Great Rock Albums of 1988: Night Ranger- Man in Motion

At least the 80smetalman curse can’t be blamed for the lack of success of Night Ranger’s “Man in Motion” album. For those who don’t know, the 80smetalman curse is that if I really like a band or a record it seems to be doomed not to be big. Examples, take three bands I have plugged on here. Black Emerald have broken up, Slave to Sirens are on a hiatus and are looking for a new singer and drummer and though Greywinds are still going, they haven’t gained that much attraction. However, back in 1988, I didn’t even know that Night Ranger had put this album out because in the UK, they were and probably always be known for two big songs, “Don’t Tell Me You Love Me” and “Sister Christian.” The thing is that now I have listened to “Man In Motion,” I think it’s now my favourite Night Ranger album.

When I heard this album, I was blown away how much it rocked! The power chords come in straight away on the opening title cut. The heavy keyboards from their previous two albums were toned down and the guitars turned up. Now, this could have been down to the departure of keyboardist Alan Fitzgerald, which in one sense was a shame because he was good but on the other hand, it did open the door for guitarists Jeff Watson and Brad Gillis to show what a great guitar duo they were.

Jeff Watson and Brad Gillis leading the way for Night Ranger

Here’s another paradox which confronts me in regards to the album. Normally, the hit single is not my favourite track on most albums but in this case, it is. “Reason to Be” is a cooker of a song which wouldn’t be out of place on many metal albums. After an ear catching acoustic intro, the song kicks into full gear and just simply rocks out and has a cool guitar solo. It was released as a single and was the highest charter making it to #’48. Logic dictates that I shouldn’t like it but I really do.

The second best track, I guess I can call this one the hidden gem, comes right after. “Don’t Start Thinking (I’m Alone Tonight)” takes me back to Night Ranger’s first two albums, “Midnight Madness” and “Dawn Patrol.” When I listen to this track, I keep thinking that they should have kept this sound all along. And the party doesn’t end there. A heavy metal intro brings in “Love Shot Me Down” and that metal sound continues all through the song. Man, I do love the guitar solo but unfortunately, Wikipedia isn’t letting onto which guitar virtuoso plays the solo on it.

Flashbacks of “Sister Christian” come through when I hear “Restless Kind.” I think they were definitely trying to recapture that former glory with this one and I do say that it comes pretty close but let’s be honest here, there is only one “Sister Christian.” Still, as far as power ballads go, it’s a good one. They go in a KISS direction on “Halfway to the Sun” as it does sound comparable to 80s KISS. It’s still a good song.

“Here She Comes Again” is more 80s pop rock and maybe should have been released as a single. It’s not a bad song but definitely not my favourite on the album but the fickle record buying trendy public might have bought it. More KISS vibes come through on “Right On You.” If fact, this one sounds more KISS than the previously mentioned KISS sounding song. It’s a great fun song to rock out to and things keep on rocking with “Kiss Me Where It Hurts.” It has the classic Watson/Gillis guitar solo tradeoff which is something I have always liked about Night Ranger.

The album closes with two decent but unspectacular tracks, “I Did It For Love” and “Woman in Love.” The former was released as a single abut only got to #75. Listening to it, I thought it might have done better but there’s better tracks on the album. “Woman in Love” does bring the album to a rocking close and it’s a good way to end things because I have difficulty picturing it being anywhere else on the album.

Track Listing:

  1. Man in Motion
  2. Reason to Be
  3. Don’t Start Thinking (I’m Along Tonight)
  4. Love Shot Me Down
  5. Restless Kind
  6. Halfway to the Sun
  7. Here She Comes Again
  8. Right On You
  9. Kiss Me Where it Hurts
  10. I Did It for Love
  11. Woman in Love
Night Ranger (1988)

Jack Blades- bass, lead and backing vocals

Brad Gillis- guitar, backing vocals

Jeff Watson- guitar

Kelly Keagy- drums, lead and backing vocals, percussion

Jesse Bradman- keyboards, backing vocals

Additional Musicians:

Alan Pasquale, Claude Gaudette, Eric Persing, Joyce Imbesi, John Purdell- additional keyboards

John Purdell, Kevin Chalfant- additional backing vocals

It was great that on “Man in Motion,” Night Ranger went back to a more hard rocking sound and without sounding like Rick Springfield. This is a cracker of an album which was why it didn’t have the commercial success it should have.

Next post: 38 Special- Rock and Roll Strategy

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

To sign the petition to have Bruce Dickinson receive a much deserved knighthood, click the link: https://www.change.org/p/special-honours-committees-for-knighthoods-a-knighthood-for-bruce-dickinson

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12 Responses to “Great Rock Albums of 1988: Night Ranger- Man in Motion”

  1. This is a personal favorite of theirs as well. A lot of bands around this time had a great album that no one new about. Night Ranger with this one. White Lion with Mane Attraction and Winger with Pull.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I used to love Night Ranger! Fantastic job of nailing down details on this review.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Restless Kind is a great song and further underlines my view that they are a mixture of Heart,Pat Benatar,Robin Beck,Loverboy,Quarterflash,Scandal,Patty Smyth and Magnum all rolled into one!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m adding this album to my long list of albums to check out!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This was great record and you’re right it rocked. Funny that in ’88 this one did not sell which is surprising but I guess people were burned out on Sister Christian still lol

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh yeah a magnificent and sadly unrecognized record. Seems odd since it’s not out of place with the sound of the time, I guess the band had just run their course and didn’t deliver another massive hit.

    Liked by 1 person

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