Wednesday, March 29, 2017

"We're Not Gonna Take It" by Twisted Sister

Song#:  1993
Date:  07/28/1984
Debut:  80
Peak:  21
Weeks:  15
Genre:  Heavy Metal

Pop Bits:  This band started as Silver Star in the wonderfully named Ho-Ho-Kus, New Jersey, in 1972. With Jay Jay French (given name John Segall) on board, the band's shows became well-known and they became a hit attraction on the club circuit. But after a few years and several personnel shifts, the band needed a new direction. Their manager encouraged French to hire on Danny Snider to lead the band. Snider came on board in 1976 and French gave him his new first name of Dee. They immediately began to get a following and were soon headlining sold out shows. Despite their popularity, US record labels showed little interest. So they took off for the UK and got signed to Secret Records. An EP and debut LP were issued in '82 and did fairly well in the UK. Unfortunately, Secret went out of business and the band was on their own again until Atlantic finally picked them up. Their second album, You Can't Stop Rock 'n' Roll was a #14 hit in the UK thanks to three charting songs, but it was just a blip on the US Album chart. However, their third LP, Stay Hungry, would finally make them stars in the US. It contained this first single that got to #7 at Rock and nearly Top 20 at Pop. A big part of its success was due to the comedic video for the song that got into heavy rotation at MTV. Both the album and single would be their biggest hits in the States. The original single would not sell enough to get a gold record, but decades later, the digital version of the song would sell enough for it to receive a gold certification.

ReduxReview:  Although I thought the video was hilarious, I never liked the actual song. It was one of those grating rock anthems that could quickly turn into a horrible ear worm. To me it was smart alecky and silly. However, Snider did a great job writing this tune. The verse and chorus were made up of simple melodies that anyone can sing and the chorus had that indelible hook to it. Plus, the ol' anti-authority message certainly didn't hurt (well, except for the PMRC - see below). I would never voluntarily call up this tune for a listen, but I do appreciate Snider's songwriting.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) This song was another one that riled the feathers of the Parents Music Resource Center and Tipper Gore. For this one, it wasn't necessarily the lyrics that got them in a huff. The comedic video suggested violence against authority (mainly parents) and that got the song listed in the PMRC's "Filthy Fifteen" list. Another song of the band's, "Under the Blade," while not on the list was also specifically targeted by the organization. During the Senate hearings prompted by the PMRC, Dee Snider (along with Frank Zappa and John Denver) appeared to speak against the rating/labeling of music products. Despite their efforts, the record companies voluntarily decided to play ball and the parental advisory sticker was born.  2) Dee Snider wrote this rock anthem and he has mentioned that there were two inspirations for this song:  the rock band Slade and the Christmas carol "Oh Come, All Ye Faithful." Later on in 2006, Snider and the band recorded a Christmas album and they arranged "Oh Come, All Ye Faithful" in the manner of "We're Not Gonna Take It."


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