10 Songs, 35 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

It’s one of music's great mysteries that Off Broadway’s first single (1979’s “Stay in Time”) didn’t rule the pop charts. The tune, off the band’s Atlantic Records debut, would’ve sounded perfect alongside The Knack’s “Good Girls Don’t” on any pop radio format. And kinky-haired singer Cliff Johnson looked like Roger Daltry’s kid bro but was blessed with a poppy tenor that recalled John Wicks from The Records. So Chicago’s Off Broadway should’ve been huge. Songs shore up their Move-Beatles-Raspberries influences and often chew up Cheap Trick–styled power bubblegum (“Full Moon Turn My Head Around,” “Drop Me a Line”) or motor along like The Cars (“New Little Girl,” “Bad Indication”). Chicago was known for producing great power pop bands in the late '70s (see The Shoes, Pezband, Material Issue, Enough Z’Nuff), even if most floundered in the shadow of Cheap Trick (from neighboring Rockford, Ill.). So it’s no wonder this album sold a few hundred thousand copies in the Chicago area alone. But an album like this shouldn’t been lost to anyone’s shadow, because every song could’ve been a single.

EDITORS’ NOTES

It’s one of music's great mysteries that Off Broadway’s first single (1979’s “Stay in Time”) didn’t rule the pop charts. The tune, off the band’s Atlantic Records debut, would’ve sounded perfect alongside The Knack’s “Good Girls Don’t” on any pop radio format. And kinky-haired singer Cliff Johnson looked like Roger Daltry’s kid bro but was blessed with a poppy tenor that recalled John Wicks from The Records. So Chicago’s Off Broadway should’ve been huge. Songs shore up their Move-Beatles-Raspberries influences and often chew up Cheap Trick–styled power bubblegum (“Full Moon Turn My Head Around,” “Drop Me a Line”) or motor along like The Cars (“New Little Girl,” “Bad Indication”). Chicago was known for producing great power pop bands in the late '70s (see The Shoes, Pezband, Material Issue, Enough Z’Nuff), even if most floundered in the shadow of Cheap Trick (from neighboring Rockford, Ill.). So it’s no wonder this album sold a few hundred thousand copies in the Chicago area alone. But an album like this shouldn’t been lost to anyone’s shadow, because every song could’ve been a single.

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