We have Gene Simmons of Kiss and Jon Bon Jovi to thank for Tom Keifer and Cinderella. Gene tried to get them signed first, wasn’t successful though. Then Jon came in the picture and boom, a contract. Cinderella’s debut album came out in 1986 and wow was it over the top with the packaging of the band’s look and their sound. They fit right in to the Hair Metal style. Their next album in 1988 came out, ‘Long Cold Winter’, and they got as far away from that sound and look as they could. With their third album, that took it the extreme the other way. That lineup of Tom Keifer, Eric Brittingham, Jeff LaBar and Fred Coury were a house hold names for me.
After their third album, Tom suffered major throat problems with paralysis of his left vocal cord. This delayed their fourth and final album, ‘Still Climbing’ in 1994, With little to no fanfare, the band basically called it quits…well with at least album as we never received another one. It was until 2013 did we even get Tom Keifer’s first solo album. What a comeback it was. But then nothing for six years until the most current release in 2019 with ‘Rise’. It has been a long ride, and sadly only 6 albums so far. I hope we get more, if not from Cinderella, at least from the voice of the band, Tom Keifer.
Let us go ahead and rank the 6 albums we do have and I can’t wait to see what order you would place them. I hope you enjoy.
THE WORST: Tom Keifer: ‘The Way Life Goes’ (2013):
Ok, let’s get this out there in the open right away. There is no “Worst” Tom Keifer album. There is only Favorite to Least Favorite as he hasn’t really made a bad album. Out of all the albums he’s done, this is only the one I don’t play as often as the others, so it is my least favorite of the bunch. They are all favorites. What a welcome sight it was to finally get some new material for Tom after 20 years of nothing. It felt like a personal album and his writing and playing have matured and improved and aged perfectly like cheese, but no cheese here. All well crafted songs. They didn’t capture me as tightly as the other album which is the only reason this one is a the bottom, but it is far from being a bad album.
#5 – Cinderella: ‘Heartbreak Station’ (1990):
The last Cinderella album that most people paid attention to as it was still the final years of the Hair era before Grunge wiped it away. I think this is another stellar album and some great tracks such as “Shelter Me”, “The More Things Change” and “Heartbreak Station”. The only thing wrong with it was that it felt like they toned things down too much. It wasn’t very heavy and they went away from the more bluesy album preceding it. It was softer which is not what I really wanted at the time. I finally picked this up on vinyl so now I need to get ‘Still Climbing’ on vinyl to complete the set.
#4 – Cinderella: ‘Still Climbing’ (1994);
‘Still Climbing’ didn’t get much attention as this was 1994 and Grunge was in full swing and I will be honest I was cold on the album back in the day. But when I finally got around to absorbing it and taking it all in, I was thoroughly impressed. It felt like a step up from ‘Heartbreak Station’. They went back to a little more bluesy, the album seemed heavier and the songs stuck with me more. They maybe were finding out more of who they really were. I love “Bad Attitude Shuffle” and “Through the Rain” and “Hot & Bothered”, but also really loved “Blood from A Stone” and “All Comes Down”. Really can’t go wrong with any of it. If you haven’t heard it in awhile, time to crank it one more time.
#3 – Cinderella: ‘Night Songs’ (1986):
The debut, ‘Night Songs’ was so over the top. I mean look how they dressed. They were going for a target audience for sure. But the band was more than that. Yes, the songs might’ve sounded like everything else, but Tom’s screechy, gritty vocals are what set it apart from me. Plus, I saw them tour with Bon Jovi and thought they were great. The singles were fantastic with “Shake Me”, “Nobody’s Fool” and “Somebody Save Me”, but the opening track “Night Songs” blew me away along with “Hell on Wheels”. They made me a fan from the start so since this was where it began with me, it holds a special place in my heart.
#2 – Cinderella: ‘Long Cold Winter’ (1988):
‘Long Cold Winter’ is better than the debut as it shows a band that is more than a one-trick pony. They can do blues, rock and even those power ballads. The writing is more mature, the sound is better and it is a band that is trying to reflect more of who they really are and you have to appreciate that…don’t you! This is my favorite Cinderella album and no one will ever be able to change my mind on that one. With songs like “Gypsy Road”, “Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone)”, “Coming Home” and the killer title track “Long Cold Winter”, you can’t beat this one. Even the deep cuts rule!
#1 – Tom Keifer: ‘Rise’ (2019):
I have loved this album and was almost non-stop for the entire first year of its release and after listening to it again and again, it still kicks ass 3 years later. Tom Keifer brings his roots and influences full force with one of the best Hard Rock Blues album I have heard in a long time. Like a fine wine, Tom keeps getting better with age and shows no signs of slowing down. The production and songwriting were top-notch and that guitar sound was the most killer part of the whole package. This is also one of the heaviest albums he has ever done. That heaviness and his blues influence, make a lethal combination here. Is there one song that tops them all, nope as they are all that good. I never thought he’d top “Long Cold Winter”, but he did just that!
And there you have it, the Tom Keifer and Cinderella 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!!!