Albums of the ’80s: Poison – Open Up and Say… Ahh!

Glam rock band, Poison, was formed in 1983 in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania by lead singer Bret Michaels, guitarist Matt Smith, bassist Bobby Dall and drummer Rikki Rockett. In 1984, the band moved to Los Angeles. They made their rounds in the area’s famous clubs. Then Matt Smith was about to become a father. He was unsure of the band’s future, so he left the band and moved back to Pennsylvania. Poison auditioned for a replacement guitarist, eventually narrowing down the field to three candidates: Slash, who would later join Guns N’ Roses, Steve Silva from The Joe Perry Project, and New York-born guitarist C.C. DeVille, although Michaels and Dall did not initially get along with him, the band eventually agreed that DeVille’s “fire” made him the best choice.

Their debut album, Look What the Cat Dragged In (1986), put them on the map. Initially, the only single was “Cry Tough“. However, Poison became popular when they released the next three songs which would become big hits: “Talk Dirty to Me“, “I Want Action“, and the ballad “I Won’t Forget You“.

In 1988 Poison’s second album, Open Up and Say…Ahh!, was released and brought them up to the stratosphere. The album would go on to sell over 8 million copies, and spawned four hit singles. It peaked at number 2 on the charts as it had the misfortune of being out at the same time as Bon Jovi’s New Jersey, Guns N’ Roses’ debut record, Appetite for Destruction and Def Leppard’s most successful album, Hysteria.
But it held it’s own, and I think it is a very solid album.

Of course, it wouldn’t be Rock ‘n’ Roll if there wasn’t any controversy! When the album was first released, the cover art featured a demonic female figure with an obscenely long tongue. Or maybe it was Gene Simmons? I don’t know. After all, the year before (1987), they did cover “Rock and Roll All Nite” for the soundtrack to Less Than Zero. So maybe they had to return the favor by featuring Gene Simmons on their cover. Anyway, after being bombarded with complaints, the cover changed to only show the figure’s eyes.

While some of the songs from the album were overplayed (well, at least one of them anyway, which is still overplayed to this day, and you know which one I mean), There are some really good songs on this album.

So lets go back 25 years, Return to 1988, and Open Up and Say…Ahh!

Love on the Rocks

Great way to start the album. A rocker that features the band’s signature sound.

Nothin’ but a Good Time

This was the first single released off of the album. It reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #19 on the Mainstream rock charts. This is a fun party song.

Back to the Rocking Horse

Another fun, rockin’ song.

Good Love

Great combination of blues and rock. This is another fun, underrated song.

Tearin’ Down the Walls

I like this song alot too. This is a pretty good album so far!

Look But You Can’t Touch

This is one of my favorite Poison songs that was not released as a single. It probably should have been. This is my second favorite song of the album.

Fallen Angel

And this is my favorite Poison song. It reached #12 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #32 on the Mainstream rock charts. The song is about a young girl who grew up in a small town and goes to Los Angeles, just like a certain band we know.

Every Rose Has Its Thorn

This is a little deep track that you may or may not have heard of. Ugh! One of the most overplayed songs in the history of music! I loved this when it first came out. I even had this on a 45. This came out at a time when I was going to a lot of dances. This would be the designated “slow” song, so it does bring back some great memories. But, it doesn’t help that Bret Michaels can’t go 5 minutes in any part of his day without mentioning this song. I imagine that he’s brushing his teeth, and says, “If it wasn’t for Every Rose Has It’s Thorn, I wouldn’t be brushing my teeth with this solod gold toothbrush right now”!

It is the band’s only number-one hit in the U.S., reaching the top spot on Christmas Eve in 1988 for three weeks (carrying over into 1989) and it also charted at #11 on the Mainstream Rock charts.

Here is the song just in case you have somehow been able to avoid it.

And here’s a Country version if you want to hear a slightly different take on it.

Your Mama Don’t Dance

This was the fourth, and final single released from the album. It reached number 10 on the Billboard hot 100 and #39 on the Mainstream rock charts.
It was a cover of the 1972 hit song by Loggins and Messina. I was never a fan of this song. But I must be in the minority since it was a pretty big hit.

Here is the original Loggins and Messina version:

Bad to Be Good

This is a pretty good song. It sounds a little heavier than some of their other rockin’ songs. I like this a lot.

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