Published on October 13th, 2012 | by Alan Cross1
The History of Power Pop’s Early Days
If you’re into contemporary bands like OK Go, Sloan, Fountains of Wayne and Jimmy Eat World, then you might be interested in digging into the history of power-pop. The AV Club offers this primer of the genre’s biggest years, which stretched from 1972 to about 1986.
The hooky yet hard-edged, guitar-driven musical style known as power pop didn’t generate spontaneously. There were threads and uprisings—disconnected sounds that later combined into something like a movement—as early as the late ’60s, when some young rock-‘n’-roll fans were already starting to rebel against rock’s increasing pretensions and ponderousness.
The impulse that led to power pop was already alive in the network of collectors of obscure ’60s garage-rock singles, and in the creators of the disreputable pop hits classified as “bubblegum.” Some key songs by Badfinger and The Move were power pop before the genre really existed, and once the sound became more viable and widely imitated, it was easier to trace the roots of the genre back to rockabilly, doo-wop, girl groups, and the early records of The Beatles, The Byrds, The Beach Boys, The Kinks, and The Who.
Power pop evolved throughout the ’70s and early ’80s, running parallel and sometimes absorbing other trends like glam rock, pub rock, punk, new wave, college rock, and neo-psychedelia.