With over 50 years under their belt, Tower of Power are arguably one the greatest soul outfits of our time. The band traces its origins to 1968 in Oakland, California and was composed of Emilio Castillo who was the band’s saxophonist, baritone saxophonist Stephen “Doc” Kupka, and trumpeters Gregs Adams, David Pardon, Mic Gillette, drummer David Garibaldi, guitarist Willie James and bassists Francis Rocco. The band signed a recording contract with Bill Graham’s Fillmore Records and released their first album, East Bay Grease, in 1970. Later in 1972, the Tower of Power band moved to Warner Records, releasing their second album, Bump City. The second album was a massive success and gave Tower of Power Mainstream attention. The album’s single “You’re Still a Young Man” hit and charted on Billboards. In 1973, the band released its self-titled album, producing the band’s three most successful singles. The Tower of Power has continuously produced many other albums. Here are the ten best Tower of Powers songs of all time.
10. Me & Mrs Jones
Initially, the song “Me & Mrs Jones” was recorded by American Soul artist Billy Paul. Tower of Power band did a live performance of this song, and their version featured a tremendous horn section which made it better than the original version. The lead vocalist Larry Braggs adds unique vocal effects to the song making it more interesting. This exquisite soul jam is about an extramarital affair between a man and woman (Mrs Jones), which they both knew was wrong.
9. Only So Much Oil in the Ground
The song “Only So Much Oil in the Ground” was about an actual life incident. It was about an oil spill in San Francisco Bay in 1971, where two tankers had collided. This catastrophic incident happened when Emilio Castillo and Stephen Kupka were in high school. This track was received positively by critics and became the favorite Tower of Power’s live performance. Lenny Williams was the lead vocalist giving the song impeccable vocals before he left to establish his solo career.
8. Soul with a Capital “S.”
This song is used as an anthem for soul music and released by Tower of Power from their self-titled album. The song “Soul with a Capital “S” has marvelous harmonies, and the drumming is top-notch, adding some glamor to the song. Tower of Power showed their love for soul music through this masterpiece.
7. Look In My Eyes
“Look In My Eyes” is a single from Tower of Power’s recent album, Step Up. This track was released in March 2020. It is seen that Tower of Power has revolved as the song features a lot of their signature sound, which is something new. Also, the band recorded a video for this song, something Tower of Power had not done in the past. The song’s melody is beautiful, and its instrumentals are incredible.
6. Diggin’ On James Brown
This sympathetic single was released from Tower of Power’s album, Souled Out. This song shows the Tower of Power band’s, and it features scores and parts of a ten-piece band, with optimal parts for alto sax and trombone to enhance their musical instrumentation. The master funk drummer David Garibaldi is seen at his best setting the tempo and providing a melody, dynamic rhythm.
5. Down to the Nightclub
“Down to the Nightclub” is from the Tower of Power album Bump City. Lyrically, the song is about hanging out with friends on Saturday night at a favorite spot. The song’s rhythm and powerful horn section are excellent, giving the song massive airplay on West Coast radio. This single was a success and emerged number sixty-six on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
4. Squib Cakes
While most of Tower of Power’s songs were written by the band’s founder Emilio Castillo and Stephen Kupka, “Squib Cakes” was penned down by the band’s first keyboardist, Chester Thompson. The song’s lyrics are melodious and talk about having a great time with a woman. The term “Squib Cakes” was adopted from funk trumpeter Mic Gillette. The song was released from Tower of Power’s album, Back to Oakland.
3. What Is Hip
This magnificent song, “What Is Hip”, is from the Tower of Power’s Eponymous third album. Emilio Castillo gives credit to Stephen Kupka for wonderful lyrics, which are about what seems to be a hip today and may become a passe tomorrow. The group’s drummer, David Garibaldi, used sixteenth notes on the bass line, similar to Freddie King’s song “Going Down”. The song was a massive success and peaked at number thirty-nine on the Billboard R&B Singles chart.
2. You’re Still a Young Man
“You’re Still a Young Man ” was the Tower of Power’s first song. The song starts with beautiful high trumpets that show the power of a significant lead. Emilio Castillo and Stephen Kupka wrote the song in 1972 from their second album, Bump City. Emilio Castilo says the song was inspired by actual life events. It’s about a young man who falls in love with an older woman, but the woman feels insecure that the man might find her senior and leave her for a younger woman. This single was a great hit and peaked at number twenty-nine on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
1. So Very Hard to Go
“So Very Hard to Go “ was Tower Power’s most successful and highest-charting song. It emerged number seventeen on the Hot 100 and number four on KHJ commercial radio station. Lyrically the song is about a sentimental love that was hard to say goodbye to, and it was inspired by a woman whom Emilio Castillo wrote about in the song “ You’re Still a Young Man”. This track was released in April 1973 as the second single from Tower of Power’s Eponymous third album.