I’ve got a younger buddy that always tips me off to cool, older stuff in the power pop vein. Much of it becomes permanent listening for me– so when he recommends, I listen.
I was really digging the song “Hanging on the Telephone” (probably listening to it for the 1oth time in a row) when my wife came in and said, “Hey, they’re doing a Blondie cover.” It turns out that Blondie was doing a Nerves cover and had a Top 5 hit with it in the UK. I discovered that other bands have also covered The Nerves’ songs with success. I don’t need the world to vindicate my taste– but to me, that indicates these guys were doing it right in more than just one person’s opinion.
The Nerves were a supergroup before anyone in the band had become super. The 3-piece outfit from Los Angeles consisted of Jack Lee on guitar, Paul Collins (later of The Beat) on drums, and Peter Case (later of The Plimsouls) on bass. One Way Ticket encompasses the band’s entire catalog but is not an “album” in the traditional sense because it wasn’t released during the band’s lifetime– which was tragically short from ’74-’78.
This compilation, released by Alive Records in 2008, contains a remastered version of The Nerves’ only original EP (self-titled) along with some demos and other unreleased material. It’s power pop in its pure, rawest form. The sound is simple, kinda sparse, and perfect. The songs are all catchy and all over too soon. Most clock in at less than two minutes, but you will doubtless spend many more than that on repeat listening.
One Way Ticket is that dang good.