Loverboy Was the Greatest Eighties Band!
The Eighties would have been nothin' without Loverboy!
I have fond memories of the rock band, Loverboy. Back in the 1980s, every time I went to a bar or nightclub the juke box or deejay would be playing one of their numerous hits. The band’s lively brand of mainstream rock ‘n’ roll was some of the most danceable music around. Purists of hard rock or “hair metal” may have found Loverboy lacking in edgy panache, or perhaps they were a little too melodic as opposed to punchy, but I’m sure millions of fans enjoyed their slick, hook-laden sound.
But the band had to pay their dues before finding stardom. Hailing from Calgary, Canada, Loverboy had trouble finding a recording company until Columbia/CBS Records Canada signed them in 1980. Their first album, highlighted by the catchy tune “Turn Me Loose,” quickly ascended to the top of the charts and eventually went platinum. Led by vocalist Mike Reno and guitarist Paul Dean, the band kept hitting the right licks, releasing one multi-platinum record after another, providing major scores such as “The Kid Is Hot Tonight,” “Working for the Weekend,” “When It’s Over,” “Jump,” “Hot Girls in Love” and “Queen of the Broken Hearts.”
Showing the band’s talent for producing the torchy love song, Loverboy released “Heaven in Your Eyes,” featured in the hit movie, Top Gun, starring Tom Cruise. But keyboardist Doug Johnson refused to appear on the video because he thought the movie glorified violence.
In the middle 1980s, Loverboy played on Saturday Night Live, rocking the house down, as it were. Regarding SNL, in 1990 Loverboy’s song, “Working for the Weekend,” was used as background music during a sketch starring Chris Farley and Patrick Swayze, both of whom trying to win an audition as Chippendales dancers, provoking plenty of belly laughs.
Loverboy produced the album Lovin’ Every Minute of It in 1986. Tom Allom, prodigious producer for bands such as Judas Priest and Black Sabbath, gave the band a harder edge and also steered them toward the contemporary New Wave sound championed by such artists as the Fixx, Lee Ritenour and Bourgeois Tagg, particularly on the song, “Lead a Double Life.” This “new sound” continued through their next album Wildside (1987), though neither album sold as well as its predecessors.
In 1989, Loverboy released Big Ones, a collection of greatest hits, essentially to fulfill a recording contract, and then Reno and Dean launched solo careers, essentially ending the band.
Temporarily, that is. Surprise! What popular bands haven’t reformed at some time or another?
Loverboy reunited and returned to the concert circuit in the early 1990s, releasing a couple of compilation albums along the way. Then in 2001 the band released its first live album, Live, Loud and Loose, offering remixed and remastered versions of concert recordings from 1982 to 1986.
Then, in 2007, Loverboy released an album of new material, Just Getting Started, an offering exemplifying their prowess as heart-fluttering balladeers, particularly on the numbers, “Fade to Black,” “Real Thing” and “I Would Die for You.”
Certainly the quintessential rock ‘n’ roll sound of Loverboy will never die. And if you want to re-live the Eighties, just listen to their records again.
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Check out some of Loverboy’s videos below: