Monday, October 23, 2023

RIP Dwight Twilley

I'm a huge fan of the power-pop genre. Give me Big Star, The Raspberries, The Cars, Fountains of Wayne, The Replacements, Cheap Trick, Badfinger, The Who, The Records, The Jam, and a whole slew of others to listen to just about any time night or day and I'll be happy.

One artist in the genre who mostly passed me by was Dwight Twilley, who has passed away due to injuries suffered in a car crash. 

I already had his 1984 hit "Girls," which reached #16 in the U.S., in my music library. It notably featured prominent backing vocals by labelmate Tom Petty, a long-time friend. But I had nothing else. However, this morning I woke up and listened to a great podcast I've recently discovered, Rockin' the Suburbs, which just released its latest episode, a tribute to Twilley. The show features hosts and various guests and they all got me listening to the next layer down of his catalog.

1975's "I'm on Fire" also reached #16 in the U.S. This hit was somewhat of a surprise, and, with very little promotion, the song came and went pretty quickly in the minds of radio listeners. "Why You Wanna Break My Heart" is a shoulda-been-classic 1980s ballad as well, although it did achieve some minimal fame when it was covered by Tia Carrere for the Wayne's World soundtrack. "That I Remember," "You Were So Warm," and "Three Persons" are already some other Twilley tunes that I'm coming around to and have serious Alex Chilton/Big Star vibes. Which is saying something.

Twilley, a native of Tulsa, Oklahoma, always had troubles getting his career off the ground during the major-label era. But once that ended and he was able to start releasing his huge catalog of music with more flexibility, he was able to at least get that collection out to the public. And in the future, I imagine there will be many others like me who start to discover some of Twilley's power pop. 

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