We are to the final single that I have for the ‘Permanent Vacation’ album and I am sure you will be happy to get back to the normal reviews as it has been 4 weeks of this album. The final single if for the song “Rag Doll”. The song was written by Joe Perry, Steven Tyler and Jim Vallance (Bryan Adams) as well as Holly Knight (Kiss). Tyler was furious that Holly got a writing credit because he says all she contributed to the song was changing the name from “Rag Time” to “Rag Doll”. One word got her a writing credit and it didn’t sit well.
“Rag Doll” went to #17 on the Top 40 Chart which continued to push the album to multi-platinum status…5 X’s platinum. The single was released on May 3, 1988 and my version is the standard U.S. version. The B-Side is “St. John” and both songs are the basic, standard LP version. No new mixes here.
The band was in trouble after ‘Done With Mirrors’. What was supposed to be their comeback album, flopped big time. The drugs were still a big problem. So the band had to make a huge change…and they did. They got sober! ‘Permanent Vacation’ is the first album the band has ever made that they were sober…no drugs, no drinking…clean and sober. And people reacted to that in a big way. Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Tom Hamilton, Brad Whitford and Joey Kramer had a lot to prove and they couldn’t do it alone.
The studio that the first batch of help should come from a great producer. At the helm this time around was Bruce Fairbairn and his amazing engineering staff of Mike Fraser and Bob Rock which is one of the most impressive crew behind the boards every in music history. Heck, Bruce even played trumpet, cello and sang background vocals while Mike Fraser played something called a plunger mute. Huh??? Well, that is a trumpet with an attachment on the front that mutes the sound a little. I don’t see where Bob is credited with anything other than masterful engineering. The recorded at the very famous Little Mountain Studio in Vancouver, British Columbia. If you saw my interview with Paul Laine we talked about that studio a lot.
The second row of help came from some song doctors, however, this was one big area of contention with the band. They were forced to work with outside writers much in the way Cheap Trick had to with ‘Lap of Luxury’ that we discussed earlier this week. The biggest contribution came from Desmond Child who co-wrote 3 of the tracks, 2 of which were massive singles for the band. They also had help from Jim Vallance (Bryan Adams writing partner) and Holly Knight (Kiss and Cheap Trick).