“Keep on Knocking” – Death

OK, ready to have your mind blown? Ever hear about a Detroit band called Death? Death was a band from the early-mid 1970s that was kicking out high energy punk rock long before the Sex Pistols were and long before punk was even called punk. Here’s the kicker, though … all the members of Death were African-American. Yes, I realize in a better world that shouldn’t be shocking, but it still kind of is. Here was a band in the midst of Motown taking their cues from Alice Cooper, Iggy Pop, and the MC5 and putting their own balls-to-the-wall spin on things.

While you may think “Keep on Knocking” is a really great song, it may not seem particularly significant … except when you consider that this was recorded in 1974 … not 1982 … and was faster and more aggressive than almost anything out at the time.   Death attracted the interest of Clive Davis, who wanted to sign the band to Columbia Records … if they’d only change their name. The guitarist and leader, David Hackney, refused to compromise, the band lost their potential deal, and they faded into obscurity … until …

Death’s incredible story is now being told in the terrific documentary “A Band Called Death” (just released on DVD and Blu-Ray) which I’m going to talk about at length at a later date. But in the meantime, here’s a sample of what this completely kick-ass band sounds like and why discovering new music (even when it’s nearly 40 years old) can still bring a huge idiotic grin to your face.

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