I have reminisced earlier on this blog (and to be sure, I will again before I’m done) on the early 1980’s hard rock explosion. Loverboy was right smack in the middle of it. The band’s self titled debut turned into a double platinum surprise smash. As a 7th grader I remember cranking my Panasonic Platinum boom box as loud as it could go if I heard the “The Kid Is Hot Tonight” or the music intro to “Turn Me Loose” with it’s funky bass line come on KQ92 or Stereo 101, I’m sure to my parents dismay ( I gotta do it my way…or no way at all). Their debut album sold over a million copies in Canada and went double platinum in the States.
In October of 1981 I turned 13 years old…..and Loverboy released the much anticipated follow up to their eponymous debut Get Lucky. While the first single from the album reached just #29 on the Billboard Hot 100, “Working For The Weekend” was an instant rock radio smash and has withstood the test of time to stand as a classic rock song. It’s anthem like chorus and hedonistic message struck a chord in our teen souls. This was an age where AOR radio was far more important to album sales for a rock band than chart success or Top 40 airplay. The beauty of AOR radio in the early 1980’s was the fact that program directors and DJ’s still had huge input on which songs would be played. The request line was a real thing that could influence whether a song got on the air. Radical concept,huh? As the 1980’s went on MTV became more of an influence on record sales and airplay…what a shame.
This combination often lead to songs that became “hits” without ever being released by the record company as a single or being released as a single solely because of increased airplay from AOR Radio. This is the reason songs like “Lucky Ones” and “Jump” were huge hits with the teenagers of the day but failed to chart. “Jump” is still my favorite song from this record and the songs co-writer, fellow Canadian Bryan Adams, would be a huge sensation himself in a couple of years. The other big hit off this album “When It’s Over” was symbolic of rock music at the time. Pre Heavy Metal you could have a keyboard player and still be a rock band. This song was driven by the synthesizer and brokenhearted teenage boys.
Loverboy was always a guilty pleasure of mine and my friend Jeff Koolmo. We have seen them live countless times. The first time we saw them live was on a scorching July day in Minneapolis in 1983 at the now long gone Parade Stadium at a concert called The Great Northern Picnic. Loverboy headlined the show which included Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, Greg Kihn and Quiet Riot. We have seen them over the years and almost evry kind of venue including at the St.Paul Civic Center, Riverfest at Harriet Island, the Minneapolis Rib Fest and the Medina Ballroom.