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Philadelphia's local music scene was hot in the 80's, with a lot of the action taking place on South Street. Remember JC Dobbs, Grendel's Lair, Bigelows, Ripley's Music Hall? Also around town was the Chestnut Cabaret in University City, Philly's in Old City, and up in the North East there was the Empire Rock Room. As a musician that played with bands during that era I still have fond memories of the musical community that existed then. On any given night musicians would fill in for each other in various bands. Some played with 3 or 4 different bands. Bands would open for someone one night and headline the next. Philly at the time had many places to play and if you were any good you were playing in all of them--every night.

Let's see there was...Robert Hazard, The Hooters, Alan Mann Band, Tommy Conwell, The A's, Kenn Kweeder with his many bands, The Vels, The Numbers, John Cadillac, The Schoolboys, just to name a few. Although some have passed on and many bands faded away with time, some of their music endures. The Hooters still have a strong following in Germany of all places. Hazard, though he passed, still gets airplay on many stations. Tommy Conwell is active, and Alan Mann's "Christmas on the Block," which I performed many times with him, is one of WMMR's favorite Christmas songs.  That video, which was one of the first that MTV played from an independent band, is on U Tube.  It was filmed in Upper Darby.

 

Anyway it was a great musical era for local rock and pop music in Philly.  That is not to say that the 50’s -70s’ were not great as well, because Philly was a center for music recording with Cameo Parkway and Philadelphia International.  The artists of those iconic record companies still survive to some degree, and their recorded catalog is part of music and popular culture.

 

Do you have a favorite Philly band from the 80’s?  Were you there on South Street to hear George Thorogood rock JC Dobbs? Do you remember “Escalator of Life”?  “Christmas on the Block”?  “All you Zombies”? 

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Closest thing I have to that is I knew a guy - Jeff Slott (not sure of last name) he was the Bass player for The Bolivians.  I worked with him around 1980 in Center City.  I think they used to play at Grendel's Lair...not positive of that either.  But They cut a 45  Spy In The House Of Love which supposedly was one of their more popular tunes..  I also had a friend who's father played at Adel's Mill on the Del State Line a lot - I think the band was Corn Silk.. That was around the same time.. I helped set their instruments up a couple of times when my friend asked me to help him....  Tanks for rekindling some of those great memories :) :)

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