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Articles Home » 1984 Articles » Hunter, John - 1984 Famous At Night
Hunter, John - 1984 Famous At Night

ARTIST: Hunter, John
ALBUM: Famous At Night
LABEL: Private I Records
YEAR: 1984
CD REISSUE: Yes, details unknown


LINEUP: John Hunter - vocals, keyboards * Don Griffin - guitars * Glen Rupp - guitars, backing vocals * Joe Cuttone - bass, backing vocals * Art Baldacci - keyboards, synthesizer, drums, percussion * John Kontol - keyboards, drums, backing vocals * Hank Guaglianone - drums, percussion * Bill Needham, Ken Zemanek - synthesizers * Barry Sperti - sax * Cynthia Harrell, Kitty Haywood, Mary Ann Stewart - backing vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Tragedy * 02 Crimes Of Passion * 03 Take Your Chance * 04 She Advertises * 05 This Is Forever * 06 Valentine * 07 Losin' You Again * 08 Put Yourself On The Line * 09 Horses * 10 Sad Songs On The Radio

Chicago residents may have fond memories of 70's rockers The Hounds, with their raucous blend of Rolling Stones meets The Boyzz styled rock. Keyboardist/singer John Hunter is the member who went on to further his career beyond The Hounds, picking up a solo career and releasing a couple of albums during the mid 80's. The first of these was 1984's 'Famous At Night'. John bought along a couple of his Hounds band-mates, namely Glen Rupp, Joe Cuttone and Don Griffin for the ride. However, the music is nothing like his previous outfit, instead John trades up to a very commercial hybrid of 80's pop and new wave/new romantic leanings. Sure, the Mick Jagger'isms are still apparent, but the sound has cleaned all the grit out of the speaker cabinets, smoothed over by the legendary Chicago based producer; the late Phil Bonanno. The use of female backing vocals is quite noticeable throughout the album, and fills out the sound quite well.

The Songs
Leading off with 'Tragedy', this was John's most successful track, making an entry into the Billboard Top 40. It's a bit laid back for my tastes, much better are the rockier tracks kicking off with 'Crimes Of Passion' with its brash drum work and stabbing synths occupying the spaces. 'She Advertises' is a nifty and quirky pop tune, 'Take Your Chances' on the other hand, is filled with saxophone, funky bass lines and a breezy sort of attitude. 'This Is Forever' takes the ballad route, it staggers along with stop/start regularity, piano/synths, percussion fills and female vocal backing prominent in the mix. The synth dependent 'Valentine' is quite different thus far, a measured introduction but breaks out into rock mode soon after, the sax solo adding to the unusual flavour. There's more sax and funky bass to be found on 'Losin' You Again', don't be put off, it has its moments. There are shades of modern day Zapapcosta on 'Put Yourself On The Line', with its jazzy theme and use of sax in a rock context. 'Horses' written by Joe Cuttone, has a more rockier edge, and is probably the track that would appeal to the hard rockers here. The finale 'Sad Songs On The Radio' aims for the mainstream audience, and is quite likeable, in the vein of a guy like Gary Myrick for instance, with nice piano and synth work.

In Summary
John went on to release a second album for Private I Records (which was a subsidiary of major label CBS); 1986's 'More Than Meets The Eye', which practically has the same personnel involved. 'Famous At Night' is very much an 80's product, with all the distinctive attributes from that era. Hounds fans might not get into this album as it is distinctly different from that band's two albums, though there is no discounting the talent of Mr Hunter in either venture.

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#1 | Eric on November 29 2009 13:17:26
I could guess from his duds and Dennis DeYoung hairdo, this would not be anything close to a Hounds album but who knew this existed at all?
#2 | dangerzone on July 14 2015 03:11:10
It's a shame this review is MIA because I'd like to have read George's thoughts. I've been listening to it a fair bit lately and while it's hardly a classic, both 'Crimes of Passion' and 'Sad Songs on the Radio' are AOR greats. It's almost avant garde AOR with the odd subject matter and offbeat rhythms and synths, but it doesn't hurt overall. The cover however is horrific.
#3 | gdazegod on July 14 2015 06:04:37
Actually the review is here somewhere. I had it encrypted, and when I ported the reviews over into the new database back in 2013, all the encrypted ones bombed during the import. I'll load it up. If there are any reviews that are empty, drop me a line and I'll fix it.
#4 | rostoned on November 22 2016 16:15:42
Both John Hunter solo LPs are reissued on CD in East Europe as bootleg releases on bogus CBS/SonyBMG editions. The first features 6 bonus tracks. Advertised on the CD tray of the debut apart from JH follow up, also releases by Benny Mardones (American Girls), Peter Brown (Back To The Front), Metro, Glen Burtnick, Kilowatt, The Producers and Harlequin.
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