Like Key’s ‘Fit Me In’ and Stories ‘About Us’, Vance Or Towers is a splendid power pop record released at a time when such things were rare.
Written by: Eric
ARTIST: Vance Or Towers
ALBUM: Vance Or Towers
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
LINEUP: Glen Vance – keyboards, vocals * Michael Towers – guitars, vocals * Dan Protheroe – bass * Jim Saad – drums
TRACK LISTING: 01 Do Whatever We Want * 02 City Boy * 03 Love Me Lady * 04 Education Blues * 05 Sunday Sky * 06 The Presence Of Her Absence * 07 It’s Up To You * 08 Over The Hills And Back * 09 Don’t It Getcha * 10 Drivin’ To Drinkin’ * 11 Scream Bloody Robbery
Never heard of these guys? Not surprising since the album didn’t sell much at the time, although if you are a horror film buff you might remember Vance Or Towers as the prom band in the movie ‘Carrie’. In the years since Vance Or Towers only album has been a favourite among power pop fans, including myself.
In fact, the record would sit comfortably in my short list of the greatest albums of all time. Yup, you read that right but just who were Glen Vance and Michael Towers? Background on these guys is tough to find, although there are numerous ‘Carrie’ fan sites that include rips of the record and information on their appearance in the film, but little else. Where they came from and where they are now is anyone’s guess?
Like Key‘s ‘Fit Me In’ and Stories ‘About Us’, this is a splendid power pop record released at a time when such things were rare. Both Big Star and The Raspberries called it quits in 1975 and the power pop explosion was still a good two to three years away so it’s not a wonder the record went unnoticed.
As many times as I have listened to this album, I have to say The Hollies were probably as big an influence as The Beatles. ‘Do Whatever We Want’ opens the album and it’s a solid rocker with an infectious hook. A great start as is the following ‘City Boy’. ‘Love Me Lady’ has a late period Beatles feel and is one of the better tracks on a record full of good stuff.
‘Education Blues’ is the song performed by Vance Or Towers in ‘Carrie’ although this version is different than that in the film. It’s a good up tempo tune and Cheap Trick fans will find much to like here. ‘Sunday Sky’ calms things down a bit dipping into Hollies territory with vocals very reminiscent of Allan Clarke. Side two’s ‘It’s Up To You’ is a sweet little number with what sound like a clarinet as the lead instrument although it’s not credited on the album sleeve.
‘Over The Hill And Back’ continues the baroque atmosphere while ‘Don’t It Getcha kicks things up a notch again pre- dating the sound Cheap Trick would capitalize on the following year. The final track ‘Scream Bloody Robbery’ was released as a single and it’s a catchy song complete with sirens and a roaring twenties flavour reminding me of under rated British popsters Paper Lace.
Vance Or Towers would release one more single in 1976 called ‘Can’t Smile Without You’ a song Barry Manilow would have a hit with in 1978, but did nothing for the duo. Shamefully, Vance Or Towers has never been released on CD although if it ever happens let’s hope the label has the smarts to include the movie version of ‘Education Blues’ and the ‘Can’t Smile Without You’ single which would make a perfect package. In the meantime, check out some of the ‘Carrie’ web sites and blogs and sample the joys of Vance Or Towers.