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.
The final single in the 3 I found at the Charlotte Record Show is another from Cinderella. This time around it is the 2nd single from ‘Heartbreak Station’ titled…well…”Heartbreak Station”. The song didn’t do as well as “Shelter Me”, but did got to #44 on the Hot 100 just missing Top 40 Status. On the Mainstream Rock Chart it went to #10 so all-in-all not a bad run. The song was written by Tom Keifer (imagine that as he pretty much writes everything for the band).
And like with “Shelter Me” we get another French Promo single. This one wasn’t promoting a show like the last time, just promoting the 1990 album ‘Heartbreak Station. The B-Side is another deep cut from the album called “One for Rock And Roll”. I have to admit, I think really like finding the promos as they are a little special to me and to get a French one is even cooler. Look at the labels from Vertigo, really cool lettering and styling I have to say.
The 2nd 7″ Single I found was for the band Cinderella for the song “Shelter Me” which was the first single off their 1990 album ‘Heartbreak Station’. The song was written by Tom Keifer and actually broke the Top 40 in the U.S. going to #36 and #5 on the U.S. Mainstream Rock stations. The B-Side of the single is also from the album and is the deep cut “Long Gone Bad”.
My version is pretty cool…at least I think it is. It is a French Promo but it wasn’t just promoting the album, it was promoting the upcoming show in Paris on February 11, 1991 at the La Cagila which ia a theater at 120, boulevard de Rochechouart near Place Pigalle, in the 18th arrondissement of Paris. That is what the (Le 11 Février 1991 A La Cigale) was referencing on the front of the single. The place was built back in 1887 so it has lots of history. Like I said, I think this is a cool piece.
“Shelter Me” took the band back to their roots pulling influence from both the Stones and Aerosmith with the bluesy rock. Just listen to that Stones Boogie in the song and you will know what I mean. Keifer’s raspy vocals add so much grit and then throw in Tom and Jeff Labar’s steel guitar work and you have a great track. There is even some honky tonk piano, some saxophone and I swear I hear a mouth harp (or whatever that twangy sound is). You get both a guitar solo and a saxophone solo, what more could you want. It is a down home good time song.
The B-Side is “Love Gone Bad” and is a very deep cut on the ‘Heartbreak Station’ album. It was also written solely by Tom Keifer but that is to be expected. This song leads more to the rock then the blues even though there is still a lot of blues in it. Fred Coury is slamming the skins and Tom’s vocals are on the harder edge of things as he screams a lot more on this one and with the raspy vocals you get that rock side to his vocals. The guitar work by him and Labar is stellar as usual. You get more saxophone and piano from Jay Davidson, organ work by Ken Hensley and some background vocals from Eric Troyer. Another stellar track from the band.
And that is it for this single, the last of the 3 from the Charlotte Record Show is up next week. Thanks for stopping by and hanging with us.