Tuesday tunes: The most underrated rock album of the 80s

Scandal – cincyweekend.com

With the dawn of MTV, the 1980s were one of the best decades for rock music, in large part to the number of newly discovered bands that became popular due to the new medium of videos. Prior to that, disc jockeys often over-controlled what was played on the air and since then, corporate-owned radio has too often made the call on who is popular or not.

Especially in the early years of MTV, they were looking for videos to fill their programming, so lesser-known artists had a better chance of being played and becoming discovered by a wider audience. One seriously doubts that Flock of Seagulls, Thomas Dolby, Madness, Men Without Hats, Dexy’s Midnight Runners, and many other musicians would have become as well known in any other decade.

One rock band who became known in the early 1980s due to MTV was Scandal, featuring Patty Smyth. Their initial EP included the hit song “Goodbye to You” that stormed the video waves and launched their career. Shortly afterwards, they released their first full-length album Warrior based on the title of the first single released. The song, “The Warrior” raced up the charts and helped propel the album and band to greater fame.

Eddie Van Halen performing “Maybe We Went Too Far” with Scandal.

Several other singles were released from Warrior that received a decent amount of airplay, but nothing like “Goodbye to You” and “The Warrior.” Personally, I feel this was due to too much emphasis being placed on the warrior theme/persona and by poor choices by the record company regarding which songs to release as singles and/or videos. They needed to focus more on edgier guitar driven tunes, as by the mid-80s music had shifted to a harder rock tone, Bon Jovi and Def Leppard led the way.

It is often stated that the eponymous debut album by The Cars is considered the greatest debut album ever due to the number of hit songs that came from it. In fact, The Cars themselves jokingly considered naming the album, The Cars Greatest Hits, even though it was their first album. However, to this rock music aficionado, Scandal’s initial full-length album, Warrior, is the champion of best debut albums. Frankly, the 10 songs on the album are so good that every one of them could have been a hit on radio or video.

Here’s my personal list of the best songs on Warrior, presented in order of favorites:

  1. “Talk to Me”
  2. “All I Want” (nearly a tie with “Talk to Me”)
  3. “Maybe We Went Too Far” – see version with Eddie Van Halen provided above
  4. “Hands Tied”*
  5. “The Warrior”*
  6. “Beat of a Heart”*
  7. “Less Than Half”
  8. “Only the Young”

The only songs that were released as singles are the three (3) on my list identified with an asterisk (*), which means they also were the only ones that videos were produced for, too. In my humble opinion, This is a complete failure by the record company to take advantage of an amazing album filled with hit songs. While Warrior went platinum, it could have easily gone multi-platinum. Am I wrong? Try giving some of the links shown above a listen and let me know if you agree or disagree.

Sadly, creative differences within the band and between them and the record company led to its breakup. Lead singer Patty Smyth went on to a successful solo career with hits like “Sometimes Love Just Ain’t Enough” and “No Mistakes.” She also nearly became David Lee Roth’s replacement as lead singer of Van Halen – that would have been awesome! Later, in the early 2000s Scandal reformed and has played some concerts off and on since then and Patty Smyth recently (October 2020) released a new solo album entitled, It’s About Time.

Here are visual weblinks to albums by Scandal and Patty Smyth that are available through Amazon.com*

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*A small commission is earned from purchases that are made using these links to Amazon. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

SOURCES:

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