Thursday, April 20, 2017

"Rain" by Dragon

Song#:  2017
Date:  08/18/1984
Debut:  90
Peak:  88
Weeks:  4
Genre:  Rock



Pop Bits:  Dragon is one of New Zealand's most famous, and most infamous, rock bands. Formed in 1972, the band's prog-rock leaning sound and their outrageous live shows got them a record deal, but despite having a big following, the LP's didn't sell. After a move to Australia, they signed with CBS, but were plagued with problems including the drug related death of their drummer. But they soldiered on, developed a new sound, and in 1977 scored a #2 hit with "April Sun in Cuba." The following year they hit the top spot with "Are You Old Enough?" They were big time stars in Australia now and adding fuel to the fire was all their hedonistic behavior, which continued to include a lot of drug use. By the end of the decade, the band saw a decline in popularity and that along with other internal issues lead to a breakup. However, debts had piled up and in 1982 the band decided to get back together in order to help settle their financial obligations. Their initial tour was received quite well, so they went back into the studio to record. With a streamlined new wave/rock sound, the band issued this single and it shot to #2 in Australia. The accompanying album Body and the Beat became their biggest seller. With that success, the band tried to break through in the States with "Rain," but it wasn't happening. The song spent a month on the Pop chart while (oddly) getting to #43 at Dance. The band remained popular in Australia until they split again in 1998 following the death of lead singer Marc Hunter.

ReduxReview:  This has a definite Euro-rock, new wave sound to it. I almost hear a little Kinks in there too. It's a good rock tune, but not highly memorable. I'm sure this song may have played well at college radio, but it wasn't the type that was going to break into the US Pop mainstream. This is an interesting band and their #1 hit "Are You Old Enough? is a very tasty slice of 70s rock. I may check into some of their pre-80s material as I find it more to my liking that this track.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  The band tried to break through in the US earlier in their career. They came over for a tour with Johnny Winter in 1978, but things quickly went bad. In Australia, they were known for their bad behavior and stage antics. But at a gig in Texas, their inappropriate ways didn't go over so well. Apparently, lead singer Mark Hunter said at one point that all Texans were "faggots." That was not the smartest thing to say anywhere, but in Texas it was a bonus no-no. Soon the band was getting pelted with beer bottles and other debris. It was so bad that even Johnny Winter was beginning to take bets on how long it would be before someone shot Hunter. Luckily, no one did. However, the incident killed their US tour and it was back to Australia for the band.

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