Great Rock Albums of 1986: Honeymoon Suite- The Big Prize


“The Big Prize” was the second album by Canadian rockers Honeymoon Suite. Reflecting back to when it came out in 1986, I wasn’t sure about it at first. The single from it, “Feel It Again” was the only Honeymoon Suite song to crack the US top forty charts but that made little difference to me. In my mind, it was a decent song but not nearly as spectacular as the song “New Girl Now” from their 1984 debut album. However, what won me over to “The Big Prize” was when I saw them live opening for legends ZZ Top. They were absolutely phenomenal that evening.

While the keyboards might feature heavily on the album, they don’t dominate like so many rock acts chose to let them do at the time. Saying that, the keys make a cool introduction on the track, “Lost and Found.” That is probably the most keyboard oriented track on the album but they are used in a 70s progressive rock sort of fashion. Ray Coburn deserves the praise for his efforts here and on “One by One” as well. On the other hand, like they are on all tracks, Derry Grehan’s guitar is always lurking in the background ready to come out when the time calls for it. The guitar solos on the album remind me why he’s in the 80smetalman’s Band of Underrated Musicians.

Normally, I don’t give to much notice to producers when I write about an album but I can’t help thinking about Bruce Fairbairn’s work on this album. Back when I posted about the band’s debut album, I stated that there were points where lead singer Johnnie Dee’s vocals sounded a bit strained, that he struggled to hit certain notes. So, I wonder if Bruce made sure that the songs were up to Johnnie’s range because his voice fits in all of the songs. A great example is the power ballad “What Does it Take.” His vocals sound really good here and I’m surprised, okay I’m not really, that as a single, it didn’t crack the US top forty charts because I prefer it to “Feel It Again.” Then again, my favourite track is “Wounded.” It is the rockiest song on the album, I mean dig that guitar intro and the lyrics were relevant for me at the time. So all in all, “The Big Prize” is a pretty decent album.

Track Listing:

  1. Bad Attitude
  2. Feel It Again
  3. Lost and Found
  4. What Does It Take
  5. One By One
  6. Wounded
  7. Words in the Wind
  8. All Along You Knew
  9. Once the Feeling
  10. Take My Hand

Honeymoon Suite

Johnnie Dee- lead vocals

Derry Grehan- guitar, vocals

Ray Coburn- keyboards

Gary Lalonde- bass

Dave Betts- drums

Ian Anderson- flute on “All Along You New”

I guess I can say that back in 1986, I got skeptical over nothing. I blame the great rock and some metal bands from the 1970s who went too synth in the 1980s. I thought that Honeymoon Suite might be going the same way but “The Big Prize” assured me they weren’t.

Next post: Fabulous Thunderbirds- Tuff Enuff

On a personal note, in the run up to Christmas, I’ll have a lot of worldly things to do so I can’t promise my usual two posts a week. I’ll have to play it by ear but I hope you’ll all understand.

To download Rock and Roll Children, go to:

































10 Responses to “Great Rock Albums of 1986: Honeymoon Suite- The Big Prize”

  1. Now, that’s cool you seen HMS open for ZZ! Since I’m here in Canada they were already headlining arenas back then and still play today with the original guys minus Coburn which is a drag but they are still doing it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Saw em live in 96. Never liked this album as much as Racing After Midnight though.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Y’know, is never heard of these chaps until our Canadialander pals put them on my radar. I still haven’t listened to them, though. I have this one on my list to check out, so maybe I’ll do that sooner than later!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I thought they were going to break big in the US, but failed to do so. It was one big album and then sort of disappeared from our radar. I remember seeing this album, but don’t remember anything from it. I will have to check it out.

    Liked by 1 person

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