Saturday, December 14, 2019

"Shelter" by Lone Justice

Song#:  2981
Date:  01/10/1987
Debut:  93
Peak:  47
Weeks:  12
Genre:  Rock

**Welcome to 1987! 1986 started with the abysmal "Superbowl Shuffle." Luckily, '87 gets started with a terrific song. Let's get going!**

Pop Bits:  This band headed up by Maria McKee was touted as being the next big thing prior to their 1985 self-titled debut album. Unfortunately, their introduction proved to be underwhelming with the album stopping #56 and the single "Ways To Be Wicked" sputtering at #29 Rock and #71 Pop. In the aftermath, two of the four members took off leaving McKee and guitarist Ryan Hedgecock to soldier on. They padded the band with three new members and set off with producers Steve Van Zandt and Jimmy Iovine to record a second album. It would be called Shelter and this title track would be its first single. It would get to #26 at Rock while cracking the Pop Top 50. A second single, "I Found Love," would fail to chart at either Rock or Pop. With nothing much to promote it, the album stopped at #65. The band that was once a hot commodity had turned cold and not long after Shelter failed to boost their career, the band split up.

ReduxReview:  This slick, radio-ready song is quite a distance away from the band's cowpunk origins. Their debut album was kind of a tamped down version of their country/blues/rock sound while Shelter was a more commercial-leaning rock album. Frankly, I love all iterations of the band and I really dug the Shelter album when it came out. Especially this sweeping single and its ghostly opening. I think Iovine, Van Zandt, and the band's label, Geffen, really wanted to make rock stars out of the band, but it just wasn't meant to be. Early fans of the band didn't like the sleek Shelter with its synths and non-countrified tunes, but I thought it was great. Especially the devastating "Wheels," which I've sung and cried to in my car countless times. As much as I liked Lone Justice, the main attraction for me was Maria McKee's voice and songs. Her self-titled debut solo album is one of my all-time faves and each album after was varied in sound and textures (in a good way). She is just brilliant. While this song may not reflect the sound of Lone Justice from the early 80s, it was still a solid tune that should have at least made the Top 20. Ages ago a friend of mine sang in a bar band and my group of friends would go see them and drink n' dance. She knew I loved this song and for a while after it came out, she always made sure to play it sometime during the night. I always appreciated that.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  Maria McKee would embark on a solo career following the breakup of Lone Justice. Her self-titled debut arrived in 1989. One song from the LP, "I Forgotten What It Was in You (That Put the Need in Me)" got to #29 on the Rock chart. The album would peak at #120. McKee would end up having two major hits. Her first one was as a songwriter. She penned the song "A Good Heart" that was recorded by Feargal Sharkey. It was a hit in the UK (#1) and in other countries, but it was virtually ignored in the US (#74). Her second hit was one she co-wrote and performed. She contributed the song "Show Me Heaven" to the soundtrack of the 1990 Tom Cruise film Days of Thunder. It would be released as a single around Europe and it would hit #1 in several countries including the UK. It was never officially released as a single in the US, but airplay on AC radio helped the song get to #28 on that chart. McKee would go on to release several albums including the highly acclaimed Bowie-esque Life Is Sweet in 1996.


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