New York City power pop quartet the Marbles formed in 1974. Singer/guitarist Howard Bowler co-founded the group with his brother, drummer David Bowler, and the David's former Columbia University classmate Jim Clifford on bass. Keyboardist Eric Li completed the lineup. By 1975, the Marbles were regular headliners at the legendary Bowery venue CBGB's, where they shared bills with the Ramones, Blondie and Talking Heads. In addition to their identical pudding-bowl haircuts and conservative dress, the quartet also stood in stark contrast to the prevailing NYC culture thanks to a harmony-rich pop sensibility. In 1976, the Marbles nevertheless joined Television and Patti Smith on the landmark Ork label with their debut single "Red Lights." The group then cut several tracks for a proposed CBGB compilation that went unreleased, and was a featured artist in Amos Poe's seminal punk film Blank Generation. New York Rocker editor Alan Betrock was also a champion of their music and helped the Marbles land a deal with the Jimboco label for their second single, "Forgive and Forget," a staple on New York station WNEW. The Marbles split in 1979, but the Bowler brothers later reunited in the group Contraband. Li died of a drug overdose in 1989.
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