Drummer Man

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Tonight were one of the great Almost Weres of the U.K. punk scene as it shifted into power pop territory. Their first single, "Drummer Man," was an enormous hit in early 1978 -- so big that Tonight were still playing a tour of pre-booked pub shows at the same time as they rose up the chart. A follow-up, "Money, That's Your Problem," looked (and deserved) to follow the debut to glory, but it also proved to be aptly named, as the band's management, record company (the independent TDS), and distributors fell into a squabble over Tonight's future. An album had already been recorded, but demands that the group score a second Top 20 hit before it could be released were dashed when "Money" crashed at number 66, and a third single didn't even chart. And so Drummer Man was archived and it would be 2010 before it finally emerged, to prove that Tonight really were as good as the singles suggest, harder and faster than many of the power pop acts that followed them, an excellent live act (as the in-concert "Spilling My Drink" proves), and solid songwriters too. Drummer Man starts strong and just gets stronger; it closes with the wild good humor of "I Can Play Faster Than You," and the great thing is, they probably could.

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