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Off Broadway

Off Broadway was a late-'70s power pop group from Chicago. That put them in a position roughly equivalent to that of Shaquille O'Neal's backup. In this case O'Neal was Cheap Trick and Off Broadway was doomed to obscurity. Much like Cheap Trick, Off Broadway played a quirky hopped-up blend of Beatlesque melodies and Move-like power. They didn't rock quite as hard and vocalist Cliff Johnson had nowhere near the style and range that Robin Zander did (then again, how many vocalists do?), but they wrote catchy songs and managed to sell around 200,000 copies of their 1979 debut album, On. Another album, Quick Turns, followed in 1980 and met with little acclaim or sales. Touring as an opening act for heavy metal bands did the group no favors as the audiences hated them and they became disillusioned with the music business. They soldiered on through the disappointment for a couple more years and then gave up in 1983. Perhaps inspired by the new wave of power pop-inspired bands that sounded very much like Off Broadway and the re-release of On in 1996, four members of the original band got together in the late '90s as Black on Blond and began playing clubs in the Chicago area. Due to audience requests, they began adding Off Broadway material to their set and soon decided to become Off Broadway again. In 1997, the band recorded and released their first record in 17 years, Fallin' In, and followed it with a live set in 1998, Live at Fitzgeralds. They may never have reached the big time but they are remembered quite fondly by power pop connoisseurs the world over.
Tim Sendra, Rovi

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