Friday, March 21, 2014

Great White - Great White

Today (March 21st) marks the thirtieth anniversary of the self-titled debut album from Great White. This 1984 release spent twelve weeks on the US Billboard Album chart, peaking at number 144. In the UK, it charted at number 192.

The main roster of the band included Jack Russell (lead vocals), Mark Kendall (guitar and backing vocals), Lorne Black (bass) and Gary Holland (drums and backing vocals).

Side one opens with the uproarious "Out of the Night".

"Stick It" was popular on the US Mainstream Rock chart where it went to number 56.

An interesting cover of the Who's 1966 track "Substitute" is next. I like that Great White put their own little touches on this classic that I knew quite well (my older brother was a huge Who fan). This is easily my favorite track on side one.

"Bad Boys" is very much an anthem for all those Los Angeles rock bands that were playing in the bars on the Sunset Strip in the early 80's. The brief change in tempo and key on the bridge took me by surprise the first time I heard it.

"On Your Knees", as one would expect, is all about sexual domination. Did any young women respond to such a directive? Probably the ones that wanted to sleep with a rocker did. Most of the women I knew back in college in 1984 were a bit more a bit more self-confident and liberated to fall for that macho behavior.

Side two starts with "Streetkiller" which paints the picture of the wild and dangerous side of urban city life.

"No Better Than Hell" is up next.

The opening of "Hold On" is refreshing in that it changes things up a little bit. The song has an underlying message of hope and resilience that is reflected in the music.

"Nightmares" opens with a gentle music box lullaby before twisting into a metal grinding wake-up call.

The record closes with "Dead End", a high energy track that barrels along at a breakneck pace.

This was my first time hearing the tracks on this Great White album (thanks, YouTube). Given that the band came out of the early 80's Los Angeles music scene, it is no surprise that I instantly drew a parallel to early Mötley Crüe records. For the most part, I thought it was a good album with a few standout parts.

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