A Dose of Power Ballads from CINDERELLA

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Among the endless river of glam rock bands, flooding the music scene in the late ‘80s, one band managed to stand out with their enormous talent and exceptional songwriting skills. That’s right, I’m talking about Cinderella, led by the exceptional Tom Keifer. I fell in love with their music and with his instantly recognizable, out-of-this-world, husky voice the moment I heard “Don’t Know What You Go (Till It’s Gone)”. That was a very pivotal moment for me because that’s how I was introduced to one of my favorite bands, Cinderella. Not only that but that song became a very important part of my life and one of the reasons why I fell in love with ‘80s power ballads in general. As a matter of fact, when I talk about power ballads and their dominance during that period, a couple of songs instantly come to my mind, including Cinderella’s “Nobody’s Fool” and “Don’t Know What You Go (Till It’s Gone)”. Why? Well, because those two are the absolute staples of ‘80s power ballads and the ultimate examples of how it’s okay to follow a trend, as long as you have a talent and do things with elegance and style. Those two tunes defined the relatively short-lived (unfortunately) career of Cinderella and honestly if you are going to be remembered by a couple of songs, they better be that good. In our case they are THAT GOOD! On top of it all, those two power ballads are their best-selling songs of all time! That should say something, right?

Cinderella’s catalog, include four studio albums – “Night Songs” (1986), “Long Cold Winter” (1988), “Heartbreak Station” (1990) and “Still Climbing” (1994). Those records spawned some pretty awesome rockers, including “Shake Me”, “Night Songs”, “Somebody Save Me”, “Shelter Me” and many more. Moreover, they housed a couple of groundbreaking tender rock ballads, which I would like to talk about now. The two previously mentioned blockbuster ballads are not the only slow-paced rockers Cinderella can brag with. There are a couple of more gentle tunes, which I believe are worthy of appreciation. If you are a rock ballad freak like me, you would probably enjoy the following playlist quite a lot. Let’s go!


Nobody’s Fool

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“Nobody’s Fool” was released as the second single from their debut album “Night Songs” (1986) and quickly conquered the charts in the States. In addition, it became their second best-selling single, coming after “Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone)”. Written by Tom Keifer himself, the song talks about a protagonist, being used, mistreated and lied to in a relationship. Tom sings about being sick and tired of being someone’s fool. He finally got the strength to cut things off and keep his self-respect.

I personally think the lyrics are the most appealing part of the song because the topic of being abused, taken for granted or toyed around with by someone else is something we have all experienced in our lives. Of course, Tom’s scratchy voice makes things much deeper. I especially love the part where he sings I scream my heart out, just to make a dime, and with that dime i bought your love, But now i’ve changed my mind…” – this is such a powerful moment.

“That song, that’s something I think everyone can relate to. In life there is the falling in love, and then there’s the falling out of love. There are songs for both experiences, and ‘Nobody’s Fool’ is certainly the song for the falling out of love experience. And I would say that was not written for any one particular person. I’d been through that several times prior to writing that song. A lot of times, the emotions of songs are cumulative. That’s not one particular experience, but the culmination of many, “ Tom Keifer explained.


Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone)

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“Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone)” was once again written by singer-songwriter and co-founder of Cinderella, Tom Keifer. The track was released as a single from their second album “Long Cold Winter” (1988). Up to date, it’s their highest charting single and most successful track! It was also pretty popular on MTV as it received heavy rotation in the late 80s.
“Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone)” can easily become a soundtrack to the end of a love story – a painful reminder of how we have to cherish and appreciate what we have because one day, it might be long gone. I am absolutely in love with the lyrics, though I must say they make me feel so sad and lonely. Tom just knows how to craft something so beautiful and lasting. Don’t even get me started on his vocal delivery – absolutely mind-blowing.

Read the Story of Cinderella’s “Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone)”


Long Cold Winter

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“Long Cold Winter” may not fit perfectly into the description of a “power ballad”, however the tender blues tune is still one of Cinderella’s greatest ballads of all time, at least to me. The title track from their 1988 album is once again reminding us that they are not your ordinary glam rock band. Tom Keifer draws his influences from the blues and he is mixing it with the typical elements of ‘80s glam rock with such ease and excellence. His soulful voice was made for such kind of songs.


Coming Home

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A country-style grandiose ballad which is another highlight from “Long Cold Winter”. The guitar work is simply superb. I don’t even have to talk about Tom – he makes the whole experience so atmospheric. That album is splendid, there’s just no weak no song or performance! It’s a must for everyone!

 


Heartbreak Station

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In 1990, Cinderella came back with another incredible record, titled “Heartbreak Station”, which Tom Keifer himself often point as his favorite Cinderella album. Once again fans weren’t disappointed with the new material. The title song, a power ballad yet again, is moving a bit further from the successful formula they used for the previous tender rockers. “Heartbreak Station” can’t exactly fall under the category of glam rock, I believe. The song, as well as the entire album as a matter of fact, is more blues, hard rock-influenced which I believe was the natural way to go. Tom Keifer wanted to fully embrace the spirit of The Rolling Stones and he did it quite eloquently.

 “Heartbreak Station” is one of my most beloved songs of all time. The lyrics are too sentimental and Tom’s vocal delivery is playing with my emotions with such an ease. He is simply singing about being heartbroken, after his love left him. A simple concept, but delivered in a stunning way.


Winds of Change

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The delicate “Winds of Change” is the last song on “Heartbreak Station” and one of their underrated songs. I recently re-discovered it and quickly turned into one of my soothing safe places. The gentle acoustic guitars and Tom’s shape-shifting voice are just sending me to another realm. It’s a very beautiful song and in case you missed it, now is your chance to take a listen.


Hard to Find the Words

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Many people overlooked Cinderella’s last album – “Still Climbing” (1994) merely because the timing wasn’t right for this kind of release. The audience was obsessed with grunge and alternative rock bands, which were dominating all musical mediums, including the biggest one – MTV. Tom had to deal with vocal issues, the company also didn’t do much justice with the promotion of the record and adding the grunge boom, we can conclude that “Still Climbing” had a very little chance to make a difference on the music scene. It’s quite sad, actually – the album is so beautiful and soul-soothing.

The two ballads from “Still Climbing”“Hard to Find the Words” and “Through the Rain” are the highlights of the album, in my opinion of course. Especially the latter, I believe holds one of the keys to my heart. I wish more people would appreciate it the way I do.

Through the Rain

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A gorgeous race between gentle piano sounds, mellow guitars and Tom’s alien-like voice! This song is sending me to heaven.


References:
“Nobody’s Fool” on SongFacts: http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=2022
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~

A Mixtape for Your Perfect Rock&Roll Christmas

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It’s that wonderful time of the year again!

Beautifully decorated trees are brightening up every home, people are giving each other presents, delicious food is warming up the mood and everyone is just enjoying the holidays with their families and loved ones. Presents or no presents – it doesn’t really matter, right? What truly matters (at least to me) is…the music! You can’t have the perfect Christmas, without the proper music can you?. In my case, we are talking about some serious Christmas rock&roll which is an absolute necessity for my holiday celebrations. I mean there are some classic Christmas pop tunes which are, of course, always pleasant to listen to – “Santa Baby”, “Jingle Bell Rock”, “Here Comes Santa Claus”, etc. (and ultimately the ubiquitous “Last Christmas” and “All I Want for Christmas is You” which are a must), however, as a proud rock soul, I need my dose of rock&roll spirit, even on Christmas.

I have prepared a little mixtape, consisting of 10 songs, perfectly suitable for your rock&roll Christmas. Each one of those tunes is capturing the essence of the holidays and can absolutely brighten up your festivities. Most importantly, they are all performed by great rock musicians who invested a lot of time and effort to be with us, even on Christmas.The playlist truly is one melting pot – from classic rockers like The Beatles, to glam rock bands, like Danger Danger, I tried to introduce some variety and maybe some new perception on how Christmas should sound like.

Here we go, I do hope you enjoy it!

🎁Merry Christmas🎁


christmas-balladsThe first four tracks I chose for this year’s Christmas rock&roll mixtape: Tom Keifer – Blue Christmas, Danger Danger – Naughty Naughty Christmas, Dokken – Santa Claus is Coming to Town and Firehouse – Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree, are all featuring in a compilation album, titled “Monster Ballads Xmas”. The 2007 CD brought together notable rockstars, mostly glam rock representatives, such as Dokken, Danger Danger, Firehouse, Kip Winger, Nelson and others. This hard rock extravaganza is filled up with newly recorded Christmas songs, bringing the ultimate holiday experience to its listeners. I could’ve simply put each and every song from that album on the playlist, but I chose those four because I see them as the most attractive moments from the collection. Tom Keifer’s voice has to be appreciated all the time, including on Christmas. “Blue Christmas” or should I say, “Blues Christmas” is an absolute masterpiece. Danger Danger are spicing up the mood with a sexy tune, reminiscent of their hit “Naughty Naughty”. Dokken’s interpretation of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” is stunning and Firehouse are definitely bringing the fire with “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”.

💕🎄Tom Keifer – Blue Christmas💕🎄

💕🎅Danger Danger – Naughty Naughty Christmas💕🎅

💕🎄Dokken – Santa Claus is Coming to Town💕🎄

💕🎅Firehouse – Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree💕🎅


Cheap Trick’s “Come on Christmas” is basically an altered Christmas version of their 1978 song “Come on, Come on”. It’s funny, catchy and so appealing. It hits you really hard so if you don’t want to mess around with some melodic Christmas rockers, this is the song for you.

💕🎄Cheap Trick – Come on Christmas💕🎄


We all adore Bryan Adams, so his most famous Christmas song –“Christmas Time” had to be on this year’s playlist as well. Despite being released in 1985, the tune is still enjoying a lot of attention and is one of the staples of holiday radio programs all over the world. I can understand why, Bryan is bringing so much to the table. You can just play it on a loop for your entire season and you’ll still love it every time!

💕🎅Bryan Adams – Christmas Time💕🎅


In 2000, Lynyrd Skynyrd released a Christmas-themed album titled “Christmas Time Again”. The title song has been a favorite holiday song of mine for so many years. The bluesy rhythms and Johnny’s soothing vocals can turn any Grinch into a Christmas elf. Take any song from that album and your festive mood would be guaranteed.

💕🎄Lynyrd Skynyrd – Christmas Time Again💕🎄


There can’t be a Christmas without Queen’s “Thank God it’s Christmas”, right? Released back in 1984, the holiday tune enjoyed significant success on the charts. However, no music video was filmed for this song, which means it couldn’t be promoted on the music channels. It’s a less known song (at least among the general population), however I definitely can’t imagine my holiday without Freddie singing “The moon and stars seem awful cold and bright, Let’s hope the snow will make this Christmas right…”

💕🎅Queen – Thank God it’s Christmas💕🎅


The Beatles loved their fans, that’s for sure. Every Christmas, members of their official fan-club would receive a record with Christmas carols, original compositions and a “thank you” for being a devoted fan. That sounds incredible!
Those records haven’t been released officially, but one song –Christmas Time (Is Here Again)” (1967) made it to The Beatles Anthology project in 1995. The Fab Four bringing the festivities to your home with their lovely harmonies – there’s nothing better than that!

💕🎄The Beatles – Christmas Time is Here Again💕🎄


The Kinks contributed to the rock&roll Christmas spirit in 1977 with their single “Father Christmas”. You can always count on The Kinks to turn things upside down, even on the purest holiday, Christmas. The song is about a gang of poor kids, demanding money, instead of toys from a department store Father Christmas. They are ready to throw in a few punches as well, as long as they get what they want. I love the concept and the song is immensely catchy! It’s a must for every Christmas.

💕🎅The Kinks – Father Christmas💕🎅


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] CINDERELLA – Night Songs

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NIGHT SONGS

Released: August 2, 1986
Genre: Hard Rock/Glam Metal
Duration: 36:05
Label: Mercury
Producer(s): Andy Johns
Certified: 3xPlatinum (RIAA)
Singles: “Shake Me”, “Nobody’s Fool”, “Somebody Save Me”

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OVERVIEW

I’m putting this record under the category of “The Greatest Rock Albums of the 80s”, because as subjective as it may sound, this album has no weak, boring or spiritless song. I don’t think Cinderella could’ve made a better debut album!  “Night Songs” was often criticized for being too generic and quite indistinguishable among the endless sea of hair metal bands, releasing pretty similar music, all cooked by following the well-established recipe for success in the late 80s. I can never agree with this statement because Cinderella were everything BUT your ordinary glam rock band. Unfortunately, their image was what often confused people, though I always say that their talent goes above and beyond the big hair, tight leather pants and leopard shirts. We also have to consider their secret weapon – Tom Keifer. Unfortunately, when we talk about male rock vocalists he is often forgotten, despite possessing one of the most unique high-pitched voices. On top of that, he was/is a brilliant songwriter – each and every song on “Night Songs” is written by him! Such a talent!

“Night Songs” offers an excellent selection of blues-oriented explosive metal riffs of guitarist Jeff LaBar, flavored by the scratchy fierce voice of Tom Keifer, all cloaked under dark, mysterious and quite intriguing character of the record. Their first single “Shake Me”, despite not making it on the charts, rocks pretty hard; sexy, suggestive, catchy and uplifting, the song is one of their ultimate classics. The power-ballad “Nobody’s Fool” is the song that actually got me into their music years ago. One of the most intense and beautifully written power-ballads of the era though I’m not sure I can put it under the same category as the numerous other silly little love ballads of the 80s – it’s too special and so much better! “Nobody’s Fool” is just a different kind of monster, though I definitely hear some AC/DC and Def Leppard influence. “Nothin for Nothin”, “Hell on Wheels” and “In From the Outside” – all infectious rockers, with not so much lyrical depth but still leaving quite the aftertaste! The title track “Night Songs” is a bit darker and gloomier, though quite rhythmic and obsessive. The third single “Somebody Save Me” has quite the memorable MV with their benefactors Bon Jovi appearing at the end. The song itself is one of the finest moments of the record with the most memorable lyrics, telling us about the failed American dream.

To sum up, don’t get turned off by how Cinderella look because believe me, there’s so much more to them than their image!! Cinderella are no Poison or Warrant – their music comes from deeper places. “Night Songs” has a special aura, fuelled with actual music competence in addition to the obvious blues base – all that makes things so much more interesting. After just one listen you will understand what’s the difference between Cinderella and all the other spandex-wearing boys of the era. It’s such a shame that this album and the band never actually got the recognition they deserved. But I’m here to remind you and get to you – listen to this gorgeous explosion of riffs full of live and vocals out of this world!

Tracklist:

“Night Songs” – 4:12
“Shake Me” – 3:44
“Nobody’s Fool” – 4:49
“Nothin’ for Nothin'” – 3:33
“Once Around the Ride” – 3:22
“Hell on Wheels” – 2:49
“Somebody Save Me” – 3:16
“In from the Outside” – 4:07
“Push, Push” – 2:52
“Back Home Again” – 3:30

Shake Me

Nobody’s Fool (#13, 1986)

Somebody Save Me (#66, 1986)

Nothin For Nothin


References:
“Night Songs” Official Wikipedia Webpage: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Night_Songs_(Cinderella_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~