Go All The Way: Confessions Of A Power Pop Addict

“Go All The Way” was my gateway song. It made me abandon my hard-rock roots, risk everything for a life on the streets in pursuit of the ultimate power pop high.

My world was forever altered, with long, sleepless nights and sporadic, meaningless minutes with every one-hit wonder that came along.

And it’s not like I hadn’t heard that damn Eric Carmen song before. I knew the words backward and forward and upward too. It was the same song, same band, same everything.

But, on a hot August afternoon in 1995, from the scarred carcass of a beat-up boombox, it returned, brash and blaring with renewed vitality. The masterpiece sounded brand new, like something had been missing before. It was much more exciting, hypnotic. Mesmerizing.

Perhaps it was the song’s extended absence, back again, rekindling dormant memories.

Mike Douglas was on the TV in my head. The Raspberries appeared on his show once. I saw it. Skipped school. My Mom found out and I was grounded. “Truant hippy!” That was me.

Pure Pop for Now People

Like the flu, it came on like the flu, and there was nothing I could do about it. When the song said “go all the way” I thought it meant that I should start listening to more power pop rock. I was that messed up.

The soundtrack of my life went from Alice Cooper and BTO to “Ballroom Blitz” and “The Things We Do For Love”.

It went on for weeks, then months. I fell in love with The Romantics. Went on the wagon, ditched April Wine so I could Get the Knack. And then I got the knack. Fell off the wagon. “Knock, knock! The Knack is not rock!” Gettin’ high with Nick Lowe. Pure and now, people. That was me.

KISS Army and the Bad Conduct Discharge

In no time my radio presets disappeared, with pop, new wave, some so-called metal, hair bands, and Top Forty in their place. Rock music had not taken a back seat; it wasn’t even in the car. That’s not me.

Good thing I wasn’t in the KISS Army, cause if my pansy playlist were revealed I’d no longer be in the KISS Army. The hip and happening radio stations in my San Diego FMosphere were usually playing my song…

Months became years, or so it seemed. Hit tunes came and went as I floundered in a sea of sound-alike songs. Their names didn’t matter; the pleasure was sudden, intense and fleeting. Next came dimness, a cloud of despair. I found myself in dire straits, and I could not skate away. My situation required real rock radio, wattage in my cottage, some rock on my roll, all that ‘DJ talk’. I needed a long drive down Rocky Mountain Way.

Eric Carmen explained: “I remember ‘Go All The Way’ vividly. The year was 1971. I was 21. I had been studying for years. I had spent my youth with my head between two stereo speakers listening to The Byrds and The Beatles and later on The Beach Boys – just trying to figure out what combinations of things – whether it was the fourths harmonies that The Byrds were singing on ‘Mr. Tambourine Man’ – I must have worn out 10 copies of that first Byrds album listening to it over and over, and turning off the left side and turning on the right side trying to figure out why these certain combinations of instruments and echo and harmonies made that hair on your arms stand up.”

Friends noticed my new, abnormal listening activity, joking, calling me names. “Pop Rocks”. Wordplay, sarcasm, goading, the guilt card, the whole deck.

When an intervention was my only option, I thought I was ready. My mind was in the right place, ready to rock. Then I caught the distant sound of “Banditos”, from The Refreshments. All bets were off. The loaded guitar hooks and gritty vocals worked into my blood. Again I felt doomed! I would never listen to pure rock music again.

Rockin' With Dokken

Days later, my cousin grabbed an actual album and started “Snortin’ Whiskey”. Something in my brain responded, reacted. Screaming strings burned a connection in my neuro-somethings and it sounded sensational! It was my emotional rescue.

My addiction to pop rock was gone. A thing of the past. I could once again hear and feel the music that moved my eardrums like no other. I was born a rock music lover, and I had missed it.

Emerging as a whole person, I can now listen to the Cranberries or even Exile without fear of relapse. In a moment of bravado, I cued up “Life is a Rock (But the Radio Rolled Me)”. After a brief moment, I listened with no jitters, dry mouth or flashbacks. I knew that all was well again. I stopped the song before it reached the end.

This little article will return every now and then, in somewhat altered forms, and Google is sure to love my naming scheme. “Can’t Call Your Stuff A Music Collection Without…” will focus upon different albums that definitely belong in rock music collections. Great albums, yet not the ones you’d think of. Let us know which title of yours should be in our pile. Tell us about discs that you love or used to love or still have and no longer love. I’ll keep the power pop on low volume.

The Raspberries were behind the growth of power pop music since the very beginning. They have recorded music that belongs in many types of music collections. We’ve gathered a group of records that are diverse and are albums to collect. You should visit our Pinterest boards and perhaps you’ll find some of your favorite artists and albums. Have a look!

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