Few bands can claim to have the same pedigree or have made their live debut in quite the same way as Loverboy did.
After forming in 1979, and naming themselves after a dream that their founding guitarist Paul Dean had about his girlfriend, the movies, and a magazine called Cover Girl, the band played their first show as the main support for KISS when they played Vancouver on the Dynasty Tour.
Loverboy had barely been together for six months, and they were playing with the biggest band in America. It was a sign of things to come, as Loverboy was destined to follow in the footsteps of the band they debuted with and become one of the biggest rock and roll acts to have emerged from the frozen North.
They were and still are, Canadian rock royalty, and even though they’re not played on the hour, every hour of every day by rock radio stations like they were during the nineteen eighties, Loverboy is still a formidable live act that sells out venues wherever and whenever they play.
During the first half of the nineteen-eighties, you couldn’t turn on MTV and not see a Loverboy video and they literally wrote the song (Working For The Weekend) that became an American blue-collar anthem. They might have been from Alberta, but Loverboy is as American as apple pie and the Super Bowl.
Within two years of playing their first show with New York’s finest purveyors of hard rock KISS, Loverboy was a Platinum-selling band, which was particularly galling for just about every major record label in America, as they’d turned the band down.
The only record label in the US that smiled every single time they heard a DJ announce the band’s name was Columbia who had partnered with CBS Canada to make sure that the band didn’t find a home with an independent and help to transform an underground label into a major player and a household name.
Their first four albums, which charted the band’s meteoric rise to fame during the early to mid-eighties are still the stuff of legend and are whispered about in hushed, reverential tones by those of us who were there.
The band was so famous, that they even ended up contributing a song to the Top Gun soundtrack, which propelled them into realms of superstardom that were previously undreamed of.
Loverboy has, barring a brief hiatus precipitated by the relatively poor performance of their 1987 album Wildside, always stuck to its guns and played every show like it’s their last and given their all to their fans.
The only thing that has ever slowed this rock juggernaut that’s only ever had one line-up change in its more than forty-year history down was the death of its original bass player, Scott Smith who was lost at sea and presumed dead in November 2000.
For a band to be able to weather the storms and the loss that Loverboy has and not lose any of its core members isn’t just a miracle, it’s almost unheard of in the world of hard rock.
That’s why we figured that it was about time that we honored this Canadian powerhouse and rock and roll institution by putting our definitive Loverboy top ten together.
And, as they tore stages all over the United States apart during the nineteen eighties, we thought that it was only fitting that we drew our choices from their first four albums and the Tom Cruise fueled record that also made them a name to be reckoned with on the other side of the big pond and helped them to finally storm the charts in Europe.
It’s time to go a little crazy with our list of the best songs by Loverboy…
Turn Me Loose was Loverboy’s first single, and the second track on their debut self-titled album that was released in October 1980.
A huge synthesizer-driven number that turns into a guitar-drenched hard rock radio hit about halfway through, it stormed into the Billboard Top Forty and reached Number 35.
It might not sound like a big deal given what the band would go on to achieve, but for a relatively unknown rock band from Canada to even hit the charts in the eighties, it was nothing short of a minor miracle.
Effortlessly combining new wave and hard rock, the second single from 1980’s Loverboy was and is an infectious tune that once heard, is never forgotten.
It didn’t sell as well as their previous single, and only managed to reach Number 54 on the Billboard Hot One Hundred, but was given a new lease of life when the punk band Chixdiggit covered, and recorded it two decades later and their version of The Kid Is Hot Tonite ended up becoming the standout track on the soundtrack album for the film FUBAR…
With their second album Get Lucky Loverboy perfected and polished the sound that they’d become famous for, keyboard-heavy hard rock that was built around instantly memorable choruses and the soaring vocals of singer, Mike Reno.
When It’s Over was the second single that the band released from Get It Lucky, and it gave them another Billboard Hot One Hundred hit when it landed at Number 25 almost a year after the album was released and six months after it was originally certified as a bonafide Platinum release.
The song that summed up the ideology of every blue-collar stiff in the working world and captured the unconscious zeitgeist of mainstream America was the lead single from 1981’s Get Lucky and is another of the uptempo rockers that helped Loverboy to become the beloved darlings of rock radio stations all over the country, and the then-fledgling MTV.
And the fact that it made it all the way to the Billboard Top Thirty and later made VH-1’s list of the 100 Best Rock Songs only helped it to sell even more copies on its journey to rock immortality…
Served up as a video for MTV that went into constant rotation, Lucky Ones wasn’t actually released as a single but became a live favorite that stayed in the band’s set for years after they’d filmed the video, thanks to Music Television constantly hitting the repeat button.
By the time 1983 rolled around, Loverboy was riding high on the wave of popularity that had been generated by Working For The Weekend and Get Lucky which had sold a staggering four million copies, so when they released Hot Girls In Love the lead single from their third album, Keep It Up, their labels expectation that the song would hit the charts were high.
And it did far better than the band and their record label hoped it would, as it gave Loverboy their first Top Twenty Hit, when it soared to Number 11.
Loverboy’s star was in the ascendancy, and when they recorded their fourth album, Lovin’ Every Minute Of It, in 1985 they knew that the world was theirs for the taking, which was proved when they released the title track as a single and it shot straight into the Billboard Top Ten and landed at Number 9.
If you’re going to write a syrupy sweet rock lite, pop ballad, you might as well go for gold, which is exactly what Loverboy did with the second Billboard Top Ten hit from Lovin’ Every Minute Of It, This Could Be The Night.
It was another scorching hit for the band and drove the album that it was taken from past the magic music business number of one million units.
The third single from Lovin’ Every Minute Of It was the only one not to land in the Billboard Top Ten, which might have been due to the fact that it wasn’t actually written by the band. It was written by Bryan Adams.
But then, that might not have had anything to do with the poor performance of the song, and it might have been because it didn’t seem to gel with their audience in the same way their previous singles did…