Sunday, January 17, 2021

"Just Like Paradise" by David Lee Roth

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  3377
Date:  01/16/1988
Debut:  56
Peak:  6
Weeks:  16
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  Roth's first full-length solo album, Eat 'Em and Smile, became a platinum seller that was helped along by the #10 Rock/#16 Pop hit "Yankee Rose." After his tour in support of the LP, Roth got back into the studio to record a follow-up. His next effort would be titled Skyscraper and this first single got the ball rolling. It would do very well at Rock becoming Roth's first (and only) song to top that chart. The song also made an impression at Pop where it got to #6. It was Roth's second and final single to make the Top 10.  The song helped the album get to #6 and by the end of March of '88 it would be certified platinum.

ReduxReview:  This blast of arena rock with a distinct commercial edge was something that Roth hadn't necessarily done since leaving Van Halen (excluding his pop remakes). It was far more radio-ready than the more raucous "Yankee Rose" with a hooky chorus that was indelible. You could hear shades of VH along with a little Foreigner and even Journey tossed in. The track was expertly crafted and it was an easy choice for a lead single. Rock radio and its listeners ate it up and it didn't take too long for Pop to catch on. A few folks balked that Roth had gone too far towards mainstream pop, but I thought it was a natural fit for him and the right move at the time. As for the Skyscraper album, it was a little odd. There were hard rockin' tracks, near prog-rock/psychedelic tunes like the title track (which I liked), along with a Led Zeppelin-ish ballad. It didn't gel into a cohesive work, but individual parts, such as this single, showcased Roth's solo career at its best.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  The cover of Skyscraper featured Roth hanging on a mountain face and this song's associated video contained scenes of him climbing and standing atop a rock formation. So did Roth actually do the rock climbing or was it all photo trickery? Ends up it was actually Roth. While not necessarily a professional, it seems that Roth had been climbing since he was a kid in the Boy Scouts. For the album images and "Just Like Paradise" video, Roth or someone in his camp thought that perhaps mountains or high rock formations would help punctuate the Skyscraper title and that Roth could be filmed rock climbing, since he had experience. David Breashears, a photographer and filmmaker who became the first American to reach the top of Mt. Everest for a second time in 1985, was hired on to film Roth's climb. The climb took place at the Half Dome at Yosemite National Park in California. Rock climbing is slow and tedious, so for the video action images of Roth's climb were interspersed between a stage performance of the song by Roth and his band. Breashears would go on to co-direct the 1998 IMAX film Everest, which remains the highest grossing IMAX movie ever.


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