This continuing series on the Analog Kid blog takes a look back at some of the best AOR songs from the ’70s and ’80s. All of these songs were radio favorites from my teenage years in Texas, but for some reason you just don’t seem to hear them very much any more. I hope to change that.

Texas Radio & The Big Beat: 1983

I feel like I’m on a blog roll this week, so let’s keep it going– instead of the usual five songs per year on a “Texas Radio & The Big Beat” post, I’m doubling down to ten. 1983 certainly deserves the love…

 

One Night With A Stranger

Martin Briley: “The Salt In My Tears” (Briley)

From the album One Night With A Stranger

Mercury Records, 1983

The Salt In My Tears

I recently ripped all three of Martin Briley’s ’80s albums from vinyl, and it was definitely time well spent. The guy had an ear for crafting some great pop hooks, even if all he had to show for it was one measly Top 40 hit. “The Salt In My Tears” only reached #36 in 1983. but substantial MTV airplay made it seem like a much bigger hit than that.

 

Here To Stay

Schon & Hammer: “No More Lies” (Schon/Burtnik/Hammer)

From the album Here To Stay

Columbia Records, 1983

No More Lies

Neal Schon’s second collaboration with Jan Hammer was released just a month or so before Journey’s Frontiers album, but that didn’t keep “No More Lies” from receiving a ton of airplay on DFW radio. I put Frontiers on one side of a TDK SA90 and Here To Stay on the other, and every night I went to sleep listening to that tape with my giant Radio Shack headphones.

Schon actually performed “No More Lies” on Journey’s Frontiers tour, and there’s a memorable version on the Frontiers…And Beyond VHS of Neal singing the song with blood pouring down his face. Someone apparently threw a beer bottle out of the audience and hit him right in the head, but Schon just kept on playing. I guess the supposed fan just really wanted to hear “Wheel In The Sky”…

 

Charlie

Charlie: “It’s Inevitable”

From the album Charlie

Mirage Records, 1983

It’s Inevitable

“It’s Inevitable” was the biggest of four minor hits for the British band Charlie, peaking at #38 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1983. You probably remember Charlie’s album covers if you spent any time at all in record stores during the late ’70s and early ’80s– the covers always featured an attractive female in a very seductive pose. I always assumed that the girl on the cover was “Charlie,” but never cared enough to investigate further. Apparently no one else did either, as Charlie’s highest-charting album (1979’s Fight Dirty) in the U.S. only reached #60.

Charlie1Charlie2

 

State Of Confusion

The Kinks: “State Of Confusion” (Ray Davies)

From the album State Of Confusion

Arista Records, 1983

Vinyl rip courtesy of the Analog Kid

State Of Confusion

Confession time: I absolutely hated “Come Dancing.” I’m sure the fact that it was on MTV at least once an hour during the summer of 1983 had something to do with that, but I really just didn’t like the song very much. I didn’t even own a copy of State Of Confusion until I acquired one on vinyl in the late ’90s, and now I really regret not giving this album a chance earlier. It’s a great Kinks record, and the title track is one of my favorite later-era Kinks songs.

 

Planet P

Planet P: “Why Me?” (Carey)

From the album Planet P

Geffen Records, 1983

Why Me?

Former Rainbow keyboardist Tony Carey was a busy man in the ’80s. His solo work led to some big hits (1984’s “A Fine, Fine Day” among them), but apparently he needed even more outlets for his creativity. Carey created a side project entitled Planet P (later rechristened The Planet P Project) as a way to release some of his more experimental music, and 1983’s “Why Me?” is a great example of his edgy work.

 

Fastway

Fastway: “Say What You Will” (Fastway)

From the album Fastway

Columbia Records, 1983

Say What You Will

During the first few weeks of the Analog Kid Blog’s existence, I wrote a post entitled “5 Led Zeppelin Songs That Are Not Led Zeppelin Songs” in which I shared five of my favorite Zep-influenced tracks from other artists.

Read it here! https://theanalogkidblog.com/2013/10/30/5-led-zeppelin-songs-that-are-not-led-zeppelin-songs/

I received a ton of feedback from that post, and the one song that was cited as the most egregious exclusion from that list was Fastway’s “Say What You Will.” This driving rocker from Fastway’s debut album was all over rock radio in 1983, but the band (led by former Motorhead guitarist “Fast” Eddie Clark) could never keep a stable lineup together and never again matched the success of their first album.

 

Cuts Like A Knife

Bryan Adams: “This Time” (Adams/Vallance)

From the album Cuts Like A Knife

A&M Records, 1983

This Time

I saw Bryan Adams open up for Journey at a few dates on the Frontiers tour in the summer of 1983, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen an opening act win over an audience the way Adams did on that tour. He really knew how to work a stage, and it was obvious that he was going to be a big star. It also didn’t hurt that Bryan (and co-writer Jim Vallance) knew how to write killer pop songs like “This Time,” my favorite track on Cuts Like A Knife.

 

Sucker For A Pretty Face

Eric Martin Band: “Sucker For A Pretty Face”

From the album Sucker For A Pretty Face

Elektra Records, 1983

Sucker For A Pretty Face

Long before Mr. Big and “To Be With You” made the girls swoon, singer Eric Martin had scored a big AOR hit with “Sucker For A Pretty Face” during the summer of 1983. The Eric Martin Band broke up after only one album and tour, but drummer Troy Luccketta would go on to great success of his own with Tesla.

 

Caught In The Game

Survivor: “Caught In The Game” (Peterik/Sullivan)

From the album Caught In The Game

Scotti Brothers Records, 1983

Caught In The Game

Survivor’s follow-up to Eye Of The Tiger was its last album with original vocalist Dave Bickler, who had to leave the band due to problems with his vocal cords. At least Dave went out on top– to me, “Caught In The Game” is easily Survivor’s best song. Great guitar riff, great melody, great song.

 

Michael Bolton

Michael Bolton: “Fool’s Game” (Bolton/Brooks/Mangold)

From the album Michael Bolton

Epic Records, 1983

Fool’s Game

I had to save the best for last! Bolton himself barely even acknowledges the existence of this record, but it’s true: Michael Bolton was Bon Jovi before Bon Jovi was Bon Jovi. Future KISS guitarist Bruce Kulick gave “Fool’s Game” the punch it needed to enter heavy rock radio rotation, and there’s no denying that Bolton had the pipes to rock the AOR genre. Obviously, he chose a different career path. Perhaps we are all better off because of it, but what if…

Naw. Let’s not go there.

___________________________________________________________________

Bonus Tracks!

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.

 

Greatest Hits Live

Journey: “Wheel In The Sky” (Fleischman/Schon/Valory)

From the album Greatest Hits Live

Columbia Records, 1998

Wheel In The Sky

 

State Of Confusion

The Kinks: “Come Dancing” (Ray Davies)

From the album State Of Confusion

Arista Records, 1983

Come Dancing

 

tonycarey

Tony Carey: “A Fine, Fine Day” (Carey)

From the album Some Tough City

MCA Records, 1984

A Fine, Fine Day

 

Lean Into It

Mr. Big: “To Be With You” (Martin/Grahame)

From the album Lean Into It

Atlantic Records, 1991

To Be With You

 

Mechanical Resonance 1

Tesla: “Little Suzi” (Diamond/Hymas)

From the album Mechanical Resonance

Geffen Records, 1986

Little Suzi

 

Eye Of The Tiger

Survivor: “Eye Of The Tiger” (Peterik/Sullivan)

From the album Eye Of The Tiger

Scotti Brothers Records, 1982

Eye Of The Tiger

 

Bon Jovi

Bon Jovi: “She Don’t Know Me” (Avsec)

From the album Bon Jovi

Mercury Records, 1984

Vinyl rip courtesy of the Analog Kid

She Don’t Know Me

 

Revenge

KISS: “Domino” (Simmons)

From the album Revenge

Mercury Records, 1992

Domino

About The Analog Kid

"I'm 5-foot-8, 123 pounds. I have, uh, brown hair, blue eyes. I enjoy surfing, backgammon and men who aren't afraid to cry."

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