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Articles Home » 1978 Articles » Player - 1978 Player
Player - 1978 Player

ARTIST: Player
ALBUM: Player
SERIAL: RS-1-3026
YEAR: 1978
CD REISSUE: 2011, Universal (Japan), UICY-75089


LINEUP: Peter Beckett - vocals, guitars * J.C. Crowley - guitars, keyboards * Ronn Moss - bass * John Friesen - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Come On Out * 02 Baby Come Back * 03 Goodbye (That's All I Ever Heard) * 04 Melanie * 05 Every Which Way * 06 This Time I'm In It For Love * 07 Love Is Where You Find It * 08 Movin' Up * 09 Cancellation * 10 Trying To Write A Hit Song


One of AOR's quintessential acts, Player's debut seems to have flown under the radar over the duration of time, the album overshadowed by 'Baby Come Back's number one success that masked an accomplished effort. The general consensus that this is rather lightweight melodic pop is somewhat misguided, it's not as fluffy as some have claimed (including myself) and is more a statement of where AOR was during the late seventies, still trying to find a definitive identity, that Player would soon perfect themselves. The story of the bands origins has been told often elsewhere, in a nutshell British native Beckett met Texan Crowley, they collaborated, bought in Moss and Friesen, signed to RSO and achieved instant chart success. Beckett had been part of the much ridiculed Skyband, and much of the material here is co written by Steve Kipner who had been part of that band with Beckett.

The Songs
There's nothing inherently soft about Crowley's 'Come On Out', a forceful rocker and an instant introduction to Player's much admired harmony sections, the band not afraid to add a tough riff or two. 'Baby Come Back' still retains much charm even after ten million appearances on soft rock radio, one of the standard bearers of 70's AOR history. 'Goodbye' (That's All I Ever Heard)' comes off as a less exotic Pablo Cruise, but with exotic arrangements mixed in, dense keyboard use and apparently sitars! 'Melanie' is a jaunty ode to love, with bouncy rythms and a helping of acoustic guitar work and was another sizable hit. A sweeping keyboard intro gives 'Every Which Way' instant pedigree, followed by a pleasant chorus which proves how tailored for radio Player were. The AOR highpoint is 'This Time I'm In It For Love', check out that opening melodic guitar lick if in doubt to where these guys were at, and how much better they would get. Disco elements pervade 'Love Is Where You Find It', after all this was RSO, but every band was pursuing that melding of styles during that disco period, but this sounds more natural than Kiss for example who tried the same thing. 'Movin' Up' moves effortlessly with astounding melody within the verses, exceeding the actual hookline, followed by the sheer hard rock of 'Cancellation', showing there was more to Player than 'Baby Come Back'. Ballad 'Trying To Write A Hit Song' belongs on Rod Stewart's 'Atlantic Crossing' to my ears, the same blend of powerful vocals and acoustic guitars that made Stewart's album so great.

In Summary
Some bands have it - and some don't right from the onset. Player definitely had 'it'. The lineup changes that plagued them for the rest of their career never altered their unique sound, which was unveiled here so comprehensively. Crowley left soon after to chase a country music dream, leaving Player to join luminaries like Ambrosia as masters of their chosen form of AOR, always listenable and melodic, without sacrificing credibility on any level. 'Player' is nothing but an AOR exercise, perhaps unpolished on occasion, but a recipe for the three equally classic albums yet to come.

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#1 | khw7 on January 11 2008 18:58:15
Yes One of the best bands in the AOR world IMHO!
#2 | rostoned on May 29 2008 19:51:32
good light and poppy effort but not outstanding. the follow up 'Danger Zone' was a way rockier/AOR-ish affair with fantastic songs and attitude, a minor classic and to me the jewel in their discography! Please somebody review 'DZ'..
#3 | gdazegod on May 29 2008 21:22:18
'Danger Zone' is in the queue. Great album. .agreed!
#4 | jeffduran on May 31 2008 02:02:39
'Room With A View' is good too-remember 'All Tied Up'???!
#5 | richardb on May 31 2008 20:51:10
I have to say 'Room with a view' is probably my favourite album. Particularly tracks like 'Upside down', the plaintive 'Bad news travels fast' and 'Tip of the iceberg' with it's pomp pretensions..

Richard B
#6 | rostoned on June 04 2008 00:06:51
This album was certified GOLD in the US, as did the follow up 'Danger Zone'. It peaked at #26 in the BILLBOARD TOP 200 album chart.

This band probably set a record (in the melodic sub-genre at least): they recorded for 3 different labels in a short, 4-album career which lasted just 4 years (77-81)! RSO, Casablanca and RCA. Can't think of another act who bettered them in such a short time span...any suggestion? hmm!
#7 | englandashes on December 31 2008 13:05:50
Watched The Transformers film last night, no Stan Bush, but we had a bit of Player with Baby Come Back!
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