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Tycoon - 1981 Turn Out The Lights

ARTIST: Tycoon
ALBUM: Turn Out The Lights
LABEL: Arista
YEAR: 1981


LINEUP: Norman Mershon - vocals * Mark Kreider - bass, vocals * Jon Gordon - guitars, vocals * Bobby Messano - guitars, vocals * Mark Rivera - sax, vocals * Keith Taylor - keyboards * Mike Braun - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 This Island Earth * 02 One More Try * 03 Turn Out The Lights * 04 Walkin' The Line * 05 Let It Down * 06 Hang On In * 07 Can't Take That Away * 08 Love You Till It Hurts * 09 C'mon Over * 10 Call The Police

Tycoon were a band primarily made up of New York session musicians during the late seventies. An accumulation of musicians (some listed above) joined forces, and under the guiding hand of Mutt Lange produced their debut album in 1979. This one was not particularly memorable, so it was surprising to see two years later an album which was completely different, and held by many scribes as being an absolute AOR gem! Yes, TOTL is a very special album of great songs, and features a superb vocal performance by Norman Mershon, the guitar slinger antics of Bobby Messano (previously with Starz) and a top notch production by Vini Poncia (Adrenalin).

The Songs
Tycoon open up with the reggae flavoured 'This Island Earth'. A unique way to start an album for sure. I quite liked the funkiness of 'One More Try', with Rivera's sax working overtime on this one. The title track 'Turn Out The Lights' has a punchy piano arrangement, and is similar to John O'Banion's material. The purest form of AOR is the sensational 'Walkin' The Line', where you see an integration of debut era Balance mixed in with Toto. 'Let It Down' is a ballad with a foot in the REO Speedwagon camp. Then we get a pair of uptempo eighties AOR tracks, 'Hang On In' and 'Can't Take That Away'. Without doubt one of my favourite tracks is 'Love You Till It Hurts', a track that should've been on Toto's songlist. The last pair of tracks are as energetic as they are inviting. 'Cmon Over' is great while 'Call The Police' is a hilarious workout, which I'm sure the boys from The Tubes would've had fun playing.

In Summary
The band split not long after, but years after the event, I think the album had a CD release somewhere. Mershon and Kreider, the two leading lights kept Tycoon going up until 1983 at least, despite losing their deal with Arista. An unreleased set of tunes appeared years later under the title 'Opportunity Knocks', reportedly released as a series of demos in 1983. For what it's worth, 'Turn Out The Lights' is a pretty good effort, and one that is well respected by the AOR community at large.

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#1 | richardb on May 07 2006 12:27:48
'Turn out the lights' is a very good album though much like Hotel Tycoon's debut seems to be unfairly maligned by most AOR fans.

There are some good cuts on the debut. 'Such a woman' is a fine opener and 'Too late' and 'Don't worry exhibit pomp pretensions. O.K. there's some filler 'Don't you cry no more' and 'Drunken sailor' - the later just makes me feel seasick! buy it ain't bad..

Lead vocalist Norman Mershon has a decent set of pipes and there's some great harmonies throughout. A perfect easy listen on a Sunday morning with strong coffee!

Richard B
#2 | rostoned on May 01 2008 00:31:27
A classic. Great well crafted songs and excellent performances. This album didn't chart AT ALL on THE BILLBOARD 200 Us album sales chart, while the s/t debut peaked at #41. Criminal or what?

Singer Norman Mershon passed away November 7, 2007: he was just 57. The voice of a God. RIP melodic tycoon
#3 | reyno-roxx on May 01 2008 08:06:10
Eric, agree about Hotel. I've certainly come to appreciate that first album far more over the years. Got to admit though, the second album is a total killer, yet amazingly still very much ignored, AOR classic. I've suggested to Derek about Rock Candy releasing it..but would it sell that many copies to justify him doing it? Probably (sadly) not....
#4 | rostoned on November 01 2008 11:16:11
'Hang On In', written by Norman Sallitt aka Norman Saleet, was also recorded by Art Garfunkel in 1981 on his 'Scissors Cut' LP on Columbia and Saleet himself on his obscure 1982 album 'Here I Am' on RCA.
#5 | super80boy on June 20 2013 02:48:52
Consistently excellent AOR melodies permeate from this sophmore effort. Agree with Richard B above, their S/T debut is a good effort that should warrant a future review.
#6 | gdazegod on June 20 2013 03:57:20
Good point made about the debut. Now added to the review queue!

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