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Articles Home » 1978 Articles » Firefall - 1978 Elan
Firefall - 1978 Elan

ARTIST: Firefall
LABEL: Atlantic
SERIAL: SD 19183
YEAR: 1978
CD REISSUE: 1995, Rhino, 8122-71926-2


LINEUP: Rick Roberts - guitars, vocals * Jock Bartley - guitars, vocals * Larry Burnett - guitars, vocals * David Muse - saxophone, flute, harmonica, keyboards, vocals * Mark Andes - bass, vocals * Michael Clarke - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Strange Way * 02 Sweet And Sour * 03 Wrong Side Of Town * 04 Count Your Blessings * 05 Get You Back * 06 Anymore * 07 Baby * 08 Goodbye I Love You * 09 Sweet Ann * 10 Winds Of Change


If you were a teenager growing up in Suburban USA during the 70's, then surely your radio would've been acquainted with Colorado balladeer rockers Firefall. In the process of writing this review, I made myself familiar with their early history thanks to the bios on their official website (see below), Wikipedia, and a few other sources. 'Elan' was the bands third album, following the 1976 debut, and 1977's 'Luna Sea'. Firefall's relationship with their label Atlantic Records was an unusual one. On the one hand, they loved them, on the other they chastised them beyond belief. Both the label and Radio/Media thought they were a ballads band - while the band themselves and their management pushed the line that they were [quote] 'smokin hot rockers' [unquote]. Not exactly on the same page, it showed in the preamble to this release, with Firefall's (then) management (and their producer Tom Dowd) asking the label to defer a little longer so that the LP could be beefed up. However, the band sacked the management before the completion date, bringing in a new team of Ron and Howard Albert, plus engineer Don Gehman to help finish up, and adding to the overall cost of the album. Just as well 'Elan' went eventually platinum, as this went some way to alleviating the cost.

The Songs
The album is blessed with two hit singles which dented the charts during 1978, namely the classic opener 'Strange Way' (To Tell Me You Love Me)' - with its web of intricacy wrapped around shades of light and dark, plus the dreamy 'Goodbye I Love You'. The former went to #11 in the charts, the latter, along with third single 'Sweet And Sour' spent some time in the lower reaches of the Billboard charts. Two of Larry Burnett's compositions 'Wrong Side Of Town' and 'Get You Back' were rockier efforts, though he also contributed to the acoustic ballad 'Baby' which drifts toward Pablo Cruise territory. Keeping it interesting is the Santana laced funk rock of 'Anymore', while the other two Rick Roberts tracks 'Count Your Blessings' and 'Winds Of Change' are both excellent, though markedly different. The former is a melodious soft rock high on melody whereas the latter, is a fiery rocker which finishes off the album in great fashion.

In Summary
This would be the bands last true successful album, as by this stage, Firefall had relented to the excesses of life on the road, their next few albums would see them diminish in popularity with the changing face of the musical climate. Many years later, 'Elan' was reissued by Rhino Records, and features three extra tracks and a wealth of information provided by way of additional liner notes. Certainly, of their vast discography, this album should be the first to grace your collection - should you (think the unthinkable) not have any of the records. Should you choose to step outside the country rock legacy and focus on their pure AOR work, then 1983's 'Mirror Of The World' is a compulsory listen! Have a read of the other Firefall releases reviewed elsewhere here at GLORY-DAZE.

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#1 | Eric on June 12 2008 13:02:10
I was one of those teenagers (suburban NYC) and this is my favorite Firefall album and a fave from the era. Excellent stuff!
#2 | jeffduran on June 12 2008 22:55:50
'Strange Way' is an absolute classic!
#3 | jeffduran on June 12 2008 22:57:06
Blackie Lawless/W.A.S.P. ripped off the melody to 'Strange Way' for his song 'The idol'. Exactly the same.
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