Great Metal Albums of 1986: Great White- Shot in the Dark

Before 1983, I could blame being in the service for missing out on a classic album. Therefore, it could be said that after coming out of it, I had no excuse. Saying that, I shouldn’t have any excuse for missing out on Great White’s second album, “Shot in the Dark,” but I do. Actually, I have two. First, there was so much great music going around in that year that it was easy to miss an album. However, my better excuse was that midway through the year, I moved countries and Great White were one of those American bands who didn’t get attention in the UK they should have. The shame of it all was that for years I missed out on an absolute firecracker of an album.

Great White’s album which succeeds “Shot in the Dark,” the 1987 “Once Bitten” album is the one which gets the most attention. Let me boldly declare that “Shot in the Dark” was the blue print for that later great album. It was on this album where they switched from the traditional metal sound to a more bluesier sound ala Led Zeppelin and for me, the change has paid off big time.

There is a definite swagger to many of the songs here starting off with “What Do You Do.” The opener is more of a traditional metal song and though it’s okay, it is this second track which has me bopping along. That leads directly to “Face the Day,” a cover of a song by The Angels which Great White put their own spin on. Now, normally I find songs on albums which are better than the single but in this case, they chose the right song to be the single. “Face the Day” has that blues swagger with some great power chords and a killer guitar solo. Definitely gets my vote for song of the album.

The other cover on “Shot in the Dark” comes in the form of the Steve Winwood penned classic, “Gimme Some Lovin” which was also covered by the Blues Brothers in their movie and later by Thunder. To be frank, Great White’s cover is decent and its a good party song but I won’t go as far as saying that it’s better than other covers of this iconic song.

With all the talk of blues swagger, the band don’t totally abandon their metal roots. The title track bears witness to this. It’s sort of a power ballad but in this case, power is the key word. It also hosts a rather impressive bass line and I should use this song as an opportunity to sing the praiseds of vocalist Jack Russell, no he’s human, and guitarist Mark Kendall. They shine here and throughout the album.

Keyboards are very effectively used on “Is Anybody There,” especially at the intro before going into a more foreboding feel. This is one of those songs if played live, would have me flashing the horns and headbanging away to the beat. Even I can keep in time with it on that song.

On “Run Away,” we carry on with a more metal sound but there is some of that blues swagger on it. Hearing this track confirms by thoughts that Lorne Black has been a very underrated bass player over the years and we mustn’t forget drummer, Audie Desbrow as he does deliver a good beat throughout. All of this is punctuated on the closer, “Waiting for Love,” which is another power ballad delivered very well with some good use of keyboards and a great guitar solo. In short, this is one album I truly regret missing out on in 1986.

Track Listing:

  1. She Shakes Me
  2. What Do You Do
  3. Face The Day
  4. Gimme Some Lovin
  5. Shot in the Dark
  6. Is Anybody There
  7. Run Away
  8. Waiting for Love

Jack Russell- lead vocals

Mark Kendall- guitar, backing vocals

Lorne Black- bass

Audie Desbrow- drums

These days, whenever anyone mentions Great White, people’s first thoughts go back to the tragic Station Club fire in 2003 and all the great music the band has made over the years forgotten. While I am not asking anyone to forget that terrible tragedy, I am asking people to focus more on their music and less on that. The “Shot in the Dark” album is a great place to start.

Next post: Lizzy Borden- The Murderess Metal Road Show

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6 Responses to “Great Metal Albums of 1986: Great White- Shot in the Dark”

  1. Face The Day was a great track! I had this on cassette back In the day. Pretty decent album that slid under a lot of radars as you alluded to.
    Great pick for a Monday

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve never even heard of this one. I came on board with ‘Once Bitten’. I shall explore. Cheers for this.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I was in my early twenties when this album came out and the timing was perfect. I remember it well. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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