Monday, October 8, 2018

"Leader of the Pack" by Twisted Sister

Song#:  2551
Date:  11/30/1985
Debut:  88
Peak:  53
Weeks:  10
Genre:  Hard Rock

Pop Bits:  This band hit it big with their third album, 1984's Stay Hungry, which featured the #7 Rock/#21 Pop hit "We're Not Gonna Take It." Their videos were popular on MTV and they got even more attention when they became a target of the PMRC. With their star shining bright, the band now had the task of following up their triple platinum breakthrough. Leader Dee Snider wrote nine songs that would become their next LP, Come Out and Play. In addition to those originals, the band would re-record a cover tune that they originally included on their 1982 Ruff Cutts EP, "Leader of the Pack." The new version would be issued out as the album's first single. Unfortunately, it didn't go over all that well with the song only getting to #32 at Rock and not cracking the top half of the Pop chart. A second single, "Be Chrool to Your Scuel," couldn't get a leg up and failed to chart. Despite not boasting a major hit, the album managed to go gold, but that was a far cry from their previous multi-platinum LP. They would put out one more album in 1987 before calling it a day.

ReduxReview:  I had already thought that the band bordered on being a novelty rock act, but then they zoomed across that border when they issued out this song. I mean, it's cool that the band didn't take themselves too seriously and they probably had to keep up the shtick they started with "We're Not Gonna Take It," but I just didn't get this choice at all. I guess they were hoping the commercial aspects of the track along with the video would help to expand their audience, perhaps in the same way Mötley Crüe scored with "Smokin' in the Boys Room." However, that song fit the Crüe well whereas "Leader" was just a goofy choice that did nothing for the band except nearly make them a comedy act. It just wasn't the right move for the band and the results speak for themselves.

ReduxRating:  3/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) This is a remake of a song originally recorded by the girl group The Shangri-La's. Their 1964 version would hit #1 on the Pop chart. Many artists would cover the tune including Bette Midler, who recorded a version for her 1972 debut album The Divine Miss M. However, the only other artist to reach the Pop chart with the song has been Twisted Sister. A parody of the song called "Leader of the Laundromat" by the Detergents was moderately successful reaching #19 in 1965.  2) The song "Be Chrool to Your Scuel" featured several well-known musicians. Brian Setzer does the guitar solo, Billy Joel plays piano, and Clarence Clemmons does the sax solo. Alice Cooper is also prominently featured as a duet partner and he also appears in the song's video. Some believe that the song didn't chart because MTV refused to air the zombie-themed video, which they thought was too graphic.


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