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In 1986, a Sacramento group named City Kidd changed its moniker after its manager suggested that it pay tribute to inventor Nikola Tesla. But while Tesla the man pioneered radio technology, Tesla the band blazed the trail for unplugged hard-rock albums with 1990's Five Man Acoustical Jam. An earnest, blues-based act, Tesla sold millions of records in the late '80s/early '90s without looking nearly as flamboyant as that era's real longhaired freaky people. On VH1's largely debauched list of the "100 Most Metal Moments," Tesla contributed feel-good, blue-collar entry #59: "Septic truck driver becomes singer." Musically, the group's early output holds up well. Grittier tracks could gun down most modern-day rock-radio cowboys, and its power ballad "Love Song" should comfort Valentine's hangover sufferers with its "keep an open heart" optimism.

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