When I first saw this disc, I thought "Another band that I never heard of that didn't make it so I won't buy it." Not realizing that pictured in front of me is singer extraordinaire Lou Gramm and guitarist Vivian Campbell. A few copies in the cheap bin later, I saw a sticker on this CD that would change the course of my life forever. Not really, but I bought the disc.
While shopping through the cheap used CD bin earlier this year, I came across a CD called Shadow King. I didn't think anything of it based on the title on the spine of the CD, in the $3.00 used bin there are a lot of acts I've never heard of in abundance. But a big sticker on it drew my attention. It said "Lou Gramm, Vivian Campbell, Bruce Turgon and Kevin Valentine." It was dated 1991.
For years I've been a fan of Foreigner and thought I knew just about every piece of pertinent information about the Arena Rockers. So how did I miss an entire album, an entire band even, led by one of the greatest Stadium rock vocalists of all time? I have no idea. I'll have to claim temporary insanity.
I bought the CD (of course) and have been playing it the past few weeks. It's a strong hard rock disc with muscular rhythms and masterful singing, naturally. Gramm is the best in his genre at pacing his words during a song to make the vocal stand out more. Shadow King seems so strange to me, when Gramm split with Foreigner I thought one of the complaints he had was they did too many ballads. Then Gramm turned around and had a hit solo ballad shortly after, Just Between You and Me while Foreigner emphasized their rock side with new singer Johnny "The future of Foreigner" Edwards (I didn't mind Edwards, I liked Unusual Heat). If I had known about Shadow King, Gramm's complaint would have held more weight with me.
Shadow King only lasted for this one album, Gramm rejoined Foreigner with Turgon in tow shortly after while Vivian Campbell joined Def Leppard. And yes, I'm now throwing out details to compensate for the fact that this band got past me. Well, better late than never I guess, I found a video on You Tube for the song "I Want You" that is pretty racy in that old style USA Network Up All Night kinda way. Wait, a video exists too? That's strike two for me. If they toured, I'll have to turn in my 80's rock geek card to the local authorities.
Lou Gramm, I'll have to give it up to you. You got one past me. You Hot Blooded Head Gaming Juke Box Hero. You trumped me in a game of trivia about your life that you didn't even know you were playing. Wow, that sounds twisted. I mean, uh,...forget it. I'm not a stalker, I'm not! You sir, are the ultimate winner. Or as Gramm says at the end of Dirty White Boy, "Yyeeaaahhhh!!!"
Shadow King "I Want You"