 ' THE SKYWALKERS; Garage Rock Revival
Mar 2013 ' THE GILES BROTHERS; Novelty Songs
Apr 2013 ' LES SINNERS; Universal Language
May 2013 ' HOLLIS BROWN; Greg Shaw / Bob Dylan
Jun 2013 (I) ' FUR (Part One); What Might Have Been I
Jun 2013 (II) ' FUR (Part Two); What Might Have Been II
Jul 2013 ' THE KLUBS; Record Collecting V
Aug 2013 ' SILVERBIRD; Native Americans in Rock
Sep 2013 ' BLAIR 1523; Wikipedia III
Oct 2013 ' MUSIC EMPORIUM; Women in Rock I
Nov 2013 ' CHIMERA; Women in Rock II
Dec 2013 ' LES HELL ON HEELS; Women in Rock III
Jan 2014 ' BOYSKOUT; (Lesbian) Women in Rock IV
Feb 2014 ' LIQUID FAERIES; Women in Rock V
Mar 2014 (I) ' THE SONS OF FRED (Part 1); Tribute to Mick Farren
Mar 2014 (II) ' THE SONS OF FRED (Part 2); Tribute to Mick Farren
Apr 2014 ' HOMER; Creating New Bands out of Old Ones
May 2014 ' THE SOUL AGENTS; The Cream Family Tree
Jun 2014 ' THE RICHMOND SLUTS and BIG MIDNIGHT; Band Names (Changes) III
Jul 2014 ' MIKKI; Rock and Religion I (Early CCM Music)
Aug 2014 ' THE HOLY GHOST RECEPTION COMMITTEE #9; Rock and Religion II (Bob Dylan)
Sep 2014 ' NICK FREUND; Rock and Religion III (The Beatles)
Oct 2014 ' MOTOCHRIST; Rock and Religion IV
Nov 2014 ' WENDY BAGWELL AND THE SUNLITERS; Rock and Religion V
Dec 2014 ' THE SILENCERS; Surf Rock II
Jan 2015 (I) ' THE CRAWDADDYS (Part 1); Tribute to Kim Fowley
Jan 2015 (II) ' THE CRAWDADDYS (Part 2); Tribute to Kim Fowley
Feb 2015 ' BRIAN OLIVE; Songwriting I (Country Music)
Mar 2015 ' PHIL GAMMAGE; Songwriting II (Woody Guthrie/Bob Dylan)
Apr 2015 (I) ' BLACK RUSSIAN (Part 1); Songwriting III (Partnerships)
Apr 2015 (II) ' BLACK RUSSIAN (Part 2); Songwriting III (Partnerships)
May 2015 ' MAL RYDER and THE PRIMITIVES; Songwriting IV (Rolling Stones)
Jun 2015 ' HAYMARKET SQUARE; Songwriting V (Beatles)
Jul 2015 ' THE HUMAN ZOO; Songwriting VI (Psychedelic Rock)
Aug 2015 ' CRYSTAL MANSION; Martin Winfree's Record Cleaning Guide
Dec 2015 ' AMANDA JONES; So Many Rock Bands
Mar 2016 ' THE LOVEMASTERS; Fun Rock Music
Jun 2016 ' THE GYNECOLOGISTS; Offensive Rock Music Lyrics
Sep 2016 ' LIGHTNING STRIKE; Rap and Hip Hop
Dec 2016 ' THE IGUANAS; Iggy and the Stooges; Proto-Punk Rock
Mar 2017 ' THE LAZY COWGIRLS; Iggy and the Stooges; First Wave Punk Rock
Jun 2017 ' THE LOONS; Punk Revival and Other New Bands
Sep 2017 ' THE TELL-TALE HEARTS; Bootleg Albums
Dec 2017 ' SS-20; The Iguana Chronicles
(Year 10 Review)

Last edited: April 7, 2021