Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Mr Mike's AOR Project 1988

It was a concert I had wished I had gone to.

It's fitting after covering a whole lotta Zep that 1988 is the next year in my AOR Project because that was the year everyone wanted to be Zep. In the wake of Whitesnake's success a slew of bands took to the Zeppelin sound and interest renewed in the original members. On top of that Hair Metal went into overdrive. The Monsters of Rock tour was somewhere around this time led by the Hagar driven Van Halen. Everything was great in '88!

Disc 1:

Fate - Love On The Rox

When bands split up, it usually doesn't seem clean. So when Mercyful Fate divided and one half became Fate, well that was just pure genius.

Robert Plant - Heaven Knows

I debated with myself to include this or "Tall Cool One". Tough call to make, I went with the slower tempo number.

Cheap Trick - The Flame

Not just a great power ballad, one that seems to get a pass from people critical of this genre. Great acoustic guitar sound on this track.
Kingdom Come - Get It On

In one of the best marketing moves of the day, the band sent this record to radio stations without a mention of who it was. Rumors spread that this was Led Zeppelin's new song (because it sounded very "Kashmir") and it got all over the airwaves.

Bonham - Wait For You

If anyone who was not a former member of Led Zep had a right to tackle that sound, it was Jason Bonham. The prodigal son gets his Physical Graffiti on with this ripping cut.

Toto - Pamela

Not to be outdone, Toto also sounded like Led Zep...no, not really, Toto came off as very Toto with a jazzy retread of "Rosanna".

3 - Talkin' 'Bout

To this day I'm shocked they didn't force Robert Berry to legally change his name to something like Like so they could remain ELP. Emerson, Like and Palmer has a nice ring to it.

Mr. Big - Addicted To That Rush

A few years before they invented the campfire clap power ballad, the mini supergroup made up from former members of Eric Martin Band, David Lee Roth and Racer X fired up the fret work to a crazy fast beat.

Hurricane - I'm On To You

Current Foreigner frontman Kelly Hansen spent the 80's rocking like a, um Hurricane.

Shy - Break Down The Walls

I'm not even gonna front yo, I've got to admit I learned about this group through Melodicrock and had not heard of this group at the time. Not bad stuff.

Aerosmith - Angels

Power ballads are all about the cheese baby, and it's hard to top the fondue fountain that is "Angel".

Saraya - Love Has Taken It's Toll

One of my favorite lost bands, this song has so many memories of drunken games at the pool halls for me. It sucks this album is out of print, Sandi Saraya rocks!

Alice Cooper - Poison

In 1988 none could resist the power of Desmond Child and he revived the 70's Icon with this comeback jam.

Def Leppard - Pour Some Sugar On Me

The Lep seemed all washed up when the 5th single dropped a year after the album release. One of the first mainstream meldings of rap and metal after "Walk This Way", it became a legend of 80's rock.

Pat Benatar - All Fired Up

A few years before her unfortunate foray into Blues, Benatar came up with one more Arena Rock winner before heading off to the oldies circuit.

Guns N Roses - Sweet Child O Mine

The reason everyone knows this band was because of this uncharacteristically sweet midtempo rocker. A great song, though if I have to hear the story of how Slash came up with the opening riff again I'll go into convulsions.

Disc 2:

Glass Tiger - I'm Still Searching

The Tiger made a play for a lasting career but was caught looking on a fastball. How's that for mixed metaphors!

Poison - Every Rose Has It's Thorn

I'd put down Bret Michaels but the man has a dream life: He slaps on his weave and plays generic music to screaming fans and has VH1 act as his personal pimp every few months. Lame or not, Michaels did come up with one of the best known poems in the late 20th century. Every rose has its thorn, just like every day has its dawn, just like every cowboy sings a sad, sad song.

Bon Jovi - Bad Medicine

An awesome, awesome hair band arena rock jam with a big ass chorus and rapidfire verses.

Van Halen - When It's Love

Things looked a little wussy in Van Halen land for a second with this lenghty ballad. "Unchained" this is not.

Queensryche - I Don't Believe In Love

Part of the classic Operation: Mindcrime album, the Seattle based unit brought the heat on this dramatic rocker.

Britny Fox - Girlschool

C'mon, it's Britny Fox! What else can I say?

Eddie Money - Walk On Water

Eddie was on the money with this amazing slice of AOR written by Sammy Hagar's ex-keyboardist Jesse Harms. I remember getting out of the hospital and buying the tape. And finding out this was the only good song on the whole freakin' tape.

Jimmy Page - Wasting My Time

Unable to get Robert Plant to stick around (sounds familiar), Page cut a fine solo album called Outrider that featured this hard rockin' cut.

Scorpions - Rhythm Of Love

I find it weird how sometimes a certain song title will become popular. Case in point, "Rhythm of Love" was released by Yes in '87 and the Scorps in '88 and the two songs have nothing to do with each other at all.

Europe - Superstitious

Hey, it turned out guitarist John Norum was the most important member of this group after all. When Norum left this was the last hit the group could generate.

Def Leppard - Love Bites

One of the most interesting power ballads in terms of lyrics ("Love Bites / Love Bleeds / It's what I need"). Probably goes over well with that Twilight crowd. Say it. Vampire. Ooh...

Kix - Don't Close Your Eyes

You know it's 1988 when it's another song, another power ballad.

White Lion - Wait

Maybe the best name in Hair Metal, Mike Tramp, led his group through the jungle with this winning melody.

Paul Dean - Sword and Stone

Loverboy guitarist Paul Dean cut a Paul Stanley song for his solo album with strong results.

AC / DC - Heatseeker

It's Ac/Dc. You either get it or you don't.

Bad Company - No Smoke Without A Fire

The radio station in Sacramento loved this song, I heard it a couple times a day for months. This chorus is forever jammed in my brain.

Sheriff - When I'm With You

In a strange turn of events, a failed band from 1983 got their song played on the radio by a DJ who liked this song in 1988 - years after the band had split up. Later the singer and guitarist would team up with former members of Heart to make Alias.
And that was 1988. Just one more year to go!


Jeannie said...

That was the bad- Kingdom Come. Aww, honey, you missed out. I was too young to truly appreciate it all, but it was so awesome. Especially Metallica. Actually, everyone was just fantastic. Sorry, hon.

"Toto also sounded like Led Zep...no, not really..."

You can say that again!

Jeannie said...

"That was the bad" should have been That was the band". Not bad. Nothing was bad, unless bad means good, then yes, they were bad. Oh, you know what I mean!

Mr. Mike said...

I'm glad you went to see it, I used to like to read how Metallica felt about their slot between Kingdom Come and Dokken on the tour. They referred to it as a "poser sandwich".