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20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Donnie Iris

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Album Review

There are a lot of power poppers that traditionalist power pop fans don't like to give credit to. These are musicians that could craft a song and carve out a hook, but dressed these tunes in very commercial productions — and, even though these came at the height of power pop, that commercial production made these artists seem lesser than the dogged new wave of such artists as Tommy Keane or even Cheap Trick. In retrospect, the artists that had shiny productions and big, unstoppable hooks were every bit as power pop as their scruffier cousins, and Donnie Iris is one of them. His records often have the trappings of album rock in the early '80s, but the essence of his work is that of a geeky pop fan, turning out anthemic, melodic pop tunes, pumping them up with guitars filtered through Marshall amps. Sometimes, the end result was a little silly — the pounding "Love Is Like a Rock" is one of the goofiest songs ever recorded — but when it clicked, like on "Ah! Leah!," it clicked perfectly, illustrating that the gap between true power popsters and the supposed charlatans was simply a matter of style. And 20th Century Masters does indeed capture Iris at his best, hitting all of his big, catchy pop tunes on one 12-track collection. Yeah, he does succumb to the sound of the times — which is endearing at times, especially when the production is as era-specific as that on "That's the Way Love Ought to Be" (it helps that the song works, too, of course) — but the best songs here will be irresistible to anyone with a serious power pop jones and no pop snobbery.

Customer Reviews

Midwest rock at it's best!

If you came of age in NE Ohio in the early 80's, Donnie along with MSB are mandatory listening. Thanks for making this available, I forgot how much these songs bring back memories of great summers, especially Ah! Leah!, Agnes and Sweet Merilee.

A "MUST-HAVE" for your Classic Rock album collection

I must admit, I'm a little biased, since I'm from Donnie's hometown of Pittsburgh. However, EVERY one of my friends from outside the Tri-State Area who I've had listen to Donnie absolutely love him. Download this album, since it has all of his "Hits" (at least they were in Pittsburgh!), then move to some of his other stuff. Great Music - I promise it'll be worth it!!....

This guy was my first concert at the Civic Arena in Pittsburgh in Jr. High!

This guy was my first concert in Junior High. If you grew up in the early 80's Ah Leah and Sweet Merrilee were staples. A lot of great memories and songs you forgot about. If you've never heard him give those 2 and My Girl and that's the way love ought to be a try. They will become favorites.


Born: February 28, 1943 in Beaver Falls, PA

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

He found fame as the lead singer of the Jaggerz (the one-hit wonder from 1970 responsible for the number two hit "The Rapper"), but Donny Iris returned to the pop charts in the early '80s several times as a solo act. Born Dominic Ierace in Beaver Falls, PA, Iris began singing at weddings at age five, and by eight was performing on local television and entering talent contests. When his voice changed, he took up the drums but later got back into singing while in high school. A self-taught guitarist,...
Full Bio
20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Donnie Iris, Donnie Iris
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Customer Ratings