Tower of Power, the pioneering Oakland funk and R&B band, have been around for a half-century, but they still sing "You're Still a Young Man" with as much gusto as when they wrote it in 1972.
On Wednesday, the City of Oakland honored the influential ensemble by declaring May 31 Tower of Power Day at a ceremony in Frank Ogawa Plaza in front of about 100 fans. The band came up with fellow Oaklanders Sly and the Family Stone in the '70s and became known for their "Oakland sound," notable for its dynamic horn section. Over the years, Tower of Power's horn players have worked with heavy-hitting artists like Elton John, Phish and Santana.
“Oakland has always been the background of our lives and certainly of our music,” said Emilio Castillo at the ceremony, as reported by East Bay Times. “We wound up traveling the world and promoting the Oakland Sound, and it turned out to be one of the wisest decisions we ever made.”
Though the lineup has changed over the years and some band members have moved away (founders Emilio Castillo lives in Los Angeles and Stephen “Doc” Kupka is in Phoenix), Tower of Power regularly plays at Oakland venues like Yoshi's in Jack London Square. Their next gig is at the Fox Theater on June 2.