120 Reasons To Live: The Smithereens

Nothing did more to further the cause of Alternative Nation-building than 120 Minutes, MTV’s Sunday-night video showcase of non-mainstream acts. For nearly two decades, the program spanned musical eras from ’80s college rock to ’00s indie, with grunge, Britpop, punk, industrial, electronica and more in between. MAGNET raids the vaults to resurrect our 120 favorite and unjustly forgotten videos from the show’s classic era.

#91: The Smithereens “Top Of The Pops”

What other band can claim to be an influence on both Nirvana and The Jersey Shore? It’s the Smithereens, New Jersey’s finest ’80s college-rock band (if you’re not counting the Feelies and don’t consider the Misfits college-rock material). “Top Of The Pops,” from 1991’s Blow Up, is not a cover of the Kinks song “Top Of The Pops,” but it’s at least part homage to Ray Davies and draws an interesting, if somewhat faint, line between Davies and Smithereens frontman Pat DiNizio, two working-class heroes. We’ll save a Smithereens career arc for a later post, but DiNizio has made himself an interesting life out of sheer tenacity, from his 2000 run for the U.S. Senate and a battle with a debilitating nervous-system disorder to pioneering living-room shows and, more recently, engaging in a good old-fashioned run of shows in Vegas.

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