Archive for The Hooters

Great Rock Albums of 1985: Fiona

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 9, 2018 by 80smetalman

New Jersey has always been divided into North and South. The Southern part, where I’m from, has always been Philadelphia oriented while the Northern part has always been New York oriented. This has always been the case when supporting sports teams and it seems has been the case for music. It’s probably another reason why Beru Revue’s popularity never went beyond the Philadelphia- South Jersey area and it is also why more people living in South Jersey at the time were more into The Hooters than they were into Northern New Jersey singer Fiona.

Fiona (Flanagan)’s debut album appeared in early 1985 and from what I remember, her label, Atlantic, seemed to be doing everything they could to push the album and its single, “Talk to Me.” Unfortunately, the highest the single got was #64. Fortunately, the album did slightly better. Examining the album, I know there are some good to decent rock tunes. “Hang Your Heart on Me” is a decent opener for the album. It does the job in obtaining your interest and the mentioned single does have a cool sax solo on it. I think the problem with it was that it was too mainstream for metalheads and too rock for trendies. The best rocking track is the third one, “You’re No Angel,” which boasts Fiona’s best vocals and a really cool guitar solo. “James” is also a decent rocker although her vocals aren’t quite as good on it. For me, “Rescue You” sounds too 80s synth pop for me but her vocals are okay and there’s another good guitar solo on it. Then there’s the closer, “The Na Na Song.” I have to say that it is probably one of the best album closing tracks of all time. True, the second half on the song is mostly comprised of her singing, “Na na, na na na na na” but it, with the harder rocking does great to take the song and the album to it’s natural conclusion.

In spite of some good rock tunes and some great musicianship on the album, what let’s this album is Fiona herself. I won’t be as harsh as my sister who simply says Fiona can’t sing, I will say that she’s not a great vocalist. Take “James” for instance. When she’s singing the more power rock parts, her voice is okay but it’s when she tries to go more melodic, her voice lets the song down. The same can be said on “Over Now,” which is a shame in a way because that song has the best guitar solo on the album. Her vocal weakness comes through the most on the power ballad, “Love Makes You Blind.” Her voice isn’t up to it. I don’t want to be cruel to her so I’ll put forward this perspective. Instead of being made to sing more commercial ready, it would have been better for her if she had fronted a proper heavy metal band which her vocal ability is more suited for. That’s my verdict anyway.

Track Listing:

  1. Hang Your Heart On Me
  2. Talk to Me
  3. You’re No Angel
  4. Rescue You
  5. James
  6. Love Makes You Blind
  7. Over Now
  8. The Na Na Song

Fiona

Fiona- lead vocals

Bobby Messano- guitar

Gregory Tebbitt- guitar

Benjy King- keyboard

Alan Hurwitz- keyboard

Peter Zale- keyboard

Joe Franco- drums, percussion

Donnie Kisselbach- bass

Schuyler Deale- bass

Rick Bell- saxophone

Elena Aazan- backing vocals

Tom Flanagan- backing vocals

Peppi Marchello- backing vocals

Louie Merlino- backing vocals

‘The Mob’- backing vocals

Tara O’Boyle- backing vocals

Jimmy Wilcox- backing vocals

Fiona wasn’t the big commercial success Atlantic Records was hoping for in 1985 and I’ve given clues as to why. In spite of that, her debut album is still pretty good and worth a listen.

BTW, I hope people out there aren’t taking this to mean that heavy metal singers aren’t as good as those who aren’t. Many mainstream vocalists can’t sing metal.

Next post: George Thorogood- Maverick

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1536483187&sr=1-3&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Great Rock Albums of 1985: The Hooters- Nervous Night

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 6, 2018 by 80smetalman

Thanks to everyone who wished me well on my holiday. It was just a long weekend at the Butlin’s Holiday Camp in Skegness and then a couple of days at Cleethorpes but it was nice. Now, I’m back and it’s back to the tour of the 1980s through my eyes.

Skegness Fair and park

Probably no one remembers when I posted about a band called Beru Revue a few months back. So, to refresh everyone’s memory, Beru Revue were a local band out of Philadelphia who were very popular in their native area but never broke out and made it elsewhere. At the end of that post, I mentioned that another band from Philadelphia would break out and rise to national attention in 1985. That band was The Hooters and they did so with their second album, “Nervous Night.”

It might not be well known but before this album came out, The Hooters had some previous commercial success when they co-wrote Cyndi Lauper’s second big hit single, “Time After Time.” Trust me, The Hooters’ version of the song totally blows Lauper’s out of the water. At least I think so. Looking back into history, one shouldn’t have been surprised when they did make the big time. I remember their first single and one of my favourite tracks on the album, “All You Zombies” getting played quite a bit on the radio. Then to my surprise, on a visit to Rhode Island, I saw the video to said song played on a local music channel. That confirmed that The Hooters had actually made it.

My theory behind the the success of “Nervous Night” was it down to the music being a bit different. Some called it new wave or punk because that was the label given to any music that didn’t fit any mold in 1985. I always think it’s great when you can’t pigeonhole music that’s good. The closest track that may fit into the mold others try to impose on it would be the fourth one, “Don’t Take My Car Out Tonight.” There is a synth sound supporting a hard rock sounding guitar along with some of the other unique instruments the band plays like a melodica. Saying that, it’s all done well. “Hanging on a Heartbeat” can also fit this mold and it does have a good guitar solo.

The two more successful singles “And We Danced” and “Day by Day” are also unique but still very commercial radio friendly. It’s probably why both either hovered around or cracked the top 20 in the singles charts. However, there are two possible hidden gems. While, “Where Do the Children Go,” which Patty Smyth makes a guest appearance on, did get some airplay on radio and MTV, it didn’t chart as well as the other two singles and most people have forgotten it. I haven’t. This is a brilliant song, especially the way the mandolin is played on it. The other hidden gem is “Blood From a Stone” which rocks a little more. The song is about working people struggling to keep their heads above water during a time when wages were being cut and people were only given part time jobs to make the unemployment figures look good. Even now, these lyrics ring true:

“I work hard to pay the rent and support my government

The highways and the railroad tracks

I’m not giving it up till they give it all back

You can laugh and but it’s no joke 

You got to fix the thing that’s broke

There’s no meat only bone, but you can’t get blood from a stone.”

“South Ferry Road” is a pretty good rocker as well and “She Comes in Colors” has a sound reminiscent of The Cars.

Track Listing:

  1. And We Danced
  2. Day By Day
  3. All you Zombies
  4. Don’t Take My Car Tonight
  5. Nervous Night
  6. Hanging on a Heartbreak
  7. Where Do the Children Go
  8. South Ferry Road
  9. She Comes in Colors
  10. Blood From a Stone

The Hooters

Eric Bazilian- lead vocals, guitars, mandolin, saxophone

Rob Hyman- lead vocals, keyboards, melodica

Arthur King- bass, vocals

John Liley- guitar

David Uoskkinen- drums

I’ll let you decide if The Hooters version is better than Cyndi Lauper’s

I think most people believe it’s great when a local artist makes the big time and for most people in the Delaware Valley, it was The Hooters in 1985. This would be their year as “Nervous Night” would win several awards and the band would open the Live Aid Concert. Yes great things and two years later, The Hooters would be one hit wonders in the UK but that’s a story for another day.

Next post: Fiona

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1536266503&sr=1-3&keywords=michael+d+lefevre