Wednesday, March 27, 2019

"When the Heart Rules the Mind" by GTR

Song#:  2720
Date:  05/10/1986
Debut:  74
Peak:  14
Weeks:  16
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  Former Yes guitarist Steve Howe found success as part of the new supergroup Asia whose #1 self-titled debut was one of 1982's biggest hits. After a shaky second LP, Howe just wasn't happy with the direction of the band and decided to leave. Still wanting to be part of a band, Howe decided to develop one and wanted to work with former Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett. The pair had the idea to skip actual keyboard synths and apply the new MIDI technology of the day to their guitars to help cue up synthesized sounds. They brought three other members on board including lead singer Max Bacon and GTR was born. Geoff Downes, who had been in Yes and Asia with Howe, was hired on as producer. Howe and Hackett would co-write the majority of tunes on the band's self-titled debut album including this first single. It would be a hit on Rock radio reaching #3 on that chart. The tune also did well at Pop where it got inside the Top 20. The album would peak at #11 and eventually go gold.

ReduxReview:  Although the album leaned more towards prog rock, this single is right out of the commercial AOR playbook and not too far off from what Howe and Downes were doing in Asia - minus a keyboard player. I always found it odd around this time that these "supergroups" would get formed and for the most part the music they would come up with wasn't all that different from the bands they were in previously. It's like one member of a band will not be happy because he doesn't get his way, leaves, starts a new band, and the result is basically like the old band with maybe a minor tweak of some kind. The main problem was that egos got in the way. The one good thing is that these supergroups could usually get at least one solid, chart-oriented track out and for GTR it was this one.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Back in the day before everyone was using ProTools for recording, if you went into a studio with a big mixing console, there was usually a long piece of gaffer's tape (typically white) either above or below the volume controls on the board. The engineer would then write the names of the instruments, voices, etc. on the tape so they knew what was assigned to each set of controls. They would sometimes use abbreviations for certain instruments to keep things neat and concise and a common one to see for the guitar channel would be "GTR." Since Howe's new band wanted to be guitar based/controlled, they took their name from the console abbreviation.



  1. "GTR-SHT" was JD Considine's infamously brief review for the album containing this single.

    1. It's a favorite review of mine along with a guy who reviewed Debbie Gibson's album "Anything Is Possible." The review was simply, "...except me liking this."