Archive for Night Ranger

Great Rock Albums of 1984: Billy Satellite

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on July 19, 2017 by 80smetalman

Like Jethro Tull, Billy Satellite is the name of a band. As far as I know, there is no individual with that name. Also, like the Bangles, their debut album came and went in 1984 with little notice except for keen persons like myself who had an ear out for some good straightforward rock. Unlike the Bangles or Jethro Tull, this self titled album would be the band’s only release and they would drift off into obscurity living only in my memory.

Their album is the reason why Billy Satellite has lived in the back corners of my mind for over three decades. It is a really cool down to earth straight ahead rock album. All the elements to make the album great are there. Good vocals, some cool guitars and a sound rhythm section with a keyboard accompaniment that brings out the flavour of the mix really well. So, my question is, why didn’t people take more notice of Billy Satellite? My only suggested answer is that with all of the heavy metal that was flying about at the time, they simply got lost in the hysteria. They definitely aren’t a heavy metal band but they were a hell of a lot better than a lot of the non metal in this year.

If you want something to compare them to, then the closest would be Night Ranger but that might being doing them a disservice. They were unique enough to not need any comparison as far as this album is concerned. The first three tracks come straight at you with some of that good straight ahead rock that I have been talking about. The opener was also the highest charting single (#64). It is a good track but I like the following one, “Last Call.” That is the standout for me with all the elements of a good hard rock song present. Track #3 is a good one too before the two ballads, “Trouble” being the better of the two. Then things go back to heavy rock with the cool, “Rockin’ Down the Highway” and continue to do so for the rest of the album. “Turning Point” has a slight blues feel to it and the tempo change works well on the album. It has a good guitar solo but notes don’t reveal which guitarist is responsible. That leads nicely to “Bye Bye Baby” which borders on a ballad and a rock song. Rock returns for sure with “Standing with the Kings” and that leads to the closer which ends the album very well.

Track Listing:

  1. Satisfy Me
  2. Last Call
  3. Do Ya
  4. I Wanna Go Back
  5. Trouble
  6. Rockin’ Down the Highway
  7. Turning Point
  8. Bye Bye Baby
  9. Standing With the Kings
  10. The Lonely One

Billy Satellite

Monty Byrom- guitars, vocals, keyboards

Danny Chauncey- guitars, keyboards

Ira Walker- bass

Tom ‘Fee’ Faletti- drums

While sitting here typing this, I have come to a conclusion as to why Billy Satellite didn’t go further in 1984. It was that they were about four or five years too soon. Thinking about some of the bands in the late 80s, Danger Danger and Hurricane and Winger, these guys would have fit in well with that group. Unfortunately, they were five years too soon and although they had a cool album, it didn’t do well enough for them to continue. They would split and go their separate ways.

Next post: Bruce Springsteen- Born in the USA

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.com/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_6?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1500479463&sr=1-6&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1983: Night Ranger- Midnight Madness

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 4, 2016 by 80smetalman

Midnightranger

An huge argument raged throughout the mid 1980s and for some, it still does today. It is even briefly debated in “Rock and Roll Children.” Was Night Ranger heavy metal? Pure metalheads gave a resounding no because of the band’s use of keyboards and softer, more commercial rock, especially in regards to the album following this one. However, this didn’t stop the rest of the world from claiming they were. My opinion in this matter can be found in the title of this post. You probably noticed that I didn’t call Night Ranger’s “Midnight Madness” album a great metal album.

Listening to the second album from Night Ranger, it is quite easy to see why many of the less knowing would call it a metal album. Most of the first five songs do rock, although I still wouldn’t call them metal. Even the ballad, “Sister Christian” ranks up there as a very good power ballad. It did influence some metal bands who wanted at least one on their album to write their ballads in this style.

My first experience of the album came in the form of “You Could Still Rock in America.” Like the classic, “Don’t Tell Me You Love,” I thought this too was a Rick Springfield song at first. Another example of irony in my life, I first heard it after spending four weeks in London. My first musical experience there wasn’t great. The people I was staying with were all top 40 dance junkies and they tried to insist that there was no place in London to find the hard rock I loved so much. After lamenting the first two weeks, I did discover a really cool rock pub in Croydon in South London and things got better after that. Then I went to my first Donington Festival so my I ended up enjoying my London stay. When I returned, I heard this song playing on the radio and thought, “Damn right, you can still rock in America.” Saying that, I was glad that earlier reports about music in the UK were proved totally wrong.

Apart from “Sister Christian,” the only really commercial oriented tracks are “When You Close Your Eyes,” another hit single for the band and “Passion Play.” The latter is a bit harder than the former but doesn’t rock like the rest of the album. Tracks that really do rock, besides the opener, are “Touch of Madness” and “Chippin’ Away.” “Rumours in the Air” is pretty cool as well. But what makes this album rock, even the songs that don’t rock as much is the guitar duo of Brad Gillis and Jeff Watson. One or the other or both in some cases, lay down some serious guitar heat in every song, except the acoustic closer. When people talk of guitar duos, the ones mentioned are Tipton/Downing, Smith/Murray or Gers/Murray (same band), Ojeda/French and the original guitar duo, Walsh/Felder. After hearing this album again after so many years, Watson/Gillis needs to be included among the others.

Jeff Watson and Brad Gillis leading the way for Night Ranger

Jeff Watson and Brad Gillis leading the way for Night Ranger

Track Listing:

  1. You Can Still Rock in America
  2. Rumours in the Air
  3. Why Does Love Have to Change
  4. Sister Christian
  5. Touch of Madness
  6. Passion Play
  7. When You Close Your Eyes
  8. Chippin’ Away
  9. Let  Him Run
Night Ranger

Night Ranger

Jack Blades- bass, lead vocals

Jeff Watson- guitars, keyboards

Brad Gillis- guitars

Alan ‘Fitz’ Fitzgerald- keyboards

Kelly Keagy- drums, lead vocals

True metalheads like me do not consider Night Ranger heavy metal. However, they did know how to rock as the album “Midnight Madness” clearly shows. In 1983, they did rock America.

Next post: Marillion- Script For a Jester’s Tear

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1982: Night Ranger- Dawn Patrol

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 25, 2015 by 80smetalman

220px-Dawnpnightranger

 

The debut album, “Dawn Patrol” from Night Ranger would spark off a great debate that would last for several years. Were Night Ranger a heavy metal band? My opinion on this question lies in the fact that I am visiting the album in my great rock albums section and not the great metal albums one. However, the problem back then was with mainstream radio. Many deejays were to quick to put any music with a hard power chord into the heavy metal category thus infuriating metalheads like me for a number of years. For me, the answer to the debate would be solved with Night Ranger’s 1985 album.

Another reason why I don’t class Night Ranger as metal is because the first time I heard their most well known song, “Don’t Tell Me You Love Me,” I thought it was being sung by Rick Springfield. You have to admit, the chorus is very much like Springfield and when that mind blowing guitar solo came in, I simply assumed that he managed to find a great lead guitarist to play on it. Well, I was partially right because both Jeff Watson and Brad Gillis are great guitarists.

“Dawn Patrol” is for the most part a good hard rock album but does venture across the border into  progressive rock. The mentioned big single is a great rocker in spite of my earlier comments about it being a Rick Springfield tune. Three and four years later, it was still played every Friday night at the heavy metal night at a club on the outskirts of East London. That club is a McDonald’s now but that’s not important. However, the album boasts other hard rocking jams as well. “Young Girl in Love,” “Penny” and “Play Rough” to name just three and I would be quick to put forward “At Night She Sleeps.” Then there are less hard songs like “Sing Me Away” which is keyboard dominated. Whatever category you want to put Night Ranger in, you can’t get away from the fact that these guys can really play, especially on this album.

Track Listing:

1. Don’t Tell Me You Love Me

2. Sing Me Away

3. At Night She Sleeps

4. Call My Name

5. Eddie’s Comin’ Out Tonight

6. Can’t Find Me a Thrill

7. Young Girl in Love

8. Play Rough

9. Penny

10. Night Ranger

Night Ranger

Night Ranger

Jack Blades- bass, vocals

Jeff Watson- guitar

Brad Gillis- guitar

Alan ‘Fitz’ Fitzgerald- keyboards

Kelly Keagy- drums, vocals

Night Ranger, in my view, were never heavy metal. They were a great hard rock band in the early 1980s, which their debut album clearly shows. True, they would go more commercial with later albums and turn metalheads like me off of them, but “Dawn Patrol” is more hard rock than anything and it 1982, got people like me excited.

Next post: Gillan- Magic

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London