Artist: Jack Lee
Album: Bigger Than Life
Label: Alive Natural Sounds
Release Date: 11/25/2016
Jack Lee’s name is hardly a household word, but his imprint on several iconic artists is impressive nevertheless. His first major career move was a band called the Nerves, for which he teamed with two other seasoned pros, Peter Case and Paul Collins. He later wrote “Hanging on the Telephone,” a major breakout hit for Blondie. Suzi Quatro, Cat Power and Paul Young also tapped his songwriting prowess. Yet, while he continues to write and record intermittently on his own, he’s yet to achieve any significant measure of fame for his individual efforts.
Not that Bigger Than Life will necessarily change that, but as a 23 song anthology it does at least promise to bring listeners up to speed. The lack of any liner notes or notations of any kind doesn’t exactly help the cause, but the songs themselves attest to the fact that Lee’s no one-hit wonder. The majority of his early offerings are punk and power pop inspired, fueled with a verbosity well in line with the energy and resolve established by the Nerves and the aforementioned Blondie-based classic. Likewise, while he hits his stride throughout, the power ballad ”The Girl in the Picture” and the purposeful “Breaking Into My Heart” inject depth and diversity into his singular stance.
Skilled songwriters have been rock ‘n’ roll’s secret weapon since the beginning, so credit Jack Lee with continuing in that hallowed tradition. Bigger Than Life may be a bit of an exaggeration as far as a title goes, but the ambition and inspiration are clearly there regardless.
Listen to “I Wanna Have Fun” from the record HERE.