My Sunday Song – “Way Cool Jr.” by Ratt

For My Sunday Song #252, we are going to go through “Way Cool Jr.” by Ratt. The song is off their 1988 album ‘Reach for the Sky” which was produced by legendary Beau Hill. The song was the first single off the album and didn’t really light the world on fire. It only went to #75 on the Billboard Hot 100 so no Top 40 for this one. The band was on the downslope of their career but it was songs like this that still kept me interested in the band.

The song was written by Stephen Pearcy, William DeMartini and Beau Hill. It seems to be about a handsome fella that was living his best life and thought he was so cool and that all the women loved him. He was slick, charismatic and probably wore sunglasses inside. He wasn’t a good guy though as he was a drug dealer and getting everyone high. The lyrics make you think he is a blues guitarist, but he is serving something else. It shows the glamours side and the seedy side and is full of contradictions. There has even rumors that the song is about Robbin Crosby who was deep in to the throes of heroin by this point.

Now there is also a possibility this song is about Elvis as he came from Memphis and was really cool guy hanging with the blues crowd that is where he got that sound. He is good-looking and the women love him. Either way, it is pretty cool.

Musically, the song is pure blues rock and roll from the gritty slide guitars by Warren DeMartini and Robbin Crosby and Bobby Blotzer playing the harmonica and cleaning things with his washboard. Juan Croucier is laying down a funky rhythm on bass and Steven Pearcy struts around on the vocals laying out his coolness for the world to hear. It is a cheesy, over the top song and for me this wasn’t your typical 80’s glam song, it had a little more style and depth musically.

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Ratt – ‘Detonator’ – Album Review

The year is 1990 and we are getting to the end of the Hair Metal era, but at the time, no one knew that end was coming.  Ratt released their fifth album in August of 1990 and it brings us to the end the long running stream of Platinum albums.  It is also the last Ratt album with the line-up that has been on all 5 of their albums.

  • Stephen Pearcy – vocals
  • Robbin Crosby – lead guitar
  • Warren DeMartini – lead guitar
  • Juan Croucier – bass guitar
  • Bobby Blotzer – drums

After the disappointing reception for ‘Reach for the Sky’ (although it did go Platinum), the band needed to make a change.  That change was not to use Beau Hill as producer on the next album as he had produced all previous albums to much success.  The band (or label) brought in powerhouse songwriter Desmond Child.  You know Desmond…he had great success writing with Kiss, Aerosmith and a few Bon Jovi classics.

And did he ever get involved in the songwriting as he has writing credits on 10 of the 11 tracks on the album.  Not only did Desmond assist with songwriting, he was also the executive producer along with Sir Arthur Payson.  While Ratt did maintain the classic Ratt sound which was a little bluesy and little sleazy, the songs were much more polished and contained more hooks than a fisherman’s tackle box.  It definitely leaned to a more Glam rock image than prior albums.

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Ratt – ‘Reach For the Sky’ – Album Review

We are now up to the fourth studio album by Ratt called ‘Reach for the Sky’.  The album was released on November 1, 1988 and as the predecessors, it also reached Platinum status. The only difference was that the critics really did not like this album.  It has been said this was the worst of their albums so far.  I personally disagree.

Yes, the album is a little hit or miss at times, but overall I think the album holds up over time and there are some really great songs on here.  But before we get to the songs, let’s talk about the band and what was going on with them at the time of making this album.

Ratt brought in Mike Stone to produce the album, but due to some sub-standard production work, longtime Ratt producer, Beau Hill, was brought back in to save the day and that is what he did.  This would be the last album the band would do with Beau.

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Ratt – ‘Dancing Undercover’ – Album Review

Next up in the Ratt album review series is their 3rd studio album, the 1986 album ‘Dancing Undercover’.  The entire band was still in tact and even producer Beau Hill returned for his third album.  The band still consisted of the following:

  • Stephen Pearcy – vocals
  • Robin Crosby – lead guitar
  • Warren DeMartini – lead guitar
  • Juan Croucier – bass
  • Bobby Blotzer – drums

Even though it was the same crew, things were different.  The band decided that they didn’t need a beautiful woman on the cover and opted for pictures of the band members themselves.

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Ratt – Invasion Of Your Privacy – Album Review

On June 13, 1985, Ratt released their second full length album called ‘Invasion of Your Privacy’.  After the success of their debut ‘Out of the Cellar’, Ratt wasted no time in repeating that formula and delivering another solid album.  The line-up was unchanged.

  • Stephen Pearcy – vocals
  • Robin Crosby – lead guitar
  • Warren DeMartini – lead guitar
  • Juan Croucier – bass
  • Bobby Blotzer – drums

The producer was still Beau Hill. The only thing different was the model on the front cover.  This time around it was Playboy model Marianne Gravatte.  Marianne was Playmate of the Year in 1983 where she was noticed by Stephen Pearcy (and everyone else).  Fun fact…the prior Playmate of the Year was none other than Gene Simmons’ wife, Shannon Tweed.  Marianne also appeared in the video for “Lay It Down” which we will get to later.

The album was not quite as successful as the debut, but it did peak at #7 on the Billboard charts which was the same place ‘Out of the Cellar’ peaked.  The album did go on to sell over 2 million copies.  The album also peaked the interest of the group Parents Music Resource Center which is the Tipper Gore group that looked to censor the music industry.  The group did end up getting Parental Advisory stickers placed on albums with foul language and that contained inappropriate material.

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