Tag Archives: Damn Yankees

1990-1991 Music Wrap Up

MI0001626022As this week comes to a close, I’d like to thank you for allowing me to indulge myself, and step over to the ’90s for a bit. We’ll wrap up with some of my favorites from this time period. There are some deep tracks that I really loved. So I hope you enjoy some of these songs. As usual, you can click on the song title to get to the video. These songs are in no particular order.

My Side of the Bed” by Susanna Hoffs

After The Bangles’ hot run throughout the ’80s, Susanna Hoffs embarked on a solo career. I bought her album, When You’re a Boy. I was expecting it to be better than it was. She is much better with her bandmates. However, there were a few good songs on it, including this Billboard Top 40 single “My Side of the Bed”. I had forgotten about this, but was reminded of it by my friend, and loyal reader, Andy.

Explain It to My Heart” and “Chasin’ the Wind” by Chicago

On the way back from the Gulf, our ship stopped at Singapore for a couple of days. I loved it there! There was a huge mall there, and of course I had to go in a record store there. I bought Chicago Twenty 1, and the next album coming up on this list. I fell in love with this album. Every single song, on this underrated album, is incredible. These two songs are great ballads. “Explain It to My Heart” is the first song on the album, and “Chasin’ the Wind” is the first song on the second side.

Fading Like a Flower (Every Time You Leave)” by Roxette

This song was off of Roxette’s album, Joyride, which I bought along with Chicago Twenty 1, in Singapore. This is another album I loved, and this is my favorite song from the album. It is also one of my favorite songs by Roxette.

Thunderstruck” and “Moneytalks” by AC/DC

These are a couple of my favorite AC/DC songs, and they were both on the same album – The Razor’s Edge. “Thunderstruck” has got to have one of the best openings of any song, ever. Talk about getting you pumped up! And “Moneytalks” is just a flat-out fun, rockin’ song.

And if this music pumps you up, and inspires you to play the guitar, or if you are a beginning guitarist, check out this article from Beginner Guitar HQ, “How to Play Guitar like AC/DC“.

As Long As I’m Alive” by The Little River Band

While in the Middle East, we stopped by Bahrain quite a few times. We would load up on supplies, and it was easier to refuel. So, we would be able to get off the ship. I would always to to the Souq, which was a marketplace. There were several music stores there. They would have 90 minute tapes, often with the greatest hits of anybody you could think of – for the price of 3 dollars, which was extremely cheap (even back then). While most people from the ship loaded up on gold and clothing, I loaded up on tapes. My locker was lined with tapes, from top to bottom (in alphabetical order, of course). One tape I bought had about 40 songs on it. There were some great songs on there, so I had to buy it. There were so many songs on there because they were only samples. A Middle Eastern DJ would introduce a song, then the song would fade out after the first chorus. One of the songs was this great one from The Little River Band. I fell in love with this song, and had to find where it came from. Pre-Google, I somehow found out it was on their new album, Get Lucky. The whole album was really good, but this still remains my favorite song by them.

[not available on iTunes]

Miles Away” by Winger

This incredible power ballad by Winger was so appropriate at the time. As I was miles away from family and friends, this song really meant a lot to me.

I Am Your Radio” by the McAuley Shenker Group

Just before I went on the ship for the last time before we left for the Gulf War, I was in the Navy Exchange (store), and came across the music section (go figure). I was browsing, trying to find something good that I didn’t already own. A girl came up to me, and said that I should get McAuley Shenker Group’s Save Yourself. I had neveThat album just blew me away heard of them, but decided to give it a shot. Best.Advice.Ever! There are so many great songs on that album, but this was my favorite.

[not available on iTunes]

Save Our Love” by Yngwie Malmsteen

This song was on another mix tape that I bought in Bahrain. However, this time the full songs were on the tape. I believe the tape was titled Right Here Waiting – Homesick Love Songs. Before this song, I had never heard of Yngwie Malmsteen. I had no idea if it was a group or a person. Well, he is a legendary guitarist from Sweden. He is beyond incredible. And this song is an outstanding power ballad that I still play a lot.

Blind Faith” by Warrant

Unfortunately, Warrant is now best known for “Cherry Pie“. Although I love that song, they had so many other great songs. And “Blind Faith” is my favorite among them. It is such a great, underrated ballad.

Coming of Age” by Damn Yankees

This supergroup just blew me away when I first heard them. How can you go wrong with Tommy Shaw of Styx, Jack Blades of Night Ranger, and Ted Nugent. The drummer, Michael Cartellone, was unknown, but outstanding. He would eventually join Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Their power ballad, “High Enough“, always seems to get the airplay. But this lead single is still one of my favorites by them. And there is not a weak song on their self-titled debut album.


Well, I could just keep going on and on with songs that I love from this time period. But, I’ll have to cut this short now. Maybe I’ll do an ’80s in the ’90s series. Do any of you have any songs that you love from 1990 through 1991?

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‘80s Supergroups: Damn Yankees

Hi Everybody!!! Today, Robert Returns to us with a new Supergroups article. Although both of this band’s albums came out in the ’90s, there are obvious ’80s ties. Two of the members came from two of my favorite bands. I bought the Damn Yankees cassette the day it came out. A few months later, I was shipped to the Middle East for Desert Shield. I made sure I brought this tape with me! Every song is incredible. Now, let’s have Robert take it away and mystify us with this awesome band!

Damn Yankees – An Almost in the ‘80s Supergroup

“Hey, hey, damn yankees! O-O-O damn yankees!” No, this is not a line from the Broadway musical or the emphatic screams of Red Sox fans. This is a sign that the time is right for another rocking supergroup from the ‘80s, well kind of.

Technically, Damn Yankees released their debut album, Damn Yankees, in 1990. Because of their ‘80s rock style and the fact that three of the members are legends in their own right, I am going to grandfather them into the 1980s. The band formed as a result of the combination of Tommy Shaw from the mega successful band Styx, Jack Blades from the very successful Night Ranger, and Ted Nugent who had been a successful solo artist in the ‘70s and ‘80s as well as a member of the Amboy Dukes. These three added drummer Michael Cartellonne and Damn Yankees was complete and ready to record an excellent rock album.

While I was never a huge Ted Nugent fan personally, I had friends who were so I was able borrow a few records and familiarize myself with some of his work. Songs like “Stranglehold” and “Cat Scratch Fever” were staples on classic rock radio, and I was quite familiar with them. Nugent’s other albums led me to discover his wild rocking ways. In contrast, I was a huge fan of Styx. I had loved their music ever since I heard “The Best of Times” on the radio as a kid. I recorded this song off of the radio and wore that tape out, so I asked my parents for a few bucks and ran out to buy Paradise Theater (I still have that vinyl copy- remember the cool design actually printed on the record?). I was an enormously huge fan of Night Ranger. I owned all of their albums and loved every song. The hard driving guitars, great choruses, and vocals of both Jack Blades and Kelly Keagy had always appealed to me. Needless to say, I was very excited to hear what the combined talents of these great rock musicians had in store.

I am happy to reveal that I was in no way disappointed – Damn Yankees hit on everything that I loved about ‘80s rock. Right from the beginning of the first track I knew that I was about to have a special listening experience. Powerful guitars by Nugent and Shaw, a driving bass by Blades, strong drumming by Cartellone – this album had everything I needed in rock. Add to that smooth vocals by both Shaw and Blades with absolutely addictive hooks in each song and this album quickly became one of my favorites that I forced my friend to listen to.

Damn Yankees’ first album sold quite well, 2 million copies, giving it double platinum status. There were a total of five singles that had various levels of success. The biggest hit from the album was the classic rock ballad “High Enough”. The song received major airplay and was in high rotation on MTV. I have great memories of walking back to my college dorm from English class and heading right to the lounge were 20 of us gathered every day to watch Total Request Live on MTV – “High Enough” had quite a run and was one we all sang out loud. This song reached #3 on the American Top 40 charts. The other singles were “Coming of Age” #60, “Come Again” #50, “Runaway”, and “Bad Reputation” which both charted on the rock charts but failed to appear on the Top 40 listings.

Now it’s probably time to check out these awesome songs.

Coming of Age

This was the first Damn Yankees song that I heard on the radio before I bought the album. It captured all of the energy that the band brings to their music. From Nugent’s opening chords to Blades’s excellent vocals, this song hits all of the right notes. Lyrically it is concerned with the difficulty most of have in the transition from teenagehood to adulthood, “Dressed to kill and looking dynamite / With her high lace stockings and her sweater so tight / I asked her name / She said her name was Maybe.” It is not our own maturity that is the focus, rather the hard to believe growth of those we once saw as children. This song rocks, has a great guitar solo, and a chorus that stays with you.

Bad Reputation

This song has a heavy dose of Night Ranger influence. It is not just Blades’s vocals, but the rhythm guitar and the phrasing of the lyrics that really sound like vintage Night Ranger. So saying, this song has a great kick. Don’t miss this bridge where Blades and Shaw have echoing lines that lead into a nice harmony and guitar solo.

Runaway

Another rocker with an excellent, catchy chorus. This song does not do anything original lyrically – a girl from a small town in is unhappy so she takes off – but it a solid track.

High Enough

This is easily the most recognizable song on this album. It remains a song that not only appears on most compilations of ‘80s rock ballads, but it constantly played on nearly every classic rock or hair band radio station. It is an excellent ballad that features killer love song lyrics, “I don’t want to live without you anymore / Can’t you see I’m in misery and you know for sure? / I’d live and die for you and I know just what to do when you call me ‘baby’.” It tells that typical love story of the love that just does not fade and yearns to be maintained. It also has a smooth acoustic guitar and a great solo played by Nugent. In the video, note that Nugent’s long zebra patterned coat matches his signature guitar. I also really enjoy the lead vocals that alternate between Shaw and Blades.

Damn Yankees

The open guitar riff defines this song as a great rocker. Lyrically, this song smacks of Nugent’s out-spoken support of all things American. Oh, and the guitar solo is pretty dang good – no surprise.

Come Again

This song starts out as an acoustic guitar driven ballad with Shaw taking the lead on vocals. It has a very Styx-like sound- like “Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man)” . . . and then Nugent’s guitar kicks in and we have another great rock song. When the guitar takes center stage, Shaw belts out, “Been so long since I’ve seen you, girl / Swear I’ve been around the world / Every room is an empty space / In the darkness I see your face.” This song quickly becomes one that demands to be played again.

Mystified

This one sounds like a preview of what Shaw and Blades will sound like on their forthcoming album Hallucination. The guitar work is prominent, but more subdued. It has a clear bass track supplied by Blades and a good groove established by Cartellonne’s drums.

Rock City

Nothing but pure rock here! Great track.

Tell Me How You Want It

Here is another addictive rock song that is a bit more melodic and has a seriously catchy chorus. The lyrics are about that man who will do anything – or be anyone – just to get that girl.

Piledriver

This is the one song on this album that took me the longest to get used to and even like. It is the song that is most influenced by Nugent. I immediately liked the conversational, laid back tone that the song opens with, but it does not last long. This tune quickly becomes aggressive and heavy metal influenced. The pace is fast and the guitars wail -as do Nugent’s vocals. It took some time, but this song really grew on me.

In 1992 Damn Yankees released a second album, Don’t Tread. The album sold enough to be certified gold, but did not reach the heights of their first release. The music on this album rocks just as much as the first; personally, I feel it is an underrated album that has plenty of great rock songs. I will include three songs from this second album.

Don’t Tread On Me

This is the first track on their second album and it picks up right where the first one left off: great guitar work, smooth vocals, and an infectious chorus. “You better not set your sights on me / ‘Cause it might spoil your victory” – great stuff, and yes, another superb solo.

Where You Goin’ Now

This song is every bit as good as High Enough. It is a perfect blend of what all four members of the band had to offer. This song received some good airplay, but I wish more people were familiar with it – the band’s talent really shines through. There is a line in this song that says, “There’s a crack in the mirror / There is a hole in the sun / Full moon in the midnight sky / And you feel like you want to run.” I am not sure that there is a connection here, but Night Ranger released an album entitled Hole in the Sun in 2008.

Silence is Broken

Here is another great song that I fear too many people have not heard. Musically, this song has everything a fan of rock needs. And the lyrics are not bad either, “The silence is broken now / It’s over now / The words have been spoken / And with every word you say / You blow away / The tears of another time.”

I do not think that it is too much to say that Damn Yankees was one of the best supergroups to grow out of the ‘80s rock era. The combinations of these great rock artists produced some very high quality rock music. If you have not given this band much of a listen, now is the time. Be sure you include the second album Don’t Tread – it is a hidden gem.

On a quick side note: Tommy Shaw and Jack Blades combined without Ted Nugent to record two albums together. Hallucination in 1995 and an album of cover songs called Influence in 2007. I highly recommend that first one – great music.

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