Power

Songfacts®:

  • John Hall is a founding member of the group Orleans; he co-wrote their biggest hits, "Still The One" and "Dance With Me." He left the group in 1977 and launched a solo career. "Power" is the title track to his third solo album.
  • The song is very political, aimed a eliminating nuclear power:

    Give me the comforting glow of a wood fire
    But won't you take all your atomic poison power away


    Hall took an interest in the issue in 1977 after learning that a nuclear power plant was planned in Cementon, New York, a few miles from where he lived in Saugerties. He became an activist, joining a local group called Mid-Hudson Nuclear Opponents, which staged protests and letter-writing campaigns.

    The chorus of the song came to him in the middle of the night after a hearing. He got out of bed, sang it into a tape recorder, and went back to sleep.
  • Hall performed this song for the first time on June 24, 1978 at a protest in Seabrook, New Hampshire, where another nuclear power plant was planned. Jackson Browne (who brought Orleans along on his Running On Empty tour in 1976) and Pete Seeger also performed that day and joined in the song. The verses weren't written yet, so they just repeated the chorus, which got the crowd singing along.

    The Seabrook protest led to larger-scale efforts by musicians to stop nuclear power, and in 1979 Hall formed Musicians United for Safe Energy (MUSE) along with Browne, Bonnie Raitt and Graham Nash. This group organized a series of five concerts held a Madison Square Garden in New York City that raised money and awareness for their efforts, swaying public opinion to their side.

    The Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant was built, but it was the last nuclear power plant built for 30 years. The Cementon plant was kiboshed after the 1979 meltdown at the Three Mile Island plant in Pennsylvania.
  • Hall performed this song during a week of benefit concerts for MUSE held in Madison Square Garden in September 1979. A rendition from these shows with The Doobie Brothers and James Taylor was included on the album No Nukes: The Muse Concerts for a Non-Nuclear Future.
  • Like the songs he wrote with Orleans, John Hall wrote this with his wife, Johanna.

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