Loverboy

Canadian Classic Rock
Biography

Loverboy

Loverboy

 

The epitome of Canadian pop best describes Loverboy. Never taken too seriously by the critics, the group got started in '79 when guitarist Paul Dean and drummer Matt Frenette left Streetheart and met up with singer Mike Reno in Vancouver. Along with Doug Johnson on keyboards and bassist Scott Smith they released their self-titled debut in the summer of 1980. The timing couldn't have been better for a simple yet sophisticated approach to teen pop to have been on the scene. Dismissed by some as soft-core punk, others blasted them for being nothing more than teeny-bopper pleasers dressed in tight leather pants. Like them or not, if you lived in Canada in the '80's, you knew Loverboy. Backed by the singles "The Kid Is Hot Tonight" and "Turn Me Loose", and the "much more than filler" "Lady of the '80's" and"DOA", the album quickly went gold.

GET LUCKY came out a year later and further cemented their name in the foundations of Canadian pop. "Working For The Weekend", "Lucky Ones" and "Jump" showed the sheer force of Dean's fret-work while tight ballads like "When It's Over" demonstrated the group's ability to shift gears and churn out well-written ballads. The combination quickly made it two gold records in a row. By this time Loverboy was being heard coast to coast and was getting some exposure in the US as well. Regional gigs now turned into national tours.

KEEP IT UP hit the shelves in '83. Though "Queen Of The Broken Hearts" and "Hot Girls In Love" were the only singles from the record, it had a solid core of well-written tracks that again gave Loverboy gold. More constant touring saw them in Europe as well as every corner of North America. By now the group's brand of radio punk-pop was well-known and well-received by the masses, but still didn't make much of an impression on the critics.

LOVIN' EVERY MINUTE OF IT was released in early '85 and contained some of the group's heaviest riffs. Backed by the title track written by Mutt Lange (best known world-wide as the producer of such platinum successes as AC/DC's BACK IN BLACK and Def Leppard's HYSTERIA, but simply known in Canada as the lucky bastard that snagged Shania), the record also drove home the heavier than usual message with "Steal The Thunder". Their maturity in the studio shone with "This Could Be The Night". Co-written by Johnathon Cain of Journey, it was their oblligatory radio I love you-the sky is blue ballad. "Dangerous", written by Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance was the third single released. Though the band was still touring constantly and LEMOI made it four straight gold records, the public's perception of them was beginning to change. In short, Loverboy's audience was outgrowing them.

The group took some time off after the subsequent world tour and by the release of WILDSIDE in 1987, they realized they were caught on the downhill slide of a music revolution, finding themselves squeezed out of the market by more sophisticated elder statesmen and hungrier young acts. Behind the controls for the fifth straight time was Bruce Fairbairn. Supported by the hit "Notorious" co-written by Richie Sambora and Jon Bon Jovi, "Walkin' On Fire" and "Don't Keep Me in The Dark", the record was pushed gold. After a final gig in London with Def Leppard that summer, Loverboy took what they thought at the time would be a brief hiatus.

The group wouldn't resurface until 1989 when they reunited for a Brian "Too Loud" MacLeod benefit show in BC. They reception given them, plus CBS' release of BIG ONES, a cheezy best of package with two new tracks, "Too Hot" and "Ain't Looking For Love", prompted them to hit the road again and toured most of western Canada. Interest in the former teen idols quickly diminished and again the group went their seperate ways. The time off afforded Dean the opportunity to cut his first solo record, HARDCORE. Backed by the Paul Stanley/Bruce Kulick "Sword and Stone" and the remake of Streetheart's "Action", it too went gold.

Except for the occasional benefit show, Loverboy wouldn't resurface until '96, with the release of VI. Johnson left the group midway and was replaced by Richie Sera, who'd worked before with Kim Mitchell, Tom Cochrane and Sue Medley. Re-tooled and ready for a second run at the top, the new sound showed maturity in the writing, adding new dimensions with a strong contingent of cellos in "Secrets", and acoustics with "Maybe Someday". "Tortured" and "Big Picture" were also noteable cuts, as was their cover of Nazareth's "Hair Of The Dog". To begin with Loverboy was humbled by the lack of respect given Canadian groups from other eras. Originally only available at the band's concerts and a 1-800 number, VI is now available internationally in the stores. The group started out doing fairs and small gigs but worked their way up in support of the new record opening in arenas for the likes of ZZ Top.

It's safe to say that for all intents and purposes, Loverboy's time has come and gone. Their sound was unmistakeable. They had a loyal following in the US and were appreciated in Europe, but Canada was Loverboy's home. You knew it was a new Loverboy song on the radio by Reno's distinct voice and the sound that was so familiar to every young Canadian growing up. 80's retro parties are laden with the songs we grew up with. But as Reno wrote "The kid is hot tonight, but where will he be tomorrow?"

Written by Dan Brisebois of
CanConRox


Discography

Loverboy
Loverboy (1980)

Kid Is Hot Tonite
Turn Me Loose
Always on My Mind
Lady of the 80's
Little Girl
Prissy Prissy
Teenage Overdose
D.O.A.
It Don't Matter

Get Lucky
Get Lucky (1981)

Working for the Weekend
When It's Over
Jump
Gangs in the Street
Emotional
Lucky Ones
It's Your Life
Watch Out
Take Me to the Top

Keep It Up
Keep It Up (1983)

Hot Girls in Love
Strike Zone
It's Never Easy
Chance of a Lifetime
Queen of the Broken Hearts
Prime of Your Life
Passion Pit
One-Sided Love Affair
Meltdown

Lovin' Every Minute Of It
Lovin' Every Minute Of It (1985)

Lovin' Every Minute of It
Steal the Thunder
Friday Night
This Could Be the Night
Too Much Too Soon
Lead a Double Life
Dangerous
Destination Heartbreak
Bullet in the Chamber

Wildside
Wildside (1987)

Notorious
Walkin' on Fire
Break It to Me Gently
Love Will Rise Again
Can't Get Much Better
Hometown Hero
Wild Side
Don't Let Go
That's Where My Money Goes
Read My Lips
Don't Keep Me in the Dark

Big Ones
Big Ones (1989)

Working for the Weekend
For You
Kid Is Hot Tonite
Lovin' Every Minute of It
Lucky Ones
Hot Girls in Love
This Could Be the Night
Ain't Looking for Love
Turn Me Loose
Notorious
When It's Over
Too Hot
Take Me to the Top
Heaven in Your Eyes

Temperature's Rising
Temperature's Rising (1994)

When It's Over
Too Much Too Soon
Prissy Prissy
Queen of Broken Hearts
Strike Zone
This Could Be the Night
Emotional
Teenage Overdose
It's Never Easy
Gangs in the Street

Loverboy Classics
Loverboy Classics (1994)

Turn Me Loose
Working for the Weekend
Take Me to the Top
Kid Is Hot Tonite
This Could Be the Night
Jump
Lovin' Every Minute of It
Notorious
Almost Paradise
Lucky Ones
Destination Heartbreak
Hot Girls in Love
When It's Over
It's Your Life
Gangs in the Street
Heaven in Your Eyes

VI
VI (1997)

Big Picture
Love of Money
Secrets
Waiting for the Night
Nobody Cares
Goodbye Angel
Create a Monster
Hair of the Dog
Maybe Someday
Spinnin' My Wheels
So Much for Love
Tortured

Super Hits
Loverboy: Super Hits (1997)

Turn Me Loose
Working for the Weekend
When It's Over
Take Me to the Top
Hot Girls in Love
Lucky Ones
Queen of the Broken Hearts
This Could Be the Night
Dangerous
Strike Zone


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