Great Rock Albums of 1984: Dennis DeYoung- Desert Moon

Journey wasn’t the only band whose members carried out solo projects in 1984. By the way, Steve Perry wasn’t the only member of Journey with his fingers in another pie in this year but that’s a story for another time. Styx had only disbanded less than a year before and by the end of 1984, two former members of the band had released solo albums. The first of these was by former singer and keyboards player, Dennis De Young, who came out with “Desert Moon,” in the middle of the year.

Styx

Like Steve Perry, if I allowed myself to be influenced by singles on radio or MTV, I would have ignored this album. The first single, the title track, while not a bad song, sounds a little too much like the very successful Styx single “Babe.” While a big hit for the band, “Babe” was never in my top ten of favourite Styx songs. Fortunately, it’s not the best song on the album which bears its name.

When I first heard the opener, “Don’t Wait for Heroes,” I was quite upbeat. Maybe Dennis was taking the progressive/hard rock formula that worked so well with his former band and incorporating it in his solo album. For me, this is the best song on the album. The next track, “Please,” tries to carry this on and does so reasonably but doesn’t quite come up to the opener. “Boys Will Be Boys” is a better track and could have been as good as the “Don’t Wait for Heroes” but Dennis goes a bit too new wave with it and I found that a turn off. After the title track, “Suspicious” is a very interesting track. It’s a definite progressive rock track, in fact, it sounds very suspiciously (yep pun intended) like 10CC. Still, it’s a very upbeat and enjoyable song, with some good guitar solos compliments of Tom Dziallo. It gives the opener a very close competition for my top spot.

My biggest criticism of “Desert Moon” is the cover of the Jimi Hendrix classic, “Fire.” I know Dennis was a keyboards player and that song would have worked if done right but it wasn’t. He tries to make it too new wave or something and it just doesn’t work. The album ends with two softer ballad type songs. Dennis’s voice was well suited to such songs, although the former, “Gravity” transforms into a cabaret type of song, which doesn’t rock me until the guitar solo which does save it a little.

Track Listing:

  1. Don’t Wait For Heroes
  2. Please
  3. Boys Will Be Boys
  4. Fire
  5. Desert Moon
  6. Suspicious
  7. Gravity
  8. Dear Darling (I’ll Be There)

Dennis DeYoung

Dennis DeYoung- vocals, keyboards, piano, percussion

Tom Dziallo- all guitars, bass, backing vocals

Dennis Johnson- bass

Tom Radtke- drums, percussion

Steve Eisen- conga, saxophone, conductor

Rosemary Butler- duet vocal on “Please”

Sandy Caulfield- backing vocals

Suzanne DeYoung, Dawn Feusi, Pat Hurley- additional backing vocals

Dennis DeYoung was the first former Styx member out of the starting blocks with a solo album. “Desert Moon” has some good moments and overall is an okay album. However, it doesn’t rock all the way through leaving it unbalanced. Still might be worth a listen, I’ll let you judge from my two favourite tracks.

Next post: HSAS- Through the Fire

Hopefully, there will be a new link for “Rock And Roll Children” soon.

Meanwhile it’s still available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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14 Responses to “Great Rock Albums of 1984: Dennis DeYoung- Desert Moon”

  1. So, as a fan of Styx before this, I did what you did not: I let the single influence me, and I ignored Dennis from this point on 😦

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I was ok with this post until I saw the hated Red Sox. 😉

    The 80’s were really tough on many great 70’s musicians. The A & R men and record labels forced bands to use awful sounding keys, synths and gimmicks. Many harder acts went soft and the bottom fell out for many.
    I bought this album used but have not listened to it yet for this reason. I kind of assumed it was just ok.
    Also the Don Johnson-Miami Vice look did nothing for me.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sorry, if I knew you hated the Red Sox so much, I would have posted another video. I’m a National Leaguer so I didn’t foresee the negative effect that had. You are totally correct on your analogy of what the 80s did to some really good 70s acts on both sound and image.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Are you a Phillies fan? I am a Jays fan, so if you do cheer for the Phillies, sorry about 1993 World Series.
        I did really like John Kruk. He really didn’t look like a Major Leaguer though.
        I also loved Doc Halladay and still cheered for him in Philadelphia.

        I have been thinking about doing a post about 70’s acts that sucked in the 80’s.

        I loved my heavy music so the acts that wimped out in the 80’s quickly were dead to me. Also, I did not find out about the great earlier music some of these acts had put out until much later.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Don’t worry, it’s all water under the bridge. Besides, while I somewhat support the Phillies because they were my local team, I’m actually a Dodgers fan. I would love to read that post about 70s acts who sucked in the 80s. I might even be able to contribute a few.

        Like

  3. It’s strange that when all these folk when solo they opted for pale blue suits, pastel colours and soft focus, eh? Swear I’ve seen that album cover a zillion times for different solo albums… as Bop suggests, the Miami Vice look was strong. 80s changed the musical landscape in many ways… mostly about chasing sales than laying down some incredible jams. I guess all these soft rock albums illustrate that.

    Not that they’re all like that or that they’re even bad, right enough! But they just appear generic and more about image than anything else.

    Liked by 1 person

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