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Articles Home » 1982 Articles » Shooting Star - 1982 III Wishes
Shooting Star - 1982 III Wishes

ARTIST: Shooting Star
LABEL: Virgin (UK), Epic (USA)
SERIAL: V 2235, FE 38020
YEAR: 1982
CD REISSUE: 2007, Renaissance Records, RMED-333


LINEUP: Gary West - vocals, keyboards * Van McLain - vocals, guitars * Ron Verlin - bass * Steve Thomas - drums * Charles Waltz - violins, vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Are You Ready * 02 Standing In The Light * 03 Heartache * 04 Where You Gonna Run * 05 Do You Feel Alright * 06 Turn It On * 07 Weary Eyes * 08 Couldn't Get Enough * 09 Let It Out * 10 Whole World's Watching


As huge favourites here at Glory Daze, there isn't much that hasn't been covered about legends Shooting Star, so it was with trepidation that I decided to review their third album. Having only heard 'III Wishes' recently for the first time, and being a huge fan of the band, I was so disappointed with this that it surely ranks as one of the premier letdowns in melodic rock/AOR history. I'm not the only one who thinks so, Van McLain himself admitting it was their weakest recording among others. When taking the brilliance of their self titled debut and 'Hang On For Your Life' as comparison, I think this is the prime reason 'III Wishes' falls so flat. The vitality is missing, the melody is lukewarm and the guitar work is flat and hardly a factor. A shame, as everyone with any knowledge of the band knows this was the make or break moment for Shooting Star, and due to the albums failure the momentum was never quite recovered, commercially not musically.

The Songs
Listening to this repeatedly it's fascinating to hear how disjointed the band became in just a year. Much criticised was Kevin Elson's production and admittedly it's botched, lacking the crispness and bite of such favourites like 'Tonight', 'Bring It On' and 'Hang on For Your Life Tonight'. 'Are You Ready' is one of the few highlights, but the violin is far too prominent and kills the songs sense of urgency. It is one of the few ready made rockers on offer in an album lacking such genuine moments. The problems begin in earnest with 'Standing In The Light', which sums the album up, melodic yes, but where's the heaviness that characterised the band beforehand? 'Heartache' saw the band using keyboards more heavily, dominating this ballad, leaving it watered down. Waltz adds lead vocals to 'Where You Gonna Run', more ordinary softer material that barely resembles an AOR band. Again, a tad too much violin. The guitar production on 'Do You Feel Alright' is exceedingly raw and unpolished, again lacking vibrancy as a whole. 'Turn It On' is a brief rocker that works well, but 'Weary Eyes' might as well be off a John Mellencamp album, that organ work is disastrous. 'Couldn't Get Enough' is yet another power ballad, but these are only fine in doses, not quantity. The only true highlight is an AOR classic, 'Let It Out' with some Alan Parsons Project type keyboard work and finally some thrilling guitar pieces that pierce the ears, saving this from being a total flop. A true indication of what a great band this was. A shame the rest didn't follow suit. 'Whole Worlds Watching' ends with a sentimental ballad that probably is far from what fans were expecting, or wanting in 1982.

In Summary
Truthfully the only letdown of an otherwise great career for Van and his troops, which McLain attributed here at Glory Daze to trying to record a hit and falling short, disrupting the basics of the bands whole approach to AOR. The production is another stain, perhaps rushed and needing a final touch to make the songs jump out that little bit more. As a result the steam fails to rise, and while the album has grown on me, it's primarily because of 'Let It Out'. Aside from that a display in how the pressure of the industry can lead to compromising a bands vision.

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#1 | gdazegod on March 22 2006 20:30:50
Agreed, this is by far their worst effort in a near 30 year career. I will forgive them their one failing in all that time! lol
#2 | dangerzone on December 27 2011 07:29:10
I'll say 'Whole World's Watching' is a great track. It should have been a World Cup anthem.
#3 | super80boy on January 30 2016 15:34:30
The band seemed to be striving to be the next Journey, but they were already so talented and didn't need to try and please anyone. My vinyl copy has a hype sticker for 'Heartache' and 'Where You Gonna Run'. The former is a Journey clone, but I do like it and the latter needs an injection of energy, it's too lethargic. Agreed, 'Let It Out' is the clear standout here.
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