(In alphabetical order)
21) Aldo Nova by Aldo Nova (1982)
This is one album that perhaps defined the Glam Metal genre that would explode two years later in 1984. I would consider Aldo Nova the godfather of this genre perhaps, and this album is proof of it. The opener Fantasy was Aldo Nova’s biggest hit and almost a US Top 20 hit. Apart from this the other songs are rather unknown to most people –unfortunately-. Foolin’ Yourself was only a minor hit peaking at #65. But the whole album is flawless. Ball And Chain and Can’t Stop Lovin’ You are magnificent Power Ballads or Under The Gun and See The Light are great proto-Glam Metal cuts. The best among all would be Heart To Heart in my opinion.
22) Asia by Asia (1982)
Asia are usually branded as Progressive Rock, but I don’t consider them as such. Their songs are very radio-friendly and less complicated than Progressive Rock. I guess they are branded as such, because of the members’ involvement with Progressive Rock bands (King Crimson, Uriah Heep, Yes, etc.). Heat Of The Moment was the most successful song from Asia, and Only Time Will Tell their second most successful. Apart from them, there were the more Progressivish Sole Survivor and Here Comes The Feeling, the anthemic Wildest Dreams (the best cut from the album) and Cutting It Fine with its long Piano outro. Definitely one of the strongest debuts in music history!
23) Chicago 16 by Chicago (1982)
80s version of Chicago is what we would call West Coast AOR. An AOR subgenre featuring jazz and funk elements (like Toto). In this album Chicago started to build up the momentum they lost in the late 70s and early 80s, thanks to the success of the Power Ballad Hard To Say I’m Sorry. The opener What You’re Missing, is perhaps the most AOR cut of the record, and also a minor hit peaking at #81, and Waiting For You To Decide follows a similar pattern. Chains on the other hand is more synthy. The B-Side of the record isn’t as good as A-Side though, but still decent. What Can I Say and Rescue You would be the standouts here, and Love Me Tomorrow was a hit as well, reaching almost the US Top 20.
24) Gamma 3 by Gamma (1982)
There’s a certain charm about bands that started in the 70s as it seems, especially in the late 70s. Gamma is one of them. In their album Gamma 3 they made their sound more commercial and Radio friendly than their previous releases, without straying away too much from their Progressive Rock roots. Right The First Time was the only hit of the album, reaching #10 in the US Mainstream Rock charts. There are also plenty of others interesting cuts on this album like the more Progressive oriented Mobile Devotion, the awesome instrumental Condition Yellow, or the semi-acoustic Modern Girl, but generally this album is an underrated classic, where synths and guitars exist in a perfect balance.
25) I Won’t Be Home Tonight by Tony Carey (1982)
Surprisingly for an American artist, Tony Carey was hugely popular in Germany, even though he was overlooked in his homeland. Tony Carey was notable for being a keyboard player in Rainbow’s second album Rising. And during the 80s he released a bunch of albums, either under his name or under the alias Planet P. I Won’t Be Home Tonight was one of them, particularly his second solo album. The song West Coast Summer Nights, was a minor hit peaking at #64, also the title track was a minor hit too. As for the other cuts of the album, from the A-Side the best would be I’ll Tell The World About Her, and also Carry My Love which is more or less Tony Carey’s typical style (you can realize this, if you have listened to his following-up records). But the best cuts would be on the B-Side, particularly Natalia and Vigilante. Especially Vigilante is the best cut, featuring some great Guitar Work and a song that could perhaps be a big hit in the US if it got some amount of promotion.
26) Ignition by John Waite (1982)
The first solo effort from ex singer from The Babys. Although it wasn’t a commercial success, it was the album that paved the way for John Waite’s successful solo career in the next years. The biggest hit of the album would be Change (which is actually a cover from a band named Spider) which made it in the Top 20 of the US Mainstream Rock charts. Later this song would appear in his album Mask Of Smiles, but this version here, was better in my opinion. The other single from this album was Going To The Top, which was the best cut from the album. A nice Melodic Ballad that suits John Waite’s style perfectly. White Heat, Temptation, Make It Happen and Wild Life are also great Rock cuts from this album, and also the more laid-back Mr. Wonderful.
27) Sheriff by Sheriff (1982)
Famous for their Power Ballad When I’m With You, which became a #1 hit in 1989, seven years after its original release. But apart from it there are other interesting cuts of the album, like You Remind Me and Kept Me Coming with their awesome guitar work. The also-Power Ballad Living For A Dream, the more Punkish Give Me Rock ‘N Roll, and the best cut of the album which is Elisa. Unfortunately, they have passed as one-hit wonders in the music history.
28. Tane Cain by Tane McClure (1982)
There weren’t many women in AOR genre but Tane McClure (then named Tane Cain because she was married to Johnathan Cain from The Babys and Journey) is one of the few. And she was very pretty back in the day as well! Anyway this album had some flavors from artists like Kim Wilde or Berlin, but in general it was leaning towards the AOR genre mostly. Holdin’ On was a US Top 40 hit and one of the best cuts among the album, along with Temptation and Danger Zone. The latter was also released as a single. But in general I would consider it an album where all the songs were as good as the standouts, even though she never gained any huge commercial success, unfortunately.
29) View From The Ground by America (1982)
As you might know, in the 70s America started as a Folk Rock band. During the 80s they evolved into a more Melodic Rock/AOR band belonging to the same family of bands like Kansas or Toto. View From The Ground is their most successful album from the 80s period, featuring their biggest hit from the 80s,the AORish US Top 10 hit, You Can Do Magic. A song written by Russ Ballard. The most AOR cut of the album here would be Desperate Love, even though it wasn’t a hit. Well I believe it would be a really good choice for a single. Other interesting songs from here would be the Power Ballad Inspector Mills, a B-Side that should be an A-Side, the Toto-esque Sometimes Lover, or the more newavish Never Be Lonely. The closer Even The Score, was featuring a more hardrockish sound, something unusual for America’s standards.
30) Vinyl Confessions by Kansas (1982)
If you have noticed in the previous parts of this MyTake series, it’s common for a Progressive Rock band from the 70s to follow an AOR direction in the 80s. Same thing happened with Kansas, but the violin element is still present here, pretty unique for AOR records. Anyway, the opener Play The Game Tonight was the hit of this album and made it into the US Top 20. Right Away, Fair Exchange, Borderline are also good underrated AOR cuts and of course Play On which is the most AOR cut of the album. Chasing Shadows is a magnificent ballad also. The closer Crossfire is more related to their Progressive Rock works.