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Tower of Power


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Tower of Power is a horn-based funk/soul band from Oakland, California. In the mid-1960s, 17-year-old tenor saxophonist Emilio Castillo moved from Detroit, Michigan, to Fremont, California. He started a band called the Motowns, specializing in soul music. In 1968, Castillo teamed up with baritone saxophonist Stephen “The Funky Doctor” Kupka and trumpet/trombone player Mic Gillette, moved to Oakland, and began writing original material. They changed the band’s name to Tower of Power and began playing frequently in the Bay Area.

In 1970, TOP signed a recording contract with Bill Graham’s San Francisco Records and quickly released its first album, East Bay Grease. 1972’s Bump City and 1973’s self-titled release were breakout albums for the band; the latter included possibly their most enduring song, What is Hip?.

Tower of Power has remained active throughout the 1970s, ’80s, ’90s, and into the 21st century, and is still touring in 2010. Personnel changes have been part of the history and evolution of the band; at least 60 musicians have performed, toured, and/or recorded with the band through the years, including Saturday Night Live musical director Lenny Pickett, drummer David Garibaldi, bassist Rocco Prestia, and bassist and BALCO founder Victor Conte. (His brother Bruce Conte played guitar in the band as well.) Lenny Williams served as lead singer for several years after one of the original singers, Rick Stevens was imprisoned. Rufus Miller performed most of the lead vocals on “East Bay Grease.”


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  • podunk-az

    What is Hip? don't care whats hip - I like the song

    16 Jun 4:42pm Reply
  • appidydafoo

    "I like musicianship, and it's quite lacking in most modern popular music. You're always safe with... Tower of Power." - Mark Rippetoe

    11 Mar 2014 Reply

    Soul with a capital S - Soul with a capital S ..... Sweet Soul Music - that's the Best ..... I like Soul with a capital S .......

    8 Dec 2013 Reply
  • Artakha

    Fusion?! Lol who put this tag?..

    27 Jun 2013 Reply
  • Nyasa_Lake

    There is only so much oil in the ground !

    31 May 2013 Reply
  • reagan0

    Maybe it'll rub off...

    25 May 2013 Reply
  • satan_88_level


    3 Apr 2013 Reply
  • groovebastard


    26 Sep 2012 Reply
  • andrehsantana


    3 Aug 2012 Reply
  • reagan0

    Man! This band funks up my head, but good! And that ain't bad!

    31 Jul 2012 Reply
  • masodikgalamb

    very cool group

    16 May 2012 Reply
  • kayfabbs

    So Very Hard to Go is one of the greatest songs of all time.

    29 Mar 2012 Reply
  • bardlover

    saw them twice in NY and was blown away. still listen to them today. inspired me to take up the sax. Ha! teenage best horn section ever! Lenny williams was their best vocalist. soul vaccination makes me want to get up and move.

    7 Mar 2012 Reply
  • A1enochka


    5 Jan 2012 Reply
  • maidsandmore06

    One of the best horn sections ever.

    26 Oct 2011 Reply
  • Fullmettall

    Only So Much Oil in the Ground

    15 Oct 2011 Reply
  • LeGangles

    I am Funkifized!!!!

    8 Sep 2011 Reply
  • BettinaSue

    GEWINNE TICKETS UND DAS EXKLUSIVE TOWER-OF-POWER-BACKSTAGE-ERLEBNIS Möchtest Du die Bandmitglieder der legendären US-Soulband Tower of Power vor ihrem Konzert am 14.07.2011 persönlich kennenlernen, Backstage vorbei schauen und Fotos machen? Erzähl uns, warum Du der größte ToP-Fan bist und gerade DU dieses Erlebnis genießen solltest! - Teilnahmeschluss 13.07.2011 - 15 Uhr Mitmachen auf

    7 Jul 2011 Reply
  • Fullmettall

    Only So Much Oil in the Ground

    6 Jul 2011 Reply
  • Balciu

    I just love squib cakes. And "This time it's real" - this song is so cheerful.

    27 Jun 2011 Reply
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