Tuesday, April 13, 2021

"Get It On" by Kingdom Come

Song#:  3462
Date:  04/02/1988
Debut:  93
Peak:  69
Weeks:  6
Genre:  Hard Rock

Pop Bits:  German-born singer/songwriter Lenny Wolf honed his skills at home with several bands before making the move to L.A. in '83 in search of something bigger and better. He ended up co-founding the band Stone Fury, who quickly got picked up by MCA Records. Their debut album Burns Like a Star got released in '84 and its first single "Break Down the Wall" made a minor impression at Rock getting to #47. The album got to #144. A follow-up LP arrived in '86, but it went nowhere and the band split. Wolf was then courted by Pologram Records. They signed him under the condition that he would form a new band, which he did. They became Kingdom Come and they would hire on Bob Rock to produce their self-titled debut album. This first single was released and it became a solid hit at Rock getting to #4. The tune would cross over to Pop, but it didn't do as well stalling in the bottom half of the chart. The attention the band got from the single allowed the album to reach #12 and go gold. The band was on the fast track to stardom, but some backlash (see below) curtailed their progress. Their second album, '89's In Your Face, didn't generate any charting songs and the album stopped at #49. A third LP for Polydor came and went quickly. The band soldiered on over the years in various incarnations and would record indie albums along the way.

ReduxReview:  I mean, c'mon. This had Led Zeppelin written all over it. I understand that a band or artist doesn't have legal rights to their "sound" (although some recent cases have addressed this a bit), but there is a fine line between influence and imitation and I think Kingdom Come crossed it here. The opening chuggin' rhythm/chords along with the verse are nearly like "Kashmir." So much so that it seemed lawsuit-worthy. Then the chorus and its guitar riff were right out of the Zep playbook, not to mention Wolf's vocals highly recalling Robert Plant's. So the Zeppelin comparison was certainly warranted for this song along with a couple other album tracks including "What Love Can Be," which sounded like "No Quarter, Pt. 2." Yet a good chunk of the album was just straight forward arena rock tracks that were far less Zeppy. So did the band get unfairly tagged as a Zep clone? Maybe a little, but they brought it on themselves, especially with this song. It also didn't help that Wolf apparently said in a Kerrang interview that he had never heard of Led Zeppelin...oooff. Many other bands have been compared to or considered reminiscent of Zeppelin, such as Whitesnake, but in Kingdom Come's case, they sounded just like the band and it would dog them for a long time. However, I will say that I do like this song. Yeah, they are lifting from Zep without question, but I thought they did it quite well. Rip off or homage? You decide.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  When the band was in New York doing the final mix on the album, they got a visit in the studio from A&R rep John Kalodner. He liked "Get It On" quite a bit and asked for a cassette of the track to take with him. The band obliged. Apparently, Kalodner shuffled the track over to a radio station in Detroit and it started to get airplay. The song and Lenny Wolf's vocals reminded people of another famous band that had broken up earlier in the decade, Led Zeppelin. With the band being completely unknown at the time, folks began to think that this was a recording by a reformed Zeppelin. The misnomer sparked demand for both the song and the upcoming album. Of course people soon realized it was not Zeppelin, but the track still took over Rock radio and it spurred the album to go gold. However, many folks were not happy with the band's Zep sound. They considered it more of a rip off rather than an homage. Even former Zep Jimmy Page commented in a Q magazine interview that there is was a difference between an artist influenced by Zep and one that is basically ripping them off and he mentioned Kingdom Come as one of the latter. At some point, people even began to call the band Kingdom Clone. The mini uproar didn't bother Wolf or the band who maintained that their influences were the Beatles and AC/DC. Still, the backlash didn't do the band any favors with their popularity diminishing quickly after the success of their first album.


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