Some call it Power Pop, others call it melodic rock – either way, Dwight Twilley has been crafting like-minded tunes for over 40 years now. His first hit was the Top 20 smash “I’m On Fire” in 1975. Then, he was back in the Top 20 with “Girls” in 1984. Twilley had a knack for writing radio-ready songs and probably should’ve been a much bigger star, had it not been for record label blundering. Either way, he’s never stopped and is back with a brand new record called “Always.”
Hailing from Tulsa, Oklahoma, Dwight Twilley teamed with Phil Seymour in the Dwight Twilley Band, hitting gold with their very first single, 1975’s “I’m On Fire” – lauded by the San Francisco Chronicle as “The best debut single by an American rock band ever.” But, a combination of dumb label decisions and bad luck prevented the band’s career from properly taking off.
That didn’t stop Twilley – he’s into his fifth decade of making melodic rock n’ roll – and he’s just released a brand new record called Soundtrack. Inspired by a movie that’s currently in production about his life, Twilley turned inward to write 12 new songs about his long journey and ups & downs in the music business. Icon Fetch talks with the “father of power pop” about his band’s experience playing on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand, the personal nature of these new songs, and the passing of longtime friend and guitarist Bill Pitcock,IV.
Thursday night marked the 30th anniversary of John Lennon’s death. We pay tribute to one of the most influential musicians in the history of music through a special 2-hour edition of Icon Fetch. The show will feature live calls from listeners and recorded interviews with a wide array of musicians who were affected by Lennon’s talent. Among the guests are May Pang, who was Lennon’s girlfriend during the year and a half “Lost Weekend;” Delbert McClinton, who taught Lennon how to play the harmonica in the early days of the Beatles; and Tommy James, Gary Wright and Wally Bryson of the Raspberries, who all had a chance to meet Lennon during his lifetime.
Other artists include Grammy winners Shelby Lynne and David Lanz; rockers Dwight Twilley and Donnie Iris; melodic songwriters Marshall Crenshaw and Jason Falkner; and underground veterans Peter Case and Steve Wynn. Several authors who have written recent books about the singer, including Robert Rodriguez, Ken Sharp and Keith Elliot Greenberg, will also weigh in with their thoughts.
Dwight Twilley is best known for a pair of #16 hits: “I’m On Fire,” from 1975, and “Girls,” from 1984, but he’s been making songs with catchy hooks his entire career. He’s set to release a brand new disc called “Green Blimp.” Icon Fetch talks with the power pop master about his notorious struggles with record companies, and how, with the support of his devoted fans, he’s been able to finance his latest project on his own. Click below for the Dwight Twilley interview.
Dwight Twilley – Green Blimp (Big Oak Records) – CD review –
Melodic songwriter Dwight Twilley has returned with Green Blimp, his first album of new material in five years. In the meantime, he’s been busy cleaning out his archives; he’s recorded a ton of material that has gotten little if any official release.
He also recently put together a Beatles tribute, so it’s not surprising that Green Blimp has some Fab Four influence as well, especially on the Sgt. Pepper era “Me and Melanie.” The title cut, with it’s psychedelic marching beat and lyrics about isolating yourself from the outside world, sounds like Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd. But, there’s plenty of rockers too, as in the exceptional “Stop,” where the instruments drop out with an accented guitar; it’s vintage Twilley and one of the albums finest moments.
“Ten Times” has a jangly, Byrds feel, while “You Were Always There” contains a minor chord chorus, another Twilley trademark. The album features some guest appearances by Bill Pitcock, who played lead guitar in the 1970’s version of the Dwight Twilley Band, as well as Rocky Burnette & Susan Cowsill, who help out on background vocals. Twilley shows that he hasn’t lost his ability to write melodic hooks. A quite satisfying release. –Tony Peters