FireHouse was actually a band way back in 1984 when they were called White Heat. Well, that name was taken so they had to change their name and they came up with FireHouse. The band moved from Virginia to my current hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina. And it was there in 1989 they were signed to Epic Records. And the next year, they delivered their monster self-titled debut album. The band was one of dozens of glam rock/hard rock bands coming out of the woodworks at that time, but the big difference is they saw some pretty dang good success.
The debut went 2X platinum and the follow-up, ‘Hold Your Fire’, in 1992 went Gold. That is pretty good for a genre that was dying a pretty quick death. They were one of the few bands that had success during this time. Even after the 80’s Rock/Glam Rock scene died, they were still killing it across Asia as they were a huge draw.
The band consisted of CJ Snare, Bill Leverty, Michael Foster and Perry Richardson. Perry is the only member no longer in the band, but don’t worry, he is with Stryper now and doing well. After over 30 years together as FireHouse, they are still going strong. Let’s go back and rank their albums from the Worst to the First. I hope you enjoy!
THE WORST – FULL CIRCLE (2011):
Full Circle is a re-recording of the band’s material from previous albums. It has some of their best song and sounds fantastic. The Original boys are back and thus the name of the album Full Circle. The only problem, bassist Perry Richardson was not back so all the original boys weren’t back. He is working with Stryper now, but wasn’t at this time. And the real big problem with this is…why? What is the point? There was nothing wrong with the original versions. If I want to hear these songs, I won’t be playing this.
#7 – O2 (2000):
‘O2’ is more of the same Firehouse sound, well except for “The Dark” which was pure Faith No More or was it full on rap/metal or would you call it nu-metal since it is 2000? Either way, very different track. Bill Leverty sings on “I’m in Love This Time” and love that fact. It is nice to have the variety plus I like bands with multiple singers. The rest of the album is typical Firehouse, but nothing extraordinary. If you are in the mood for a solid Firehouse sound but not their most famous albums, this will give you what you need. Just remember it isn’t as good as those earlier albums.
#6 – CATEGORY 5 (1998):
Category 5 felt a little lost, disconnected like they didn’t know who they were anymore. They experimented more than in the past. It has some solid moments with “Can’t Stop the Pain”, “If It Changes” and “Get Ready”. This saw bassist, Perry Richardson, have a bigger hand in things, but also wound up being his last album with the band. There is a hidden track by Perry that is more electronica then anything else and really weird. I applaud the attempt, but it is really out there. It was 1998, Firehouse were trying to figure out how to move forward, but not sure they figured it out with this one.
#5 – PRIME TIME (2003):
Prime Time is more of a band feel album as besides CJ singing, so did Bill Leverty and Michael Foster, the drummer. And Michael’s song “Door to Door” might be the best song on the album as his vocals are great and the guitar work is immense. Really cool track. The two Bill Leverty tracks were a little bluesy, a little gritty and really awesome. Heck, they even ended it with a traditional 80’s power ballad that they always do. All-in-all, I would say this is pretty dang good release and I was surprised by how much I liked it.
#4 – GOOD ACOUSTICS (1996):
Now I know I have Full Circle as the worst because it is an unnecessary re-recording of their hits. Isn’t that what this is? Well, NO! Acoustic is different. It is a stripped down version of the songs and I find this to be a great set. Sometimes, I want to have something playing in the background that is not heavy and when you play this, you get those songs, a little softer, a little more raw and I love it. Plus, they do a great cover of “Seven Bridges Road” by the Eagles. A solid set in my book and one I pull out a lot!
#3 – 3 (1995):
For their 3rd Effort, aptly titled “3”, Firehouse repeated the same formula as the two previous releases; however, not as heavy and the songs aren’t quite as good. It doesn’t make it a bad album by any means. You have to give them credit as most bands from this era went really heavy and dark in 1995, but not Firehouse. They must have felt, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. There are handful of standout tracks including “Somthin’ ‘Bout Your body”, “Trying to Make a Living”, “Love is a Dangerous Thing” and even the ballad “I Live My Life for You”. There are some great solos and ballads and I guess, they are right…if ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
#2 – FIREHOUSE (1990):
Their debut album was, by far, their most successful selling over 2,000,000 copies in the U.S. alone. The big singles of “Don’t Treat Me Bad”, “All She Wrote” and the power ballad “Love of a Lifetime” were all over the radio and MTV…or maybe they were all over my CD player and cassette player. Either way, I played the hell out of this thing and still do. It is one of the last great 80’s glam/hard rock albums of that time before it all fell apart from over saturation and grunge. Now, it might be their most successful, but there was one I thought was better.
#1 – HOLD YOUR FIRE (1992):
I might be alone here, but I thought their sophomore album was no jinx. I found it to be better than the first. The songs were stronger and there was not a dud in the bunch. After a ton more listens going through these albums, I still hold that belief and stand by it. The singles were great with “Sleeping With You”, “Reach for the Sky” and the ballad “When I Look Into Your Eyes”. But the deeper cuts such as “You’re Too Bad”, “Rock You Tonight” are stellar and the 2nd ballad on the album, “Hold Your Dreams” might be their best one. If you want an idea of what I really like to hear…this is it!!
And there you have it, the FireHouse studio albums in order of how I rank them from the worst to the best. Let me know what you think. Where did we differ and where did we agree. What is fun about these list is how differently each album impacts people. What I like, you might not, but we like the same artist and that is all that matters really. And if as a result, you find something new, then my job is done!!!