Great Metal Albums of 1985: Dokken- Under Lock and Key


Listening to Dokken’s third album, “Under Lock and Key,” I’m going to have to retract a comment I recently made on another blog. There, I stated that I find it difficult to choose which album is better between this one and Dokken’s previous album, “Tooth ‘N’ Nail.” Having re-familiarized myself with “Under Lock and Key” after quite a few years, I have to say that I prefer “Tooth ‘N’ Nail.” In some circles, that makes me a heavy metal purist but that’s not the point. I just think, like so many other metal bands in 1985, Dokken were going for commercial success here and the album is slightly less metalized.

Now demoted to second favourite Dokken album, I can now concentrate as to how good “Under Lock and Key” is. After all, it did gain some commercial with success with two cool singles from the album, “The Hunter” and my personal fave, “In My Dreams.” With the latter, I’m just a sucker for the harmonizing intro before guitar, bass and drums come crashing down all around you. This combo works well throughout the entire song with the added bonus of a rather cool George Lynch guitar solo but it’s his solos as to why this album is good.

Here’s a conflict between history according to Wikipedia and my memory. Wiki says that the track, “It’s Not Love,” was only released as a promo single. However, I remember MTV playing the video half to death throughout the summer of 1986. You might remember it, it’s the video where the band play while riding on the back of a flatbed truck (lorry). Doesn’t matter though because it is a great song. I love the intro of George’s guitar lick which appears several times in the song.

What relegated the album to number two in my mind is the absence of a true hidden gem. The other tracks are good, even great, but none of them stands out for me. Even the power ballad, “Slippin’ Away” while good, doesn’t make me want to forget about “Alone Again,” from the previous album. However, it’s like I said, the remaining tracks are good to great but nothing stands out as the hidden gem. You get plenty of great vocals from Don and everything I’ve said about George on guitar still applies to the remaining songs. Plus, Jeff Pilson and Mick Brown could be one of the most underrated rhythm sections in 80s metal. With all of that going for it, “Under Lock and Key” can’t help but to be a very good album.

Track Listing:

  1. Unchain the Night
  2. The Hunter
  3. In My Dreams
  4. Slippin’ Away
  5. Lightning Strikes Again
  6. It’s Not Love
  7. Jaded Heart
  8. Don’t Lie to Me
  9. Will the Sun Rise
  10. Till the Livin’ End


Don Dokken- lead vocals

George Lynch- guitar

Jeff Pilson- bass, backing vocals

Mick Brown- drums, backing vocals

“Under Lock and Key” did give Dokken some commercial success. The singles from the album, especially “In My Dreams,” got considerable airplay on radio and MTV. Furthermore, I got to see them live twice in 1986, first time supporting Twisted Sister and the second time, Judas Priest. Both accounts can be read in “Rock and Roll Children.” My sister got to see them a third time supporting Loverboy. In conclusion, while I might have decided that the album wasn’t as good as their previous one, it’s still a great album.

Next post: Wendy O. Williams- Kommander of Kaos

To download Rock and Roll Children, go to:








9 Responses to “Great Metal Albums of 1985: Dokken- Under Lock and Key”

  1. Its a solid release for sure. The Hunter for me is a solid song. The album is a bit of a dip compared to Tooth and Nail but it’s still a pretty damn fine album. Little glossy at times in the production but the songs, for the most part, are here.
    It was pretty hard for these guys to top Alone Again that’s for sure as that one is a classic. How about that cover man! haha
    Great writeup and cool you caught em twice on this tour. I caught Dokken opening for Krokus in early 85 and Don Dokken opening for Poison in 1991 when put together that supergroup.
    That night they opened with The Hunter! That got my attention real quick! haha

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m still missing this one on vinyl. I do like it, but agree on Tooth & Nail. I will grab this eventually since I do really like “In My Dreams”.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I really like this one too. Till the livin end and lightning strikes again are absolute bangers.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. […] Source: Great Metal Albums of 1985: Dokken- Under Lock and Key | 80smetalman’s Blog […]


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