Tag Archives: Night Ranger

Deep Tracks: Night Ranger – Sing Me Away

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.

Remember That Song: 5/18/15

Can you name the artist and song and complete the lyrics:

I took you to an intimate restaurant
Then to a suggestive movie
There’s nothing left to talk about
______ ____ ____________


Last Song: “The Secret of My Success” by Night Ranger from Big Life and The Secret of My Success soundtrack (1987)

Great job Robert (@mishouenglish)!!!

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

Albums of the ’80s: Night Ranger – Midnight Madness

Hi Everybody, Robert is back to share another album with us. While Dawn Patrol, Night Ranger’s 1982 debut album, is outstanding, Midnight Madness is the band’s big breakthrough album. Most children of the ’80s know about 3 or 4 songs from this album. But, this album is great from top to bottom. As with our other albums and Top 40 Countdowns, you can click on the song title to hear the song and/or watch the video.
And after reading this, if you want to download the album, you can go ahead and buy it at Amazon.
OK Robert, now I need a touch, I need a touch of madness…

Night Ranger – Midnight Madness

 There are so many great rock albums that came out of the ‘80s that it  is difficult to choose which are my favorites. Many of these albums  have been reviewed right here on Return to the ‘80s, but there are  many others that deserve attention. I have recently been absorbed in my revisiting the supergroup Damn Yankees and learning the songs from the new supergroup Revolution Saints – and I realized that both of these bands have a member in common: bass player and vocalist Jack Blades. Now I have it. I know what band I have to write about – one of my all time favorites – Night Ranger. I no longer even try to break the 5 way tie I have for favorite band. The are (in no order because I just can’t) REO Speedwagon, Bon Jovi, Journey, Survivor, and Night Ranger.

Night Ranger has plenty of albums to choose from, but I am going to go with their breakthrough classic Midnight Madness.

Midnight Madness, released in 1983, is Night Ranger’s second studio album following their debut effort Dawn Patrol. This album still ranks as their most successful one selling over 1 million copies and peaking at #15 on Billboard’s album charts. This album features Night Ranger’s signature hard rocking style- great guitar work with irresistible hooks and choruses.

Recently, the band’s line up has undergone a few changes, but Midnight Madness features the original line up: Jack Blades on bass and vocals, Kelly Keagy on drums and vocals, Brad Gillis and Jeff Watson on guitars (yes, two guitarists – and they are amazing), and Alan Fitzgerald on keyboards. Enough background- let’s get to the fantastic rock music!

(You Can Still) Rock in America

From the opening guitar licks this song captures what it is like to be young, wild, and free – and a teenager growing up with the rock n’ roll blasting. The lyrics feature two such teens- one male and one female – each doing whatever it takes to experience the thrill of a live show:

Little sister makes a move for the door

The door squeaks she’s on the second floor

Her daddy wakes, ‘Is everything OK?’

Not a sound as she makes her getaway

Little brother’s got it ready to roll

Tires burning as they head for the show

Light it up and turn the music up loud

And rock it, rock it, rock it

Add to this fantastic dueling guitar solos and you have the perfect rock anthem. The video is from a live performance of this song. This makes is possible to hear how truly powerful this band is. Quick side note: the last time I saw Night Ranger, they opened with this song and oh my!!!

 

Rumours in the Air

Cool opening keyboards (actually throughout the song) and a topic that many of us are familiar with – love gone bad. Relationships do not always end with the fairy tale ‘together forever’, sometimes things end poorly – and sometimes they end so poorly that the one who is left behind feels it is necessary to make up stories about the other person. This song tells that story, “Rumors in the air like a thief in the night / Taking more than their share / Taking more than their right.” Great song with another solid guitar solo (yes, this is going to get repetitive).

Why Does Love Have to Change

I absolutely love the intro to this song- the guitar riff grabs the listener right away. This song features the unfortunate situation of a love that may have lasted too long, “Through the eyes things look different than before / Spark and the flame it will never be the same.” . . . and – wait for it – another great solo.

Sister Christian

This is Night Ranger’s biggest hit and by far their most famous song – and what is not to like about it? It is a near perfect rock ballad that drummer/lead vocalist Kelly Keagy wrote about his younger sister who was getting ready to strike out on her own. I love how the video begins with the ticking clock – time stands still for no one- which segues into the piano. The song itself begins with a quiet, pensive tone before Keagy’s drums kick in and the well known chorus arrives: (all sing along) “Your motoring, what’s your price for flight / In finding Mister Right / You’ll be alright tonight.” As good as Gillis’s solo is in this song, it pales by comparison to some of his other guitar work. As much as I love all of the piano and guitars, my favorite part of this song is how the drums take center stage; they add an intensely dramatic feel to the song and the lyrical pleading that is taking place: please slow down and do not try to grow up too fast.

Touch of Madness

This song opens with a jack-in-the-box playing and slowing down THEN the guitars kick in and imitate the jingle. Great opening to an extremely catchy song in which the rhythm guitars establish a great groove. Oh, and yes, another slick dual guitar solo.

Passion Play

This song has my favorite opening lyrics, “In a backstreet bar on the south side of town / Where the music never stops and the sun never hangs around.” Great song with yet another excellent guitar solo. I know I have mentioned the solos a few times, but each one adds so much to the song and never becomes redundant or predictable.

 

When You Close Your Eyes

It is impossible to hear the opening guitar and be able to turn this song off. This song features the power of having two excellent vocalists as Blades and Keagy take turns asking that painfully irresistible question: after a breakup, does that girl still have me on her mind? This is the first Night Ranger song that really grabbed my attention. I loved Sister Christian, but this song has a bit more to it. Despite it’s upbeat tempo, the pain in the lyrics is obvious, “No good for an old memory to mean so much today.” What a great line!

Check out the video- does the actress look familiar? (you need to watch the video for Sister Christian, too)

Chippin’ Away

This song opens with a hammer sound clanging it’s way into a hand clapping drum beat, then, you guessed it, the guitars show up. Jack Blades shines on this song as a vocalist; his phrasing is excellent and he brings a clear energy to his performance. Yes, there is a guitar solo here. Yes, it rocks.

 

Let Him Run

The video is another live version- Jeff Watson’s acoustic guitar is too good not to include it. If you like unplugged versions of songs, check out the live album 24 Strings and a Drummer. This song is a fine example of an acoustic driven ballad. It does not quite have the strength of a Sister Christian, but brings the album to a great close, leaving the listener wanting just a bit more.


While achieving plenty of success, Night Ranger has never been on the top of the rock heap. Today, most of their songs that are played on the radio (the most recognizable ones) come from this album. Night Ranger’s music makes (audio) appearances in Sixteen Candles, Rock of Ages, Rock Band 3, and Guitar Hero. I own all of their albums including the most recent High Road released in 2014. They have no bad songs and rock as much as any band that I regularly listen to. If you have not yet had the pleasure of experiencing Night Ranger’s great sound, now it is the time. Start with Midnight Madness, but do yourself a favor and do not stop – keep going! I promise you will find dozens of songs that will make you sing out loud and believe that yes, you can still rock in America.

Remember That Song: 1/10/15

Can you name the artist and song:

Her friends are so jealous
You know how bad girls get


Last Song: “(You Can Still) Rock In America” by Night Ranger from Midnight Madness (1983)

Great job Robert (@mishouenglish)!!!

Little sister makes a move for the door
The door squeaks she’s on the second floor

Remember That Song: 8/20/14

Can you name the artist and song:

Who broke my heart?
You did, you did
Bow to the target,
Blame Cupid, Cupid


Last Song: “Sister Christian” by Night Ranger from Midnight Madness (1983)

Great job Frida (@carrjam94)!!

You’re growing up so fast
And Mama’s worrying
That you won’t last to say
Let’s play

Remember That Song – 7/5/13

Can you name the artist and song

Daylight spent the night without you
But I’ve been dreamin’ ’bout the lovin’ you do
I won’t be as angry ’bout the hell you put me through


Last Song: “(You Can Still) Rock In America” by Night Ranger

Great job Robert (@mishouenglish)!!

Little brother’s got it ready to roll
Tires burning as they head for the show

Remember That Song – 4/29/13

Hi Everybody, Return to the 80’s is back from an awesome Caribbean cruise vacation. Let’s jump back into things.

Can you name the artist and song:

Been running so long
I’ve nearly lost all track of time
In every direction
I couldn’t see the warning signs

Last song: “When You Close Your Eyes” by Night Ranger

Great job Kim (@soeightiesgirl)

I guess I don’t know
What I’m thinking
Coming off a Hard Night of Drinkin’

Remember That Song: 11/8/12

Can you name the artist and song:

It’s obvious you hate me
Though I’ve done nothing wrong
I never even met you
So what could I have done


Last Song: “Four in the Morning (I Can’t Take Anymore)” by Night Ranger
Great job @OldSchool80s!!

There was a time when I knew you
I held my body to you
Made you feel like you never felt before

Remember That Song – 5/15/12

Can you name the artist and song:

Danger in the game when the stakes are high
Branded, my heart was branded while my senses stood by


Last Song: “Don’t Tell Me You Love Me” by Night Ranger (Great job Paul!):

I’ve lived 25 years
I’m a kid on the run
I got a pistol for action
Don’t Tell Me You Love Me