The Oakland-born music group Tower of Power has been presented with a Partners in Preservation Award for its contribution to the promotion and preservation of Oakland and the Bay Area’s rich musical heritage for the past 48 years, as well as its continuing efforts to help bridge Oakland’s past and future.
“Our organization is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year, and we want to focus on special lifetime achievements with our Partners in Preservation recognitions,” said Claire Castell, OHA treasurer and nominator of Tower of Power for the award. “While a lot of our efforts focus on preservation of architectural treasures, we want to make sure Oakland’s wonderful cultural arts are celebrated and recognized. When we started to review the artists that have made a lasting impact in the arts and music that represent Oakland, coupled with amazing talent and showmanship, Tower of Power was an obvious choice. We are proud TOP still celebrates its Oakland roots, and we will always consider them our native sons.”
Since 1968, Tower of Power has been delivering its unique brand of “Oakland style” music and maintaining a class of its own. Leader and founding member Emilio Castillo labeled the group’s sound as “Urban Soul Music.” Over the years, Tower of Power has performed with some of music’s biggest names, including Elton John, Santana, Bonnie Raitt, Huey Lewis, Little Feat, Dionne Warwick, David Sanborn, Paula Abdul, Aaron Neville, Aerosmith, Michael Bolton, Billy Preston, Rod Stewart, Toto, and more. Tower of Power’s rhythm section is said to lay down a groove like no other band. The horn-driven sound is unique, from writing and arranging to mixing and performing. The group’s collection of hits includes “You’re Still a Young Man,” “So Very Hard to Go,” “Soul with a Capital S,” “Soul Vaccination,” and “What Is Hip?”
"Tower of Power was advised by a dear friend early in our career to let it be known that we were from Oakland (not San Francisco), and that has been our claim from our very first recording until now, almost 48 years later,” said Castillo. “Being from Oakland is something we're very proud of, and we've always been very clear that our sound is an ‘Oakland’ sound. Being recognized by the Oakland Heritage Alliance as one of ‘Oakland's own’ is an honor, and we are grateful to God and the people of Oakland for this award.”
Each year, Tower of Power tours the United States, Japan, and Europe, playing sold-out shows all over the world.