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Articles Home » 1987 Articles » Night Ranger - 1987 Big Life
Night Ranger - 1987 Big Life

ARTIST: Night Ranger
ALBUM: Big Life
YEAR: 1987


LINEUP: Jack Blades - lead vocals, bass * Kelly Keagy - lead vocals, drums * Brad Gillis - guitars * Jeff Watson - guitars * Alan Fitzgerald - keyboards

TRACK LISTING: 01 Big Life * 02 Color Of Your Smile * 03 Love Is Standing Near * 04 Rain Comes Crashing Down * 05 The Secret Of My Success * 06 Carry On * 07 Better Let It Go * 08 I Know Tonight * 09 Hearts Away


Probably one of the archetypal AOR bands from the 80's, Night Ranger were an institution during the early part of the decade. 'Dawn Patrol' without question, is one the premier AOR albums of all time, though I would seriously have to question the merits of their other albums, now that a significant amount of time has passed. Five years on from 'Dawn Patrol', the band recruited Kevin Elson to produce 1987's 'Big Life', an overlooked album despite a couple of choice selections onboard. As well, the band were caught up in the hubbaloo of movie soundtracks, with David Foster producing the song 'The Secret Of My Success'.

The Songs
The title track kicks things off, some weird keyboard effects precede some big guitar riffing break-out. It has a street credential with its tough sounding delivery. 'Color Of Your Smile' is a brilliant slab of melodic rock, brash, big choruses, nice keys and over the top guitar playing! The mid-tempo 'Love Is Standing Near' is pretty hot too, reminiscent of Rick Springfield on some parts, but it struts along in typical 80's fashion. The ballad 'Rain Comes Crashing Down' is full of melodrama, though Brad Gillis' solo parts sound a bit mismatched to me, Jeff's sound much more cohesive. 'The Secret Of My Success' was associated with the Michael J Fox movie of the same name, the song itself is kinda poppy and parpy. Getting back to a straight forward guitar rocker, 'Carry On' belts out the riffs and excitement. 'Better Let It Go' is some sort of acoustic mash-up initially, that works its way back to hard rock, not one of their best tracks.. 'I Know Tonight' has some fancy keyboard dribbles to start out with and stays consistent with it's party style of rock. The other notable song on the album is the closer 'Hearts Away', a semi-ballad that was quite popular at the time.

In Summary
Mostly though, this is an acceptable album in terms of the 80's scene, but is nowhere on the same scale as their debut. The subsequent Night Ranger albums are even more far removed, if anything, the first four (or five if you count 1988's reasonable 'Man In Motion') are the albums you want to own by this band.

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#1 | jeffrey343 on January 17 2010 16:01:07
This was the soundtrack to the summer of '87 for me, and thus holds a special place in my heart. My girlfriend (now wife) and I saw the movie "The Secret Of My Success", and we later saw NR in concert supporting this album. All five of their first albums are great, and the next two ( "Neverland" and "Seven" ) are still pretty decent.
#2 | roadrunner158 on January 18 2010 10:41:37
For me, their best effort (not a fan of early Night Ranger). Btw, this album was produced by Kevin Elson. David Foster only produced the song "The Secret Of My Success", since it was part of the (Foster-produced) soundtrack for the MJ Fox movie.
#3 | super80boy on May 28 2016 16:05:59
Not nearly as steady as their first trio of albums, but there is still a few standout moments - 'Love Is Standing Near', 'Carry On' and 'Hearts Away'.
#4 | gdazegod on May 29 2016 01:25:01
Still a reasonably good LP for mine.
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