Faceless Bands Of The ’80s #2: Loverboy

7.12 Loverboy group shot

Sometime during second semester of my senior year in high school, a pop/rock band grabbed the attention of many teens at my school. The band was playing a mix of Journey and Foreigner but they made their sound more “modern” with the prominent use of a synthesizer. These five men from Canada called themselves Loverboy. Their self-titled debut album contained a couple of nice pop/rock songs called “Turn Me Loose” and “The Kid Is Hot Tonite”. The unusual thing that I noticed immediately was this band was building their songs on a deeper than usual bottom bass sound. Now that we have over 35 years of rock history behind us, the reason for this advanced sound may have been due to an engineer by the name of Bob Rock. This man was become a producer further along in the eighties and will go on to change the sound of heavy metal when he produced two classic albums: Dr. Feelgood by Mötley Crüe and the milestone Metallica by Metallic (also known as “The Black Album”). All of a sudden, rock when getting a slight make-over with the emphasis on big drums and a deep bass bottom.

7.12 LoverboyLB

In the Fall of 1981, just as I was going off to college, Loverboy released their sophomore album called Get Lucky. This was the band’s most successful album as it slowly but steadily sold over four million copies. And this happened as the album never rose above number seven on Billboard‘s Top 200 Albums chart. Still, Loverboy seemed to be the band that was heard throughout my dormitory and all over campus. You could not go to a party without the album, or at least some songs from the album, was being played. If this album had been released during the mid-Eighties, it probably would have been as successful as Bon Jovi or any other pop/rock band that was all over the charts.

7.12 Loverboy - Get Lucky

The whole thing was packaged to grab the attention of teens everywhere. Let’s begin with the iconic cover. First, you have someone’s small butt stuffed into red leather pants like those worn by lead singer Mike Reno and guitarist Paul Dean. For the longest time, rumors ran rampant about whose butt was photographed. As it turned out, the photographer took a photo of his then-thirteen-year-old daughter in some small red leather pants. The man’s hand that was used was that of a six-foot, five-inch male model who had the largest hands of the models that were called. So, the cover is that of a jail-bait girl’s butt in red leather with a tall man’s large hand crossing his fingers overlay on the Lolita’s heinie.

Now, it’s time to listen to the record. If you don’t remember the songs on the album, let me list the hits for you. There was “Working for the Weekend” and “Lucky Ones”. Loverboy also had a hit with the song “Jump”, not to be confused with Van Halen’s mega-hit that came out in 1984. They also got some radio play from the songs “Watch Out” and “Take Me to the Top”. But, the song that was their biggest hit on the album, according to it’s peak position on Billboard’s Hot 100 Singles, was “When It’s Over”. It seemed like that song lived on the radio for over six months as it ran it’s course.

Loverboy Live
OAKLAND, CA – JULY 18: Mike Reno and Paul Dean performing with ‘Loverboy’ at the Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, California on July 18, 1982. (Photo by Larry Hulst/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Of course, now, we ALL know the song “Working for the Weekend”, because no matter where you are in the U.S.A., some radio station is playing that very song at 5:00 PM every Friday evening to signal the end of the work week. Once you hear that song, it is your pass to go out and party as hard as you’d like. Only, most of us now probably hear that song on a Friday and get worn out by reminiscing about those party weekends in your twenties. We were all legends in our own minds, weren’t we?

Unfortunately, this album has lost some of its luster over the years. Bon Jovi and the rest of those hair metal artists pushed Loverboy aside while stealing much of their sound. Is Loverboy a Hall of Fame band? If you went by sales, one could make an argument. But, if you measured them  based upon artistry, then I would have to say, “No.” But, they did leave us this ultimate eighties party album.

By the way, if you want a quick soundtrack to your next Eighties Party, you might try this album, Record One of Prince’s 1999, Michael Jackson’s Thriller, Madonna’s first album and finish up with Freeze-Frame by the J. Geils Band. Now, that’s some great music!

One other thing! Since tomorrow is Wednesday, I thought I would attempt something that I will call “Weird Wednesday”. On “Weird Wednesday”, I will write about obscure albums or those off the beaten path that I think should be mention. So, watch out for tomorrow’s entry!

Author: ifmyalbumscouldtalk

I am just a long-time music fan who used to be a high school science teacher and a varsity coach of several high school athletic teams. Before that, I worked as a medical technologist at three hospitals in their labs, mainly as a microbiologist. I am retired/disabled (Failed Back Surgery Syndrome), and this is my attempt to remain a human. Additionally, I am a serious vinyl aficionado, with a CD addiction and a love of reading about rock history. Finally, I am a fan of Prince, Cheap Trick, Tom Petty, R.E.M., Hall & Oates, Springsteen, Paul Weller & his bands and Power Pop music.

2 thoughts on “Faceless Bands Of The ’80s #2: Loverboy”

  1. I actually love the comparison you make between lover boy and bonjovi. Timing is everything and you are right on the money. 3-4 years later and they may have hit it much bigger. I saw them in concert on the get lucky tour and they were very good live. Great duet between Mike Reno and Ann Wilson on the footloose soundtrack helped their popularity a bit as well

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve always been a huge fan of Loverboy’s first album. First heard “Turn Me Loose” on American Bandstand on February 25, 1981, and pedaled my bike up to BX and bought the album. It would be another three months before my station WLS started playing it.

    That very same night, Prince performed on Saturday Night Live but I fell asleep before his performance and wouldn’t get into his music until Winter 1982 when I first heard “Little Red Corvette” on the local rock station.

    Like

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