Monday, October 16, 2017

"Playing to Win" by LRB

Song#:  2194
Date:  01/26/1985
Debut:  81
Peak:  60
Weeks:  8
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  The Little River Band went through a major change when their lead singer and original member Glenn Shorrock left the band. He was replaced by John Farnham and their first effort together, The Net, didn't yield the results expected. With a pair of middling Top 40 single entries, the album stalled early and failed to go gold (after having four gold/platinum studio albums in a row). The band was in flux at the time with both personnel and direction issues. A couple of long-time members took off and the sound of the band began to have a harder edge. With Farnham still fronting the band, they recorded their eighth studio album, Playing to Win. The title track was chosen for the first single and upon release it got some exposure at Rock and ended up at #15 on that chart. However, their new sound didn't translate to Pop and it halted before it could get close to the Top 40. It would end up being their final single to reach the Pop chart.

ReduxReview:  This certainly isn't the smooth soft rock sounds of LRB. The changed up sound is almost a cross between Kansas and Styx with a little Toto thrown in. It probably wasn't the best move for them. It's fine to change up things, but there was a lot going on with the band around this time and they just went a bit too far overboard with the changes. They might as well have broken up and started a new band. It might have worked out better. This anxious song isn't all that bad, but it's certainly no "Reminiscing" or even "The Night Owls." To me, it sounds like a band trying too hard and not getting anywhere.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) In addition to the changes in personnel and sound, the band began to bill themselves with the acronym that fans knew them by - LRB. The album and singles were all credited as such. However, the change only lasted for one album since it really didn't work out.  2) The band recorded one more album with Farnham at the helm before he left for a solo career. Once Farnham was out, original vocalist Glenn Shorrock rejoined the band. They smoothed out their sound and over the course of two albums they managed to get three songs into the Top 30 of the AC chart. After that, the band stopped recording and just toured. There would be numerous personnel changes over the years with a few indie albums released, but none of them included anyone from the band's original line-up. As of this posting date, the band still tours, but the only member from their hitmaking days to stay in the band is bass guitarist Wayne Nelson, who joined the group in 1980.


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