Dave Adams was the driving force behind North Carolina prog poppers Glass Moon. His 1986 solo album 'Dancing In My Sleep is interchangeable with a gazillion other albums released the same year and decade.
Christian band Allies were one of the better acquisitions for the Light Music label back in the mid 80's. With Allies, the label released just the two albums: 'Allies' (1985) and this one 'Virtues' the following year.
Ange's 'Egna' only has eight tracks but so much class, unending hooks and AOR choruses that get into your bloodstream. It's not easy to find on hard copy, but worth the search for the more adventurous AOR fan. Hell, make that any AOR fan.
Martin Ansell spent time in both the Tom Robinson Band and The Damned related post-punk group Captain Sensible, none of which promoted AOR attitudes but his talent, or should I say melodic alter ego would not come to fruition until this album 'The Englishman Abroad'.
Quite strange this hasn't received any accolades or recognition from AOR pundits in the last 22 years. There's not a bad track included and it must have been the culture shock of Bad Co evolving into an AOR act that saw this gain such a lukewarm reaction.
From the French Canadian side of the tracks come these mapleleaf mayhem merchants called Beau Geste. Essentially, this is Bryan Hughes plus hangers-on, and it's garnered a bit of a classic AOR reputation since those heady days of the eighties.
I'll be the first to admit that I'm not a total fan of Black N Blue, and will admit to listening to this lot only scarcely over the years. But since the first two albums are written up already, it would make sense to finish the job, so we start with the completists project by looking at their third effort 'Nasty Nasty'.
This is of course the album never intended to be a Black Sabbath release. Due to record company pressure, Tony Iommi caved in and it came out under the nonsensical title 'Black Sabbath Featuring Tony Iommi'.
'Slippery When Wet' set all sorts of records upon it's release. It was the first rock album to include three singles into the top 10. The first album and single off it to be at number one at the same time. The end-result? Well, nearly 30 million records later, the hard work put in at the front end paid dividends.. and then some..
'Boom Boom Mancini' is definitely entrenched with the mid 80's production techniques, which are all over this album. It's definitely worth an investigation if you're into this kind of stuff, especially the similarity to all the Canadian references made in the article.
It took a few years but finally Tom Scholz managed to release a third and very long overdue album. This album was the result of some hard work (some would say painstaking), with a few casualties along the way.
The Bricklin team manage to come up with an appealing album of songs that skirt round the fringes of bands like Agent, Life By Night, The City, and Mr Mister. Lots of hi-tech arrangements, keyboards and percussive elements too.
While far from an AOR magnate, Browne has stamped his name to many classic rock tracks over the past 4 decades, many of which are still heard to this day on radio. On 1986's 'Lives In The Balance', this is a politically inspired album which contains some excellent AOR flavoured moments.
From an AORsters viewpoint, this album only holds sway because of the backing band presence of the Stage Dolls members. The album is well produced and the musicianship by the Stage Dolls team is great, but the material is pretty questionable.
With an image that looks slightly glam and slightly new romantic, you could forgive Cats Can Fly as being another Duran Duran clone. But that's where the comparisons end. They have more in common with bands like Go West, Wang Chung, Life By Night and fellow Canadian contemporaries Platinum Blonde.
From the town of Newcastle, east of Toronto on highway 401 heading out of the big smoke, they've been classed as U2 wannabees, but if you dig deeper into their music, you'll find snippets of Glass Tiger, Boulevard - especially the sax work) and a dribble of Eight Seconds.
This album 'In Pursuit Of Romance', released in 1986 was Charlie's last album, and is quite hard to find now. By this time, they were reduced to a duo, and trying to back up on the critically acclaimed self titled album three years prior. Terry Thomas the mainstay throughout, recruited good friend Felix Krish to assist.
Suffice to say that the resulting album is dismissed to this day as Cheap Trick's worst effort ever. My point of view may prove controversial but I think summation is rubbish. Yes the hi-tech overload did hurt the production but plenty of fine mid 80's AOR remains.
This Philadelphia band are highly under-represented here at GDM. They were one of the stars of the mid to late 80's run, and were featured prominently in all the rags of the day (Hit Parader, Circus), plus MTV of course.
A classy band who took four years to come to fruition, with their debut album seeing a release in 1986. During that period however, they took time to refine their sound, incorporating the likes of Queensryche, Fifth Angel, Virgin Steele and fellow Floridians Savatageinto their musical make-up.
Holly Knight bought in singer Paul Engemann and session guitarist Gene Black, the trio were formed, and quite a stunning looking trio they were too, with their futuristic clothing being a feature. The music is hi-tech, an array of electronic devices (excuse the pun) used throughout, whereby Holly does all the programming.
'Danger Zone' has been available for a few years on CD now, and believe me you could do a lot worse. When Doc Holliday returned in 1986 elements of their AOR style remained, gloriously so, while the Southern sound returned in unanimous fashion.
If you want an immediate comparison, I can think of three reference points: David Pack, Tim Feehan, and Kenny Rogers Jnr. It's AOR. It's West Coast, and it's high tech. A wonderful combination and this album would go close to perhaps being the definitive AOR/West Coast crossover album.
For years I had been trying to find written material about this band with no success. In the end, I decided to write something about them via this website. From Canada (Ottawa is my guess), Eight Seconds can best be described as one of the ultimate hi-tech AOR bands there was.
When Emerson and Lake pursued the idea of a reunion in 1985, the final piece of the jigsaw (Palmer) was already committed, so the drum spot went to hard rock vet Cozy Powell, who had previous stints with Rainbow and Whitesnake up to this point. His recruitment added bulk to the ELP sound, which ironically excluded guitars; Emerson's keyboard taking center stage!
Export didn't really hit their straps until they signed a deal with CBS/Epic. This resulted in the excellent 'Contraband' album during 1984. For a comparison of their sound, think along the lines of outfits such as debut album era Strangeways or Fastway.
Musically, 'Whispering Jack' is perfect 80's radio fodder, helped by the OTT keyboard and programming work of LRB band-mate David Hirschfelder. Also joining the fold was (future) guitar god Brett Garsed. It was easy to see how and why this album became so huge.
Light and breezy AOR, and surprising poppy for this South London band. However, the FM band direction came about due to the obvious success of the harder melodic rock acts such as Europe, Def Leppard, Bon Jovi.
Canadian musician Jim Foster is perhaps better known through his association with the Alberta based outfit Fosterchild (hence the band name). This outfit had been in existence since the mid 70's. By 1986, Jim had landed a solo deal with RCA, with 'Power Lines' being the resulting output, with Rick Springfield and Stan Meissner used as reference points.
In 1986 and after 4 exceptional solo albums as well as the soundtrack to the film 'Birdy', Gabriel found himself to be an honest goodness superstar with 'So', buoyed by the massive single 'Sledgehammer' and its groundbreaking video.
Underrated and under loved, Golden Earring's 1986 'The Hole' proved that this long running Dutch outfit knew how to roll with the times, with a typical 80's sound complete with synths and digital drums.
This is what we get when we mix two of prog rock's supreme guitarists together. The colloboration of Messrs Howe and Hackett certainly got the rock fraternity a buzz back in 1985/86 and life after Yes/Asia and Genesis for both guitarists became a lot more interesting.
I'd forgotten over the years just how great this album is. Sure, I'd frequently hear the big hits still on radio, but there is very little dropoff between the number one hits and the rest of the songs. This album didn't have quite the sales success of 'Sports', even though it had more hit singles that went even higher on the charts. And I consider it to be even stronger overall than 'Sports', which is pretty high praise. But it still sold around four million copies. One of the best albums to emerge from the 80s.
Idle Cure remain one of the top-tier Christian acts to have appeared during the eighties/nineties. Originating from Long Beach California, these guys have perfected the quintessential sound of melodic rock and AOR, combining many influences from their secular cousins on bigger labels.
Idle Tears are occupying the same sort of territory as Face To Face, Scandal, Wild Blue and Delta. They are stuck in that mid 80's mind-set of AOR where things tended to be over-produced and overblown, and in Idle Tears case, they bought four producers to the mixing desk. Overkill perhaps?
That aside, 'Somewhere In Time' is the perfect example of heaviness and melody being merged, without losing musical identity. Maiden were still a metal band, even if there were murmurs of discontent from some fans.
It's a case of 'one man does it all', and so it seems the album title 'A Crowd Of One' is an appropriate label for one time Foghat bassist and producer Nick Jameson. He serves a tasty brew of hi-tech AOR and pop/rock, caught somewhere between Tim Feehan and other artists of the same ilk.
At the height of his fame as Miami Vice's 'Sonny Crockett' in 1986, Don Johnson landed himself a record deal with CBS/Epic. While 'Heartbeat' is not AOR the whole way through, there are several tracks which fall under the banner, more than making it worthy of inclusion at GDAZE.
Of all the Judas Priest discography, this is perhaps the least played album I have. 'Turbo' is not totally removed from the aural bombast from their previous two albums, but if fans were looking for an extension to the HM staples of 'Screaming For Vengeance' and 'Defenders Of The Faith', then they would be hugely disappointed.
'Close To The Flame' is designed for the big radio and MTV market, though the music on the LP is not totally representative of Jungklas' true style. I would describe it as 'hard AOR', but it also has an earthy element to it too.
Overall there is some lovely melodic pop/rock here, probably less in the power-pop stakes, but there is enough here for PP fans to sink their teeth into. Certainly, 'Music From The Film' is well worth the exploration for both power pop and AOR fans!
I think these guys were previously called Preacher, and not Cougar as some would assume. They first came onto the scene in 1981, originating out of the misty valleys of Wales.. better known for producing world class rugby players rather than melodic rock musicians.
Along with Aviator, another great rocking band from New York which surfaced in 1986 were The Ladder. Classy, and laced with a heavier than usual dose of melodic rock among the predominant AOR grooves this band generates.
'So What' would prove to be the final Lake album, not counting the compilation 'In the Midnight' and various later collections. In contrast to its predecessor 'Voices', 'So What', however, saw the band returning to a more conventional rock sound.
Le Mans did release one album on the Shrapnel label in 1983, 'Out On The Streets', which was very heavy metal. It wasn't a bad effort, but somewhere in between the boys have done serious listening time to Journey and Def Leppard and lightened up big time with this effort three years later.
There are a bunch of cool songs here, that despite the passing of time, sound kinda groovy in 2014. I'll admit that I was raised on Motley Crue's 'Too Fast For Love' and 'Shout At The Devil', but honestly, I reckon London come off more convincingly than Neill, Mars, Sixx and Lee ever did.
Housed in a typical 80's low budget sleeve with fluorescent hot pink lettering and on the back cover a grainy photo of The Loose dressed in the decade's traditional AOR finery including shoulder padded jackets, vests and obligatory mustachios; you pretty much know what you're going to get before the needle lands on the plastic.