Born and raised in the Detroit area, the eldest of four boys, Marshall Crenshaw played in a long list of cover bands, including an oldies group called Danny and the Robots, after he left school.
He moved to Los Angeles in 1976 with a demo tape of his early work but failed to impress anyone and returned to Detroit when he ran out of money.
He then spent 18 months as an ersatz John Lennon opposite Glen Burtnik’s Paul McCartney in the touring company of the stage show Beatlemania.
He then moved to New York where he met up with his brother Robert, who was studying electronics and working part-time at Richard Sarbin’s studio. Adding a bassist, the Marshal Crenshaw band was formed, playing around Manhattan’s clubs and garnering great word of mouth.
Crenshaw’s eponymous 1982 debut album heralded him as the Great White Hope of the post-Beatles generation and invited comparisons to Buddy Holly, Elvis Costello and the fab four themselves. He had a voice full of delicate head tones, double-tracked on the LP in all the right places.
Critics loved the album and it sold well. The single Someday Someway briefly hit the top 40, peaking at #36.
Crenshaw’s gift for songcraft was still gloriously evident on his second album, Field Day (1983), although the songs themselves lost their identity in the busy, layered (in fact, cluttered) mix by Steve Lillywhite.
Nearly every song was fairly drenched in echo and delay, resulting in a veritable ‘wall of sludge’. It was a good album that could have been a great one.