The debut album, “Dawn Patrol” from Night Ranger would spark off a great debate that would last for several years. Were Night Ranger a heavy metal band? My opinion on this question lies in the fact that I am visiting the album in my great rock albums section and not the great metal albums one. However, the problem back then was with mainstream radio. Many deejays were to quick to put any music with a hard power chord into the heavy metal category thus infuriating metalheads like me for a number of years. For me, the answer to the debate would be solved with Night Ranger’s 1985 album.
Another reason why I don’t class Night Ranger as metal is because the first time I heard their most well known song, “Don’t Tell Me You Love Me,” I thought it was being sung by Rick Springfield. You have to admit, the chorus is very much like Springfield and when that mind blowing guitar solo came in, I simply assumed that he managed to find a great lead guitarist to play on it. Well, I was partially right because both Jeff Watson and Brad Gillis are great guitarists.
“Dawn Patrol” is for the most part a good hard rock album but does venture across the border into progressive rock. The mentioned big single is a great rocker in spite of my earlier comments about it being a Rick Springfield tune. Three and four years later, it was still played every Friday night at the heavy metal night at a club on the outskirts of East London. That club is a McDonald’s now but that’s not important. However, the album boasts other hard rocking jams as well. “Young Girl in Love,” “Penny” and “Play Rough” to name just three and I would be quick to put forward “At Night She Sleeps.” Then there are less hard songs like “Sing Me Away” which is keyboard dominated. Whatever category you want to put Night Ranger in, you can’t get away from the fact that these guys can really play, especially on this album.
1. Don’t Tell Me You Love Me
2. Sing Me Away
3. At Night She Sleeps
4. Call My Name
5. Eddie’s Comin’ Out Tonight
6. Can’t Find Me a Thrill
7. Young Girl in Love
8. Play Rough
10. Night Ranger
Jack Blades- bass, vocals
Jeff Watson- guitar
Brad Gillis- guitar
Alan ‘Fitz’ Fitzgerald- keyboards
Kelly Keagy- drums, vocals
Night Ranger, in my view, were never heavy metal. They were a great hard rock band in the early 1980s, which their debut album clearly shows. True, they would go more commercial with later albums and turn metalheads like me off of them, but “Dawn Patrol” is more hard rock than anything and it 1982, got people like me excited.
Next post: Gillan- Magic
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