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1986

Michael Sembello – Without Walls [1986]

MICHAELSEMBELLO_WWCountry USA          Style WestCoast AOR

Rating 87/100

Band Members
Michael Sembello – Lead Vocals,Guitar,Keyboards, Tata Vega – Vocals on ‘Wonder Where You Are’, Steve Rippley,Bud Rizzo,Jennifer Batten – Guitars, Randy Waldman – Keyboards, Richard Rudolph – Bass, Danny Sembello – Bass,Keyboards, Vinnie Colaiuta,Carlos Vega – Drums, Ron Powell – Percussion, Dennis Matkosky,Steve Porcaro – Synthesizers, David Boruff – Saxophone, Herb Alpert – Horns, Stevie Wonder – Harmonica,Backing Vocals, Bobby Caldwell,Cruz Sembello,Danny Sembello – Backing Vocals

Tracks
01. What You Really Want, 02. Last To Know, 03. Funkabilly Swing, 04. Is This The Way To Paradise, 05. Burn It Up, 06. Angelina [CD bonus], 07. Tear Down The Walls, 08. Gravity (Special Dance Mix), 09. Wonder Where You Are, 10. Dangerous, 11. The Picture [CD bonus]

Profile Michael Sembello released his debut album in 1983 and the song ‘Maniac’, included in the movie Flashdance, won the following year’s Grammy in its category and become the third highest grossing song from a soundtrack. Due to this fulminant success Michael has spent much of his career writing and performing music for movies and TV shows, so his solo discography is quite narrowed.

His second solo “Without Walls” is a classic mainstream product of its time: commercial but elaborated Pop-Rock AOR with some Westcoast throwing in. ”What You Really Want” opens the disc with catchy temperament, featuring a very good guitar riff and solo. This track is a Lite AOR gem. “Last To Know” is one of those pop tracks that has the necessary essence to stand the test of time, with a solid songwriting in the best Canadian style. ”Funkabilly Swing” is obviously a funk-rock&pop song, but the sonic treatment here is quite melodic, and the rhythm guitars are just amazing. The eighties magic returns with the AORish “Is This the Way To Paradise”, where Michael sings (especially the chorus) fiercely, and the guitar / keyboard tandem enrich the tune.

“Burn It Up” is another highlight. A pure ’80s uptempo track with an action-movie style. ”Angelina” and particularly “Wonder Where You Are” are smooth Westcoast numbers, while “Dangerous” and “Gravity” are commercial, almost danceable tracks. The latter was included into the ‘Cocoon’ soundtrack and the mix is done with the typical studio trickery of the era. ”Tear Down The Walls” is a marching, anthemic pop-rocker. This song was later recorded by Argentine musician Miguel Mateos (produced by Sembello) and become a latin hit. ”The Picture” is another enormous eighties winner song, with excellent guitar work (Jennifer Batten plays here uncredited), processed drums and glossy production.

“Without Walls” is a terrific album in the classy mid-eighties style, with great songs, superb musicians involved and lush production. ”Angelina” and “The Picture” are only exclusive to Japanese CD version, the only country which had the privilege to see the album released on this format.

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Howard Hewett – I Commit To Love [1986]

howard_hewett-1986-i_commit_to_loveCountry USA          Style Hi-Tech AOR/R&B

Rating 83/100

Band Members
Gerald Albright,Stanley Clarke – Bass, John Barnes,Todd Cochrane,Raymond Crossley,Joey Gallo,Kevin Grady,Monty Seward – Keyboards, Ronald Ray Brunner – Tom Tom, Kevin Chokan,Paul Jackson, Jr. – Guitar, Paulinho Da Costa – Percussion, Nadia Deleye,Gwen Evans,Josie James,Nicole Krauss,Alejandra Loiaza,Ross Vannelli,Carolyn Vigiga,Deniece Williams – Background vocals, George Duke – Keyboards,string, Wilton Felder,George Howard – Saxophone, Ed Grenga – Guitar,keyboards, Howard Hewett – Vocals, Tris Imboden – Drums

Tracks
01. Stay, 02. I’m For Real, 03. Last Forever, 04. I Commit To Love, 05. In A Crazy Way, 06. Love Don’t Wanna Wait, 07. I Got 2 Go, 08. Eye On You, 09. Let’s Try It All Over Again, 10. Say Amen

Profile Howard Hewett made a smooth transition from being a member of the trio Shalamar to becoming a bona fide solo artist. His first single to hit the Billboard R&B charts was the romantically enchanting “I’m for Real.” Too fast to be a ballad and not fast enough to be a jam, Hewett still captivated radio and his audience with this moderate number. The Ohio native glides from his lacerating tenor to his striking falsetto highs supported by cogent backing vocals. The classic piece peaked at number two on the charts. The single “Stay” has a crossover appeal, but it never made a dent in the pop charts. It is not half as impressive as “I’m for Real.

” However, it did manage to show at number eight on the Billboard R&B charts. “I Commit to Love” falls short as well. It too is saturated with pop seasonings. Nonetheless, it tipped in at number 12 on the Billboard R&B charts. The final release was the inspirational selection “Say Amen,” which is Hewett’s personal testimony of being given a second chance after his battle with life’s various vices. It has become an anthem for many. Inside ten weeks, it peaked at number 54. The shortcoming on this album is the material. As Hewett can deliver on the vocals, the songs do nothing for his talent as they lack excitement and mesmerizing melodies; the two elements commonly associated with his great voice.

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Craig Lytle

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Tai Chi – Red Mobile [1986]

1244734000671Country China (Hong Kong)          Style Melodic Rock/AOR

Rating 85/100

Band Members
Patrick Lui – Lead/backing vocals, Joey Tang – Guitar,backing/lead vocals, Gary Tong – Keyboard,piano,backing vocals, Ernest Lau – Guitar,backing vocals, Eddy Sing – Bass guitar,Backing Vocals, Ricky Chu – Drum,percussion

Tracks
01. Storm Red Lips, 02. Red Mobile, 03. Phantom of the Opera, 04. He, 05. Purple Dream, 06. Dance All Nite, 07. Love Talent, 08. Ideals Are, 09. Love Ending, 10. Never Loved, 11. Purple Dream (instrumental)

Profile Tai Chi (太極) is a Chinese rock band formed in Hong Kong in 1985 by Patrick Lui (lead vocalist), Joey Tang (guitarist), Gary Tong (keyboardist), Ernest Lau (guitarist), Ed Sing (bass guitarist and backing vocal), and Ricky Chu (drummer). Tai Chi is well known for their catchy and modern tunes, they became known that same year for winning the first edition of the Carlsberg Pop Music Festival. In 1986, the band won “Best Promising New Act” at the RTHK Top 10 Gold Songs Awards. They belong to a 1980s generation of Hong Kong musicians known as the “Band-boom Era”, which also includes the groups Fundamental, Beyond, Tat Ming Pair, Blue Jeans, Small Island, Raidas and Citybeat.They sang both in Cantonese and English and offer an amazing album with great production and many catchy, harmony and memorable tunes. They are still active to date and have a large base of fans. The album re-released by Universal Music in 2004. Great stuff…

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Vandetta – First Love [1986]

fsfsdfgsCountry USA          Style Hard Rock

Rating 80/100

Band Members
Jerry Traxler – Bass, Chuck Utley – Guitars

Tracks
01. Born To Rock, 02. Still Think About You, 03. Send Your Love, 04. Too Late For Sorry, 05. Runnin (Live), 06. First Love, 07. Love Games, 08. Closer To Your Heart, 09. Loose On The Streets, 10. Wish

Profile VANDETTA is a very interesting Melodic Rock band out of Maryville, Tennessee formed in 1986 offered some really fantastic catchy classic 80s uptempo melodic rockers with perfect harmonies. The band later changed their name to Saber and in 1997 they release the album “Do or Die”. Ultra rare record and very unknown.

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Spitout – When the Day has Gone [1986]

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Country Austria          Style AOR

Rating 80/100

Band Members
Andrea “Violetta” Ölzant - Vocals, Erwin “Bosling” Brandlhofer – Guitar, Herbert Michelitsch – Bass, Yellow Yellow – Guitar, Michi Schneider – Keyboards, Alex Mikulicz – Drums

Additional Musicians
Mickey Lawrence – Backing vocals, Michi Winter – Piano

Tracks
01. When the Day has Gone, 02. Feel the Power

Profile SPITOUT hailed from Vienna and formed in October 1984. The band’s only work was the single “When the Day Has Gone” that came out in 1986 via Flash label contain two catchy songs, The titled song  has a sweet melody and great piano where the voice of Andrea “Violetta” Ölzant can be compared with Jennifer Rush. The second song is a horny hard rock song where the guitar work is reminiscent of the former Accept. The band has few line up changes before they split up in May 1988. Very rare nowdays…

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Database info

Albums: 1480
Biographies: 360
Meet the Bands: 597
Soundtracks: 146
Reviews: 140

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