Missed Masterpieces: Marshall Crenshaw | Buzz Blog

Missed Masterpieces: Marshall Crenshaw

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May, 1969: I’m 8 years old and we’re playing Red Rover. “Red Rover, Red Rover, send Joni on over.”---

I was holding the hand of the girl every third-grade boy was in love with, even though we all had FBI written on the inside of our belts (it stood for Flea Bag Insurance, to prevent us from getting girl’s fleas.)

The girl looked over at who was holding her hand, saw me, and then screamed, pulling her hand away. I was crushed.

In fourth grade, the next year, I discovered I was naturally good at sports, and my popularity got a big jolt. Field Day at Twin Peaks Elementary was the second-to-the-last day of school. We would play games, see a movie, buy treats, and other fun. It was always my favorite school day of every year.

July, 1999: It's Alumni Only Night at my 20th high school reunion and our Park City venue is closing down, so we took the party to a bar down the street. My quarterback (during six years of the '70s) is in the women’s restroom, banging (not very quietly) one of the better preserved girls from our class.

I was on my 15th drink when Red Rover girl walked in the bar. It was hard to recognize her w/ all her plastic surgery. After she sat down, I said, “You know, I had the biggest crush on you in grade school.” She said, “Oh, really?” And I responded with, ”Yeah, and you treated me like shit!”

When I listen to Marshall Crenshaw’s Field Day, I always think of those two incidents.

Crenshaw, like Cheap Trick, is a power-pop legend, even if he didn’t sell very many albums. His backing band, which consisted of his brother and cousin (or childhood friend) on the early albums, played upbeat, melodic and well-crafted pop music, with no waste or filler.

Self-titled ('82), Good Evening ('89), and #447 (99) are all good albums. But Crenshaw’s masterpiece is Field Day ('83). All of the above albums have good songs on them. The thing that separates Field Day from any other Crenshaw album is Steve Lillywhite’s production. It makes the songs boom, like a shotgun being fired in a sewer pipe.

If you’re a power-pop fan at all, buy at least two Marshall Crenshaw albums: Field Day and something else.

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