Friday, August 21, 2020

"Rock Me" by Great White

Song#:  3233
Date:  08/22/1987
Debut:  96
Peak:  60
Weeks:  14
Genre:  Hard Rock, Blues Rock

Pop Bits:  The roots of this band go back to 1977 when teens Jack Russell (vocals) and Mark Kendall (guitar) met. They played around for a couple of years under different band names, but then after an incident that sidelined Russell (see below), Kendall started a new band with singer Lisa Baker called Dante Fox. They started to get attention, but then Baker decided to leave the band. Not long after, Russell was back on the scene and returned to lead vocal duties. By 1981 they had a manager and a new name, Great White. They recorded and released an indie EP in 1983 titled Out of the Night and that disc plus the band's growing popularity got them signed to EMI America. A self-titled debut album appeared in 1984, which was a blip on the chart at #144. A second LP, 1986's Shot in the Dark, improved on that result and got to #82. However, it would be their third effort, Once Bitten, that would break them wider. This first single got things started and it became their first major hit at Rock reaching #9. It then crossed over to the Pop chart where it did fairly well getting to #60. The tune helped sell albums and Once Bitten would peak at #23 and by the fall it would go gold. Eventually it would reach platinum level sales.

ReduxReview:  This was a song that I thought did better on the Pop chart. It was a track that was played a lot on my local rock radio station and it was one that I liked. The brooding, bluesy opening with that little harmonica riff was really cool. The tension in the song built until it finally erupted into a big arena rock chorus. I liked the way it was produced and Russell had a pretty great voice. The song has become a classic of sorts from the era and is definitely one of the band's best.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  Great White would become rock stars thanks to classic rock tracks like this one, but for Jack Russell it almost didn't happen. When he was an 18-year-old struggling musician who had a penchant for coke, Russell would do nearly anything to either get money or the drug. This led to him and a friend breaking into a house where they knew that they guy living there had a bunch of cocaine. Armed with a knife and a gun, they threatened the guy who ended up giving them the cocaine. Since it seemed easy and worked out well, why not try it again? So they found another person to rob that had cocaine, but it didn't work out so well with their second venture. Russell did some drugs before they went and things went awry. Apparently, the guy they intended to rob ended up locking himself in a bathroom along with his maid and Russell then shot his gun a couple times through the door in an attempt to gain access. One of the bullets went through the shoulder of the maid. The police arrived and Russell was arrested.  He was initially sentenced to eight years, but then after various hearings it seems he ended up in a drug program and was released about eleven months later. Not long after, he was able to regain his lead vocal duties in the band that would become Great White.


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