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Tower Of Power

The renowned horn-driven funk outfit Tower of Power have been issuing albums and touring the world steadily since the early '70s, in addition to backing up countless other musicians. The group's leader since the beginning has always been tenor saxophonist Emilio Castillo, who was born in Detroit but opted to pursue his musical dreams in Oakland, California. It was in Oakland that Castillo put together a group called the Motowns, which, as their name suggested, specialized in '60s-era soul. In 1967, Castillo teamed up with baritone sax player Stephen "Doc" Kupka, and soon the Motowns were transformed into Tower of Power. (One of the first tunes the duo penned together was "You're Still a Young Man," which would eventually go on to be one of Tower of Power's signature compositions.)

Tower of Power played regularly in the Bay Area throughout the late '60s, as their lineup often swelled up to ten members, including such other mainstays as Greg Adams on trumpet and vocals, Lenny Pickett on sax, and Rocco Prestia on bass. By 1970, the funk outfit had inked a recording contract with Bill Graham's San Francisco Records, resulting in the group's debut the same year, East Bay Grease, which failed to make an impression on the charts as Tower of Power were still trying to find their own sound.

But it soon came together for the group, as 1972's Bump City would touch off a string of classic hit albums, including 1973's self-titled release (which introduced vocalist Lenny Williams and included another of the group's most enduring tunes, "What Is Hip?"), 1974's Back to Oakland, and 1975's Urban Renewal and In the Slot. While Tower of Power remained a must-see live act, as disco became the new trend in R&B the group's original funk-laden style fell out of favor, and disco-oriented albums like 1978's We Came to Play and 1979's Back on the Streets didn't please critics or fans, and the band would go nine years without releasing an album.

Despite it all, Tower of Power -- in particular their horn section -- remained a much in-demand backing group for some of pop/rock's biggest names, including Elton John, Santana, Bonnie Raitt, Huey Lewis, Little Feat, David Sanborn, Michelle Shocked, Paula Abdul, Aaron Neville, Aerosmith, Public Image Ltd., and many others. In 1988, Tower of Power returned to the studio for the album Power, and in 1991 they signed with Epic Records, where they released five albums by the end of the decade.

Into the new millennium, Tower of Power kept up their reputation as a strong live band, maintaining a steady touring schedule, and in 2009 they launched their own TOP Records label with The Great American Soulbook, in which they covered a dozen soul and R&B classics in the trademark Tower of Power style. In 2007, Tower of Power celebrated their fourth decade together with a special concert at San Francisco's Fillmore Auditorium, and a year later the show was issued in a special CD/DVD package, simply titled 40th Anniversary. In 2013, Tower of Power took a look back with the release of Hipper Than Hip: Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow, which documented a live radio broadcast from 1974. The bandmembers also announced they would be touring in 2013 and 2014 with two other iconic acts from Northern California, Journey and the Steve Miller Band. ~ Greg Prato & Steve Leggett, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

T. O. FREAKIN. P !!!!!!!!!
There IS no band BETTER!!!!!! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
Mmmmmm~HMMMM , da`s RIGHT!!!!! :-D
Saw them several times in Ohio. Started a Horn band to emulate them and cold blood, NO BASS PLAYER IN THE WORLD LIKE PRESTIA NO BAND IN THE WORLD LIKE THIS EVER WOW THE TALENT FROM TOP IS JUST IMMENSE - and then when you think of some players coming through here like Chester Thompson and Picket - WOW
wajay200
Squibb Cakes and What is Hip were two of my face by Tower of Power..still is.
Very funky
"LOVE'S Been Gone So Long"
You'll knowjust what to say
LOVE'S Disciple*978 * ~ 6 m 1 4 y ~
Along with Earth Wind and Fire's horn section The Phoenix Horns remain the 2 Funkiest, Hippest, and most Soulful horn sections ever mixed with the very smooth sound of Lenny Williams that's hipper than hip funken at the Filllmore Baby Bommers Funk and Rock Forever!!!
Saw them 4 times in my youth in Portland, OR...drummer Dave Garibaldi was ridiculously good....trie d to imitate him but couldn't keep up!
♥♥♥♥
Forever Funky!
GREAT MEMORIES!
TOP was the one in their day.
TOP playing Oakland venues in 1970's..just great as horn section for Huey Lewis in 1990's. EB grease is alive and doing fine
One of my favorite groups as well... Peep them HORNS! After watching What is hip on youtube, I fell in love with this group of very talented men Tower of Power
Top......... . . . . . m i s s thier music....!
No mention of one of the greatest funk drummers alive in David Garibaldi?!?
I LOVE TOWER OF POWER BEFORE LENNY WILLIAMS CAME AND AFTER HE CAME SINGING ITS HARD TO LET YOU GO... YOU ALL GOING BE MY FAVORITE GROUP FOR PUTTING LENNY WILLIAMS IN THE FORFRONT SMILE...
Here we go again ONE of the best RASHON IBN ALMUHYI newark, n.j.
bigallewis3
The best of the best , no band like them or will there ever be .
Awesome Group ,Great performers Live!!!
RIP Lalo. Still missing u bro
The complete bomb!
magnajoe
TOP... Nothin' better
ME AND MRS. JONES SO MANY TIMES BILLY PAUL DID A BEAUITFUL IT HE MADE IT WHEN THE DRAMATICS DID THEY VERSION OF IT THEY WAS SMOOTH WITH IT. AND TOWER OF POWER DID THEIR NO MORE REMAKE SMILE..
buillscott Best Ever!
They're pretty good. I'm still young and I like that there's other people that still appreciate real music. Rap...it's just talking really fast. THIS is the good stuff!
Makes it so hard to go because I love you baby......:(


...
nancyweissbe i n
Great music ❤️
still digging on James Brown..they used to play On Broadway in Oaktown where all the hipsters,pim p s , and fine foxes used to congregate dressed to the nines...to get there, you would have to navigate thru a Caddy traffic jam..what a scene..bump- d - b u m p - d - b u m p . . .
kencthomas2
I played drums in high school oh so many years ago and just loved TOP. David Garibaldi is a funk machine! Now my son is a musician (degree and all) and he also thinks TOP and David Garibaldi are the best. WHAT IS HIP? The passin' years will show...!
One of the greatest bands to come out of Oakland!
The movie sparkle had great actors and good script story of love tradition success creativity wardrobe we need to keep that going
U are a young man R. to waste your time with seniors.
Love this great music
Pros: filling a huge void, overcoming loneliness, numbing the pain, not feeling sorrow for the moment, feeling temporarily wanted, and appreciated.
Cons: wrong thing to do, feeling constantly guilty, no inner peace, stressed out, putting pain in others; you are not the main part in the other person’s life.
What a great band! My nick name was Tiny from S.F. & what great memories this song brings! God bless all my past friends & loves. Peace my people.
Those who bite shall be bitten,those who never bite shall be eaten and cast to the wayside. 14y 1m
T0p

kebaxter
I saw Chase and 5th Dimension at the Hollywood Bowl about 1970! What a concert! I will never forget!
You're to young HAHAHA
TOP AND AWB WILL BE AT THE THUNDER VALLEY CASINO IN LINCOLN, CA. ON NEW YEARS AND IT GONNA BE LIVE HOPE TO SEE YA' ALL THERE
bn21502
I love all kind of music, my husband is a trumpet player and I have to say that every one would give him a standing ovation because of the way he would he blow his trumpet. He play with the best band's. I'm so proud of him.
Piper H.
Move over Billy Paul, you got the voice they got rhe horns.
Great
But Roco wasn't at the last one he was In the hospital
I'm 14 and have seen them 2 times already my fav horn band ever!!
David G. invented the FUNK. Saw TOP first in Oxnard back in '70's. Addicted to the groove since.
One of my favorite groups as well... Peep them HORNS! After watching What is hip on youtube, I fell in love with this group of very talented men Tower of Power
One if my all time favorite groups.
Love T. O. P. Forever, I was in the MARINES 74- 76 This group kept me company my whole tour and plus. Thanks for the memories.
I miss my boy Lenny Williams but TOP is the best band of all times. I last seen them in York, Pennsylvania in the late 90's.
OW!!!!!!!!!! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
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