We welcome Scott Compton back to the show as we geek out over the classic rockumentary, This is Spinal Tap! In the spirit of rock and roll, this episode’s Play this, Not That features Mötley Crüe. There is also a new Remember That Song, and the ’80s Trivia is still up for grabs. Come give us a listen as we walk that fine line between stupid and clever.
Also, feel free to email us your thoughts about Spinal Tap, or anything 80s. We would love to hear from you! We can be reached at email@example.com.
Enough of my yakkin’. Whaddaya say? Let’s boogie!
– Welcome back, Scott Compton
– We had somebody scheduled to sit in the 4th chair, but he is no longer with us. The official explanation is that he choked on vomit. We just don’t know whose.
– Tesla talk
Shall We Play a Game?
Remember That Song
Last Song: “Sentimental Street” by Night Ranger
I know what you’re thinking / Cause I’ve been there myself / I’ve
been kicked so many times / I don’t know nothing else / Still I noticed your urgency / I recognized the flair / That you got from chasing all those East coast dares
Winner: James Herington
New Song: But I know the neighborhood / The talk is cheap, but the story is good / And tales grow taller on down the line
What brokerage firm’s name, when mentioned in TV ads, silenced entire rooms of people?
Play This, Not That
Instead of “Smokin’ in the Boys Room”
Play “Live Wire”
– Mötley Crüe talk
Main Topic: This is Spinal Tap
– Turn it up to 11
– Other Christopher Guest mockumentaries
– “Big Bottom”
– Scott’s synopsis
– Our take on which bands influenced this movie
– Our favorite scenes (which is basically the entire movie) and lines
– The Curse of the Spinal Tap Drummer
– Awesome pre-CGI flashback scenes
– Supporting cast
– DVD opening
– Spinal Tap lawsuit
– English teacher, Mr. Mishou educates us on the Shelley and Byron reference
– Nigel’s guitar solos
– Did people think this was real?
– More of our favorite lines
The album 7 Wishes is full of irresistible guitar riffs and this song is not exception. It begins with that (now) classic Night Ranger rhythm guitar that compels the listener to continue the journey through the song. At first, this sounds like it is going to be a nice ballad, but the music picks up pace – then slows back down – then picks it up again to climax in yet another perfect guitar solo. The lyrics tell a sad story of a love that has been lost, but in a refreshing twist, it is regained, “And now the rain / Washes the tears from my eyes / And to the end of time I will follow you.” I love the optimistic tone of the final verse, “I see you walking and my heart begins to pound / Like the sound of distant thunder as it echoes to the ground / Well, I’m lost but now I’m found.” It is great to hear a song that takes a typically morose situation and turn it around and give it a hopeful ending.
There you have it, ten songs that are not played very much on any sort of radio or music video station – but they are great songs. If these ten tunes have not convinced you to pursue more music by Night Ranger, then nothing will ever do that. Go ahead, give them a listen- you will not regret it.
Now I will reveal that third cassette that I bought in a panic on my return trip to the U.S. I am not proud of this purchase, but remember I was desperate and the store’s selection left quite a bit to be desired. Now, I did discover two artists that I still love today, Night Ranger and Andy Taylor, but that third one – that third one . . . Ok, here it goes – that third one was Jack Wagner’s third album Don’t Give Up Your Day Job. What can I say, I liked his character from General Hospital, Frisco Jones and I still stand by his biggest hit single “All I Need” from 1984. I thought this album would be OK – I am still trying to forget this unfortunate event.
Next week I am going with my favorite Bon Jovi songs that have never officially been released as singles and, therefore, count as deep tracks.
This is the fifth track on the first album, Dawn Patrol and helps establish Night Ranger as a serious rock band. It opens with a haunting keyboard that blends into a strong rhythm guitar. The song has a somewhat sparse sound without much filler and a strong solo. Lyrically, the song is basically a character sketch. In the world of literature, a reader is able to analyze a character by identifying indirect character traits. We can tell what a character is like by what they say, how they look, what they do, their thoughts, and what others think about them. While Night Ranger does not hit on all of these, they do use a few to provide a look at Eddie, a slick type who enjoys his night life. Eddie definitely looks the part, “He wears his trousers real tight / And his skin is so white . . . He wears Italian shoes / that are used to good news.” We do learn that his appearance may not represent the truth as he “Lives beyond his means . . . The street’s his type / The alley is where he’s king.” Like most of us, Eddie has a love interest, but she too has a suspicious way about her as she, “Doesn’t care for a halo / She never ever says ‘No’ / She’s so insane.” They spend time together running through the city night and may even be looking for trouble, “They like the late night madness / To break through the silence . . . They say tonight’s the night / They’re gonna cut you to the limits / Tonight you live or you die.” I am not sure what to make of Johnnie other than I do not think we would be close friends. I do think that Eddie will find a way to survive because, “He says he loves the rat race / He always plays to win.” This song foreshadows the potential that Night Ranger has a rock band – only great rock and roll is on the way.
Yes, you are being presented with two consecutive power ballads, both of which are just as good as “Sister Christian.” Would it be blasphemous of me to say that I like “Hearts Away” as much as, and maybe even a little bit more than that mega hit from 1984? Well, I do and I think you will enjoy it, too. Once again you have the trappings of a classic power ballad – and I love it. Strong keyboards by Fitzgerald play a prominent role in this song and can be heard throughout, sometimes as background and sometimes as a primary instrument. The song has a predictably slow pace, but build and builds to a blistering solo by Gillis – no wait, there are two solos. Just like in “Sister Christian”, Kelly Keagy takes over lead vocal duties. He does have a really good voice for these types of songs- smooth and powerful. Lyrically, the speaker in the song is reminiscing on a lost love, wishing he could somehow get her back: “Hearts away, I cast my heart to some romantic yesterday / When I was on my own / And you were blind to everyone but me / Now today, I throw my heart to some / Forgotten memory, when you were / What was meant for me / A stranger with a place to always be.” Nothing new or earth shattering, but isn’t that what we really like about these power ballads, anyway? There are a finite number of love stories and they are told and retold – this song does so in a powerful way. Despite his yearnings for things to return to the way they used to be, it does not look promising, “And today, I cry myself to sleep each night / I only wish I’d wake up so see you lying next to me / I know I’m sure it’s killing me.” This song is yet another great power(ful) ballad from a decade full of these powerfully emotional songs.
We are back for another week of Deep Tracks, courtesy of Robert! This week, we are continuing with Night Ranger. I am so happy that Robert is tackling a song from Man in Motion today. In 1989, I joined the Navy, went to Boot Camp, and had school. After about a month of leave (vacation), I was stationed at my first base – Oakland Naval Hospital. I didn’t have much music with me at the time, so I promptly joined Columbia House, and got 10 CDs for a penny. One of these CDs was Man in Motion. The only song I already knew about was “Restless Kind“. I loved every song on the CD right away, and it became one of my favorite albums.
Now, here is Robert to bring us “Halfway to the Sun”.
I am really hoping you enjoyed the five songs by Night Ranger that I gave you last week. One thing I have noticed about Night Ranger fans is that they are loyal and they fully understand just how many great song the band has recorded. They also recognize that the band is a bit underrated (as Paul noted last week). So saying, I remain with the view that just five song by Night Ranger is not nearly enough. This week I give you part two of Night Ranger’s deep tracks – five more songs that I am convinced will make you a fan of this excellent band’s music.
Halfway to the Sun (1988)
Last week I was not able to get in any songs from the Man in Motion album, so this week I am going to start with two; first up is my favorite rocker from this album. When I discuss songs I really like I have a tendency to fall into hyperbole, so forgive me here. This just may be the perfect rock song: strong rhythm guitar and bass, a catchy as hell chorus, and a dynamite solo played by both Brad Gillis and Jeff Watson. I can still remember the first time I listened to this song. Man in Motion was the second CD I purchased (Survivor’s Too Hot to Sleep was first). While I still had my vinyl and cassettes, I was in love with my new CD player, so I exhausted these first two purchases. When I heard “Halfway to the Sun” (track #6), I had to push the back button four times and listen to it again, and again, and . . . I think you get the point. This may even by one of my favorite songs by Night Ranger (period, exclamation point). Musically, it is just too good to deny or turn off. Lyrically, it is solid enough. I love the opening verse, “Well, I’ve been out there thinking about the night before/ How you held me tight / You kissed me like you’ve never done before / Well, I ain’t no politician / But I sure know what was said / I don’t put much weight on promises / That you made to me while you’re laying in my bed.” All of that leads into that catchy chorus that informs us (and her) that she needs to be careful who she is hanging out with because, “When you step out on your conscience / You step out on the run / You won’t step on me ‘cause I’ll be gone / I’ll be halfway to the sun.” This is an absolutely great song that I would put in my all-time top ten deep tracks.
This song is my favorite track from Big Life and the first video I watched on Canada’s MTV equivalent Much Music TV. I was visiting a relative in Arkansas who had a satellite television hook up, so I watched a few hours of music videos on this station. This song has that typical Night Ranger beginning: a rising keyboard that leads into a great rhythm guitar. Ironically, original keyboardist Alan Fitzgerald would leave the band after the Big Life album because he felt the band was writing too much guitar driven music. This song has great energy that is infectious and video that is linked here really captures that energetic joy. Of the five songs featured this week, “Color of Your Smile” has my favorite solo. This one features both Gillis and Watson who play sort of dueling solo roles. I am one who really likes well thought out and well written lyrics, but occasionally simple ones work best. Here we just have a man who likes to hang out with a woman. He is intrigued by her looks, but knows that it may not last long, “And I’m aware / Of all the friends you’ve gone through / A situation that convinces me / I’m cool on price / But short on my nights with you.” It just doesn’t matter – for a while anyway, “Never had a tougher situation / Lot of trouble with your reputation / I think, I’ll go and take a well deserved holiday.” Great energy – great song – great week of Night Ranger.
I honestly believe that you fans of ‘80s rock liked what you have heard here this week. I admire Night Ranger for continuing to make high quality music throughout the two decades that have followed their ‘80s heyday. They have released six more albums between 1995 and 2014. I have them all and can honestly say that they have not compromised their musical style one bit. They are still true to their California rock roots – as can be heard in this, their most recent video, the titular song from the from the album High Road released in 2014.
Yes, they are older and the band members have changed a bit, but that core of Jack Blades, Brad Gillis, and Kelly Keagy are still together and still making great music. I am finding it impossible to let the band go with only five deep tracks, so next week I am going to share five more. I may also reveal the third tape I bought that day. I do say MAY because it is a bit embarrassing.
If the title reminds you of the sometimes forgotten 1987 film starring Michael J. Fox, it should because it was also a part of the soundtrack as well as being on the Big Life album. The song’s verses do fit the film pretty well. If you remember, Fox played a young man who had just graduated from the University of Kansas and was given a job in his uncle’s company in New York City. The second verse captures the desires of Fox’s ambitious character, “I always said I could make it and be who I am / There’s a new look in sight, what a change for the new modern man / With all this it seems like I’m dying for more / The streets are on fire, never seen it before.” While it does fit the film perfectly, it is also true of the band as well. Achieving any sort of success in the music world is not easy. There are plenty of musicians and singers who have plenty of talent, but no one has heard of them. Any sort of success in this field requires a bit of luck and a ton of hard work. The music is what you have come to expect from Night Ranger: strong guitar work, a steady bass, clean vocals (by Blades and Keagy) and a good solo that is quick and a bit understated in this song. Fitzgerald’s keyboards in this song, though, are memorable, coming with a steady rhythm as well as in quick bursts throughout the song. I love the final lyric in this song, “With nothing to show, just sweat from my soul / My heart’s on the line and I’m dying to go / Look at us now / gonna make it somehow / Hold on to me, baby, can’t hold me down.” – a somewhat inspirational ending to an excellent deep track.
I have always been in love with the first forty seconds of this song. The bass and rhythm guitar are not complicated, but the sound they create is irresistible. All of the band members are at play here, but this rhythm that these two create really make the song. Once again, the solo is fantastic. The lyrics of this song are a bit suggestive but also capture the many things that women do for the men they love (and men need it). The physical needs are clear (and may be a bit overdone), but there are also emotional needs that are necessary, “I need a woman to find a window in my soul / Bring me in from the cold that’s where I’m dying.” If one does not get too hung up on the obvious sexual innuendos, this song can be seen as a declaration of what some men do not want to readily admit: it is very difficult to live without the comforting support of a good woman. And if you like the innuendo – there is that, too.