Thursday, July 17, 2014

Little River Band - First Under the Wire

This month marks the thirty-fifth anniversary of First Under the Wire, the fifth studio album from the Little River Band. Peaking at number 10, it spent thirty-three weeks total on the US Billboard Album chart. In the band’s native Australia, it went to number 2.

Side one begins with “Lonesome Loser”, a tale of a guy unlucky at love. As the lead single, it hit number 19 in Australia, number 15 on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary chart and number 6 on the US Billboard Hot 100. I owned this one on a 45 back in the day, and I was always instantly pulled in by the a cappella vocals at the start.

“The Rumor” is a mid-tempo pop-rock number about the spread of misinformation.

The love song “By My Side” has a sweet, slow sway to its rhythm. I could get lost in its instrumental closing.

“Cool Change”, the second single, went to number 10 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number 8 on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary chart. This thought-provoking number is one I will sing along to on the tight harmonies of the chorus.

A live version of “It’s Not a Wonder”, from the album Backstage Pass, was released as a single in 1980. The song has a blue-rocking groove to it that reminds me a bit of Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band.

Side two opens with the light-rocking instrumental “Hard Life (Prelude)”. Combining it with the next track “Hard Life” to which it leads in nicely, you have an epic eight minute long piece.

“Middle Man” served as the B-side to the second single. It features the saxophone playing of Bill Harrower.

Next up is “Man on the Run”, a dance tune with a slight disco influence to it (a steady beat with a deep bass groove).

The record closes with the mysterious “Mistress of Mine”. The melody has an exotic spin to it.

First Under the Wire took me back to my earliest days of high school back in late 1979 and early 1980. I had become a fan of the Little River Band from some of their hits a few years prior, and I was very familiar to the two big hits from this one thanks to Top 40 radio airplay. I certainly enjoyed the rest of the album upon my first listen.

For more of the Little River Band, click here.

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