The late 1970s were the glory years of Power Pop bands from the Midwest. Rockford, Illinois' Cheap Trick, The Romantics from Detroit, and The Knack, which was led by Detroit-area native Doug Fieger, were among the most popular practitioners of the genre.
And also Shoes from Zion, Illinois.
Founded by friends John Murphy and Gary Klebe, they decided to form a band even though they couldn't play any instruments. John's brother Jeff later joined, and yes, eventually they learned how to write, perform, and record songs. Their two albums were self-produced and self-financed.
Their third album, 1979's Present Tense, included several songs that received heavy play on MTV, including this one, "Tomorrow Night."
Shoes recorded their first album before they every played in public. Understandably their early concerts were generally viewed as awful. So when it was announced that Shoes would be performing at a nightclub while I was attending college in Champaign, Illinois in 1983--it was with a lot of trepidation that I bought a ticket. Worse, I convinced a couple of my friends to do the same.
But they were good that night. Not great, but I walked out of the club happy. So did my friends.
Shoes is still around, they released their latest album, Ignition, a few months ago.
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