Thursday, February 26, 2015

"Rock This Town" by Stray Cats

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  1179
Date:  09/18/1982
Debut:  80
Peak:  9
Weeks:  21
Genre:  Rockabilly

Pop Bits:  Although this Long Island trio were rockin' clubs in NYC, they took off for the UK where a 50s revival (including styles and music) was taking off. Eventually they met revival rock fan Dave Edmunds, who had his own chart entries with "Almost Saturday Night" (solo, #54) and "Teacher Teacher" (with Rockpile, #51), and he offered to work with the trio. They signed with Arista and issued a self-titled debut in the UK in 1981. Two singles from the album hit the Top 10 while another reached #11. This helped the album get to #6. The band issued a quick follow-up album, "Gonna Ball," later in the year, but it was not as successful. However, Arista thought it was enough to try and break the group in the US, so they took six track from their debut, five from "Gonna Ball," and an unreleased track to assemble their US debut LP "Built for Speed."  This first single was issued and it slowly caught on eventually reaching #9 (it earlier hit #9 as their second single in the UK). The album became a smash hitting #2. The success would garner them a Grammy nod for Best New Artist.

ReduxReview:  It's funny looking back on what music I loved and what music I hated. I absolutely hated this song. I wasn't a fan of early rock/rockabilly and this loud revival tune really hit me wrong. And I hated everything about the band - the music, the look, the videos, etc. I wanted no part of it. Of course, as time goes by tastes change and as I got more familiar with the genre, I began to appreciate the sound. Although it is still not one of my favorite genres, I definitely don't hate it any longer. So now I can hear this song with different ears and appreciate it much more. Plus, Brian Setzer is just a fantastic musician.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  The Cats' lead singer, guitarist, and songwriter, Brian Setzer, was in an earlier rockabilly band called The Tomcats, which also featured his brother Gary. Their breakup lead to Brian forming the Stray Cats. Although The Tomcats had no official studio releases, a live performance of the group from 1980 was recorded and eventually released in 1997 as "High School Confidential" by Brian Setzer & The Tomcats


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