What is Hip?
A key song from the bands seminal eponymous 1973 release, “What is Hip?” brought the funk like never before. The debut of lead singer Lenny Williams coupled with the tight horn and rhythm sections gave the band their first gold record, and kicked off a string of classic albums. The video clip below is from the bands recent NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert. It features their current lead vocalist Marcus Scott.
So Very Hard to Go
The band’s top performing single “So Very Hard to Go” reached No. 17 on the Billboard Hot 100 during the Summer of 1973. Written by two of the band’s founding members Emilio Castillo and Stephen Kupka, So Very Hard to Go is a classic soul ballad like only Tower of Power can provide. Emilio Castillo spoke of the song, "We wrote it in one sitting and as soon as we were done writing it I knew it was going to be a hit. I actually called my manager and I said, 'We wrote a hit.' He said, 'Yeah, sure.' I go, 'No, I'm serious. We wrote a hit.' I played it for him over the phone and he heard a verse and the chorus and he goes, 'Damn, I think you're right.'
Don’t Change Horses (in the Middle of a Stream)
“Don’t Change Horses (in the Middle of a Stream)” was a powerhouse cut from the Back to Oakland album, and their second highest charting single to date. The second record with singer Lenny Williams, Back to Oakland found the band reaffirming their status and settling in to their now distinctive style of Ease Bay Grease. Although it wasn’t quite as commercially successful as its predecessor, it is considered by many to be a more solid and cohesive album.
You’re Still a Young Man
Recorded in Memphis, “You’re Still a Young Man” was the band’s first hit song, and the first track written by the songwriting team of Emilio Castillo and Stephen “Doc” Kupka. Based on a true story, Castillo speaks of the song’s origin, “I had a girlfriend that was six years older than me. I was 18, she was 24 and that's actually what happened. She had kind of cut me loose because of the age difference thing and the whole plea in the story is the young guy's saying, 'I'm not too young, I'm not wasting my time and I do love you like a man can truly love a woman.'
You Ought to be Havin’ Fun
Released after vocalist Lenny Williams’ departure from the band, “You Ought to be Having fun” features Edward McGee giving an energetic vocal performance. A breezy tune with a solid groove, this would be the start of Tower of Power’s foray into disco during the latter half of the 70s. Note some impressive dance moves by a young Lenny Pickett in the video below…
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Box Office Business Hours
Monday – Friday, 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Tickets may be purchased in-person at the Info & Tickets desk in the lobby of the SSU Student Center, Monday through Friday from 10 am until 6 pm.
The Green Music Center Box Office located in the courtyard of Weill Hall is open one hour prior to most performances.