This one’s a little soft for this blog, but what can I say? Great melodies and harmonies. I seem to be obsessed with early 70’s pop-rock and glam for the past year or two. Maybe as people get older, they revisit their early teenage years?
Anyhoo, Stories was a NYC band trying to continue the Beatles’ legacy. Only a few other bands were trying that at the time–The Move, Bandfinger, Big Star, sometimes Todd Rundgren–and they all were squeezed between the dominant trends of heavy blues-rock and glam. TR and the Move always kept one foot in prog and glam, which broadened their appeal. Badfinger kept things current with a heavy guitar sound. And you all know the fate of Big Star. The story of Stories is weirder: they had a #1 crossover r&b hit, a cover of Hot Chocolate’s “Brother Louie.” The huge success of a song outside of their usual genre eventually led to their demise. A tour at the height of the single’s popularity had them performing for a strange mixture of black and white fans of soul and rock, a truly odd situation for a Brit-pop band. Like their fellow pop bands of the time, they influenced the late 70’s explosion of power pop. Tommy Hoehn’s first album sounds like a lost Stories album, or Stories outtakes recorded by a less talented band. Stories’ albums, like most others, are hit and miss, containing both good songs and duds.
By they way, Stories main songwriter, founder and keyboardist, Michael Brown, had been the leader of the 60’s baroque-pop band, The Left Banke, best known for their monster hit, “Walk Away Renee” and “She May Call You Up Tonight,” later covered by the Bangles. Here’s the original, if you haven’t heard it: