Producers: Greg Shaw; Craig Leon
Blink, and you would have missed them.
Formed in 1973, The Poppees never received national attention, never received proper compositional recognition, and never received a contract with a major record label. They did, however, produce two singles for Bomp! Records that makes one wonder ‘what might have been’ had things been a little different.
As New York City contemporaries of the Ramones, Blondie, The Heartbreakers, and Television, The Poppees wore Beatle influences very much on their sleeves as they became the pioneers of power pop during the tumultuous emergence of punk. However, there is a resistance to slag off The Poppees as merely another 1970s “Beatles wannabe” group if you take into account that rhythm guitarist Bob Waxman and bassist Paddy Lorenzo wrote some damn nice songs – one of which being worthy enough to be included on the Ramones’ album, Subterranean Jungle.
“If She Cries” begins with a gentle, E minor chord, betraying the pop fury to come a second later. Filled with 1960s harmonies, the song bounces back and forth with chord progressions fast enough to rival the Easybeats’ “Friday On My Mind.” Executed flawlessly (with the noticeable exception of the instruments playing a B major chord at the same time the vocal harmonies sing a B minor), this tune, recorded in the mid-70s, sounds as if it could’ve been recorded ten years earlier or forty years later. It’s a timeless little tune that neither preaches nor apologizes.
On the flipside, we hear a cover of a Lennon and McCartney composition (originally given to Cilla Black) called, “Love Of The Loved.” Acoustically driven and just as buoyant as “If She Cries,” “Love Of The Loved” innocently rejoices in just how romantic love can, or at least, should be.
One follow-up single later, and it was all over by the fall of 1976 with the band members forming or joining such bands as The Boyfriends, Sorrows, and Wayne (Jane) County’s band.
These long sought after 45s are now available on CD with the release of Pop Goes The Poppees, released by Bomp! in 2010. I suggest you snatch up this compilation as quickly as you can, for like The Poppees themselves, the songs might be here today and gone tomorrow.