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Articles Home » 1983 Articles » White Heart - 1983 White Heart
White Heart - 1983 White Heart

ARTIST: White Heart
ALBUM: White Heart
LABEL: Myrrh
YEAR: 1983
CD REISSUE: 1998, Cool Sound (Japan), COOL-015


LINEUP: Billy Smiley - guitar * Mark Gersmehl - keyboards, vocals * Gary Lunn - bass * David Huff - drums, percussion, vocals * Dann Huff - vocals, guitar * Steve Green - vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Hold On * 02 You're The One * 03 Listen To The Lonely * 04 He's Returning * 05 Carry On * 06 Guiding Light * 07 Everyday * 08 Nothing Can Take This Love * 09 Black Is White * 10 Go Down Ninevah


Unlike 'secular' AOR which starting taking shape in the late 70's, Christian melodic rock really didn't come into it's own until the early 1980's. Take a listen to the early Sweet Comfort Band and Petra albums and tell me I'm wrong. Dreadful stuff, yet this really shouldn't be surprising since the CCM (Contemporary Christian Music) scene has always been a couple years behind the times, living in the shadow of popular culture and later emulating a style or movement in a more 'acceptable' way. Enter White Heart and their immaculate debut. Admittedly on the cover they really didn't look like your average rock band of the day. Adorned in colour coordinated pastels and average hair cuts, they pretty much looked the part of Reagan era conservatives, but musically they were a different story.

The Songs
Lead by the extraordinary pipes of vocalist Steve Green and the legendary brothers Dave and Dann Huff, both of who should need no introduction among Glory Daze readers; this in my opinion is one of the best Christian rock debuts ever recorded. Keep in mind, Toto were at the height of their powers when this record was released and it's clear where the group took its inspiration, uh... other than the guy upstairs! Yes, there are some pretty strong Christian lyrics here, but like Sweet Comfort Band's equally brilliant 'Hearts of Fire!' the music here is so good that the lyrics really don't matter. Again Steve Green's vocals are out of this world especially so on 'He's Returning' which soars as a classic piece of Christian pomp. Spine tingling really and tracks like 'Hold On' and 'Everyday' will make any 'west coast' fan swoon with White Heart standing toe to toe with the best of Maxus, Pages and any other band of similar ilk you care to mention.

In Summary
Unfortunately Steve Green would leave the flock for a lucrative solo career and the Billy Graham Crusades after this album. Seems he never fit in with the rock lifestyle which is a shame, since his replacement Scott Douglas recorded two studio albums, the excellent 'Vital Signs' and the less impressive 'Hotline' only to end up in prison on 'sex with a minor' charges. Rock n' roll indeed and White Heart never really recovered in my opinion, despite recording a couple good albums a few years later with a very different line-up and sound. Whatever your religious persuasion, White Heart's debut is as good as it gets and worthy of any righteous AOR collection.

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#1 | rkbluez on June 09 2006 21:47:47
Check out White Heart 'Powerhouse' & 'Highlands' if you can still track them down...try in my opinion these along with Tales Of Wonder were ther greatest most rockin' and tasty albums. These are pure pomp rock classic's. The older CD's are pale in comparision IMO.
#2 | Eric on June 11 2006 03:34:34
I suppose having lived through 70's 'Jesus Rock ' scene and attending a Christian College during the same period- White Heart's first few albums were a breath of fresh air early on. The first 2 White Heart albums in the context of the era they were released were landmarks, but I guess you had to be there?
#3 | dangerzone on January 30 2012 09:34:27
Textbook AOR here. Took me a while to check it out, but like Eric writes this is as essential as any AOR powerhouse of the era.
#4 | code4 on October 13 2015 00:00:35
I will have to second the notion that the 1982 debut album of White Heart is a record without doubt musically of an incredible level no short of Maxus and the very best in golden age westcoast. Clearly only underlooked in the genre because of their (often very explicit) christian lyricism and the fact not everybody can sit comfortably with such. Vital signs (the second album) was mostly quite excellent too but the debut surely takes the ticket in my opinion. I have this on LP packed away in storage a good 10 years ago now and also on an 'almost 2-in-1' cd that includes 9 out of 10 songs from the album and 9 out of 10 songs from the second album. Suffice to say it makes a monster of a disc yet the fact that i still wish i had the first album complete on cd reminds me of just how perfect this one was. There is no song musically less than golden but to name just a few, the ballad 'EveryDay' (a male-female duet featuring vocals by none other than Dan Huff- the band's guitarist and occasional lead vocalist in their early years) smacks of early Toto at their very best or how about 'Guiding Light'? What a KILLER tune. For me, it's not worth comparing the early White Heart to the one that started with 'Don't Wait for the Movie'. Despite some core members staying the same from the start they are such different sounding bands. Both are AOR yes, but one vintage era westcoast the other being hi-tech/AOR/pop. And i do like the latter stuff like Freedom and Powerhouse. Tales of Wonder was another high-point though personally not quite my cup of tea. And Highlands was lesser again (in my opinion). Didn't hear anything after that but i think there is no doubt that if you like early 80's westcoast then White heart are up there with the most serious masterpieces
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