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O, Gary (O'Connor) - 1981 Gary O

ARTIST: O, Gary (O Connor)
LABEL: Capitol
SERIAL: ST-12157
YEAR: 1981


LINEUP: Gary O'Connor - vocals, guitars * David Landau, George Doeing - guitars * Peter Wolf, Jai Winding, Richard Landis - keyboards * Bryan Garafola - bass * Craig Krampf - drums * Jim Haas, Stan Farber, Jon Joyce - background vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 All The Young Heroes * 02 Pay You Back With Interest * 03 California Goodbye * 04 I Believe In You * 05 Suzanne * 06 The Way You Look Tonight * 07 Just A Little Love * 08 Nightrider * 09 Been A Long Time

I never got into Gary O' a.k.a Gary O' Connor and his earlier band Aerial. The two albums the band recorded were just too all over the map for my tastes with moments of power pop brilliance followed by dodgy hard rock on the debut 'In The Middle Of The Night' and quirky although not all that clever new wave on their final album 'Maneuvers', the group never quite latched onto their own sound. Perhaps this is why O'Connor wasted no time getting back in the studio, signing to Capitol and releasing his self titled debut which is definitely more focused, rooted in 60's British pop and is all the better for it.

The Songs
'All The Young Heroes' is a fine start with stabbing keyboards recalling Prism at their best and ready made for early 80's radio airplay, but it's a cover of The Hollies 'Pay You Back With Interest' that actually charted, especially in the U.S where it hovered just outside the Top 40. While it really doesn't add anything to the original, it's a good version in its own right and it was nice to hear something related to The Hollies who were always underrated in the America, on the airwaves again. In Gary O's native Canada, the song was also a hit, but even bigger was side one's closer 'I Believe in You'. A bit surprising and maybe another example of 'Canadian Content' radio rules run amuck, the song is not much to get worked up about. Just a drippy ballad more in keeping with the kind of stuff Burton Cummings was doing back then and getting 'hits' with, so maybe that explains it? Side two rocks a little harder with 'Suzanne' blazing the same roots pop territory as Marshall Crenshaw and while 'Just A Little Love' has all the earmarks of the ever influential Cheap Trick, the albums final cut 'Been A Long Time' is the best tune on the album. A sweet ballad, sounding like a long lost Paul McCartney track played by Badfinger, it's a song I never grow tired of hearing and is a perfect close to a very good album.

In Summary
Gary O' released one more record in 1984; 'Strange Behaviour' which produced a couple more Canadian hits, but nothing else has been heard from him since. Supposedly he has continued his song writing activities, although I am unaware of anything he's done of note in recent years. Anyone know?

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#1 | reyno-roxx on July 01 2008 10:59:27
Still own this record. I've always been impressed with the songs on it, especially 'All The Young Heroes' and 'Pay You Back With Interest'.
#2 | rkbluez on February 20 2012 21:12:26
Had this on vinyl a long time ago...and would love to see it come out on CD though I know the chances of that are slim...but not impossible.

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