Hi Everybody! It is a new week, and time for a new set of Deep Tracks, brought to us by Robert! I am thrilled with this week’s featured artist – Night Ranger. Night Ranger was one of my favorite bands of the ’80s, ever since I first heard “Sister Christian”. They are a very underrated rock band, and have a lot of great songs that have gotten very little, if any, airplay. If you are not all that familiar with Night Ranger’s catalog of music, then you are in for a treat.
(You Can Still) Rock with Night Ranger
Let me take you back all the way to last week. I told you of my situation: leaving Germany to return to the U.S. for college, one walkman – zero tapes. In my rush I bought Andy Taylor’s Thunder – you know about that one. One of the other tapes was Night Ranger’s Big Life. I knew “Sister Christian” and “When You Close Your Eyes”, but I had never heard an album by this band. I am very glad this was one of my pressurized purchases because Night Ranger has become one of my favorite bands. Full disclosure: I have a five-way tie for favorite band – REO Speedwagon, Bon Jovi, Journey, Survivor, and Night Ranger – I do not even try to break the tie any more.
The tape I bought, Big Life, was released in 1987, and Night Ranger released a total of five albums in the ‘80s: Dawn Patrol (1982), Midnight Madness (1983), Seven Wishes (1985), and Man in Motion (1988). The first four of these albums all reached the top 40 in album sales with two of them (Midnight Madness and Seven Wishes) achieving platinum status. During this time they had six Top 40 singles with two, “Sister Christian” and “Sentimental Street” reaching the top 10. The original line up that started the first decade of this band was: Jack Blades on bass and vocals, Brad Gillis and Jeff Watson on guitars, Alan Fitzgerald on keyboards, and Kelly Keagy on drums and vocals. Night Ranger is clearly not the most famous or best selling band to come out of the ‘80s, but they did achieve some solid success. While almost every fan of ‘80s music knows the big hits, but many of their great songs, which have survived in their live shows and with their fans, have remained sidelined in relative obscurity to the majority of those general fans. So, once again, I give you five songs from a great band that you may have missed – here are some deep tracks from the California based Night Ranger.
Sing Me Away (1982)
This song was a minor hit in 1982, reaching #54; despite this, I am going to use it as the first deep track. This song begins with a strong rhythm guitar that will become a staple of Night Ranger songs. The two guitarists, Brad Gillis and Jeff Watson are equally solid and play prominent roles in nearly all of the band’s songs. They trade solos among the band’s songs and occasionally both have one in the same song; Watson has the solo in this one. Musically there is a perfect blend of two rhythm guitars, keyboard, and bass. Lyrically, the song captures that old feeling of thinking about that girl we all “once knew as a schoolboy.” Those memories are always idealistic, making that girl feel like a perfect fit. That face from the past is perfect, but he is not with her now, “But I am a long ways away / And I want to be with you today / I’ll think of a way I can get back.” Does this mean that he is unhappy now? I’m not sure, but he is doing what many of us do – remembering the past and trying to think of ways to get it back. Honestly, isn’t that what most of us are doing? I know that I am every time I write for Return to the ‘80s. “Sing Me Away” is a steady rock song that is a great representation of the type of music Night Ranger will produce for the rest of the decade.
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