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Airplay - 1980 Airplay

ARTIST: Airplay
ALBUM: Airplay
SERIAL: FL1-3099
YEAR: 1980
CD REISSUE: 1986, 1990, 1995, 2005, BMG Japan


LINEUP: David Foster - keyboards, vocals * Jay Graydon - guitars, vocals * Tommy Funderburk - vocals

Guests: Jeff Porcaro, Mike Baird, David Hungate, Steve Lukather, Ray Parker Jr., Steve Porcaro, Jerry Hey, Gary Grant, Lew McCreary, Bill Reichenbach, Steve Madaio, Charlie Loper, Bill Champlin, Tom Kelly, Max Gronenthal

TRACK LISTING: 01 Stranded * 02 Cryin' All Night * 03 It Will Be Alright * 04 Nothing You Can Do About It * 05 Should We Carry On * 06 Leave Me Alone * 07 Sweet Body * 08 Bix * 09 She Waits For Me * 10 After The Love Is Gone


Here's another album that is laid like a wreath at the altar of west-coast worshippers. A totally underrated slice of L.A sunshine music by some of the best 'cats' in the business. The irony is, Airplay is deemed as one of the ultimate 'west coast' albums out there, but is virtually invisible to hard rock fans. Not this fan.. I've been a follower of Graydon since his Pages days, which was the project he was involved with while working on Airplay. His tasty guitar leads are a feature of this album, but not forgetting the contribution of keyboard/piano whiz and maestro producer David Foster and backup singer Tommy Funderburk. Music from this era is in a class of its own. Smooth jazz and west coast crossover artists such as Lee Ritenour, George Benson, Al Jarreau, Boz Scaggs and Christopher Cross were all huge around this timeframe, the genre taking on a life of its own. In terms of 1980, Graydon and his Airplay teammates helped lift the bar a bit higher, this album a high-energy workout which by comparison, made the future effort of AOR faves I-Ten seem positively tame.

The Songs
The album starts out with the hyperactive rock of 'Stranded'. This is more hard rock than west-coast, a near brutal guitar attack and rhythm section powers this effort along with ease. Track two 'Cryin' All Night' is John O'Banion/David Roberts styled AOR, with a heap of piano stabs, intricate guitar lines and a bombastic arrangement. Yummy! Airplay deliver their first ballad 'It Will Be Alright' which sorta reminded me of Tim Feehan's 'Listen For The Heartbeat'. Good company indeed. The signature Airplay tune without doubt is the brass-laden 'Nothing You Can Do About It', punctuated with horns, deliberate out of tune pianos and a choice guitar solo. The energy on 'Leave Me Alone' takes on Toto and The Tubes like equivalence, no doubt due to the presence of Messrs Lukather and Porcaro.. both of them (Jeff and Steve)! The following track 'Sweet Body' is more of the same, chugging guitars and big vocal harmonies. 'Bix' is a high energy funky workout, again with horns and pianos popping up everywhere. 'She Waits For Me' is trademark 70's pop, while the album finishes up with the Earth Wind And Fire hit 'After The Love Is Gone', a track written by Graydon and Foster, and the rendition here is even more west coast than EW & F!

In Summary
A great album, only bettered by a handful of albums in the genre in my opinion (David Roberts, John O'Banion, Chris Eaton, Roger Voudouris and Neilsen/Pearson are a few other names I'd throw in the hat). Jay has his own record label now (Sonic Thrust Records), and a wealth of readily available product that he has recorded over the years, including his Airplay back-catalogue. Airplay was continued in 1993 with the lovely 'Airplay For The Planet', another stepping stone in the genre; which means that both Airplay albums are well worth a spot in your collection. 'Airplay' has been reissued a number of times by BMG Japan, so one can only assume the Japanese absolutely love this album hence the demand!

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#1 | gdazegod on May 08 2006 09:00:00
YouTube Video:
#2 | richardb on May 08 2006 20:46:12
Couldn't have put it better myself..

I'd made a mental note to review this a while back, but as usual never got around to it.. A glorious amalgam of West Coast stylings no filler material and stellar musicianship. 'Stranded' 'Nothing you can do about it' and 'Sweet body' are worth the price of admission alone..

Richard B
#3 | Eric on May 08 2006 22:22:31
Agree - a brilliant work. THE west coast album.
#4 | Jez on January 27 2007 12:15:18
For me, along with Toto 4, this is the benchmark Westcoast cd, and one i couldn't live without. Utterly essential if your a Westcoast fan. Shame it's not more widely avaliable (Jap Import only i think).
#5 | grahamfenn on March 15 2007 14:14:44
A must for any Westcoast fan. If it is not in your collection - beg, steal or borrow - or better, get someone to burn/MP3 it for you. Essential! Wink

#6 | rostoned on April 05 2008 19:25:52
I guess it was reissued on CD only in Japan, a coupla times, the last time in the mini LP sleeve format if me mind serves me rite. Really curious that it never appeared on CD over here in Europe, from a German, French or Swedish label, places where the genre is (still) hot...
#7 | DEMONAOR on July 17 2008 12:22:04
Killer Mega Westcoast album score 10
#8 | imprimateur on July 24 2008 04:05:30
The video in this review article is damn cool. Thumbs Up
#9 | MUSCLE on October 22 2009 05:25:30
an aor masterclass. stunning effort. music
#10 | super80boy on August 30 2014 20:04:30
Finally got around to acquiring this album and it's really top class AOR with both slower and uptempo numbers well mixed into the set. The first two songs on each respective side are standouts.
#11 | gdazegod on August 30 2014 23:08:23
Was just listening to this yesterday, still a fantastic slice of west coast/AOR.
#12 | Carlos Ramirez on September 10 2014 01:44:54
I recently interviewed Jay Graydon and I asked him about this album:
#13 | gdazegod on March 19 2015 12:26:48
I thought some of you lot might enjoy the drumming antics of 9 year old (as she was in 2012) Kanade Sato. Here she produces a rendition of 'Nothing You Can Do About It' as a demonstration for Roland's drumming products. She's pretty awesome!

YouTube Video:
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