Saturday, February 2, 2013

Triumph: Magic Power

I never met the Canadian power trio Triumph – in fact, I’ve never seen them in concert; however, in 1982, I had a chance to meet Joe Owens, a member of their management team in Atlanta. The occasion was my first visit to the Bobby Poe Pop Music Survey Convention. On one of the nights, Warner Brothers picked up the tab to bus all of the attendees (including their competitors) into downtown Atlanta to a Chinese restaurant.

The two of us sat next to each other on the bus and at the dinner and struck up a friendship. That was the only time I believe I had the pleasure of meeting Joe, but for years after that, I would occasionally hear from him – sometimes by phone when a new Triumph single was released and often he just sent me some Triumph memorabilia or a Christmas card each year.

I was thinking that perhaps we sat next to each other on the bus because it was alphabetical – you know Owens then Owston; however, in those days, I was strictly known by my air name of “Jim Martin” and that’s how I was registered at these conventions. Therefore, it must have been luck of the draw. He became a good, albeit distant friend in the music business.

I lost track of Joe by 1987 when I went to work for WWNR and our A/C in the daytime/urban format at night did little to promote Triumph’s style of music. Within six months we became an oldies station and simultaneously lost any interest from the record companies, but that format allowed us to compete locally.

The Internet is a wonderful thing, and as I looked up Joe’s name, I discovered that he is currently president of ESI and has achieved numerous successes in music marketing over the past three decades. He has really followed his craft.

Our Bubbling Under song today is from Triumph; however, I was playing in on the radio prior to meeting Joe. I would have no doubt been promoted on it by Susan Wax and Phil Quartararo from RCA Records and a host of independent promoters like Tony Muscolo.

Triumph’s “Magic Power” did not crack the national Top 40, as it only peaked at #51; however, it did make it to #8 on the AOR charts. In Beckley, WV, it did better than it did nationally as it had the support of two and perhaps three stations in our parallel three market. My employer WCIR, played it and the local AOR outlet, WOAY was playing it. Since WWNR was a Top 40 station at the time, they probably played it as well. If my memory serves me correctly, it probably charted locally in the low teens.

The single came from Triumph’s “Allied Forces” LP and was the first of four cuts to be released to radio in 1981 and 82. The others were “Allied Forces,” “Fight the Good Fight,” and “Say Goodbye.” It’s a great tune and as I played it this morning I remembered a good bit of the lyrics. “I’m young, I’m wild, and I’m free; got the magic power and the music in me.”

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