Saturday, January 14, 2023

"Don't Close Your Eyes" by Kix

Gold Record Alert!
Song#:  4027
Date:  09/09/1989
Debut:  93
Peak:  11
Weeks:  23
Genre:  Hard Rock, Glam Metal

Pop Bits:  This Maryland band started to form in 1977. After a couple of name changes, the band settled on Kix and began playing covers in the local clubs. Over the course of three years, the band built up a sizable fan base around the Baltimore area. Finally in 1981, the band would get signed to Atlantic Records. Work began on a self-titled debut album with bassist Donnie Purnell serving as the main songwriter. While it got some good notices, the album didn't fare well and was unable to chart. Still believing in the band, Atlantic gave them another shot and they came up with '83's Cool Kids. Apparently, the label pushed the band in a more commercial direction and wanting some kind of radio hit got them to record three cover tunes. One of those tracks, a remake of the 1981 Nick Gilder song "Body Talk," was released as the first single. It would just miss the Pop chart stopping at #104. That minor attention along with the band's live shows helped the album get to #177. Their third album, '85's Midnight Dynamite, failed to chart and it left the band at a sort of crossroads. Atlantic was willing to give the band another shot, but it seemed like it could be their last chance. They went into the studio with veteran producer Tom Werman and emerged with Blow My Fuse. Released to good notices and a promotional push in '88, none if its initial singles would chart. However, the album sold and it would initially peak at #74. It was a definite improvement from their previous efforts, but the band still wasn't breaking through in a major way. That would change when nearly a year after the LP's release this power ballad would start to gain attention. The song would become their first charting hit eventually get to #16 Rock while nearly making the Pop Top 10, stopping at the dreaded #11. In turn, the album would re-enter the chart and move up to a peak of #46. Both the single and the album would be certified gold (the album would get to platinum status in 2000). It was the big break the band was looking for. Unfortunately, it would prove to be short-lived.

ReduxReview:  This intense power ballad led by Steve Whiteman's gritty, soaring vocals came along at the right time. The tune wasn't your basic glam metal ballad about a broken relationship or longing for home. It dealt with a person basically trying to stop someone from committing suicide. A heavy topic for pop radio, but it worked thanks in part to the big chorus and tight, radio-ready arrangement and production. It was a bummer this didn't slide into the Top 10 for a week, but it still sold well enough to go gold. Kix got the hit in just about under the wire. In a couple years glam metal would be on the outs with grunge taking over.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  For their next album, for whatever reason Atlantic would move Kix over to their new sub-label EastWest. The change threw the band for a loop, but they would rally and finish the album Hot Wire. It would be released in 1991. The only song to reach a chart was the first single "Girl Money," which got to #26 Rock. That left the album stalling at #64. Kix would fulfill their Atlantic contract with a 1993 live album and then were let go. However, by this time Nirvana had already busted down the grunge doors leaving metal bands like Kix in the dust, so the writing was already on the wall. They tried to rally with an indie album in '95, but it didn't do much to further their career. The band members would then go on to do other projects. Save for bassist/songwriter Donnie Purnell, the band would reunite in 2003. In 2014, they would release their first album in nearly twenty years. Rock Your Face Off would return the band to the Album chart where it peaked at #49.


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