365 Days of Album Recommendations – Dec 12

The Smithereens – Especially For You


#RIP #PatDiNizio

I remember one particularly eye-opening incident. We were living in Denver, Colorado for a spell. There was a street concert happening in the then-still-new- LoDo. The Smithereens were playing. I was over the moon. I told my best pal at the time about it, urging him to come with me. He had no idea who The Smithereens were. I couldn’t believe it. At the moment, I realized that the entire world WASN’T in fact aware of one of the great rock n’ roll bands of all time.

I was in high school when Especially For You came out. I was already playing guitar, already trying to be in bands. 1986 was a pretty good year for a young musician. REM came out with Life’s Rich Pageant. Billy Bragg released Talking With The Taxman About Poetry. Husker Du had Candy Apple Grey. Simultaneously, Dwight Yoakum arrived with Guitars, Cadillac, etc. Steve Earle gave us Guitar Town. Add to this XTC’s Skylarking, Costello’s King of America, and Nick Cave’s Kicking Against The Pricks, and you had a pretty good year.

And then came “Blood and Roses.” For where I was at, this was perfect music. Moody, noirish, heart-on-its-sleeve 4-chord rock. Simple poetry, minor melodies, big guitars. I was in. “Behind the Wall of Sleep” was right up my emotional alley as well. God, I loved this record.

The Smithereens kept it coming across 2 more beautiful albums. We got “Only A Memory” from Green Thoughts. “A Girl Like You” from 11. I loved it.

By 1991, and Blow Up, I had moved on, admittedly. But I’ll always love the first 3 albums, and especially Especially For You.

RIP Pat DiNizio, and thank you.

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