Back before Christmas of 2021, it was announced that Loverboy, REO Speedwagon and Styx were coming to Charlotte. Loverboy was one of my wife’s favorites bands back in the day and she wanted to go see the show, so tickets were bought and months were spent waiting until the day finally came on August 6, 2022 at the PNC Music Pavilion in Charlotte, NC. It was a rainy afternoon and evening and this was an outdoor show. I wasn’t worried about the show itself because we had seats undercover, but the walk there was a little wet…but we didn’t care as it kept it cool and was a little fun to get wet.
The show kicked off on time and first up was Loverboy promptly at 7pm. The first thing I noticed was that they were old…I had forgotten that time had passed. I looked around and I noticed the crowd…well, I won’t say they were old too, but Depends did have a booth giving away free samples and Jonathan from Colonial Penn Life Insurance was there selling their $9.95 Plan (let’s see who gets that one). After remembering that people age, I got my mind back in to the show.
Since they were the opening act, they only played 8 songs, but they were a great 8 songs. I will admit my wife was a little underwhelmed at first and so was I as the vocals didn’t sound that great and the playing was a little sloppy at times, but it got better, much better. Mike Reno didn’t move around a ton and neither did Paul Dean. However, Matt Frenette, the drummer, looked exactly the same in that red ball cap and he was still killing it on the drums. He hadn’t aged a bit. When they played “Kid Is Hot Tonite” and “Lovin’ Every Minute of It”, it took me right back to high school and it sounded incredible. I got chills. And when the final two songs came on “Turn Me Loose” and “Working for the Weekend”, the crowd was totally in to it and on their feet. It was a helluva a way to end the show with every one truly loving every minute of it…pun intended. If the whole show would’ve had the energy of those last two songs…they would have blown everyone off the stage that came after.
In 1986, one of the biggest movies was ‘Top Gun’ starring then upcoming & coming star Tom Cruise. The soundtrack was just as big thanks to Kenny Loggins’ song “Danger Zone” (which went to #2) and Berlin’s beautiful ballad “Take My Breath Away” (which went to #1). I also loved Cheap Trick’s “Mighty Wings” even though it didn’t chart. Another big song on the album was by Loverboy and the song “Heaven in Your Eyes”. It went all the to #12 so that is 3 Top 40 songs off the same soundtrack and a soundtrack that went to #1 and has sold over 10 million copies worldwide. Not too shaby. Sadly, today, soundtracks aren’t that popular and we don’t usually get them like they made back in the 80’s and 90’s.
“Heaven In Your Eyes’ was written originally by Mae Moore and John Dexter, however, when the song ended up the soundtrack both Mike Reno and Paul Dean were able to get credits added even though I am not sure how much they contributed. The song is not on any of the band’s studio albums but you can get it on their greatest hits package titled ‘Big Ones’ which is a great one to have in the collection if you see it out and about.
February is over so it is time for our monthly round-up of what 2 Loud 2 Old Music got their hands on this month and it was another banner month. It all started with a trip to the antique mart called Sleepy Poets. My daughter loves that place and I don’t mind because there are records and I found a couple good ones. One was the only early Stryper album I was missing and the other was one of my mother’s favorite bands Air Supply so I had to buy it. I miss her a lot so it will be something in my collection that when I am really, really missing her I can pull out and play.
Then the following week, my daughter wanted to hit more antique shops as she loves to find old vintage clothes at not a too ridiculous of a price. The first place we hit in Mathews said it was an antique place, but really it was a record store and now I have another great place to go buy albums!! Yeah me!! I found some great vinyl, CDs, singles and cassettes…they had it all. First are the albums, which are an early pressing of Mariah Carey’s debut on vinyl and a Billy Idol 12″ Single of Mony Mony.
There is no Friday New Releases this week as there is really nothing coming out worth mentioning so I will take you back in time and do an Album Ranking…
When you think of Canada, there is always that one band that comes to mind. No, not Nickelback, no not Justin Beiber…it is Loverboy!! One of the most iconic 80’s bands to ever be in existence. When you think Loverboy, you think tight, red, leather pants and “Working for the Weekend”. There is nothing more 80’s than that.
The band, however, has existed well past the 80’s and has gone on to release 9 studio albums so far including one in the 90’s and 3 in the 2000’s. And for that reason, they deserve the Album Ranking treatment. We will go through all 9 studio albums and rank them from their worst to the ver best. Now remember, this is just my opinion and your opinion might be slightly different and you know what, that’s okay!
I hope you enjoy!!
THE WORST – VI (1997):
Did you know Loverboy released an album in the 90’s? I didn’t either. Loverboy 6 was released to little or no fanfare as this was an 80’s band and in the 90’s, 80’s bands were not cool. The biggest problem with the album is it is Loverboy trying to bring themselves in to the modern world of rock and as a result they lost that Loverboy magic. The album was depressing, sad and really, really bad.
Loverboy is a party band, a band you have fun listening to and this album had none of that. You can’t even get this album on iTunes or even stream it. It is nowhere to be found and for good reason. There isn’t any song, I can recall that is even worth mentioning. And sadly, this was even Scott Smith’s last album as bass player before his death in 2000. If there is one to skip…this is it. Here is the opening track, which isn’t that awful, but not one I will go back to very often.
#8 – LOVERBOY (1980):
Now, I might catch some crap for having their debut so far down, but honestly, I don’t care. Even after almost 40 years, this album still stinks in my book. I never connected to it. There are, however, a couple outstanding tracks that should be in every Loverboy library and they are “The Kid Is Hot Tonite” and the really kick ass song “Turn Me Loose” with that cool ass bass line. Those two are classic songs.
Two songs don’t make an album. The rest of the album is all filler and no killer. Not one song is memorable. It bored me then and it bored me now when I went back to explore the albums again. I wish I had better things to say about it, but I can’t. Sorry.
#7 – ROCK ‘N’ ROLL REVIVAL (2012):
Revival isn’t much of a studio album. It is 3 new songs and the rest are re-recordings of classic Loverboy hits. Not remixes, but actual re-recordings. The three new songs were recorded with Bob Rock and I have to say, I really dig those new songs. They capture that old Loverboy magic. Heck they even sound like that could have fit on any 80’s album. That is why this is one step above their debut because I liked 3 songs and not 2.
The rest of the album is not bad, don’t get me wrong, it is just not the original songs. The original songs are classics and should never try to be redone in any way, shape or form. They can’t be improved upon. All these songs did was make me want to listen to the original songs not want to hear these again.
#6 – UNFINISHED BUSINESS (2014):
Unfinished Business is a collection of tracks over the bands 40 years that had never been released or even finished until now. I found the album to be pretty enjoyable and have listened to it quite a bit over the years. There aren’t any real classic, iconic Loverboy songs to be had which is okay. I still like hearing old songs that were left behind for some reason or another as they can potentially be better than other stuff released.
In this case, I think the album is better than 3 others of theirs so that should tell you something. I like “Fire Me Up”, “Counting’ the Nights”, “Doin’ it the Hard Way” and many others so give it a listen if you get a chance.
#5 – JUST GETTING STARTED (2007):
10 years after their last album and 20 years since their last 80’s album, Loverboy came back swinging and brought back that 80’s sound and gave us an album that can hold its own with any of the ’80 releases. Hell, the opening track “Just Getting Started” could have been on any of those albums.
But that isn’t the only great song, no sir. You get “One of them Days” where Paul Dean’s guitar playing is in the forefront, you get “Lost With You” that rocks with the best of them and they even have ballads such as “Back For More” and “I Would Die For You”. It is a well-rounded Loverboy album and worth grabbing if you can find it. Again, this is another album that you can’t get on iTunes or Apple music so hopefully you can find on eBay or Amazon.
#4 – KEEP IT UP (1983):
The band’s third and there were high expectations after the success of ‘Get Lucky’ and for me fell short of those expectations. Now, it is still a fantastic album, however, it didn’t have the huge hits for me like the prior album or the next two after. There was more killer than filler, but there was filler.
On the great side, you had songs like “Hot Girls In Love”, “Strike Zone” and “Queen of the Broken Hearts”. You had some fantastic ballads as well with “It’s Never Easy” and then some deep cuts that were great such as “Chance of a Lifetime” and “Prime of Your Life” and the rest were just okay. These songs alone are enough to put it at #4 for me.
#3 – WILDSIDE (1987):
At #3 is an album that they completely outdid themselves and is one of my favorites. The biggest problem this album had was timing. In 1987, there were 3 rock bands that stole the light from everyone…Whitesnake (1987), Def Leppard (Hysteria) and Guns N Roses (Appetite for Destruction). Because of that, the band had their first album that didn’t go platinum. It wasn’t their fault because they delivered a solid album.
Songs like “Notorious” and “Love Will Rise Again” were two of the best they had ever done. And “Don’t Keep Me In the Dark” is by far the best ballad they have ever done. It was dark and full of emotion and it spoke to me for some reason back then and even today. Those weren’t the only good songs, oh no, you had “Can’t Get Much Better”, “Wildside” and “Break It To Me Gently” were all pure Loverboy classic sounding songs. In 1987, when I wasn’t listening to those other 3 bands, this one was on.
#2 – LOVIN’ EVERY MINUTE OF IT (1985):
When this album came out, it was huge at our high school. I remember buying this one and playing it constantly. My memory isn’t great, but I want to say the title track was either the homecoming float theme song or it was the prom theme…either way I remember it being a part of my junior year in high school (85/86). The title track, “Lovin’ Every Minute of It” summed up my Junior Year. It was a fabulous year.
That wasn’t the only song that stood out. You had party songs like “Friday Night”, rockers like “Dangerous” and don’t forget the ballads. For ballads you had “Destination Heartbreak” and beautiful “This Could Be The Night” which in Junior year that was always the hope (nudge, nudge, wink, wink)!!
#1 – GET LUCKY (1981):
The two things Loverboy had going for them during their heyday was Bruce Fairbairn as producer and the other was those Mike Reno Red Leather Pants. The album cover for this one sums up the 80’s and the band. Probably one of the most famous covers from that era. But that isn’t why I love this album the most…no, no, no. It is the songs.
The most iconic song from that era was “Working for the Weekend”. Hell, who doesn’t know this song? I mean really, even today everyone knows this song as it has been in countless movies and admit it we are all just working so we can enjoy ourselves on the weekend. That isn’t all, you get the songs “Lucky Ones”, “Gangs in the Street”, “Take Me to the Top” and the ballad “When It’s Over”. You even get a song written by Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance before they were…well, Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance. Oh yeah, that song is “Jump”. The album is full of great songs and the album can’t be beat!
And there you have it, the Loverboy 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!!!
In my producer extraordinaire series, this is the 3rd producer who helped create some of my favorite albums. The first post in the series was for Robert John “Mutt” Lange and then second post was for Brendan O’Brien. Both legendary producers.
Bruce Fairbairn didn’t have as long as career as the first two guys due to his untimely death back in 1999. However, during his brief time, he crafted some of the most memorable albums of the 80’s & 90’s and the albums sold well over 65 million copies if you just count the platinum and gold albums.
It all started in back in Canada in the late 70’s when he started out producing for a band called Prism. Prism had moderate success in Canada, but not much internationally. In 1980, Bruce started production on the debut album for another Canadian band called Loverboy. Loverboy opened the doors for Bruce with the bands international appeal. He produced 4 albums with Loverboy in the 80’s. They were as follows:
Turntables & Vinyl. Did you ever think they would come back in style? I guess I must have thought so because I found a box in a closet that was full of vinyl albums from the 70’s & 80’s. However, I don’t own a turntable anymore. What do I do?
Well, I went out and bought a turntable. My oldest daughter has been wanting a turntable as that is the new fad for kids her age, I guess. That got me to thinking maybe I should get a turntable. I didn’t want to spend too much as I didn’t know how much it would get used by her or by me.
We were at the mall and I found this turntable at some trendy clothes store for young people (I was the oldest person in the store). Don’t know if it is any good and honestly, don’t care. It will be a fun experience I can share with my daughter and maybe teach her what real music sounds like.
We started shopping for albums afterwards and the first thing I noticed was…THE PRICE!!! HOLY CRAP!! When did albums become so expensive. $25, $35 and up to $50 for a freakin’ album. Well, I guess my daughter won’t be getting one anytime soon. She will have to listen to mine until I can take a 2nd mortgage out on the house to buy a new album. Luckily, the store had a limited selection so there was nothing either of us had to have right then.
We get back home and I run upstairs to grab the box of records. We take it into my office along with the turntable. I get the turntable plugged into the wall and into my stereo system and found the setup to be extremely easy. Thank goodness as I wanted to put on some music.
Next, I grabbed the box and opened it like I was a kid on Christmas. I couldn’t wait to go through and see what all I had. I knew what a lot of the albums were in the box, but not everything. What I did know for sure is that the first album to be played on the turntable was going to be Van Halen’s self titled debut from 1978. I remembered that album was in the box along with several Kiss albums.
The Van Halen album sounded amazing!! And now as I am typing this post up, I am listening to Kiss Alive! and I have it cranked! (No one is home right now) Not a bad way to spend my afternoon. Here is a list of albums that were in my box that I will definitely be putting on heavy rotation.
Van Halen – Van Halen
Kiss – Alive!
Kiss – The Originals (Special Edition with the first 3 albums)
Boston – Boston
Boston – Don’t Look Back
Eagles – Hotel California
Eagles – Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975
The Beatles – The Beatles / 1967-1970
Mother’s Finest – Mother’s Finest Live
ZZ Top – Tres Hombres
Billy Joel – Glass Houses
Black Sabbath – Mob Rules
Kiss – Unmasked
Kiss – Hotter than Hell
Billy Idol – Billy Idol
Loverboy – Lovin’ Every Minute of It
Pat Benatar – Crimes of Passion
Styx – Caught in the Act Live
Def Leppard – On Through the Night
Grease – Soundtrack
Star Wars – Soundtrack
The biggest surprise included in the box was the first vinyl album I ever bought. If you have read the “About” section of my blog, you know what that album was. My mom ordered it for me off the TV from a commercial during the TBS reruns of “The Monkees” back in the 70’s. It was simply called “The Monkees”. I almost teared up (actually I teared up from all the dust in the box as it flared up my allergies).
A lot of these albums I am sure were my brothers’ albums and I somehow ended up with them. I hope they aren’t too disappointed that they are not getting them back. That is not true, they can have them back. They just need to come to North Carolina from Georgia and pry them from my cold, dead hands.
Also discovered in the box were some of my wife’s childhood albums. There were some old Disney albums (and I mean old) and then some from a few of her favorite teen idols. There was Andy Gibb, Leif Garrett and her personal love, Shaun Cassidy. When she looked at the album, I hadn’t seen that look in her eyes since WE first met. I think I should be jealous. I have a feeling she will be listening to those while I “Da Doo Ron Ron” off to work.
The next day, my daughter and I found a great little record store in Charlotte and we went and picked up a couple albums. They had those expensive albums like what I mentioned above, but they also had used albums that were a lot cheaper. Since I had the first two Boston albums on vinyl, I went ahead and picked up Boston’s Third Stage ($10) and my daughter picked up James Bay’s latest album for only $20 (which I still think is too much).
I need to make a list of what albums I want because I walked around that store for almost an hour and couldn’t decide on anything but the Boston album. Too many to choose!!! My daughter, who takes hours to pick out a shirt had her album picked in 5 minutes.
When we got home and put the James Bay album on, the cheap record player we bought the day before wasn’t working properly. It can’t seem to keep the appropriate speed and the song tends to slow down. All the excitement from the first day fizzled out fast. I knew I should have just waited and bought a decent player right out of the gate. Sometimes I am too cheap. So, I guess I do care if the record player is any good.
Well, I am researching a decent player now and can’t wait to get one. Any recommendations? I am anxious to listen to the whole set of albums from the box.