The Smithereens Biography

Influenced by the 60s pop of the Beatles, Beach Boys and the Byrds, the Smithereens formed in New Jersey, USA, in 1980. Members Jim Babjak (guitar) and Dennis Diken (drums) had played together since 1971; Mike Mesaros (bass) was recruited in 1976, and finally Pat DiNizio (vocals). After recording two EPs, they backed songwriter Otis Blackwell (‘Great Balls Of Fire’) on two obscure albums. In 1986, the band signed to Enigma Records and released their first full album, Especially For You, which fared well among both college radio and mainstream rock listeners, as did the single ‘Blood And Roses’. After a lengthy tour, the Smithereens recorded their second album, Green Thoughts, in 1988, this time distributed by Capitol Records. Smithereens 11 was their biggest selling album, reaching number 41 in the US chart. The band’s music was also featured in several movie soundtracks including the teen-horror movie Class Of Nuke ’Em High. Their career faltered in 1991 with the poorly received Blow Up (US number 120), leaving critics to ponder whether the band had run out of ideas, a belief that gained credence with 1994’s lacklustre A Date With The Smithereens. With the band unable to secure a new recording contract, DiNizio took the opportunity to release a pleasant solo debut in 1997. The Smithereens subsequently signed to Koch Records, and returned to the studio to record material featured on 1999’s God Save The Smithereens.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.