The Sunday Dozen: The Smithereens

The Smithereens: Dennis Diken, Jim Babjak, Par DiNizio, and Mike Mesaros.

Another Sunday, another peer band. The first time I heard The Smithereens was on MTV back when they played videos. It was power pop of the sort I’d always loved. It made me want to go behind the wall of sleep or some such shit.

The Reens are still soldiering on after Pat DiNizio’s death. They’re using guest vocalists of the same vintage, mostly Marshall Crenshaw. I hope they make it to New Orleans. Pat lived here for a while. We frequented the same cafe in the Quarter. I wish I had gotten to know him better. Regrets, I have a few.

More than any band I can think of The Smithereens are a brotherhood. They’re good people who make great music. It’s the band I would most like to be a member of, but Marshall Crenshaw got the gig so I’m SOL. He’s a much better singer than me so I can’t complain. I envy him for getting to hang out with Jim, Dennis, and Mike.

As always, the list is in chronological order.

Strangers When We Meet is the first track on the band’s debut album. It announced that a new power pop power was in the house.

Behind The Wall Of Sleep has some of Pat’s finest lyrics. The Jeanie Shrimpton and Bill Wyman references are to die for.

Blood and Roses is one of the band’s Who influenced tunes. Mike Mesaros’ rumbling bass is positively Ox like.

I used Only A Memory in the title of my tribute to Pat.

House We Used To Live In is a staple of the band’s live performances. It’s been extended with guitar solos and the occasional cover thrown in.

A Girl Like You is one of the rockingest songs the Jersey boys ever recorded. It features some of Jim Babjak’s finest guitar shredding. It’s become the obligatory closing number at their live performances.

Blue Period is one of Pat’s loveliest ballads. It features sweet, sweet harmonies from Belinda Carlisle.

The video for Top Of The Pops is set in Atlantic City. I’m glad to report there are no Trump sightings.

Too Much Passion is a blast of Philadelphia soul, Jersey style. It’s more than enough.

War For My Mind is the opening track on A Date With The Smithereens. I’ve seen them pair it with Only A Memory as a set opening medley unless my memory fails me because of the war for my mind…

She’s Got A Way is a song Pat wrote about and for his daughter Liza.

Sorry was the band’s final single. I’m sorry to say it didn’t chart.

I’ve used four Smithereens tunes as Saturday Odds & Sods theme songs. I may be a dubious honor but it’s all I’ve got to bestow.

Finally, here’s some bobble-head lagniappe: