The group Tower of Power has a unique sound all their own, the founder of the group describes it as "Urban Soul Music." They have been electrifying audiences for over 40 years now, and they continue to tour the world. The following is a list of my top ten favorite songs by Tower of Power, and a brief synopsis of their career.
My Top Ten Favorite Songs by Tower of Power
A Brief synopsis of the career of Tower of Power
Artist, Emilio Castillo’s first musical endeavor was as a keyboard player in a British Invasion style group, The Gotham City Crime fighters. He switched to the saxophone and formed the group “The Motowns,” after seeing the soul band, “The Spyders” in San Francisco. Upon meeting baritone sax player Stephen "Doc" Kupka, he began playing the saxophone, at Kupka’s suggestion. He also changed the band’s name from “The Motowns” to “Tower of Power” and began performing original songs.
The group released their first album, “East Bay Grease” in 1970 and followed up in 1972 with “Bump city,” which contained the singles “Down to the Nightclub" this single went to number 66 on the billboard Hot 100 list and "You're Still a Young Man," which peaked at #29 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1972. The Tower of Power album (released in the spring of 1973), was the group’s breakthrough album which included the singles “You’re Still a Young Man”( which went to number 29 on The Billboard Hot 100, and number 24 on the R&B charts); "So Very Hard To Go," ( this went to number 17 on the Hot 100 and number 11 on the R&B charts); "This Time It's Real," (hitting number 65 on the Hot 100 and number 27 on the R&B charts); and "What Is Hip?"(What is Hip went to number 91 on the Billboard Hot 100 list and number on the R&B charts). This was the most successful album for the group and it made it to number fifteen on the Billboard Pop Albums chart.
In 1974, the group released the record “Back to Oakland” which contained the singles "Don't Change Horses (in the Middle of a Stream)" (this single made it to number 26 on the Billboard 100 and number 22 on the R&B charts), and "Time Will Tell" (this reached number 69 on the Hot 100 and number 27 on the R&B charts). They also released two more albums that year, “Urban Renewal” this had more of a funk sound and was a change from the soul sounding music in their earlier releases. Sales went down and the band lost some of its popularity, and “Funkland,” which was a Compilation record of previous songs.
The group recorded and released “In The Slot,” in 1975. This release was not as successful as the “Tower of Power,” or “Back to Oakland” releases, some of the songs on this album were “Ebony Jam,” “Treat Me Like Your Man,” Drop It in the Slot,” and “Vuela Por Noche.” They had a bit more luck in 1976, with the release of their album “Ain't Nothin' Stoppin' Us Now.” This recording produced the popular single “You Ought To Be Havin' Fun,” a fun, fast paced piece that was a change from their usual funk or ballad, the song got to number 68 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 62 on the R&B charts. Other songs from the album were “Ain't Nothin' Stoppin' Us Now,” Doin' Alright,” and “It's So Nice.” They also issued a second album in 1976, “Live And In Living Color.” The group had two more recordings in the late 70s (1978 and 1979), “We Came to Play!” and “Back on the Streets,” neither had any commercial success.
Tower of Power issued a concert album of live performances in 1981 titled “Direct (Studio Live).” They didn’t record any new material until their 1986 album “Top,” which was only released in Europ. They also released a music video in 1986, “Credit.” In 1987, an American version of “Top” was released in the US, under the name “Power.”
In the 90s, the group released seven albums, “Monster on a Leash” (1991); “T.O.P.” (1993); “Souled Out” (1995); “Rhythm & Business” (1997); “Direct Plus” (1997); Soul Vaccination: Live (1999); and also released in 1999 was “Dinosaur Tracks,” which were songs recorded between the years 1980-1983.
In 2001 they released the compilation album “The Very Best of Tower of Power: The Warner Years.” Next, in 2002 came their compilation recording “Soul With a Capital "S": The Best of Tower of Power.” Three albums followed in 2003, “Oakland Zone,” “Havin' Fun,” and “What is Hip & Other Hits.” In 2006 came the record “What is Hip.” The group also released a video in 2003 titled “Tower of Power in Concert (1998, Live at Ohne Filter, after return of Garibaldi).” In 2007 they issued a DVD titled “Live from Leverkusen.”
They released their last studio album in 2009, “The Great American Soulbook” and their last two live album in 2008 and 2011, “East Bay Archive Volume 1,” and “40th Anniversary (Live).”
For over 40 years, Tower of Power has been creating their own unique sound. They have toured the world, appearing in front of sold out audiences. Their music has been described as "Urban Soul Music" by the band’s leader and founder, Emilio Castillo. The group continues to tour and in 2011 will be making stops in Chicago, Cleveland, Scottsdale, Los Angeles, and several other places in the US. In addition, the group will be performing in Paris, France; Barcelona, Spain; and Utrecht, Netherlands.
The following singles were recorded and released by Tower of Power:
Tower of Power has a rhythm section that is second to none; their music is classic soul with a mix of funk and jazz. They are truly unique.
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