Thursday, February 9, 2012

45 RPM Memories: Shoes - “Tomorrow Night”

There’s been a sort of class reunion over the past few years involving bands that gave us the initial power pop movement. The Smithereens, The Bangles, and Paul Collins from The Beat have all released successful comeback albums. At some point this year, we’ll be treated to a brand new effort from Shoes, and according to reliable sources like PowerPop blog contributor Mary E. Donnelly and musician/journalist Dan Pavelich, it’s going to be impressive. In the meantime, here’s a look back at one of the Zion, Illinois band’s earliest releases.

I have a vague recollection of buying this single in a south suburban record store from a teenage clerk who seemed to regard the transaction as a gross imposition on the time he needed to spend chatting with a female co-worker. It was released on the Bomp! label in 1978, but by the time I came across it, Shoes’ Present Tense debut on Elektra had been out for a while. I already had “Tomorrow Night” on the album, so I viewed the single as more of collector’s item, particularly with that striking picture sleeve.

Actually, the 45 version, produced by the band and Steve Meyers, feels a bit more sedate than the one Mike Stone produced for Present Tense. But it’s still a classic power pop tune with a great melody, delicate harmonies, and ringing guitars. The urgent opening line, “Don’t say goodbye, ‘cause you’re the one that I need” is the Shoes approach to crafting lyrics in nutshell. Over the years, the band would continually find inventive ways to explore the subject of love. Written by band members Jeff Murphy and Gary Klebe, it remains one the group’s signature tunes and an FM radio staple.

The John Murphy-penned, catchy B-Side, “Okay,” was taken from Black Vinyl Shoes, the self-produced record that originally brought Shoes to the attention of record companies across the country.


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