Dover Records followed up The Chart Show – Rock The Nation with a second volume in 1989. Unlike the first one, this was a much slimmer affair – a single LP encompassing 14 tracks with CD buyers getting exactly the same deal. The sleeve with its leather jacket and zip photo was reminiscent of 1985’s Now That’s What I Call Music 6 sleek front cover.
First blood goes to Pat Benatar and All Fired Up, nominated for a Grammy and the lead single from Wide Awake in Dreamland. It rocks much harder than her earlier work and is now seen as a perfect pick me up tune. Next are INXS with New Sensation proving the longevity of 1987’s Kick and its associated singles. Stepping back in time are Run DMC with their evergreen cover of Walk This Way; in August 1989 Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler and Joe Perry joined Bon Jovi at a concert at Milton Keynes Bowl for an encore performance and extended jam of the song. Meanwhile Billy Idol was riding high in the charts during that era as the BPI platinum-certified collection Idol Songs – 11 Of The Best became a popular fixture in bedrooms and car stereos. The ubiquitous Rebel Yell fits in nicely here.
Two Irish warriors – Gary Moore and Phil Lynott – made waves during June 1985 with the stirring Out In The Fields, a song explicitly about The Troubles. “No flag or uniform ever stopped a bullet from a gun.” Phil was dead the following January, Gary passed away eight years ago, a lightning fast guitar hero who had an old-school feel for melody. My favourite of his is the Wild Frontier LP, which came out in 1987. Drum machine goodness. Most epic are the title track, The Loner and a flashy thrilling cover of Friday On My Mind. Following: The Stranglers’ live cover of All Day And All Of The Night was dropped in favour of a “live” version specially recorded in the studio, as the real live recording was not considered to of sufficient quality for All Live And All Of The Night. In 1989 they played Dublin’s National Stadium the night before the Leaving Cert started. I raised a glass while cramming.
Another Grammy nomination: Joan Jett & The Blackhearts’ I Hate Myself For Loving You got the nod at the 31st awards for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. It’s a torrid ride of self-loathing that’s extremely exhilarating and really rocks out. Next come two big hits of 1987, Fleetwood Mac’s tumultuous Big Love and Chris Rea’s catchy Let’s Dance complete with quality horns. Confederate flags, girls in bikinis, sun, sand…it can only be David Lee Roth’s fun fun fun cover of California Girls. Next comes Status Quo’s compellingly bad Ain’t Complaining (but the 12″ mix rules). We go down under for Johnny Diesel & The Injectors’ workmanlike boss groove Don’t Need Love before the ace faded denim glory of Paul Carrack’s harmonious One Good Reason. “You’ll be the last.” Finally, get your lighters in the air for Cheap Trick’s meandering cheese fest The Flame. A long way from Downed, He’s A Whore and Surrender. But it would work just as well in a late ’80s version of Over The Edge – if such a thing existed. “Don’t give yourself away.”
Gary Moore & Phil Lynott – Out In The Fields
Joan Jett & The Blackhearts – I Hate Myself For Loving You
Lest we forget
Cheap Trick – The Flame