Back in the 1980s, Tommy Conwell and the Young Rumblers (Paul Slivka on bass, Jimmy Hannah on drums, Rob Miller on keyboards, and Chris Day on guitar) were a local Philly-area band picking up steam and making friends and fans all around the area. The guys played everything from high school dances to bigger stages around town. It wasn't surprising that the group got a record deal from Columbia Records and released several albums worth of fun rock and roll and bluesy yet power-poppy tunes. They toured the world, made TV appearances, and made it big for a while. Their song "I'm Not Your Man" hit the radio airwaves in 1988 and went to reach #1 on the Rock airplay charts.
The label wouldn't release the band's third album... and after a while, the band's exposure and popularity slowed down. Tommy Conwell switched up his roles, playing solo and with other local groups and doing a long-standing rockabilly night at the Blue Comet. He became a school teacher and a radio DJ for a while as well.
Rolling Stone had an interesting article about the band in 1987, comparing the lives and business decisions of Tommy Conwell & co. with Perry Farrell of Jane's Addiction and his management team. Crazy how things played out in the long run...
Tommy Conwell and his current band, The Little Kings are playing a show on Friday, July 20th at 118 North.
Reminisce Philly in the 1980s with us below -- do you know anyone in the crowd?! Ooh and aahhh over the glorious 1980s hair and clothing that the band and the crowd is wearing. And check out Tommy's amazing guitar licks!
Tommy Conwell also played lead guitar and sang back up vocals for Philly's own Buzz Zeemer, led by Frank Brown. One of my fave Buzz Zeemer songs, "Crush" features some nice shoe-gazy guitar parts. Check out the video below.