No explanation needed.
Now, pour that misery down and give Ms. Shirley Manson and Garbage your rainy day music love.
This month’s grooves sound like….
Pour a litte Philly Mixtape down and follow it up on….
That piano….those drums…..Ms. Ann Wilson’s window shattering middle vocal breakdown.
Yes, those are just a few of the reasons why Heart’s amplified rock ballad “Alone’ is not just one of the best ’80s tracks of all time, but imagine a karaoke night without it……our sing-for-your-life worlds just wouldn’t be the same.
Written and composed by Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly., “Alone” first appeared on the duo’s 1983 pet project, I-Ten on the album, Taking a Cold Look. However, the song would take a whole different direction when Valerie Stevenson and Fuller House diva John Stamos recorded the song in their roles as Lisa Copley and Gino Minelli on the original soundtrack of the CBS sitcom Dreams in 1984. (Yes, I know). Lucky for you guys, the video is posted below.
But once the song was sold to Heart in 1987, the legendary band reworked the song into an oh, so powerful rock ballad that would serve as the lead single from their chart bulldozing Bad Animals record. (Hey there as well, “These Dreams.” Sigh). The plugged in, soul destroying sonnet would take over radio and all of our lives, eventually going on to spend three weeks owning the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100.
With its, um, heart wrenching piano power mixed in with Heart’s perfectly coifed hard rock flow, it’s no wonder that “Alone” has lived on throughout the years not just in our music hearts and in karaoke bars all over the world, but in pop culture as well since the explosive ditty has been covered by pretty much every contestant that’s been featured on American Idol since day once. Let’s also not forget that reigning Vegas diva (no shade, Britney), Ms. Celine Dion also took “Alone” and made it her own for her 2007 set, Taking Chances.
And since we all know that when Ms. Celine takes on your song, it must be something very special, and there’s no denying that Heart’s behometh ballad is still to this day truly something wonderful.
Spiritually deep ’90s rock super group Live’s roots stretch way all the way back to 1988 when future members Chad Taylor (guitar), Patrick Dahlheimer (bass), and Chad Gracey (drums) first kickstarted their music career performing under the name “First Aid” while attending middle school in York, Pennsylvania. After their mainstream breakthrough struggle became real, the plugged in trio linked up with singer Ed Kowalczyk, and the newfound foursome played under a series of names before settling on Public Affection. The newly monikered group soon earned a huge local following while promoting 1989’s The Death of a Dictionary, which was exclusively recorded on cassette on their own Action Front label. The local music love would lead the band to play at several famed New York clubs, including the now unplugged CBGB, and eventually earned them a demo deal with Giant Records that unfortunately proved to be unsuccessful.
However, once they changed their name to Live after picking it out of a hat while recording ’91’s Mental Jewelry, Live would soon become 120 Minutes worthy with their collection of songs based on the writings of Indian philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti. The buzz worthy record would not only make Live one of the key players in a post-Nirvana alternative music scene thanks to hard-hitting singles like “Operation Spirit (The Tyranny of Tradition)” and “Pain Lies on the Riverside,” but they would set themselves apart from the other big boys in the game by creating anthemic music laced with realistically spiritual songwriting, in other music words, Live’s shit was deep, man.
At two million copies sold, Mental Jewelry was certainly the record that put Live on the college rock radio map, but their big mainstream break came three years later when they returned to own the mid ’90s alternative music scene with the musically jacked, Throwing Copper. After a rock buffet of popular singles like “Selling the Drama” and “I Alone,” put the band on everyone’s music focus, the raved about record’s slow burn turned into full fire on the Billboard charts once the soul-shattering third single “Lightning Crashes” (and that accompanying video!), propelled the album to the top of the charts while paving the way for future hits “White, Discussion” and “All Over You” and helping push the album to sell over eight million copies in the U.S. alone. The smashing success also put Live on the road for an incredibly massive world tour. Just how big was it? If you’re reading this right now and you went to high school from 1993-1996, you definitely saw Live on tour while rocking your green ringer tee that was all wrapped up in the York Peppermint Patty label.
Their third record, the harder, edgier Secret Sahmadi, followed in early 1997, and while it failed to match the commercial success of Throwing Copper, it still amplified its way to double platinum status. The group released the fourth set, The Distance to Here in late ’99, eventually going platinum on the strength of lead single, “The Dolphin’s Cry,” but the record went mostly ignored due to the ever so changing late ’90s music market (think about it), which in turn diminished those mainstream rock vibes that we were used to hearing on the radio pretty much every damn day of our music lives.
Live continued on to refine their ambitious, spiritual rock sound in the early ’00s by releasing a handful of records through the decade–2001’s V, 2003’s Birds of Pray, and their seventh and final studio effort (they recorded 2014’s The Turn with different band members), Songs from Black Mountain, which became a decent hit oversea and the band maintained the record’s success by launching an overseas Live music trek. The group officially disbanded in 2009 after Kowalczyk recorded a solo album, while Taylor, Dahlheimer, and Gracey formed a new band, the Gracious Few, with Kevin Martin and Sean Hennesy from Candlebox. (And another one).
While all of us who were living for Live back then took their spiritual rock genius to heart. there’s no denying that “Lightning Crashes” is a song that still holds it power for not just its deep, dark music tones, but it really is one of the best singles to come out of the ’90s. And it’s music memories like “Lightning Crashes” that make us remember when we actually had to go out and support good music. And listening to the massive collection that these (almost) local gentlemen left behind, that’s what we most certainly did.