Friday, July 12, 2013

Friday 80s Flashback for July 12, 2013

[Sharknado] -- I admit it. I watched Syfy's latest craptacular film, Sharknado. But I watched it with the rest of Twitter nation, and I had a howling good time reading the snarknado of tweets. And, although I had something else in mind for this week's Friday 80s Flashback, I knew there was only one way to cap this evening: A retrospective on Great White!

Vocalist Jack Russell and guitarist Mark Kendall had known each other, and had sometimes worked together, since about 1978. However, Great White didn't form until the latter half of the 80s, when Russell and Kendall finally coalesced as a band with drummer Gary Holland and bassist Lorne Black. They supposedly chose their name after Kendall's nickname -- he was called "Great White" after his naturally white-blonde hair, white Fender Telecaster guitar, white jumpsuit, and white shoes. It's a good thing whitening toothpaste wasn't available at the time. He could have seriously blinded people! Fortunately, no one overly suffered that bright image.

Great White remained more or less active until The Station Nightclub fire which killed almost 100 people in a Rhode Island nightclub in 2003. There are now two separate incarnations of Great White. One came out of a 2006 reunion tour, but had to replace an ailing Jack Russell in 2010. And the other, known as "Jack Russell's Great White," was formed by Russell after his recovery, but it features an all-new lineup. There is currently a legal battle of Sharknado proportions over the name and logo.

But here at the Flashback, we're not concerned with a band's current legal woes -- we need concern ourselves with only the music they once produced. Which tunes have the most teeth for this blog? Read and hear more after the break. Oh, and watch out for the spandex and hair spray.

Flashback #1"One day of faceless living  |  is twenty-four hours too long  |  I don't want to face the day."

Just like Ian Ziering and Tara Reid in Sharknado, Jack Russell of Great White doesn't want to "Face the Day" that's before him. I don't know that any of them have much choice in their respective matters. Although "Face the Day" didn't chart very well, fans enjoyed the more blues-rock sound of Shot in the Dark (1986). So while they didn't have any hits, the album itself made it into The Billboard 200 album chart. (Well, in the lower half at #123).

Flashback #2"I search the world for someone I'll never find  |  Someone who ain't the hurting kind."

Our second Flashback is "Rock Me," the first single off Great White's third studio album, Once Bitten... (1987). The album sold more than a million copies was eventually certified Platinum. It actually took the success of their fourth album, ...Twice Shy (1989), to finally push Once Bitten... into platinum territory. "Rock Me" enjoyed solid airplay and significant video rotation on MTV. The original was over seven minutes long, but the version below is just over five minutes long, probably pretty close to the radio edit.

Flashback #3"The rhythm of the street sure knocks you off your feet."

Great White's cover of Ian Hunter's "Once Bitten, Twice Shy" is their most popular song.  It peaked at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #6 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks charts. This tune was the first single of the band's fourth studio album, ...Twice Shy (1989), which eventually went Double Platinum. And that marks the apex of Great White's career.

Hey, can we get both factions of Great White to reunite in the next great Syfy cinema debacle?

Once again, I remind you that the rule of three applies when doing Flashbacks. As I've made my three offerings, that's all till next week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the archives. As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.

And if you are on Twitter, and feel so inclined, please +K my influence in Music on @klout.

I'll see you in seven!

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