In this continuing series, the Analog Kid blog takes a look at songs that should have (in my humble opinion) been much bigger on the charts than they actually were. Maybe they were released as singles and never quite caught on, or perhaps they were buried on side four of a double album and left to obscurity. Maybe the bands’ record labels were simply run by cocaine-fueled monkeys. Whatever the reasons, it’s time to give these great tunes their just due. One thing’s for sure: they were all hits in my house…
Glass Tiger: “Thin Red Line” (Glass Tiger)
From the album The Thin Red Line
Capitol Records, 1986
Glass Tiger’s debut album featured two Top 10 singles: “Don’t Forget Me (When I’m Gone)” made it all the way to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100, while the follow-up “Someday” went as high as #7. The whole album is a solid slice of mid-’80s pop rock, but its best song wasn’t even released as a single in the United States: the title track “Thin Red Line.”
Listen to this song a couple times. Listen to the way it builds. Dig that huge instrumental riff– it sounds like Big Country and Bryan Adams had a baby, and I mean that in a very good way. This is a damn fine arena rock song that is just asking for the Jerry Maguire “Free Fallin'” treatment. I know, because I’ve done it. In fact, I did it yesterday.
Back in 1986, I was a sophomore in college in Austin, Texas. My musical tastes were rapidly turning towards R.E.M. and the Replacements, but my roommate Chester still loved his AOR. He must have played the Glass Tiger album at least five times a week, so I became intimately familiar with it even if my hipster self pretended that I didn’t like it. We even saw Glass Tiger open up for Journey in December of ’86 at the Frank Erwin Center, and “Thin Red Line” was so good that it probably made Steve Perry and Jonathan Cain jealous.
Glass Tiger made two more solid albums before breaking up, but they never again reached the U.S. Top 20. They reformed in 2003 and continue to play live, mostly in their native Canada.
When he’s not blogging or fighting with Google over indexing issues, the Analog Kid sings for a Neil Diamond cover band that is slowly metamorphosing into an ’80s cover band. At some point in the near future, we are going to play “Thin Red Line.” No one in the audience is going to know the song, but it’s going to make me happy. I am convinced that it’s going to make the crowd happy as well.
The first rule of The Analog Kid blog is that if you write about a song on the Analog Kid blog, you share the song on the Analog Kid blog.
Glass Tiger: “Don’t Forget Me (When I’m Gone)” (Glass Tiger)
Glass Tiger: “Someday” (Glass Tiger)
Both taken from the album The Thin Red Line
Capitol Records, 1986
Tom Petty: “Free Fallin'” (Tom Petty/Jeff Lynne)
From the album Full Moon Fever
Warner Brothers Records, 1989