Triumph

Canadian Classic Rock
Biography

Triumph

 

Triumph's roots date back to 1975 when Rik Emmett, Gil Moore and Mike Levine began touring the local Toronto circuit, spreading the word of their head-banging gospel. Backed by Emmett's blending of classical guitar melodies with effects-ridden metal riffs, their reputation gained them a deal with Attic Records in barely a year.

Their self-titled debut was released in 1976 but was only met with moderate success. Though it received some FM play, tracks such as "Blinding Light Show" and "What's Another Day Of Rock & Roll?" were too long and too heavy to garner attention by the AM stations. Tracks such as "24 Hours A Day" however did showcase the band's versatility, blending 12-string melodies with straight forward 2-chord riffs. The tour that followed their debut took them south and Triumph made an instant impact on the American rock fans, particularly in Texas.

Their second album, ROCK AND ROLL MACHINE was released the next year and every bit lived up to it's name, from the harmonies in "Takes Time" to the ballsy "Little Texas Shaker", the story of a Texan groupie to the 7 minute title track, to their first single in a re-make of Joe Walsh's "Rocky Mountain Way". Incidentally, Triumph's first two records are considered collectable, as MCA re-released ROCK AND ROLL MACHINE in the mid-80's, but it's actually only half of that album with a different cover, with the other 4 tracks coming from the self-titled debut. The next year MCA then re-released the debut record, but with a different cover and entitled IN THE BEGINNING.

JUST A GAME was cut in 1979 and featured classic rockers such as "American Girls", yet also showcased Emmett's blues influences in "Suitcase Blues" and also featured "Lay It On The Line" and "Hold On", FM staples 20 years later.

By the release of PROGRESSIONS OF POWER in 1980, Triumph's stage show had become the envy of almost all ticket buyers, backed by a light show rivalled by few others. Though "I Can Survive" was the only single released, "Nature's Child" and "Woman In Love" further fed the appetites of rock-starved kids.

ALLIED FORCES was put out the following year and contained the singles "Magic Power" and "Say Goodbye", a typical power ballad penned by Emmett. Not tailor-made specifically for radio play, the record stayed true to the band's naturally evolving sound and also featured "Fool For Your Love", title-track and "Fight The Good Fight". By this time Triumph's message had been firmly spread overseas and touring the UK had become the norm for the band.

Never Surrender was released nearly two years later and it seemed as though the time off may have cost the group some of the interest of the record-buying public. Now on MCA Records, the group failed to receive the support of management. And though it failed to generate a single, NEVER SURRENDER contained some of their most under-rated work, from the blazing riffs in "When The Lights Go Down" and social commentary in "Too Much Thinking" to "A World Of Fantasy" and Emmett's gear-shifting to the powerful "Battle Cry".

1984 saw the release of THUNDER SEVEN, Triumph's first collaberation with Eddie Kramer, whose most noteable work was with KISS. The record was well-received by radio, spawning the hits "Spellbound" and "Follow Your Heart". Recordings from the ensuing tour ended up on Triumph's only live record, 1985's STAGES. Nothing really special, it was a typical live record. Cheesy marketing ploys on the part of MCA management also saw the inclusion of two new studio tracks, "Mind Games" and "Empty Inside".

The band released THE SPORT OF KINGS in 1986 and contained the singles "Just One Night", co-written by Neal Schon of Journey and "Somebody's Out There". Other noteable cuts included "Tears In The Rain" and "Take A Stand".

SURVEILLANCE hit the stores in '87 and would be the last record Triumph would cut with Rik Emmett. With the support of only one single "Let The Light Shine On Me", the band only toured minimally and Emmett then left the group to pursue a solo career. The band fullfilled their contractual agreements in 1989 by releasing the compilation CLASSICS, a retrospective of the trio's 9 albums together.

Moore and Levine reformed Triumph in 1992 and added Phil X and Rick Santers on guitars. Mr X was a virtual unknown at the time (and where pray tell is he now?) but Santers enjoyed some radio success with his band (somewhat vanely named Santers) with a remake of the Free classic "All Right Now" some years earlier. The reformed group released EDGE OF EXCESS later that year and saw two singles, "Child Of The City" and "Trouble Maker", which was featured on the soundtrack of "Hellraiser III". Despite this the group soon found the public's interest had wandered again and Levine and Moore again called it quits.

The advent of the classic rock radio format, along with the current trend of reunion tours, would have made a Triumph reunion a dream come true for millions. Unfortunately though, 'irreconcilable musical differences' have proved too great even for these three Canadian superstars to overcome. Throughout the group's 10 studio records, word according to the gospel of Triumph was one of constant striving to give the fans the most for their money. Moore's live drum solos became infamous during their hey-day, while Emmett's mastering of many playing styles still inspire young guitarists today. Held together by Levine on bass and keyboards, Triumph emerged from the Toronto underground to become one of Canada's biggest musical exports. For the most part they relied on their own instincts when it came to the studio-work. They knew what the fans wanted to hear when they air-guitarred "Rock & Roll Machine" in the bedrooms and they knew what the fans wanted to see and hear live when buying their concert tickets. They always delivered ... on all counts.

Written by Dan Brisebois of
CanConRox


Discography

Triumph
Triumph (1976)

24 Hours A Day
Let Me Get Next To You
Blinding Light Show/Moonchild
Easy Life
Be My Lover
Street Fighter
Don't Take My Life
What's Another Day of Rock n Roll

Rock And Roll Machine
Rock And Roll Machine (1977)

Takes Time
Bringing It On Home
Little Texas Shaker
New York City Streets (parts 1 -3)
The City (parts 1 -3)
Rocky Mountain Way
Rock and Roll Machine

Just A Game
Just A Game (1979)

Movin On
Lay It On The Line
Young Enough To Cry
American Girls
Just A Game
Fantasy Serenade
Hold On
Suitcase Blues

Progressions of Power
Progressions of Power (1980)

I Live For The Weekend
I Can Survive
In The Night
Nature's Child
Woman In Love
Take My Heart
Tear The Roof Off Tonight
Finger Talkin
Hard Road

Allied Forces
Allied Forces (1981)

Fool For Your Love
Magic Power
Air Raid/Allied Forces
Hot Time In This City Tonight
Fight The Good Fight
Ordinary Man
Petite Etude
Say Goodbye

Never Surrender
Never Surrender (1983)

Too Much Thinking
A World of Fantasy
A Minor Prelude
All The Way
Battle Cry
Overture
Never Surrender
When The Lights Go Down
Writing On The Wall
Epilogue

Thunder Seven
Thunder Seven (1984)

Spellbound
Rock Out, Roll On
Cool
Follow Your Heart
Time Goes By
Midsummer's Daydream
Time Canon
Killing Time
Stranger In A Strange Land
Little Boy Blues

Stages
Stages (1985)

When The Lights Go Down
Never Surrender
Allied Forces
Hold On
Magic Power
Rock n Roll Machine
Lay It On The Line
A World of Fantasy
Druh Mer Selbo
Midsummer's Daydream
Spellbound
Follow Your Heart
Fight The Good Fight
Mind Games
Empty Inside

The Sport of Kings
The Sport of Kings (1986)

Tears In The Rain
Somebody's Out There
What Rules My Heart
If Only
Hooked on You
Take A Stand
Just One Night
Embrujo
Play With The Fire
Don't Love Anybody Else But Me
In The Middle of the NIght

Rock and Roll Machine (re-issue)
Rock and Roll Machine (re-issue) (1986)

Takes Time
Bringing It On Home
Rocky Mountain Way
Street Fighter
Street Fighter (reprise)
24 Hours A Day
Blinding Light Show/Moonchild
Rock and Roll Machine

Surveillance
Surveillance (1987)

Prologue: Into the Forever
Never Say Never
Headed for Nowhere
All the King's Horses
Carry on the Flame
Let the Light (Shine on Me)
Long Time Gone
Rock You Down
Prelude: The Waking Dream
On and On
All Over Again
Running in the Night

Classics
Classics (1989)

Tears In The Rain
Hold On
Live For The Weekend
Magic Power
Follow Your Heart
A World Of Fantasy
Fight The Good Fight
Spellbound
Somebody's Out There
Lay It On The Line
Rock and Roll Machine

Edge of Excess
Edge of Excess (1992)

Child of the City
It's Over
Troublemaker
Edge Of Excess
Turning My Back On Love
Riding High Again
Black Sheep
Boys' Night Out
Somewhere Tonight
Love in a Minute

King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents
King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents (1995)

Allied Forces
Tear The Roof Off Tonight
American Girls
Fight The Good Fight
Blinding Light Show/Moonchild
Rock and Roll Machine
I Live For The Weekend
Nature's Child
Rocky Mountain Way
Hot Child In This City Tonight

In The Beginning
In The Beginning (1995)

24 Hours A Day
Be My Lover
Don't Take My Life
Street Fighter
Street Fighter Reprise
What's Another Day Of Rock 'N' Roll
Easy Life
Let Me Get Next To You
Blinding Light Show/Moonchild

In Concert
In Concert (1996)

Intro
Tear The Roof Off
American Girls
Lay It On The Line
Allied Forces
Fight The Good Fight
Blinding Light Show/Moonchild
Rock 'N' Roll Machine
I Live For The Weekend
Nature's Child
Drum Solo
Instrumental
Rocky Mountain Way
Hot Time In The City Tonight


See Also
Rik Emmett


Other Biographies

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