[PLAYLIST] ’80s GLAM ROCK Through the Music of 10 Great Bands

10-glam-rock-albums

Welcome to the ‘80s – the hair was too big, the fashion was outrageous but the music was GREAT!

Inspired by ‘70s British glam rock artists, such as David Bowie, T.Rex and Roxy Music, glam/pop metal became the biggest monster genre trend on the music scene in the States throughout the ‘80s. Kicking things off with bands such as Cheap Trick, Kiss, Van Halen and of course Alice Cooper and evolving into rock acts, like Cinderella, Ratt, Warrant, Dokken and so many others, the glam/pop metal domination was simply out of control. Not that this was a bad thing – on the contrary. The ‘80s gave birth to some of the most talented and exceptional musicians of all time. The looks played a huge role, I can’t argue with that. However, once you go beyond the heavy make-up and tight spandex pants, all you are left with is awesome music, crashing guitar riffs and catchy melodic hooks that bring you nothing but fun, excitement and tons of feelings and emotions of all kinds. Looks and music aside, places once again were significant for the popularization of a specific musical culture. The LA music scene and in particular that sinful Sunset Strip where all the rock bars and nightclubs were located, turned into the mecca of the entertainment industry. Basically, that “little” 2.4km stretch of Sunset Boulevard became the hottest place to be!

Back to the music talks, the glam rock frenzy was probably the best thing that could’ve happened in the ‘80s, at least to me. I can’t really imagine my life without representatives of the genre, such as Cinderella, Danger Danger and Dokken, for instance. These bands and their electrifying rockers, stunning power-ballads, tough attitude and weird, but still appealing music videos will always play such an important part of my life. Unfortunately, it all came to an end when grunge acts started appearing one after another. Don’t know what you got, till it’s gone, right?

Since I was in the mood for some serious hair metal power, I prepared this little playlist of 10 songs by famous (or not so famous) bands, which I have always considered as the best among all glam rockers of the ‘80s. Some of them are even among my most beloved bands of all time (like Cinderella, for instance). I have gathered tunes that I believe are the perfect example of the glam rock wave that flooded the music scene in the USA, especially in the second half of the ’80s. If you are a dedicated fan, you most certainly know them. If you are making your first steps towards the genre, this is a good place to start. [My Rock Mixtapes] gives you ’80s GLAM ROCK through the Music of 10 Great Bands.


Cinderella – Shake Me (1986)

cinderella-night-songs-2

In 1986, one of the most distinguishable and talented hard rock bands debuted with an album that put to shame even the rock veterans. Vocalist and lead songwriter Tom Keifer is one of the reasons why this world is such a great place! “Shake Me” was their debut single and I thought that it’s a very good place to start our glam rock discussion and playlist. The MV is iconic and the song that accompanies it is just brilliant! Tom is a killer, one-of-a-kind vocalist and “Shake Me” is a great uplifting and energizing tune that begs you to crank it up!


White Lion – When The Children Cry (1987)

white-lion-pride

New York’s White Lion, led by Danish singer Mike Trampand and guitarist Vito Bratta debuted in 1983 but it was their sophomore album, titled “Pride” (1987) that drove them to stardom. I’ve always considered White Lion, along with Cinderella, as two of the most talented and worthy examples of glam rock bands. That sophomore album by White Lion is filled with outstanding rockers, including classics like “Wait” and “Tell Me”. This time, though, the focus would entirely be on the beautiful mellow rocker, “When the Children Cry”. This song proved (and still keeps on proving) my point – glam rock bands created some really meaningful and timeless compositions and it most definitely wasn’t all about the looks and the ladies!


Giuffria – Call To The Heart (1984)

giuffria-giuffria-1984

Giuffria (led by keyboardist Gregg Giuffria) debuted with a splendid self-titled album in 1984. Armed with breathtaking songs, like “Do Me Right”, “Don’t Tear Me Down” and of course “Call to The Heart”, no wonder the impact of that album was so colossal. “Call to the Heart” is I believe the greatest song of their career (not to mention a personal favorite). Vocalist David Glen Eisley should’ve been bigger. His voice strikes quite the resemblance with Steve Perry, actually. Anyhow, I stand by what I said – this album and this tune are amazing and should NOT be forgotten!


Great White – Once Bitten Twice Shy (1989)

great-white-twice-shy

Although it’s a cover version of a popular song by Ian Hunter, I decided to include “Once Bitten, Twice Shy” by Great White because I think it’s much better (and more influential) than the original. On top of it all, it’s the song that defined Great White’s career like no other, reaching top 10 positions in both UK and the States. “…Twice Shy” (1989) was the crown jewel of Great White’s career, I believe. This song, along with classics like “The Angel Song” and “House of Broken Love”, also featuring on their fourth studio album, are absolute staples of the pop rock / glam metal musical phenomenon in the late ‘80s.


Warrant – Heaven (1989)

warrant-dirty-rotten

Power ballads were a must for any hard rock band. No power ballad = no chance of getting signed to a label or releasing an album. Those were the rules of the game and Warrant just knew how to win it. “Heaven” was the second single from their 1989 debut album, “Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich”. It didn’t take that long for the track to became a sensation and turn into the band’s most commercially successful song of their career. The fans, the radio stations, the critics – everyone loved it and there’s a reason why, believe me. Jani Lane brought so much passion and beauty into a world full of songs about partying hard and drinking all day and all night. It’s definitely Warrant’s best song one of the best power ballads of the ‘80s.


Ratt – You’re In Love (1985)

ratt-invasion-of-your-privacy

I can’t talk about glam rock and not mention Ratt! Their sophomore album, titled “Invasion of Your Privacy” (1985) is a premium example of an album, following the musical trend and one of the best of its kind, as a matter of fact. Classics like “What You Give Is What You Get” and “Lay It Down” could be heard on that second release of theirs. For this playlist, however, I chose their second single “You’re in Love” because I love the strong vibe that comes out of this tune. One listen and you’re absolutely hooked. Moreover, I wanted to illustrate the various themes and topics, as well as types of songs glam rock bands were producing back in the day. Vocalist Stephen Pearcy is bringing so much to the table on this one. The MV is groundbreaking!


Skid Row – 18 and Life (1989)

skid-row-skid-row-debut

Moving on to Skid Row, I think this song right here is where all discussions about the band should begin. Don’t get me wrong, they have so many songs that deserve recognition (and got way more of it compared to this one), but I think if we have to choose just one, it has to be “18 & Life”. Released as a single from their debut self-titled album, the rocker quickly turned into Skid Row’s biggest hit and ultimately a turning point in their career. I am a huge fan of Sebastian Bach and I even though this tune wasn’t written by him, it’s his vocal performance that made me fall inlove with this band in the first place.


Poison – Nothin’ But A Good Time(1988)

poison-open-up-and-say-ahh

If for a moment there we don’t look at that bizarre and ridiculous album artwork, we can actually find some excellent glam rock gems inside the album. The first single from “Open Up and Say… Ahh!” (1988) carries the laid-back title Nothin’ but a Good Time”. I chose this song, because it sums it up quite well: the ‘80s, the glam metal, the music, the bands – it was all about having nothing but a really good time. It’s a fun tune, capturing the essence of the genre – both lyrically and musically. Vocalist Bret Michaels is doing some pretty decent job too!


Dokken – Into the Fire(1984)

dokken-tooth-and-nail

“Tooth and Nail” (1984) is an absolute masterpiece and one of my most beloved albums of all time. The strength and musical brilliance of the album were born out of the hardships Dokken had to go through before releasing it. It was a tough time to be a glam rock artist in the late 80s – a period dominated by the early grunge movement. Despite all, the album materialized and thank God it did otherwise we wouldn’t have songs like “Into the Fire”. I am highly biased but that doesn’t mean I’m wrong. The album and the song are perfect!


Danger Danger – Naughty Naughty (1989)

danger-danger-album

We had a good time, we listened to some gorgeous power ballads and lyrically-rich tunes but now it’s time to wrap things up on a less-meaningful note. Danger Danger are the glam metal band to listen if you just want to have fun and forget about it all! Their self-titled debut album spawned some great songs, designed to bring you nothing but a sweet enjoyment! The debut single of their eponymous album bears the catchy title “Naughty Naughty” and as you suspected, it just can’t be taken seriously. That doesn’t mean it’s bad or unworthy. Not at all – it’s a super fun, sexy and exciting track. The guys are pretty good too! Ted Poley is a great vocalist too!


The playlist contains 10 Glam Metal tracks, selected based on my personal preferences and in accordance with the idea I am trying to deliver through this publication. There are plenty of other bands and artists who are representatives of the Glam Rock scene of the 1980s, but according to my opinion, the above 10 are some of the most notable ones. Please keep an open mind! Cheers

References:
P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.
The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.
Cheers~

 

The Story of ALIAS’ “More Than Words Can Say”

Canadian glam rockers Alias debuted in 1990 with a self-titled AOR treasure album which in a blink of an eye turned into an absolute sensation, conquering chart after chart and breaking record after record. No one even saw it coming – out of the blue vocalist Freddy Curci and guitarist Steve DeMarchi (Sheriff), along with Roger Fisher, Steve Fossen, and Mike DeRosier (Heart) formed this impressive, though very short-lived supergroup and …well, the rest is history. “Alias” entered the musical battlefield, armed with top notch radio hit singles, like “Waiting for Love”, “Heroes” and “Haunted Heart”. However, the song that truly stood out and made history was the astonishing power ballad, titled “(I Need You Now) More Than Words Can Say”. Every power ballad discussion, mixtape or playlist should feature this tune. As a matter of fact that’s how I got introduced to Alias – through a power ballad compilation CD I got a couple of years back.

There are a number of reasons why I thought this song deserves to get the spotlight! [My Rock Mixtapes] gives you the story of Alias’ “More Than Words Can Say”.


  • alias-i-need-you-now“(I Need You Now) More Than Words Can Say” was released as the second single from their 1990 eponymous debut album. The title is also known as just “More Than Words Can Say” – the (I Need You Now) part was added merely for convenience and advertising purposes. It does look more colorful, poetic and lyric-like, doesn’t it? You can just sing through the title… Also since the phrase “I Need You Now” is repeated so many times in the chorus, the audience thought that was the actual name of the song. Naturally, to make it less confusing and more accessible, they changed the title.
  • The song bears a striking resemblance to Sheriff‘s number one hit “When I’m With You”. Unfortunately, the band didn’t live long enough to enjoy the gains of their single or to release a worthy follow-up while the momentum was still there. After the break-up, Freddy and Steve assembled a new supergroup and were more than ready to once again taste that sweet success. They didn’t wait that long…
  • “More Than Words Can Say”- the brainchild of vocalist Freddy Curci and guitarist Steve DeMarchi, turned into an instant hit, topping the charts in Alias’ homeland of Canada and peaking at #2 on the US Billboard Hot 100. It took the track just a couple of weeks to get from the Top100 to the Top3 – that’s quite the speed, wasn’t it? The sudden and unanticipated commercial success of the song, however, disappeared as quick as it came. Many people refer to Alias as “one-hit-wonders”, though I never actually liked that phrase, especially when there’s talent and hard work.
  • Freddy Curci – the lead singer and songwriter of Alias was presented with BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.)’s “Million-airs Award” for “More Than Words Can Say”. To get а sense of what а million airs means, it’s basically equivalent to 50,000 broadcast hours, which is around 5.7 years of on-going airplay. That’s incredible, isn’t it? How many songs do you think reached such milestones? You’d be surprised – only around 1,500 out of the 4.5 million songs by 300,000 BMI represented artists got this recognition! That should tell you something about the big splash this song made in 1990. “More Than Words Can Say” was basically playing everywhere, all the time! For that acknowledgment itself, this song deserves to take its honorable place in the history of popular music as one of the top played songs on the air. Of course, that’s not the only reason why this song is so worthy and valuable. Musically speaking, the tune has a lot to offer – at least to power ballad enthusiasts like me.
  • The lyrics of “More Than Words” are simple, elegant and up to the point. Words are meaningless when we are faced with a great deal of pain over a loved one who left us. Thinking about that person, imagining that he/she is right there with you – you can’t describe that feeling, you just need that person back in your life or you feel like you might lose your mind. It’s a beautiful ballad to send to someone who you wish to get back with.

…and then there’s this gorgeous live performance


“More Than Words Can Say” Lyrics

Here I am at six o’clock in the morning
Still thinking about you
It’s still hard, at six o’clock in the morning
To sleep without you

And I know that it might
Seem too late for love
All I know

I need you now
More than words can say
I need you now
I’ve got to find a way
I need you now
Before I lose my mind
I need you now

Here I am, I’m looking out my window
I’m dreaming about you
Can’t let you go, at six o’clcok in the morning
I feel you beside me

And I know that it might
Seem too late for love
For love Oh, Oh, Oh

I need you now
More than words can say
I need you now
I’ve got to find a way
I need you now
Before I lose my mind
I need you now
More than words can say
I need you now
Oh I got to hear you say
I need you now
Before I lose my mind
I need you now
I need you now


References:
Lyrics, retrieved from www.lyricsfreak.com
“More than Words Can Say” Official Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/More_Than_Words_Can_Say
P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.

Cheers~

[’80s Rock Album Focus] HELIX – Long Way To Heaven (1985)

helix-long-way

Released: November 9, 1985
Genre: Heavy Metal / Hard Rock
Duration: 36:25
Label: Capitol
Producer(s): Tom Treumuth

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OVERVIEW

If you are already in possession of Helix“Long Way to Heaven” or you just got your hands on it for the first time, there’s only one thing to do with it – CRANK IT UP and LET IT ROCK! The Canadian heavy metal rockers hit it quite big with their 1984 release Walkin’ the Razor’s Edge” so fans were pretty excited to see whether their third album for Capitol records will be as mighty as its predecessor. Don’t let the angelic album cover fool you – “Long Way to Heaven” is everything but innocent! The year was 1985 – the glam metal scene had already become an endless ocean where every 10 seconds a new band was trying to make its way between the shoals. That didn’t stop Helix from writing some top notch compositions and rocking the hell out of the ‘80s! Helix were never just about the hair, the glam, the big venues and the ostentatious music videos. They were a laid-back band that just knew how to make good old and highly enjoyable rock&roll. “Long Way to Heaven” doesn’t really stand out with its flashy production qualities, complicated arrangements or lyrics that can dig a hole in your heart. This album is all about having fun, drinking a beer and living life at its fullest!

“Long Way to Heaven” is one big ball of energy. It opens with “The Kids Are All Shakin’” – a worthy appetizer that builds up your excitement for what’s coming. Number two on the tracklist is the power ballad “Deep Cuts the Knife”. Released as the first album single (I love it when the first single is a ballad), the moving tune turned into one of the biggest radio hits from “Long Way to Heaven”. No surprises there – a bit heavier than your ordinary ‘80s power ballad which is exactly why it’s so good! What follows is a great playlist, featuring dangerously compelling rockers, like “Ride the Rocker”, “Long Way to Heaven” and my personal favorite “House on Fire”! I have previously expressed how much I adore a song with a persuasive guitar intro and “House on Fire’s” first 37 seconds just blew my mind! Every band had a song, named after a girl’s name. For Helix, it was “Christine” – another memorable, well-written moment, coming out of their fifth album!

Well-crafted hard rockers, superb vocals by Brian Vollmer and loads of straightforward hard rock spirit are the reason why “Long Way to Heaven” achieved the platinum status in Canada. Believe me, with this album the way to rock&roll is not that long! Cheers and take all the pleasure!


Long Way to Heaven

It’s a long way to Heaven
But only three short steps to Hell…

House on Fire

Deep Cuts the Knife

Christine

…or listen to the entire album here:


P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.
The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.
Cheers~

’90S ROCK BLAST: HEAVEN’S EDGE – HEAVEN’S EDGE

heavens-edge-1990-debut

HEAVEN’S EDGE

Released: May 2, 1990
Genre: Hard Rock / AOR / Pop Rock
Duration: 54:46
Label: Rock Candy
Producer(s): Neil Kernon

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OVERVIEW

Philadelphia glam rockers, Heaven’s Edge, had all the right skills, attitude and qualities to hit it big in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. Unfortunately, the train they took turned out to be a very late one. Releasing a hard rock album right before the grunge wave flooded the music scene, didn’t help them at all. Well-polished AOR, catchy hooks, leather pants and long hair were no longer the characteristics major record companies were looking for in a band. Heaven’s Edge were quickly dropped from their label, without getting the stage they were truly made for. Despite all, their self-titled debut still remains a solid effort, filled with exciting rockers, seductive live recordings and a top-notch ballad that deserve nothing but to be cranked up all night long!

“Heaven’s Edge” is packed up with sexy, fun and highly captivating tunes, such as “Play Dirty”, “Can’t Catch Me” and the MTV favorite “Skin to Skin”. Vocalist Mark Evans and lead guitarist Reggie Wu are turning every tune into a heavenly kingdom where melodic rock is the only religion. “Find Another Way” can effortlessly make you fall in love with it at the very first listen. This first-class AOR gem should’ve gotten all the radio attention back in the day. I rarely find such a good balance between simplicity, thrill, atmospheric vocals and kick-ass guitars. “Bad Reputation” is yet another remarkably entertaining moment from the record. The hidden treasure is the power ballad “Hold On To Tonight”. If it was given the chance it deserved, it could’ve easily wiped out any ballad that stood on its way the late ‘80s and early ‘90s (even the biggest hits).

“Heaven’s Edge” is an album full of hits that should’ve made history. What’s in the past is in the past, though – it’s a band and an album that are truly worth discovering! If you lift your spirits by playing melodic rock as loud as possible (like me), this is your thing!


Find Another Way

Skin to Skin

Hold On To Tonight

…or listen to the entire album here:

Tracklist:

Intro
Play Dirty
Skin to Skin
Find Another Way
Up Against the Wall
Hold on Tonight
Can’t Catch Me
Bad Reputation
Daddys Little Girl
Is That All You Want?
Come Play the Game
Don’t Stop, Don’t Go


P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.
The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.
Cheers~

The Story of DOKKEN’s Breathtaking Ballad “Alone Again”

I guess there are a couple of tunes you could totally skip when you craft your “’80s power ballad playlist” but Dokken’s “Alone Again” should definitely not be one of them. In fact, when I talk about Dokken with other rock fans or introduce them to people who aren’t so familiar with their career and music catalog, the discussion always starts with “Alone Again”, the highest point of their 1984 sophomore album “Tooth and Nail”. I think it was because in general I am the type of person who always searches and falls for the power ballads, but it took “Alone Again” literally just a couple of seconds to become an instant favorite and a tune I simply can’t live without; there is just something so magical about that song, Don Dokken’s spellbinding vocals, astonishing melody transformations, jumping from gentle acoustic sounds to heavy electric tornadoes; and those lyrics that fill your heart with nothing but beautiful sorrow. It’s a gorgeous but heartbreaking rock tune and it’s my duty to remind you of it, give you another reason to play it just or introduce it to you for the first time.
[My Rock Mixgtapes] presents the story of Dokken’s “Alone Again”.

  • dokken-tooth-and-nailWritten by vocalist Don Dokken and bass guitarist Jeff Pilson, the power ballad “Alone Again” was released as a single from Dokken’s 1984 album “Tooth and Nail”. After a highly unsuccessful debut album, it was do or die for Dokken. The label barely agreed to give them a second chance but thank God they did, otherwise brilliant songs such as “Alone Again” would’ve remained on a paper, rotting somewhere under a pile of music notebooks.

  • Don Dokken wrote the song back in the 1970s, when he was barely 25 years old. Here’s what he recalls about the birth of “Alone Again” during an interview with the Sioux Falls, South Dakota radio station, KBAD 94.5 FM:

“I wrote it on a little 4-track recorder, put it on a cassette and it ended up in a box for, like, eight years. And the record company, on Tooth And Nail, our second album, they said ballads are the thing. Journey had a big hit with ‘Lights’ and Night Ranger… Everybody had ballads, and we didn’t have any ballads. So I dug out a bunch of times, and [I went], ‘What’s this? ‘Alone Again’ I don’t even remember it.’ So I listened to it, and Jeff Pilson, the [Dokken] bassist, listened to it, and he said, ‘That’s a cool chorus. Maybe we [can] revamp it.’ So we recorded ‘Alone Again.'”
(extract retrieved from http://www.blabbermouth.net)

  • Chart positions have never been a merit for the brilliance, quality or emotional impact of a song and the fact that “Alone Again” barely broke into a top 70 position on the Billboard charts, backs up my claim. Charting at #64 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #20 on the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks Chart most certainly doesn’t make the song unworthy. On the contrary, I do believe that it’s one of the most beloved (though underappreciated) ‘80s power ballads of all time.
  • The lyrics of “Alone Again” have provoked the curiosity of many fans and music journalists and that’s not only in regards to the depressive, post-break up theme they carry. The sensual vocal delivery of Don Dokken truly makes us think whether there’s something more behind those mournful choruses. He was repeatedly questioned about the true story behind those touching words. Here’s what he says about it:

“This is a thing I wrote when I was very young, very naïve. Everybody says, ‘Who’d you write about?’ ‘I don’t know.’ ‘What was the girl’s name?’ ‘I don’t know.’ I must have been in love – it’s a very sad song – but I don’t remember who I wrote it about. I don’t know. It was just a song that came out, I always say, from here [points up above his head] – whatever that higher power is.”
(extract retrieved from http://www.blabbermouth.net)

  • Nothing obscure or overly-poetic about the lyrics; in fact the strength of those words is their simplicity, universalism and the way they are delivered to the public. Losing someone you love with all your heart can be one of the most traumatic and painful experiences of one’s life. You want to see this person “in the morning light” and feel him/her “when it comes to night” but for one reason or another you are all alone and can do nothing but feel sorry for yourself and let the tears “fall like rain”. Yes, for a couple of agonizing moments you will feel like you lost your way but this is life and unfortunately, we have to go through all that and hope that these terrible times will pass as soon as possible.

Alone Again Lyrics

I’d like to see you in the morning light
I like to feel you when it comes to night
Now I’m here and I’m all alone
Still I know how it feels, I’m alone again Tried so hard to make you see
But I couldn’t find the words
Now the tears, they fall like rain
I’m alone again without you
Alone again without you
Alone again without you I said stay, but you turned away
Tried to say that it was me
Now I’m here and I’ve lost my way
Still I know how it feels, I’m alone again

Tried so hard to make you see
But I couldn’t find the words
Now the tears, they fall like rain
I’m alone again without you

I tried so hard to make you see
But I couldn’t find the words
Now the tears, they fall like rain
I’m alone again without you

 


References:
Lyrics, retrieved from: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/dokken/aloneagain.html
Quotes and Extracts, retrieved from: “The Story Behind DOKKEN’s Most Famous Ballad ‘Alone Again”,  http://www.blabbermouth.net/news/the-story-behind-dokkens-most-famous-ballad-alone-again/#L9xtCYpi0LVSdxfS.99

P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.

The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.
Cheers~

[The Greatest Rock Albums of the 80s] WINGER – Winger

http://aornightdrive.blogspot.com.br/

WINGER

Released: August 10, 1988
Genre: Glam Rock / Hard Rock / Progressive Metal
Duration: 43:50
Label: Atlantic
Producer(s): Beau Hill
Certified: Platinum (RIAA)

buy-from-amazon


OVERVIEW

By the time Winger, led by the charismatic vocalist and bass player Kip Winger, debuted, the popularity of glam rock, along with the attention it received from media outlets, was already disappearing, in favor of grunge acts. Nevertheless, their 1988 self-titled release, still managed to impress the audience with its high quality musicianship, ranging from unforgettable melodies to earth-shaking guitar riffs by Reb Beach. Let’s not forget Kip’s vocal range, which put to shame the majority of male vocalists of that era (even the big names).  On the surface, “Winger” may sound like your standard, “safe” hard rock album, fueled with the same old lyrics and well-known rock stunts. However, once you get to know it a little bit deeper, you can easily feel how different it is from the rest of the late ‘80s hard rock albums. Winger’s debut deserves a round of applause for showcasing first-class songwriting skills and distinctive progressive metal touches, hidden here and there in almost each song.

Every track on “Winger” is a potential radio hit. The opening tune, “Madalaine”, which also was their first single, grabs you by the throat right from the very beginning. The immensely catchy and sexy “Seventeen” is one of Winger’s instantly recognizable classics; there’s no way you can forget those fiery riffs. “Hungry” is one of a kind rock fiesta, combining string instruments, haunting chorus and explosive rhythms. The crown jewel of the album has to be the ultimate power ballad “Headed for Heartbreak”. There’s no way you won’t get hooked right from its first opening seconds. That electrifying race between keyboards and guitars, decorated with Kip’s thrilling groans, is something you don’t hear every day! This may as well be one of the top 10 power ballads of the ‘80s! “Without the Night” is the other mid-tempo ballad, which is equally fierce and intriguing as “Headed for Heartbreak”.

Don’t overlook this brilliant album, that’s all I want to say to you. I strongly believe that “Winger” can easily appeal to any rock fan out there – it has the strong hooks, the right lyrics and the flaming riffs, all wrapped under excellent music craftsmanship and superb talent. It’s a must for any record collection!

Read the Story of Winger’s “Headed for A Heartbreak”

 

Tracklist:

Madalaine
Hungry
Seventeen
Without The Night
Purple Haze
State of Emergency
Time To Surrender
Poison Angel
Hangin On
Headed for a Heartbreak
Higher & Higher

Hungry

Seventeen

Madalaine

Without the Night

Headed for a Heartbreak


 

References:
“Winger(album) Official Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winger_(album)
P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.
The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.
Cheers~

10 Forgotten but Deserving AOR Classics

Bands like Journey, Foreigner, Boston, ASIA, Survivor and many of similar nature were among the big names of the contemporary ‘80s rock music scene. Their radio-friendly, synthesizer-driven, rich in pop/rock hooks sound, guaranteed them a solid presence on the airwaves. By the late ‘70s things had already changed for the radio stations as their Album Oriented type of programming was drifting away from its original progressive roots. Program directors and music experts were carefully choosing a couple of songs from a particular rock album (not necessarily the released singles), possessing that “universal” and “commercial” appeal and consequently what we know as Album Oriented Rock format turned into a predominant new direction on the radio stations.

The above mentioned bands received a lot of airplay on AOR stations, mainly because of their well-established catchy hard rock formula for songwriting and music production. I personally don’t think people will ever forget ultimate classics like Foreigner’s “4” or Journey’s “Escape” which even nowadays can be heard all the time on rock radios from all over the world. However, the following albums and ultimately, bands, can’t really brag about that. For one reason or another, they couldn’t establish a solid name in the industry, despite their enormous talent and beautiful rock music. Most of them got lost in translation due to the rising popularity of grunge in the late ‘80s and the beginning of the ‘90s. Others were “one hit wonders” which people don’t think of that often, nowadays. Nevertheless, I really enjoy listening to the following albums and all of them, despite being somewhat forgotten and lost in time, will always be a part of my playlist. I hope I remind you of some or introduce you to an album or an artist you are not so familiar with! Cheers and let’s listen!

 To find out more about what exactly AOR is, read my full publication here:

What is AOR?


Strangeways – Walk In The Fire (1988)

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The Scottish AOR/Melodic rock band, Strangeways debuted in 1984 with an impressive self-titled album, followed by an outstanding sophomore effort – “Native Sons”. Their third album, however, titled “Walk in the Fire” was the reason why I got to know them in the first place. I played the first track – “Where are they Now” and I was immediately captivated by the gorgeous melody and the superb killer-vocals of Terry Brock. Their Americanized sound can be characterized as mixture between Journey, Boston and Bad Company, but with a little something extra. Strageways’ third album which I am presenting to you right now showcases their musical growth and tons of variety, suitable for any rock fan out there (like me) who expects their rock albums to be served with a large dose of great melodies and blasting rock rhythms. In addition to “Where are they now”, some other highlights include the charming power ballad “Love Lies Dying” and the uplifting “Every Time You Cry”.
“Walk in the Fire” didn’t really achieve commercial success, despite its first class AOR qualities. The album, along with the band should’ve been so much bigger back in the day. Nevertheless, they are worth discovering. I can’t recommend this album enough.


Giant – Time to Burn (1992)

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Giant were another one of those immensely talented bands for which the timing just wasn’t right. During the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, all the records companies and music media outlets were shifting their attention and re-adjusting their air time in favor of the newly emerging grunge craze. Giant simply couldn’t compete. Their debut album, “Last of the Runaways” (1989), was somewhat successful, probably due to the ultimate hit ballad, “I’ll See You In My Dreams” and the guitar-driven “I’m a Believer”. However, their sophomore effort – “Time to Burn” didn’t enjoy the same amount of attention and recognition, despite being (in my opinion) better than the debut one in many ways.

“Time to Burn” was released in 1992, which I consider as the last good year of rock music. The album consists of 12 AOR jewels, each better than the one before. It’s a killer collection of rockers, showcasing talent, passion and distinctive style. Giant were not an ordinary AOR band and this album can prove it. From the fiery opening track “Thunder and Lightning” to one of the most emotional power ballads of all time – “Lost in Paradise”, the whole album is one pure melodic heaven. Dann Huff is one of the most expressive vocalists of all time and I can listen to him sing songs like “I’ll be There (When it’s Over)”. Nothing more to say, except get a copy and dive into this AOR treasure!


Fair Warning – Fair Warning (1992)

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The German hard rock band Fair Warning debuted in 1992 (that magical year once again) with a beautiful self-titled AOR album. Despite achieving a moderate commercial success in Japan and some European countries, Fair Warning and the album itself didn’t really make a huge splash in the States, unfortunately.

I listened to the album a couple of months ago for the first time and it was love at first listen. So many intriguing things are happening on this album, I can’t believe people didn’t really pay much attention to it. Every song on “Fair Warning” is a glorious melodic rock anthem. My favorite one has to be the power ballad “Long Gone” which completely re-defined the concept of ballads for me. “Longing for Love”, “One Step Closer”, “Hang On” – all breathtaking AOR classics. If you are a fan of the genre, this is the right album for you. Listen from start to finish and there’s no way you’d be disappointed. Such passion, fuelling “Fair Warning” can rarely be observed.


Mark Free – Long Way from Home (1993)

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Mark Free fronted a couple of glam/hard rock bands such as King Cobra and Single but in 1993, he took off on a journey of his own with an AOR solo debut, titled “Long Way from Home”. The album is the ultimate catch for any melodic rock fan out there. It’s filled with gorgeous vocal performances, impressive hooks and superb keyboard details. “Long Way from Home” offers a great selection of rockers, among which striking tunes like “Someday You’ll Come Running to Me”, “Stranger Among Us”, “State of Love” and “The Last Time” are standing out with breathtaking melodies and lyrics.

Overall, “Long Way from Home” is a bit softer and sweeter but definitely his best work as a performer and as a songwriter, that is in my opinion of course. By 1993, melodic rock was already dead and Mark Free couldn’t revive it with this AOR effort. However, the album is a true masterpiece and nothing can change that. It’s almost impossible to get your hands on a copy but if you do, don’t hesitate to get it!  


Autograph – Sign In Please (1984)

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We all remember Autograph’s signature hit single, the irresistible “Turn up the Radio” which is in my opinion one of the most representative ‘80s rockers. However, there are a couple of other equally enjoyable melodic classics on “Sign in Please” which I believe are worthy of our attention. Night Teen & Non-Stop”, “Deep End”, “Thrill of Love”, “Girlfriends Boyfriend” – all fantastic melodic treasures. The lead singer Steve Plunkett is absolutely killing it on this record! If you are into AOR/melodic rock, you need to have some Autograph in your collection and in particular “Sign in Please” – there’s a lot of passion going on in that album and I can’t recommend it enough.

It’s such a pity that these hardworking LA guys couldn’t enjoy the success they deserved, despite working hard and possessing enormous talent.  I have always been somewhat drawn to Autograph due to their energetic appeal, passionate musicianship and that special “rawness”, which many ‘80s bands couldn’t keep.


Fortune – Fortune (1985)

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Another essential album to listen if you are into ‘80s AOR music. It took me a while to discover Fortune and their 1985 self-titled debut album, but at the end they found their way to my music library. “Fortune” is filled with melodic hooks and catchy lyrics, strictly following the ‘80s AOR formula. “Thrill of It All”, “Lonely Hunter” and the gorgeous ballad “Stacy” are just some of the well-polished and highly appealing rockers from the album.

“Fortune” is very Journey-reminiscent album but that’s not surprising at all. What’s surprising is that radio stations didn’t do much justice for this glorious melodic paradise. This ended up being their only release, unfortunately.


Giuffria – Giuffria (1984)

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American rock band Giuffria (named after the keyboardist Gregg Giuffria) debuted in 1984 with a self-titled album, peaking at #26 on the Billboard charts. The album remained their most successful release but that’s not something to be surprised at – the great Andy Johns, who worked with Free, Quiet Riot, Rod Stewart, Van Halen, Cinderella and many more co-produced “Giuffria”.
The highlight and the most commercially successful single from album is “Call to the Heart”. “Do Me Right”, “Dance” and “Lonely in Love” are some of the other appealing rockers on “Guifrria”. What I love about this album is that it’s very keyboard-driven and I am enjoying that forcefulness track after track. There are no surprises on the record because it once again follows the AOR formula that is designed to appeal to the mainstream audience. However, it’s still a charismatic, perfectly crafted melodic wonderland.

“Giuffria” is one of the most underrated AOR albums of the ‘80s and it makes me so mad because the radio stations should’ve made them kings! Nevertheless, the album will forever remain a must-have by fans who are crazy about everything that is AOR!


Signal – Loud & Clear (1989)

Mark Free once again makes a statement on my AOR list, but this time as the vocalist of Signal. Their 1989 debut album “Loud & Clear” should’ve gotten so much more than it actually did. Every time I think about this album I get so mad, I just want to go back in time and do everything I can to give it all it deserved! For one reason or another (I once again blame it on grunge, though), “Loud & Clear” couldn’t make a name for itself but that doesn’t mean it should be overlooked! The album is filled with impressive AOR hooks, powerful riffs and outstanding vocal performances, guaranteeing a great mood. Where do I begin – “Arms of a Stranger”, “My Mistake”, “This Love This Time” – only a few of the deserving classics from “Loud & Clear”. You can find tons of quality rock music on this album.

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Treat – Dreamhunter (1987)

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There’s just something special about Swedish rock bands and Treat are one of the bands that tells us why. Unfortunately, despite being so talented, they couldn’t become a household name in the 1980s melodic rock scene. There was another Swedish rock band that took all the glory but I won’t be talking about them right now.

Their third studio album, titled “Dreamhunter” is another example of how a perfect AOR album should sound like. However, there was also something quite different about Treat and this release in particular, I believe. It’s a bit heavier and definitely more intense but still capturing that AOR spirit with its smooth melodies and attractive vocals. “Sole Survivor”, “Take Me on Your Wings” and You’re The One I Want” are some of the stand outs from “Dreamhunter”, all impressing with great production value and brilliant melodies.There’s absolutely no way this album can’t win over any melodic/AOR fan.
“Dreamhunter” is very difficult to find but in case you come across it, don’t hesitate to buy it!


Harem Scarem – Harem Scarem (1991)

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I almost forgot about the Canadian rockers Harem Scarem and their 1991 self-titled debut album, which according to many fans is one of the best AOR debuts of all time, despite its moderate success and little to no attention from the US music scene. Harem Scarem never actually broke into the mainstream audience, despite releasing some pretty decent AOR classics, including this album, of course.

“Harem Scarem” has no weak or filler song – each one is a potential radio hit. “Hard to Love”, “With a Little Love” and the gentle ballad “Honestly” are some of my favorite ones from the album. There’s just so much more than beautiful melodies and catchy rhythms. The album has depth and I believe it could easily be felt after just one listen. Don’t even get me started on how great Harry Hess sounds on this record. Overall, the pace is a bit faster and there’s more intensity, a bit metal-like even, but still, Harem Scarem are absolutely killing it with this AOR jewel.

 

 


P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.
The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.
Cheers~