The Self-Titled Phenomenon Of 1980-1985 In AOR World

I have noticed that, bands and Artists released a series of high-profile albums during those five years. What is notable though is, they carry a tradition particularly, bearing the name of the band/artist as their album title. Those records surely surpass any Rock legends of the likes of Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and such. Well according to my opinion at least!

Also, each artist/band has some interest backstory behind each record.

1) Loverboy (1980) (US # 13 / CAN #17)

The Self-Titled Phenomenon Of 1980-1985 In AOR World

Biggest Hit of the album: Turn Me Loose (US #6 / CAN #7)

Info: Known as one of the most popular AOR groups of the 80s, their debut album was marketed as a New Wave album when it came out. Later it became an AOR album, thanks to the fame they found with their later recordings.

2) The Strand (1980) (Failed to chart)

The Self-Titled Phenomenon Of 1980-1985 In AOR World

Biggest Hit of the album: No hit came from the album, apart from two singles. Can’t Look Back and Long Hot Summer.

Info: This album was produced by Toto’s Jeff Porcaro, and it was featuring members from Boz Scagg’s backing band. The same band that original Toto members came from!

3) Touch (1980) (Failed to chart)

The Self-Titled Phenomenon Of 1980-1985 In AOR World

Biggest Hit of the album: Don’t You Know What Love Is (US #69)

Info: Touch were the very first band that performed live in the Monsters Of Rock festival in the UK. But due to an unfortunate accident (one of Touch’s members swallowed a…bee when performing) they lost all the momentum they built so far.

4) Balance (1981) (US #133)

The Self-Titled Phenomenon Of 1980-1985 In AOR World

Biggest Hit of the album: Breaking Away (US #22)

Info: Despite being a cult favorite band among AOR fans, the single Breaking Away almost made it in the US Top #20, peaking at #22 as I said above! Unfortunately they lost their momentum they started to build with this single, and their second album In For The Count flopped, but still remains a cult favorite too as well, along with the debut.

5) Aldo Nova (1982) (US #8)

The Self-Titled Phenomenon Of 1980-1985 In AOR World

Biggest Hit Of The Album: Fantasy (US #23 / CAN #14)

Info: His signature song Fantasy, is based on Jefferson Starship’s Jane piano riff, which in turn is based on Toto’s Hold The Line. The latter is frequently considered the cornerstone in the AOR world. Aldo Nova was also responsible for starting Bon Jovi’s career somewhat, being involved in their debut album (you can hear many similarities between Bon Jovi’s S/T album and Aldo Nova’s S/T one) and also being a producer for Celine Dion, later.

6) Hughes/Thrall (1982) (Failed to chart)

The Self-Titled Phenomenon Of 1980-1985 In AOR World

Biggest Hit of the album: No hits, apart from the singles The Look In Your Eye and Beg, Borrow Or Steal.

Info: Another cult favorite, and it actually remains the most loved album coming from any Glenn Hughes’ albums he has been involved with, either with Deep Purple or with his band, Trapeze.

7) Tane Cain (1982) (US #121)

The Self-Titled Phenomenon Of 1980-1985 In AOR World

Biggest Hit of the album: Holdin' On (US #37)

Info: Tane Cain is Jonathan Cain’s (from The Babys and Journey) ex-wife and by the time she released her album, she was married to him, but even the fact Jonathan Cain, who had built a strong reputation as the keyboard player of the multi-Platinum album Escape by Journey, released a year ago, was behind her, Tane Cain’s album wasn't so successful. Still it produced a US Top 40 hit.

8. Charlie (1983) (US #145)

The Self-Titled Phenomenon Of 1980-1985 In AOR World

Biggest Hit of the album: It’s Inevitable (US #38)

Info: Usually self-titled albums are the debuts. But this was their seventh album, yet it would not be bad for a debut if they started as a separate band. I mean, since Good Morning America, they left their Progressive Rock roots, pursuing an AOR direction. But here we had also further changes as well, making their sound even more Hi-Tech, to the point it would be marketed as a Synth-Pop record as well. Maybe if before making this album, changed their name and making a brand new start as a new band under a new name, it would work better for them? Well who knows!

9) Michael Bolton (1983) (US #89)

The Self-Titled Phenomenon Of 1980-1985 In AOR World


Biggest Hit of the album: Fool’s Game (US #82)

Info: Michael Bolton is widely known as an Adult Contemporary singer. But that was from the late 80s and on. Before he was a Hard Rock/AOR artist releasing two magnificent albums under the Michael Bolton name (Before he was using his original name, Michael Bolotin). Those were his self-titled I mention here, and Everybody’s Crazy. They had no major commercial success apart from the single Fool’s Game which just made it in the US Top 100 peaking at #82. Michael Bolton actually is still into Rock ‘n Roll despite his drastic change in style, according to an interview of his. Guess he made that change in order to save his career (and for the $$$ of course). Smart move, I cannot blame him.

10) Preview (1983) (Failed to chart)

The Self-Titled Phenomenon Of 1980-1985 In AOR World

Biggest Hit of the album: Red Lights received some airplay in AOR radio stations, and also released as a single, but nothing more apart from this.

Info: The actual players of the Preview album are not mentioned in the album credits. Producer Keith Olsen brought some session musicians in, because the band members weren’t good players. John Fiore, the singer of the band, sang for many US commercials throughout the 80s.

11) Stan Bush (1983) (Failed to chart)

The Self-Titled Phenomenon Of 1980-1985 In AOR World

Biggest Hit of the album: Two singles released from the album, Fire In My Heart and Time Isn’t Changing You. None of them charted. But the most recognizable song here, would be All American Boy, covered by Van Stephenson a year later.

Info: His signature song is The Touch, from the OST of the movie Transformers, but Stan Bush has also a good reputation as a songwriter in the world of Melodic Rock. He also released another good album, under the name Stan Bush & Barrage (Self-Titled), four years later.

12) Billy Satellite (1984) (Failed to chart)

The Self-Titled Phenomenon Of 1980-1985 In AOR World

Biggest Hit of the album: Satisfy Me (US #64)

Info: Despite Satisfy Me, the other single I Wanna Go Back, also made it in the US charts, peaking at #78. Compared to other AOR releases of the year, it was slightly more successful you can tell. But both songs were later covered by Eddie Money, and I Wanna Go Back was a Top 20 US hit, peaking at #14 in the US charts and also #3 in the Mainstream Rock charts!

13) Channel (1984) (Failed to chart)

The Self-Titled Phenomenon Of 1980-1985 In AOR World


Biggest Hit of the album: No singles lifted from here, and actually this album is almost considered non-existent, till a certain label (Rock Candy Records, specialized in Remastering obscure Rock albums) brought it back on the surface in 2009.

Info: Robert Fleischman, the singer of Channel, was actually the singer of Journey just before Steve Perry took over his place, in 1977. Who knows where Journey would be now, if they continued with Robert Fleischman instead of Steve Perry?

14) John Parr (1984) (US #48 / UK #60)

The Self-Titled Phenomenon Of 1980-1985 In AOR World

Biggest Hit of the album: Naughty Naughty (US #23 / UK #58)

Info: The song St. Elmo’s Fire (Man In Motion), which is his signature song and his biggest hit, actually doesn’t appear in all versions of this album. So I don’t include it here, and put Naughty Naughty instead, which was his second biggest hit.

15) Honeymoon Suite (1984) (CAN #38)

The Self-Titled Phenomenon Of 1980-1985 In AOR World

Biggest Hit of the album: New Girl Now (US #57 / CAN #23)

Info: This album is also liked by New Wave fans, since it’s stuck between the middle of AOR/Hard Rock and New Wave/Power Pop realms. Particularly the single Stay In The Light is a New Wave favorite, and you can notice it shares more similarities with bands like INXS or The Cars.

16) Russ Ballard (1984) (US #147)

The Self-Titled Phenomenon Of 1980-1985 In AOR World

Biggest Hit of the album: Voices (US # 110 / US Mainstream Rock #15)

Info: Two of the songs of the album were featured in the popular 80s TV series Miami Vice. Particularly In The Night, and Voices. The latter was also his biggest hit and his signature song. Also Russ Ballard is among the most popular Rock songwriters, being credited for songs like I Surrender by Rainbow or You Can Do Magic by America. Russ Ballard, had also another one Self-Titled album from 1975, but that was miles away from AOR genre.

17) White Sister (1984) (Failed to chart)

The Self-Titled Phenomenon Of 1980-1985 In AOR World

Biggest Hit of the album: No singles lifted from this album, hench no hit songs.

Info: A cult classic, produced by Angel’s keyboardist Gregg Giuffria.This would be my favorite among the list, featuring a pretty unique sound, than the typical AOR records of the era. Apart from the AOR fans, this record also has a good reputation among Metal fans too. I believe if Angel still existed in 1984, that’s how they would sound. Actually, one of the songs, particularly Whips, was a leftover from Angel years.

18. Eric Martin (1985) (Failed to chart)

The Self-Titled Phenomenon Of 1980-1985 In AOR World

Biggest Hit of the album: Only one single released from the album, Information. It failed to chart.

Info: Eric Martin found fame in the 90s, as the singer of the 90s Hard Rock (Or maybe Alternative Rock? They sound nothing like Hard Rock/Glam Metal acts like of the era, such as Damn Yankees or Warrant. They were more into the U2/R.E.M. realm I believe. I don't know why they were marketed as Hard Rock/Glam Metal but I guess it had to do with their looks. With the same logic, if someone had big hair but played Techno, would they be marketed as "Glam Metal"? Gosh...) band Mr. Big, known for songs like, To Be With You or Cat Stevens’ cover Wild World. Before, Eric Martin was an obscure AOR artist, releasing three AOR albums (Sucker For A Pretty Face –under the name Eric Martin Band-, Eric Martin and I’m Only Fooling Myself), which were far better than his Mr. Big works in my opinion.

19) Fiona (1985) (US #71)

The Self-Titled Phenomenon Of 1980-1985 In AOR World

Biggest Hit of the album: Talk To Me (US #64 / US Mainstream Rock #12)

Info: Once married to the famous producer Beau Hill who produced albums for many Glam Metal acts, like Ratt, Winger and Warrant.

20) Van Zant (1985) (US #170)

The Self-Titled Phenomenon Of 1980-1985 In AOR World

Biggest Hit of the album: You’ve Got To Believe In Love (US #102 / US Mainstream Rock #27)

Info: Van Zant Bros are known for being a Southern Rock band, but here they make a drastic change, featuring a Hi-Tech AOR sound. In fact you can tell they sound like a completely different band.


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Most Helpful Guy

  • I love these AOR posts! I swear I haven't seen one in a long time and definitely missed them.

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