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.
For most of 2018, I have been reviewing all the Ratt albums from the Ratt E.P. in 1983 all the way to 2010’s Infestation. It has been an enjoyable ride walking through the history of the band, all the ups and the downs, the good and the bad and loving every minute of it (wait that is Loverboy)…and loving watching the wax or cd spinning round and round (much better).
Ratt has been a love/hate relationship. While I love most of what they do, they don’t always deliver the goods and I tried to be as honest as I could be throughout the review processes. I believe I was brutal where I needed to be and kissed their ass when it deserved it as well. I hear they band is planning a new album in 2019 and when it comes I will review it in detail like the others and I will update this list and put it where it belongs among the classics or the crap.
You can go back and read each review in detail by just clicking on the album title. This ranking will be just a summary of the good and bad of each album. I hope you enjoy.
The hardest review of them all to write. I couldn’t connect to this album when it came out or even now. The production quality was horrible; Stephen’s vocals needed some cleanup and weren’t always up to par; the double guitar of Ratt of old was gone and so the songs were missing that punch; and overall it was just bad.
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.
The band Ratt has been in the news a lot lately and not all in a good way. First with Stephen Pearcy releasing a great new solo album. And second, the Ratt band mates have been feuding over who owns the band name. It is sad and disgusting. To me, Ratt is Stephen Pearcy, Warren DeMartini, Bobby Blotzer, Robbin Crosby and Juan Croucier. But the band is now two bands fighting over the name.
In one corner you have Stephen Pearcy, Warren MeMartini & Juan Croucier. The other corner you have Bobby Blotzer. Robbin Crosby passed away in 2002 and luckily isn’t witnessing this fiasco. Based on what I have read, Bobby Blotzer will probably lose and Ratt will be with Stephen, Warren and Juan, but what do I know I am not an attorney.
Any other version is a cover band…sorry Bobby that is all your version would look like. Plus, you were never a song writer on any of the songs so the Ratt sound and style didn’t come from you so not sure I would ever check out your version of Ratt. I am sorry that was mean. There were actually 2 songs you have writing credits on and your drumming in the band was actually great. I still feel your version is a cover band though!!!
Because of them being in the news, I have been listening to their music and I realized they have a lot of great songs. I figured why not do a list of my Top 20 Ratt songs. I have gone through all their albums and I feel I have the definitive list of Ratt songs. I was hoping to have songs from every Ratt album, but their 1999, self-titled reunion album sucked so much that I could not in good faith include any songs. Collage was a compilation of rarities and b-sides but mostly stuff from pre-Ratt and I wanted to stick with the main Ratt era. Otherwise, here the Top 20 Ratt songs.