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Loverboy's finest hour 25 years later
on October 8, 2006
Canadian rockers Loverboy released its sophomore effort Get Lucky in October of 1981.
In 1981, Loverboy broke out big at the height of the Canadian invasion alongside fellow Canadian rock bands Rush, Triumph, Bryan Adams and Saga when their self-titled debut album went Gold at the hands of the singles Turn Me Loose and The Kid Is Hot Tonight.
Faced with topping a successful debut, lead singer Mike Reno, guitarist Paul Dean, keyboard player Doug Johnson, drummer Matthew Frenette and late bass player Scott Smith(R.I.P.) went back to Vancouver with co-producer the late Bruce Fairbairn(R.I.P.) and recorded their most successful album ever as I found out in 1981 when my third older sister acquired this album on vinyl and played it to death (but was fine by me).
The album's first and biggest hit "Working for the Weekend" opens this album on a rocking note. It's a truly great song and is still a rock radio staple 25 years on. Next is the album's other big hit "When It's Over". This mid-tempo rocker showcases Reno's versatile voice and Dean's harmonies and extra backing vocals from Nancy Nash. It also features a superb Dean solo. Next is "Jump" which was written by Dean, Reno and fellow Canadian rocker Bryan Adams and his colleague Jim Vallance. This song is a great rocker and a song that should have been a hit but never mind. Next is another mid-tempo rocker "Gangs in the Street" which is a social commentary on gangs and their fight to protect their territory. To hear a rock band like Loverboy write a track about this subject without vulgar language is a miracle and nice to hear unlike rappers who throw every obscenity in the book in their gangsta tracks. The first half of the album ends with the rocker "Emotional" featuring Dean on lead vocals and performing a tasty slide guitar solo here and Johnson does a great piano solo as well.
The original vinyl album's second side began with another MTV and rock radio staple entitled "Lucky Ones" which its lyrics talk about how some people have better luck than others. Another great social commentary by the band. It does seem as if there are some entertainers, families, etc who have everything handed to them, without ever having to put any effort into it at all. "It's Your Life" is next and is another great rocker with great guitar riffs, lyrics, drumming and is a great track. Next is another great rocker "Watch Out" which is a great song though some overlook this track. The album closes out with possibly the best song Loverboy ever wrote "Take Me to the Top". This epic has a keyboard riff from Johnson that is so amazing. Then when you combine it with a great rhythm section performance, Dean's guitar work and Reno's perfect vocal performance you have a true classic.
Interesting enough, cassette issues of the album altered its track listing and went like this: Side 1 was Working for the Weekend, When It's Over, Emotional and Take Me to the Top. Side 2 was Lucky Ones, It's Your Life, Gangs in the Street, Jump and Watch Out. That was done so the album's cassette sides were equal length!
Get Lucky was the album that made Loverboy a household name and reached #7 on the Billboard album chart upon its 1981 release and has sold to date FOUR MILLION COPIES in the US alone.
Now, 25 years later, the album was re-released in a digitally remastered version with FOUR BONUS DEMOS. I Told You So is a nice acoustic demo. Boy Likes the Girl and Your Town Saturday Night are great demos which just rocked and sounded like they could have appeared on the album. Lastly an early version of Working For the Weekend which sounds like the finished product but nice to hear.
If one needs to have one Loverboy effort then Get Lucky will suffice.