(Albums in alphabetical order)
61) 3.V by Zebra
Although it was their least successful album, I believe it was their best one. Much tighter than their debut –their most successful album-. Obviously the commercial failure of the album, is because the lack of promotion from the label, as it happened with many albums. The album more or less is a collection of upbeat AOR cuts such as Can’t Live Without, He’s Makin’ You The Fool or Better Not Call. The latter has my favorite guitar solo from the album. B-Side of the vinyl, also included such cuts, like You’re Only Losing Your Heart, Hard Living Without You and Isn’t That The Way. Apart from them, the album included some more laid-back cuts, particularly Time and About To Make The Time. In conclusion, it’s another one of the lost AOR gems, that were lost in obscurity.
62) Beyond The Pale by Fiona
Well, only a few women have involved with the AOR genre (and also Glam Metal). But they ended up sounding more like, a little bit Rockier than Samantha Fox or Kim Wilde, than the other AOR male artists. That’s not a bad thing, since I believe female vocals are more poppish by default. Anyway, this album was her least successful among the three albums she released during the 80s. Was it lack of promotion? Wrong choice of singles maybe? Maybe the latter I guess. Whilst the singles Hopelessly Love You and Living In A Boy’s World weren’t bad, I believe there were better cuts on the album. For example Running Out Of Night, was made to be a hit. Not the best cut from the album artistically. But commercially it sounds like a hit song from 1986. Another good cut would be the Power Ballad He’s On My Side as well. It would be another good choice for a single. And of course the upbeat AOR cuts Tragedy, In My Blood, You Better Wait and Keeper Of The Flame.
63) Broadcast by Cutting Crew
They have been categorized as Soft Rock, Adult Contemporary, or even New Wave. Well especially the latter is ridiculous, because they weren’t sharing any similarities with actual New Wave bands like The Vapors or Squeeze. Anyway, I believe Melodic Rock suits them better. Mostly known for their all-time classic #1 hit (I Just) Died In Your Arms (Tonight), this band is usually considered as one-hit wonders. Actually they had a few other hits back in the day, like the also Power Ballad I’ve Been In Love Before which was a big hit as well making it into the US Top 10, and also One For The Mockingbird which made it at the lowest spots of the US Top 40. Any Colour was also released as a single, but it flopped, making it only at #83 in the UK charts. From the non-singles, good cuts would be Life In A Dangerous Time, or the more upbeat Fear Of Falling. But the best non-single here would be the atmospheric Pop ballad Sahara. It Shouldn’t Take Too Long is another good cut as well.
64) Can't Hold Back by Eddie Money
Although Eddie Money is generally considered an AOR artist, this album might fall under the general Pop/Rock category sound-wise, or Adult Contemporary. But it was marketed as AOR since Eddie Money is considered an AOR artist, as I said above. That’s not bad of course. This album is really great. The biggest hit of the album was Take Me Home Tonight, peaking at #4. I Wanna Go Back was also a big hit peaking at #14. It was originally released by Billy Satellite two years ago, and it was also included in Gregg Rolie’s solo self-titled album a year ago, before Eddie Money turning it into a hit. Endless Nights was also another hit for the album, missing the US Top 20 by just one spot. The rest of the album had also equally good cuts. Like the more Rockier numbers One Chance or We Should Be Sleeping, and the more Melodic Bring On The Rain and I Can’t Hold Back. The former features some great Rain effects as well. My favorite cut would be the closing track Calm Before The Storm. It was perhaps the most AORish cut of the record.
65) Drums Along The Mohawk by Jean Beauvoir
This album might fall under the Funk Rock genre, and it has also been compared with Prince’s albums of the time. But I would say it’s mostly an AOR album with Funk influences. The lead single Feel The Heat, was the most AORish cut of the record, and also part of the OST from the movie Cobra. Missing The Young Days was also released as a single, and it was a nice Melodic Rock Ballad featuring a great guitar solo in the middle. Other nice Melodic AOR cuts were Sorry I Missed Your Wedding Day and This Is Our House. Rockin’ On The Street on the other hand was more Reggaeish. Drive You Home and Same Song Plays On And On were awesome upbeat Pop numbers, and the album featured a nice Pop Ballad as a closer called Nina.
66) Indiscreet by FM
Perhaps FM were the most successful AOR band from the UK. But successful is just a word in their case, because their biggest hit Frozen Heart, reached only at #64 in the UK singles charts. Still more successful than other British AOR bands. Apart from this song they had other great numbers like the great upbeat Hi-Tech AOR cuts That Girl, I Belong To The Night, American Girls, Hot Wired and also the more Melodic Face To Face which are closer to the sound of their lead single Frozen Heart. Heart Of The Matter featured a more Hard Rockish sound and less synthy, unlike the rest of the record.
67) Strange Behavior by Animotion
Animotion are often branded as a Synth-Pop band. Still I believe they were more Hi-Tech AOR than Synth-Pop, since the guitar element was as much dominant as the synth element. Anyway, from this album the biggest hit was I Engineer. Although it wasn’t a big hit in the US, it was a really huge hit in Germany, reaching #2 there. I Want You was also released as a single, but it was only a minor hit . The best cuts of the album, are included in the B-Side though. Out Of Control is a great fast paced Hi-Tech AOR cut, Stranded would be the best cut of the album, and also the most underrated one, The Essence is as good or maybe better than the A-Side of the single (originally the B-Side of the single I Engineer), and Staring Down The Demons has definitely the best guitar solo in the album.
68) Suspicious Heart by Van Stephenson
Van Stephenson might be leaning more towards an Adult Contemporary direction, more like Richard Marx or Johnny Hates Jazz…but the strong guitar element on his songs could maybe put him towards an AOR direction better. We’re Doing Alright and the title track were released as singles, but without any commercial success, unfortunately. Two of the songs as well, particularly Make It Glamorous and No Secrets, were parts of the OST from the movies The Wild Life and The Secret Admirer respectively. The rest of the album was consisted of Melodic AOR cuts with Confidentially Yours and Desperate Hours being the best. Fist Full Of Heat also stands out, as being harder than the overall mood of the album.
69. Turbo by Judas Priest
In this album, Judas Priest chose to follow a more radio-friendly Glam Metal sound, something that annoyed their hardcore fans. But if you are the openminded type, who doesn’t consider anything radio-friendly as crap, then you will embrace this album. Despite this move, this album didn’t feature any particular hit. Turbo Lover and Locked In made it at #44 and #25 in the US Mainstream Rock charts respectively, and the former was their only song that managed to made it in the Canadian charts. Anyway, overally this album is pretty energetic and upbeat, as the title suggests, featuring also the great non-singles, Rock You All Around The World, Out In The Cold, Wild Nights, Hot & Crazy Days and Reckless. Seems like in this album, Judas Priest found the perfect balance between Synths and Electric Guitars, even if this move didn’t last for long.
70) Whispering Jack by John Farnham
In Australia, John Farnham is a national superstar. In the rest of the world he is just an one-hit wonder artist, with the song You’re The Voice, included in this album. This album is the biggest selling album in Australia actually, surpassing albums like Kick by INXS, Business As Usual by Men At Work or Diesel And Dust by Midnight Oil! Apart from You’re The Voice, Pressure Down was also a big hit in Australia, reaching #4 in Australian charts. A Touch Of Paradise, almost made it in the Australian Top 20 , and the fourth single Reasons was also a good Hi-Tech AOR cut. From the non-singles the best would be Going, Going, Gone, Trouble and Let Me Out.