Great Metal Albums of 1986: Savatage- Fight For the Rock


Actually, I should have posted about Savatage’s third album, “Fight For the Rock,” several weeks ago in accordance with my new plan to post albums of bands I have seen together in concert in conjunction with each other. In July, 1986, I saw Savatage supporting Ted Nugent at a small venue in Wildwood, New Jersey. Therefore, I should have posted about the album either right before or after Nuge’s “Little Miss Dangerous” post. As for the concert, I don’t think there were more than 200 people in attendance that evening but it didn’t stop Ted nor Savatage from putting on a great show. It is covered in “Rock and Roll Children.”

Two things I remember about Savatage from that show which conflict with the album. I know it’s more than thirty years ago but I swear I saw five people in Savatage. The album only lists four, so I wonder if they picked up a second guitarist for the tour. The other is that I wasn’t that impressed with the vocals of Jon Oliva that night. While, he’s not the greatest vocalist in music, his vocals on record are noticeably better than what I remember from that night.

Now onto “Fight For the Rock,” which was the album they were promoting on the tour. First of all, this album has been widely condemned by Savatage and their followers as one of their worst albums. It has been said that it destroyed the band’s credibility and drove Jon into his problems with alcohol and drugs. I can’t say for sure but my question is whether or not “Fight for the Rock” is all that bad.

One of the reasons behind the poor reception of the album was that Atlantic Records had Jon writing pop oriented songs for singers such as Jon Waite but then changed their minds and had Savatage record those songs. One song on the album confirms it, their cover of the 1971 Badfinger song, “Day After Day.” I vaguely remember the original and it was a bit of a hippy pop song. The problem here is that Savatage don’t metalize it up enough. It still sounds too much like a pop song. Sticking with the not so positive, “She’s Only Rock and Roll” is more filler except for the guitar solo and though “Lady in Disguise” starts off sounding promising, it doesn’t live up to the promise as the song progresses though I don’t dislike it. Those are the only things I find wrong with the album.

As for the positives, the first three tracks are really good. They hook you in and make you think that this album is going to totally kick ass. I know that “Out on the Streets,” was previously recorded on the debut “Sirens” album but it’s just as good on “Fight For the Rock” as it was on the debut. Furthermore, Criss Oliva rips a fine guitar solo on the opener. Even after the pop song, “Day After Day,” the two tracks following are pretty good. Criss rips another noteworthy solo on “Hyde.” The other cover on the album, the one of the Free classic, “Wishing Well,” is done very well. Things close out with “Red Light Madness,” which takes the album out on a bit of a high. I love the intro on it as it is a prelude of greater things to come in the future.

This was the first album to feature new bassist Johnny Lee Middleton who replaced Keith Collins. Was it a good move? The answer comes with the fact that Johnny has been the only member to play on every Savatage album since. Whatever else you might think of “Fight for the Rock,” they definitely got the right guy for the bass.

Track Listing:

  1. Fight For the Rock
  2. Out On the Streets
  3. Crying For Love
  4. Day After Day
  5. The Edge of Midnight
  6. Hyde
  7. Lady In Disguise
  8. She’s Only Rock and Roll
  9. Wishing Well
  10. Red Light Paradise


Jon Oliva- vocals

Criss Oliva- guitar, backing vocals

Johnny Lee Middleton- bass, backing vocals

Steve ‘Doc’ Wascholtz- drums, percussion

Additional Musicians

Larry Dvoskin- keyboards

Brent Daniels- backing vocals

Let me be frank, “Fight For the Rock” comes nowhere close to being as good as many of their other ones. If I was to rank it, it would be near or at the bottom. Even so, the album is not terrible and maybe that shows just how good a band the mighty Savatage actually was.

Krokus- Change of Address

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2 Responses to “Great Metal Albums of 1986: Savatage- Fight For the Rock”

  1. There are definitely some good tracks on this album, like the title track. But when you listen to the Savatage albums in order, this one really feels like it doesn’t belong. Between Power of the Night and Hall of the Mountain King, you could tell where their heads were really at.

    Liked by 2 people

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