lit80s

Remember when power-pop singles could actually be hit singles?

Ah, them’s was the days. The Romantics, Cheap Trick, the Raspberries, the Dwight Twilley Band …

Oh, about the Dwight Twilley Band — while Dwight got the marquee and the glory, bassist and drummer Phil Seymour sang along and just so happened to cowrite a good number of the band’s output, including their big single, “I’m on Fire.” So when the Twilley Band petered out, Seymour gathered enough material to snag his own label deal, this time with his name out front.

His debut, Phil Seymour, is a power-pop classic that scored a decent hit when the genre could still get on Top 40 radio. “Precious to Me” is one of those tunes for which everyone gives you a blank stare when you mention it, but once they hear it, they always say, “Omigod! I remember that song! I haven’t heard it in years!” Don’t believe me? Watch below:

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“Precious to Me” did fairly well, peaking at #22 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1981. A follow-up album, simply called Phil Seymour 2, was rushed out the following year, and compared to the debut, it’s a bit of a mess. Stuffed to the gills with covers, drug and alcohol problems hung like dark clouds over the project, resulting in a less than stellar effort. Still, the lead single, “Talk to Me” (download), is a decent choice, although its rockier slant may have scared off any new fans Seymour’s previous ballad hit may have earned.

“Talk to Me” flopped, as did Phil Seymour 2, and not long after that even Seymour’s record label, Boardwalk Records, went under. He gigged around with the Textones and other studio projects before discovering he had lymphoma. He died in 1993 at the age of 41.

Since then, Capitol Records has released an anthology of some tracks from Seymour’s debut along with later demos and recordings, but it’s currently out of print. The debut, however, is now on CD in full, thanks to Collector’s Choice, but none of the tracks from Phil Seymour 2 have yet to make it to any digital format. While it wasn’t his best effort, it’d still be nice to get a few tracks from that album on CD someday. Until then, it’s worth scouring the vinyl bins for a nice used copy you can digitize on some snowy day.

“Talk to Me” did not chart.

Get Phil Seymour music at Amazon.