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.
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!!!