Thursday, July 14, 2022

"Down Boys" by Warrant

Song#:  3877
Date:  04/29/1989
Debut:  90
Peak:  27
Weeks:  16
Genre:  Hard Rock, Glam Metal

Pop Bits:  This Hollywood-based band first began to form in '84. It would take a couple of years and some personnel changes before things clicked with a steady lineup that included singer/songwriter Jani Lane. The band then made a name for themselves on the L.A. club circuit and it wasn't long before labels began to show interest. It seems their first stop was Prince's label Paisley Park. The band recorded demos, but none excited the label. Then A&M Records tested them out. They were able to at least record one track for the label, "Game of War," but then the label also decided to pass on the band. The track was still used for the '89 comedy flick Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, but it was not included on the soundtrack album. Columbia Records then quickly secured the band and in '88 work began on their debut album Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich. It would be ready to go by the time '89 rolled around and this first single would be issued out. It caught on at Rock where it would reach #13. The song was then able to cross over to the Pop chart where it slowly made progress and eventually it would peak inside the Top 30. The album would initially peak inside the Top 30 as well and by July it had gone gold. It was a very good result, but that was only the beginning for the band and the album.

ReduxReview:  I had forgotten about this song. Although the band was tagged as an L.A. glam metal band, this song leaned more towards catchy arena rock with its hooks and swirling background keyboards. It had more in common with Cheap Trick and Journey than Poison or Mötley Crüe. In a way that was good because it gave them a radio-ready rock song that could help get them established. The single didn't fully blow up the Pop chart, but it did pretty well and helped make their album go gold. It also set them up for further success with their next single.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  Lead singer/songwriter Jani Lane (given name John Kennedy Oswald) started his career in music as a drummer and even before he was in his teens he was performing with a band in clubs. After graduating high school, Lane would continue to play drums in several bands. Along the way, Lane's vocals were noticed and he was encouraged to move into a lead vocal position. After a move to Florida in '83, Lane eventually formed the band Plain Jane and took on the lead vocal role. After recording a demo, the band decided to give L.A. a shot and moved out west. They would play the club circuit opening for other bands including one called Warrant. Oddly, on the same day both Plain Jane and Warrant would shed members. Warrant would be without a lead singer and drummer, so Lane and Plain Jane's drummer Steven Sweet would be invited to join up with Warrant. They did and by March of '87 Warrant would have secured their classic lineup.


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