Remember when R.E.M. was cool?
So cool, in fact, that when they went out of their way to drop a reference, their slavishly loyal fans immediately went and checked out that reference. It’s for this very reason that Big Star finally got its due, and why Alex Chilton has ascended to alt-rock god status.
What about the Velvet Underground?
Repeated prop-giving and the slightly countrified covers of “Pale Blue Eyes” and “Femme Fatale” on the still-underrated 1987 b-side and outtake comp “Dead Letter Office” had to have had something to do with VU’s warp-speed jump to the inner-circle of FM classic rock and induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. And did Pete Buck’s guest guitar solo on The Replacements’ “I Will Dare,” off the 1984 album “Let It Be,” have anything to do with that album getting named album of the year by music mags all over the place.
Maybe it didn’t quite have the same impact Hoboken, N.J.’s The Feelies, but like Pylon (also covered on “Dead Letter Office”), R.E.M.’s citing of their 1980 album “Crazy Rhythms” which included rad tracks like "Raised Eyebrows") as a major influence helped put them on the map, as did Buck’s signature light-touch, reverbified production of their 1986 album “The Good Earth.”
|Feelies, Pavement, MoB...these are your REO Speedwagons.|
And lookie here! The Feelies are one of those reunited alternative rock bands, a la Mission of Burma and Archers of Loaf and the SoftBoys and Pavement and Superdrag, that became modern-day REO Speedwagons and Night Rangers for fans in the 33-43 year-old range. And for that, they owe a big thank you to Berry, Buck, Mills and Stipe.
The Feelies play Union Transfer, 1024 Spring Garden St., Philadelphia, on Friday March 22. Doors open at 8 p.m., and the show starts at 8:30 p.m.