THE ENORMOUS SUCCESS of ‘The Final Countdown’ single and album, undoubtedly took the world by surprise. Who among us would have imagined that an, up until then, obscure Swedish hard rock band would have the reach and good fortune to elevate their profile to international superstar status so easily. It was a turn of events that reinforces the notion that anything can be possible as long as the stars are in alignment and the songs are undeniable. Europe was formed during the late 70s, initially under the name of Force, before they scored a record deal with CBS and switched their name to Europe. They had recorded, as Europe, two well received albums in their native Sweden but were then taken under the wing of CBS in New York who encouraged the band to pull out all the stops for their third album. It was, in effect, a Cinderella story (albeit a seven year overnight success) and they grasped the opportunity to craft one of the greatest melodic hard rock albums of the ‘80s. On release the record faced slow progress but gradually the title track started to gain traction across the globe, hitting the top spot in several territories, selling over three million copies of the album in the USA alone. Produced by Kevin Elson (Journey, Mr Big) and issued in March 1986, the album contains a concise and extremely well written selection of tracks, including the rousing ‘Rock The Night’, ‘Cherokee’, ‘On The Loose’, and the glorious ballad ‘Carrie’. Of course, it’s the indelible mark left by the title track that the album will be best remembered for. Look out too for some searing guitar work from John Norum.
SPECIAL DELUXE COLLECTOR’S EDITION. Fully Remastered Audio, 6 Bonus tracks, 16 page full colour booklet, 3,500 word essay, new interview and enhanced artwork
TRACK LISTING: 1. THE FINAL COUNTDOWN 2. ROCK THE NIGHT 3. CARRIE 4. DANGER ON THE TRACK 5. NINJA 6. CHEROKEE 7. TIME HAS COME 8. HEART OF STONE 9. ON THE LOOSE 10. LOVE CHASER - BONUS TRACKS - 11. THE FINAL COUNTDOWN (LIVE) 12. DANGER ON THE TRACK (LIVE) 13. CARRIE (LIVE) 14. SEVEN DOORS HOTEL (1986 VERSION) 15. ROCK THE NIGHT (B-SIDE REMIX) 16. ON BROKEN WINGS (B-SIDE)
IF YOU THOUGHT the making of Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Rumours’ was fraught with difficulty then spare a thought for British melodic rockers If Only. Their trials and tribulations may not have been on the same widescreen international scale as the Mac, but the amount of frustration, angst and disappointment was probably even more crushing. Here was a band with all the promise of a bright career ahead of them that was continuously derailed, mostly through no fault of their own, unable to capitalise on their rising star status. Formed in 1988 and driven by guitarist and talented songwriter Greg Hart (who later went on to form Cats In Space), the band was fronted by singer Jackie Bodimead who had built up a solid reputation as a member of both Girlschool and Rock Goddess, two of the most successful and well known of the all female British hard rock bands. Jackie’s voice lent the material a world class sheen that quickly attracted industry attention, led by former Yes and then Asia keyboard player Geoff Downes who signed them to his boutique label and set about producing their debut album. However, nearing completion, Jackie decided to leave the band. Fortunately a saviour was at hand in the form of Tina Egan who stepped into Jackie’s shoes, recording new vocals and giving the project fresh life. Sadly however, the musical times had changed by then, with the likes of Nirvana forging a rough and raw sound, leaving the melodic delicacies of If Only stranded and killing all hope of scoring a meaningful release. Time, however, has done nothing but enhance the band’s music and here we present tracks from both vocalists, confirming that this record, with either singer, is indeed a buried treasure.
SPECIAL DELUXE COLLECTOR’S EDITION. Fully Remastered Audio, 16 page full colour booklet, 3,500 word essay, new interview and unpublished artwork
TRACK LISTING: 1.LOADED GUN 2. TUMBLIN’ DICE 3. IF LOVE COULD LAST FOREVER 4. I’M NO ANGEL 5. NO BED OF ROSES 6. EASY LAY 7. ROCK AND A HARD PLACE 8. RED HOT HEAVEN 9. GHOST OF YOU 10. FOREVER MY LOVE 11. LONG WAY FROM HOME 12. MAN AGAINST THE WORLD 13. ALL OVER 14. STAND LIKE A STONE 15. DON’T LET GO 16. SHOTDOWN 17. TIGHT JEANS
DURING THE MID-eighties Shy were perceived as one of the best hopes to ignite the British homegrown hard rock scene. They were tipped to follow in the footsteps of similar leaning melodic rock bands such as Bon Jovi and Def Leppard, who were enjoying huge success appealing to both poprock and traditional hard rock fans. With this, their third album, the band refined their sound and made a concerted attempt to square up to the challenge before them. Evidence of their new-found focus was the selection of a world-renowned and highly respected producer; Neil Kernon, a man who had overseen many successful records, including Autograph, Dokken, Kansas and Queensrÿche. The band also seriously immersed themselves into writing and refining their material, often co-writing with the likes of Michael Bolton, Don Dokken and Bob Kulick. The result was a masterful album that certainly caused heads to turn and platitudes to spill forth. Originally issued in January 1987, the album boasts several important tracks, and is blessed with superb production touches that made the record, at the time, extremely competitive with songs such as ‘Emergency’, ‘Young Heart’, ‘Break Down The Walls’ and the plaintive ballad ‘When The Love Is Over’. Although it’s infused with massive harmonies, precision musicianship and superb arrangements, the record is most noticeably propelled and driven by Tony Mill’s extraordinary lead vocals. It’s fair to say that this album is a perfect slice of eighties melodic hard rock, one that remains a benchmark for a style that actually still sounds fresh and relevant.
SPECIAL DELUXE COLLECTOR’S EDITION. Fully Remastered Audio, 5 Bonus tracks, 16 page full colour booklet, 3,500 word essay, new interview and enhanced artwork.
TRACK LISTING:1. EMERGENCY 2. CAN’T FIGHT THE NIGHTS 3. YOUNG HEART 4. JUST LOVE ME 5. BREAK DOWN THE WALLS 6. UNDER FIRE 7. DEVIL WOMAN 8. TALK TO ME 9. WHEN THE LOVE IS OVER 10. TELEPHONE - BONUS TRACKS – 11. RUN FOR COVER (single version) 12. ONLY YOU (single version) 13. DON’T WANNA LOSE YOUR LOVE (single version) 14. BREAK DOWN THE WALLS (concrete mix) 15. BREAK DOWN THE WALLS (7” single edit)
THERE WAS AN interesting development in British rock during the mid 80s. Having moved through the traditional NWOBHM style for a while, a number of artists were developing a taste for the sound of America. Artists such as RATT, Dokken and White Lion had consistently influenced the more melodic aspects of the genre. Some British bands seemed to be enthralled by that sound so it was no wonder then that UK record labels caught on and looked to feed their American counterparts with similar acts. Stand up Airrace, Virginia Wolf, Lionheart, Strangeways and…Shy. There was no sign that Shy were in any way inferior to the American AOR groups of the day. They had the sound, the look and the desire to take their music all the way to the top of the charts. With the emphasis on songs and melodic hooks it seemed, for a short while at least, that they could do no wrong. Singer Tony Mills possessed one of the most striking voices of the scene, a powerful mid-range which soared to a high falsetto, providing the band with a unique calling card and an identity that singled them out as a band who would go the distance if all the pieces fell into place. Issued in 1985 and produced by Tony Platt (AC/DC, Krokus, Gary Moore), the album is a vessel for some of the best British melodic hard rock of the era. Tracks such as ‘Hold On (To Your Love)’, ‘Keep The Fires Burning’ and the brilliant ballad ‘Reflections’ are fabulous examples of just how superior the band were and how well they compared with all the other musical competition.
SPECIAL DELUXE COLLECTOR’S EDITION. Fully Remastered Audio, 6 Bonus tracks, 16 page full colour booklet, 3,500 word essay, new interview and enhanced artwork.
TRACK LISTING: 1. OLD ON (TO YOUR LOVE) 2. MY APOLLO 3. REFLECTIONS 4. KEEP THE FIRES BURNING 5. THE HUNTER 6. BRAVE THE STORM 7. WILD WILD WOMAN 8. CAUGHT IN THE ACT 9. WAS I WRONG? - BONUS TRACKS - 10. HOLD ON (TO YOUR LOVE) (Extended Version) 11. STRANGERS IN TOWN 12. DEEP WATER (Once Bitten Mix) 13. GIVE ME A CHANCE (Twice Shy Mix) 14. TWO HEARTS (Live) 15. BEHIND CLOSED DOORS (Live)
WHEN IT COMES to tough no-nonsense hard rock then you’d have to look long and hard to find an album better than ‘No Prisoners’ by Ozz. Stuffed full of top riffs, killer songs and impressive vocals it certainly made its mark on the hard rock cognoscenti despite a lack of sales and relative obscurity. Even now, the album is given appreciative nods and familiar knowing smiles from those who have heard it. Indeed, the lack of mainstream attention seems to have given it almost mythical status in a world where praise is heaped upon even the most inconsequential records currently in circulation. Ozz was initiated by two hugely talented individuals: Chicago born guitarist Gregg Parker and vocalist Minnesota raised Alexis T. Angel. Parker had established something of a reputation for himself backing a number of musicians and leading a recording band by the name of The Infernal Blues Machine who released an album on the London label in 1976. Despite his high profile and musical ability it wasn’t until he met Angel a few years later that sparks really began to fly. The two decided to form Ozz as a vehicle that would crystallise their desire to harness the rampant energy of Led Zeppelin and Aerosmith. Issued in 1980 on the Epic label and produced by British whiz-kid Andy Johns (Led Zeppelin, Free, Hughes Thrall) the album is a blistering collection of red-hot hard rock leaning heavily on the Plant/Page and Tyler/Perry call and response axis. Songs such ‘Sail On’, ‘Hungry Love’ and ‘Givin’ Up On Love’ lead the way but there is not one weak track on this record which in itself is a major victory. Why the album failed to attract even a modicum of commercial recognition at the time is a major mystery.
SPECIAL DELUXE COLLECTOR’S EDITION. Fully Remastered Audio, 12 page booklet, 3,000 word essay, enhanced artwork
TRACK LISTING: 1. Sail On 2. Ain’t No Money 3. Givin’ Up On Love 4. Sister Madness 5. Checkin’ It Out (Baby Don’t You Cry) 6. Hungry Love 7. Dreams 8. Lonely Rider 9. Just Got Back
WE OFTEN CHAMPION overlooked albums, music that was, for one reason or another, sidelined in favour of more commercially successful records and, as we’ve proved time and time again, there is often no difference between those that sold millions and those that sold next to zero. Sadly, that is the great shame of the music business but we at Rock Candy are always happy to right wrongs and shine a light on injustice. Aviator, from the US East Coast, was formed by musicians with a history of time spent in various class acts, including Barnaby Bye, Blues Magoos, Balance and Network. The band was fronted by world-class vocalist Ernie White and managed by Tommy Motola (later the CEO of Sony Music), who secured them a deal with RCA records. Produced, at Electric Lady studios in New York, by man of the moment Neil Kernon (Kansas, Autograph, Dokken), to exacting standards, their album was issued in 1986, making an immediate impact on those who heard their tough, yet melodic, hard rock. Despite the excitement amongst the cognoscenti it appears that, due to machinations beyond their control, the record was left to flounder and given very little promotion. Crammed full of superior songs, such as ‘Front Line’, ‘Back On The Streets’, ‘Don’t Turn Away’ and ‘Never Let The Rock Stop’, the album is unquestionably one of the greatest slices of heavy AOR ever recorded. If you’ve never heard it then it’s time to sit back and be amazed.
SPECIAL DELUXE COLLECTOR’S EDITION. Fully Remastered Audio, 2 Bonus tracks, 16 page full colour booklet, 3,500 word essay, new interview and enhanced artwork with unpublished photos.
TRACK LISTING: 1. FRONT LINE 2. BACK ON THE STREET 3. DON’T TURN AWAY 4. WRONG PLACE WRONG TIME 5. NEVER LET THE ROCK STOP 6. COME BACK 7. MAGIC 8. CAN’T STOP 9. TOO YOUNG 10. EVERY SCHOOLBOY KNOWS 11. THROUGH THE NIGHT BONUS TRACKS: 12. WOMAN IN LOVE 13. HOLDING ON
1990 WAS FAST becoming a crucial time for traditional hard rock music. Although the tide hadn’t entirely turned there was a feeling amongst the music media that times were due for a change. It was an odd time as a number of great bands had been signed and were all readying albums for release so the competition was fierce. Baton Rouge were one such act that had the opportunity to establish a power base before the sea change in public taste built a wall of indifference towards the swagger and strut of classic rock. Originally formed in Louisiana during the mid-80s, using various names, the band, led by guitarist Lance Bulen and vocalist Kelly Keeling, opted to move to Los Angeles in 1987, where the scene was ripe for aiding and abetting young bands. They would not be disappointed as their manager hooked them up with seasoned producers David Foster and Mike Clink (Clink was finishing up the Guns N’ Roses ‘Appetite…’ album at the same time) who helped them record a set of impressive demos. The band’s appearances on the LA club circuit soon attracted record company attention, eventually signing with Atlantic records and being taken under the wing of label founder Ahmet Ertegun. ‘Shake Sour Soul’ was produced by early Bon Jovi co-writer Jack Ponti, in New Jersey, and issued in 1990 to positive reactions. The album hits hard in the melodic rock style, boasting strong tracks such as ‘Walks Like A Woman’, ‘Bad Time Comin’ Down’ and ‘Baby’s So Cool’. It wasn’t surprising that reaction was favourable, affording the band a good following with solid airplay, and establishing them as ones to watch.
SPECIAL DELUXE COLLECTOR’S EDITION. Fully Remastered Audio, 16 page full colour booklet, 3,500 word essay, new interview and enhanced artwork with unpublished photos.
TRACK LISTING: 1. DOCTOR 2. WALKS LIKE A WOMAN 3. BIG TROUBLE 4. IT’S ABOUT TIME 5. BAD TIME COMIN’ DOWN 6. THE MIDGE (INSTRUMENTAL) 7. BABY’S SO COOL 8. YOUNG HEARTS 9. MELENIE 10. THERE WAS A TIME (THE STORM) 11. HOT BLOOD MOVIN’ 12. SPREAD LIKE FIRE
ALL THREE GODDO ALBUMS: 'S/T' + 'WHO CARES' + 'AN ACT OF'
THERE’S SOMETHING quite compelling about Goddo. Like Max Webster, they enjoyed a reputation as one of the most magnetic and quirky Canadian hard rock bands operating in the late 70s. Employing an off-kilter psyche and a penchant for the absurd, Goddo’s high octane brand of tough-guy rock was further enhanced by some of the most amusing lyrics of the era. The man mostly responsible for this intriguing direction was bassist and main songwriter Greg Godovitz. Like a contemporary court jester his brand of wit and wisdom cast an exceptionally warm glow on the Canadian music scene, even if the content failed to secure huge commercial rewards. As a former member of seasoned Canadian rockers Fludd, he departed that band to create a brand new vehicle following his own vision; melodic hard rock with enough lee-way to include quirky detours. Although primarily a supercharged high octane power trio, they also included elements of jazz and crushing blues rock. Godovitz together with drummer Doug Inglis and guitarist Gino Scarpelli set about recording their debut album in Montreal, unleashing one of the most striking Canadian debut albums of all time. Issued in early 1977, and housed in a superbly illustrated gate-fold cover, the album kicks off with ‘The Bus Driver Blues’ a lyrically hilarious track written about the band’s previous drummer who left the group to drive a school bus. Other tough-nut rockers include ‘Drive Me Crazy’, ‘Let That Lizard Loose’ and ‘Hard Years’. Of course the jewel in the crown is the jazz tinged ‘Under My Hat’, a song complete with a truly memorable hook and menacing vocals from Greg.
SPECIAL DELUXE COLLECTOR’S EDITION. Fully Remastered Audio, Two bonus tracks, 16 page full colour booklet, 3,500 word essay, new interview with Greg Goddovitz and enhanced artwork with unpublished photos.
TRACK LISTING: 1. THE BUS DRIVER BLUES 2. DRIVE ME CRAZY 3. LET THAT LIZARD LOOSE 4. I’M LOSING YOU 5. LET IT SLIDE 6. TWELVE DAYS 7. UNDER MY HAT 8. HARD YEARS BONUS TRACKS; 9. THE BUS DRIVER BLUES (remix) 10. UNDER MY HAT (remix)
THE GREAT THING about the record business during the 1970s was the fact that labels allowed bands to develop organically, often over several albums. For those of us with an interest in more obscure acts it provides a great education and Goddo were no exception. A predominantly hard rock, Canadian, power trio who’s musical growth was spectacular, chomping their way through crunchy blues-based rock tracks and introducing some highly refined twists and turns such as horns and even an orchestra. ‘An Act Of Goddo’, is the culmination of the band’s insatiable appetite for pushing the envelope. Recorded and mixed not in their native Canada but this time in Orlando, Florida, the music is enhanced by a choice selection of tracks, written with one singular intention, to astound the listener. Produced, once again, by Thomas Morley-Turner (actually a pseudonym for band leader Greg Godovitz) the record benefits from some terrific tracks, including tough nut rockers such as ‘So Walk On’, ‘Take Care’, ‘Work It Out’ and arguably the band’s greatest song, the English/French lilting ballad ‘Chantal’. Most spectacular however is the opening, and closing, instrumental ‘Anacanapanacana’, a musical palindrome performed by the Florida Symphony Orchestra consisting of a mash up of melodies found on the rest of the album. It’s a great introduction and one that sets up – and ends - the rest of the record perfectly. There’s no question that this was Goddo’s finest hour, leading us to one singular conclusion, that they were one of Canada’s best kept musical secrets.
SPECIAL DELUXE COLLECTOR’S EDITION. Fully Remastered Audio, 16 page full colour booklet, 3,500 word essay, new interview with Greg Goddovitz and enhanced artwork with unpublished photos.
TRACK LISTING: 1. ANACANAPANACANA 2. SO WALK ON 3. CHANTAL 4. YOU’RE SO CRUEL 5. THE VERDICT’S IN 6. SIGN ON THE LINE 7. ROSIE (JUST HANG ON) 8. TAKE CARE 9. WORK IT OUT 10. ANACANAPANACANA