Friday, August 27, 2021

"Black Leather" by Kings of the Sun

Song#:  3595
Date:  07/30/1988
Debut:  98
Peak:  98
Weeks:  2
Genre:  Hard Rock, Glam Rock

Pop Bits:  This Australian band headed up by the Hoad brothers, Clifford and Jeffrey, formed in 1986 after the group the brothers had previously been in, The Young Lions, broke up. They quickly got a contract with Mushroom Records and released a single in '86 that scraped the Australian chart. It was enough to give the band the opportunity to record a full album and along the way they signed on with RCA for international distribution. Their self-titled debut LP was ready in '88 and a first single, "Serpentine," got to #48 in Australia. In the US, the song did well enough to reach #19 on the Rock chart. This second single failed to make the Aussie chart and missed the US Rock chart, but it eked out a couple minor weeks on the US Pop chart near the bottom. The album wouldn't chart in Australia, but it did get to #136 in the US. In 1990, the band would record a follow-up album, Full Frontal Attack, which would spawn the #30 US Rock track "Drop the Gun" (#82 Australia). The LP would get to #130 on the US chart. However, it seems the results were not good enough for RCA and the band lost their distribution deal. They did one more album for Mushroom that was only released in Australia. A fourth one was recorded but was shelved and it left the band without a contract. They would continue performing over the years with various lineups until their break up in 2001.

ReduxReview:  This shufflin' tune was pretty good. It was hooky and had some solid production. Their song "Serpentine" was more along the lines of Aerosmith and that seemed to play well at rock radio. This track was a little different and I guess it just wasn't what the rock audience wanted from the band. The tune did have an eye towards the Pop chart and it did get on very briefly. With more promotion, it might have done better. It wasn't going to be a major hit, but it probably should have broke the band in a bigger way.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) The band took their name from the 1963 film Kings of the Sun. The historical epic starred Yul Brenner and George Chakiris. It was about the migration of the Mayans on the Yucatan peninsula after losing a battle to another tribe along with their land. They move into another tribe's territory who eventually accepts them in and the two join together against the common enemy. The film was not a hit with critics or with audiences. Brenner was a major star at the time having several big hits under his belt including The King and I, for which he one the Oscar for Best Actor, and The Magnificent Seven. But as the 60s wore on, Brenner mainly did action films that were not particularly successful. He would finally score a major hit in 1973 with the sci-fi flick Westworld. He would also appear in that film's sequel, Futureworld, but it was released the year after Brenner's death in '85.  2)  When you are on tour with one of the biggest bands in the world, don't piss them off. Kings of the Sun found that out the hard way when they were selected as one of the opening acts for the Australian leg of the '88 Guns N' Roses tour. KOTS had opened two shows for GNR already, but prior to the third show, an interview with the band was published in which Clifford Hoad was quoted as saying that L.A. bands like Guns N' Roses were basically ripping off the successful Aussie hard rock band Rose Tattoo (GNR covered a Rose Tattoo song for an '86 EP as Axl was a fan of the band). Axl Rose discovered the article backstage as the third show kicked off and it certainly didn't sit well with him. As KOTS were about 20 minutes into their set, Axl and his tour manager cut power to the band and then got them kicked off the stage. Axl later came on stage and before GNR began their set he proceeded to berate KOTS and apologize to the audience for having them open the show. Needless to say, KOTS didn't play any further dates with GNR and it seems the incident dinged their reputation


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