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Steve Peake

This Week's Forgotten Gem of the '80s - Off Broadway - "Stay in Time"

By November 29, 2013

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offbroadway.jpgThis Thanksgiving weekend, many Americans are spending at least a few moments - between heaping mouthfuls both savory and sweet - thinking about the many aspects of living for which they are grateful. For music lovers, that list sometimes contains far more musicians who are literal strangers but virtual loved ones than the actual people who make up our extended families. Of all the '80s music that inspires appreciation in me, a great deal of it - as I've admitted often and previously in this space - falls into the general category of melodic guitar rock. There are certainly plenty of exceptions to that generality, but as people tend to reveal when they peruse and select their favorite holiday foods at mealtime, we like what we like and have a tendency to go back for more of the same.

In my case, power pop through the ages is a nearly surefire traditional favorite, guaranteed to please and satisfy. In terms of the late '70s leading into the early '80s, such music continues to be a gift that keeps on giving, as new discoveries seem to lurk in corners of pop music history that I previously imagined to be thoroughly explored. American band Off Broadway enjoyed a criminally brief period of success between 1979 and 1981, releasing two major-label studio albums before abruptly fading away. Still, that doesn't take away from the punchy, immediate appeal of "Stay in Time," a truly signature melodic rock tune that completely ignores the emerging new wave aesthetic in favor of old-fashioned directness. This song reached its modest top peak of No. 51 on the Billboard pop charts in late 1979, but Illinois-based Off Broadway's debut LP, simply titled On, continued to attract attention well into 1980. Perhaps the band's unwillingness to court the skinny-tie trend in a more commercial fashion led to its premature fizzle, because a lack of power pop-inspired, muscular delicacy is certainly not the culprit. So here's to a different kind of  holiday savoring this weekend: all of the pleasure and none of the guilt.

Album Cover Image Courtesy of Atlantic

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