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Articles Home » 1984 Articles » Dragon - 1984 Body And The Beat
 
Dragon - 1984 Body And The Beat



ARTIST: Dragon
ALBUM: Body And The Beat
LABEL: Polydor
SERIAL: 817874-1
YEAR: 1984

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Marc Hunter - vocals * Todd Hunter - bass * Robert Taylor - guitar * Terry Chambers - drums * Paul Hewson - keyboards * Alan Mansfield - keyboards, guitar

TRACK LISTING: 01 Rain * 02 Promises (So Far Away) * 03 Wilder World * 04 Cry * 05 Cool Down * 06 Body And The Beat * 07 Witnessing * 08 Magic * 09 What Am I Gonna Do * 10 Fool

WEBLINKS: www.dragononline.com.au


Background
This album marked a rebirth for New Zealand's legendary rockers, after imploding in the late 70's due to Marc Hunter's rampant drug use and conflicting personalities following a string of classic hits in that decade, most of which are virtually imprinted on the brains of any Kiwi or Aussie e.g. 'April Sun In Cuba', 'Are You Old Enough' etc. Marc Hunter had released an excellent solo album in 1981, 'Big City Talk', and not too long after Dragon reformed, allegedly to pay off debts they had incurred in the 70's. The reunion was an amazing success, with new members Mansfield and Chambers adding new impetus to a band many thought dead.


The Songs
Dragon embraced a melodic rock approach in keeping with the times, yet still retaining the sound that propelled them to stardom all those years ago. 'Rain' was the comeback single and to this day one of the best singles released in Australasian rock history. Crafted to perfection, with a hook which remains unforgettable, layered with keyboards and breathless melody. A massive hit and deservedly so. A fantastic AOR element is present throughout 'Promises (So Far Away)' and 'Wilder World', the latter featuring non-stop synth stabs and another flawless hook, made even more memorable by Hunter's vocal delivery. Elsewhere there's the anthemic likes of 'Cry' and 'Magic', on the brink of high tech AOR as is the ballad like quality of 'Cool Down'. There isn't anything resembling a weak track, the title cut heavy on atmospheric keyboards, giving it that 1984 aura. Quite up tempo is 'What Am I Gonna Do', which melodically closest to the bands 70's work, while 'Fool' is another accomplished piece of AOR.


In Summary
In my opinion Dragon were the finest rock export New Zealand ever produced, simply because they were a proper rock band with none of the quirkiness of Split Enz. This album demonstrated their ability to remain relevant after some years in the wilderness and shifted a lot of copies. Hewson died in 1985 from drugs but the band continued in this AOR vein on 1986's 'Dreams Of Ordinary Men' and 1989's 'Bondi Road', another pair of excellent melodic rock projects. Of course Marc Hunter passed away in 1998 from cancer, a sad end for one of the best all round frontmen in rock history and long overdue for recognition here at Glory Daze.


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Comments
#1 | gdazegod on November 11 2008 03:47:57
These guys were also known as HUNTER is other markets outside of Australasia. Not to be confused with a German HM band of the same name who were also doing the rounds at the time (refer their LP 'Sign Of The Hunter' ). In later years, another icon of the New Zealand/Australia music scene has since become the replacement lead singer.. Mark Williams. He had a huge hit down under called 'Show No Mercy'. BTW, Alan Mansfield is Sharon O'Neill's partner.
#2 | Eric on November 11 2008 11:48:48
'...simply because they were a proper rock band with none of the quirkiness of Split Enz'.

?????Zip It
#3 | dangerzone on November 11 2008 20:09:24
Don't get me wrong Eric, Split Enz are a favorite of mine too. I just feel Dragon were more straight forward in their approach.headphone
#4 | MUSCLE on November 11 2008 21:34:29
i think dragon had more of a rock swagger about them visually than split enz. when i was 14 yrs old and i saw good ol marc in those flares and cool black leather jacket flicking away his smoke with disdain while walking the streets of sydney for the video ' are you old enough', well you just knew that this was a dude with charisma and attitude to burn. split enz were nice boys and as angry anderson once sang nice boys dont play rock n roll. dragon were the bad boys of australasian rock and marc hunter was its head honcho. to cool for school dude. just what you want to see and hear when you are 14 and looking for heroes!worthy
#5 | Eric on November 11 2008 22:11:53
Alun is quite right, Dragon was more of a down and dirty rock styled band than Spit Enz who were more art school, although I do seem to remember a couple Dragon albums early on that were very progressive rock influenced.
#6 | AOR Lee on February 21 2013 04:55:07
Dragon : are they taken as seriously as they deserve in our AOR hierarchy ? I discovered them thanks to this very review and I'm floored! (Thanks Alun) Expect reviews of their 1986 and 1989 albums, currently in my shortlist computer work
#7 | gdazegod on February 22 2013 11:47:34
I believe they are. 1989's 'Bondi Road' is a goodie. Played to death in Aust and NZ during 1989.. so too Ian Moss, who is playing locally in the next week or so at the annual Mandurah Crab Fest. Might get along and see him. He plays on Sunday arvo, Shannon Noll plays Saturday arvo.
#8 | AOR Lee on February 24 2013 19:21:22
Good to hear George, they certainly eluded me tucked away in South Africa. However, they make for a powerful discovery despite the time that's passed. Great and important band for mine
#9 | swazi on April 04 2013 22:16:53
Listened to it again today while driving to my customer! WOW, what a great disc! An absolute MUST-HAVE!
#10 | AOR Lee on April 05 2013 18:41:25
Bernd I agree, stunning AOR and worthy of that overused word 'classic'
#11 | super80boy on January 02 2014 16:45:53
I remember buying this CD a long time ago, but recently found a SS vinyl copy. The first four songs on Side A are just killer. 'Cool Down' is no slouch for a ballad. 'Cry' is an outstanding song with that classic chorus. 'Witnessing' is a nice mix of melodic rock with mid-tempo rhythms. A consistently satisfying album on many fronts.
#12 | AOR Lee on March 11 2014 15:07:40
Can I propose this disc as perfect for Rock Candy to reissue ? The disc could seriously use an upgrade but it's a classic AOR album. Anyone agree ?
 
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