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Articles Home » 1989 Articles » Tesla - 1989 The Great Radio Controversy
Tesla - 1989 The Great Radio Controversy

ALBUM: The Great Radio Controversy
LABEL: Geffen
YEAR: 1989


LINEUP: Jeff Keith - lead vocals * Frank Hannon - electric & acoustic guitars, keyboards, backing vocals * Tommy Skeoch - electric, acoustic & slide guitars, backing vocals * Brian Wheat - bass, backing vocals * Troy Luccketta - drums, percussion

TRACK LISTING: 01 Hang Tough * 02 Lady Luck * 03 Heaven's Trail (No Way Out) * 04 Be A Man * 05 Lazy Days, Crazy Nights * 06 Did It For The Money * 07 Yesterdaze Gone * 08 Makin' Magic * 09 The Way It Is * 10 Fight To Nowhere * 11 Love Song * 12 Paradise * 13 Party's Over


So who actually invented radio? The history books will say Italian inventor Marconi did. But the truth of the matter was that Serbian inventor Nikola Tesla preceded him by a number of years, but due to the shenanigans of the day, Marconi stole off with the prize. Not that Tesla really cared, he was busy trying to build the world's biggest tranmission tower over on New York's Long Island at the time: Wardenclyffe Tower. You can read about it within the liner notes of this album 'The Great Radio Controversy'. I have to say, I bought this album right at the very outset of its release back in February 1989, but I never really gave it the appropriate airtime. No doubt due to my confusing personal circumstances at the time, but have over the years tried hard to redeem that situation. Tesla (the band) toured long and hard on the back of their popular debut album 'Mechanical Resonance'. If you go to their website, you'll see that the site staff there have included listings of all their gigs during the 80's that were associated with each album. The 'Mechanical Resonance' worldwide tour took in both 1987 and 1988 years, the band finding time toward the back end of 1988 to record this album, which was eventually released (as mentioned) in early 1989. Again, the same management team return for round two: label Geffen and producers Steve Thompson and Michael Barbiero.

The Songs
Tesla had ample time to fine tune their sound while on the road, and did so by fusing hard rock with a bluesy element with southern tinges. A whole lot heavier than Great White who were doing something similar but had gotten a whole lot poppier and commercial, so too Cinderella who were mixing their sound with a glammy image which didn't make for a good fit. Tesla I felt got it right, not too far to the right as other bands like The Hangmen, Raging Slab and their ilk were leaning toward, and not too far to the left - as per the Great White example mentioned just before. It was 1989 after all, the last truly great year of glory days melodic rock and Tesla it seemed were right in their element. First track 'Hang Tough' is another to find favour in a best-of compilation set. Along with 'Modern Day Cowboy', it would be one of the first songs selected. I thoroughly enjoyed the Def Leppard flavoured 'Lady Luck', on this one Jeff Keith sounds uncannily like Joe Eliott! On the other hand, Tesla veer down the rock meets country meets Bon Jovi path as witnessed on 'Heaven's Trail (No Way Out)'. The slide guitar is pulled out of the pack for 'Be A Man', a track which turns into a bit of a workingman's anthem. 'Lazy Days And Crazy Nights' is a slow intense burner and has reminders of Tangier in the music and arrangement, less so the vocals. Tesla return to their mainstream hard rock roots with the powerful 'Did It For The Money', while 'Yesterdaze Gone' (complete with a fantastic songtitle) is a rampant exercise in chugging guitars and metronomic drum work. 'Makin' Magic' is one of the picks on the album for mine, though it sounds far too close to the Dokken/Ratt style of L.A hair metal. 'Way It Is' combines a southern styled rhythm with some stinging California home-base hard rock. The other stand-out for me is the wickedly good 'Flight To Nowhere', another in that hair rock/metal style of the era. The surprise hit off the album was the charting single 'Love Song', an acoustic ballad simplistic in name and style, but a winner nonetheless. 'Paradise' is a different beast yet again, starting out as a slower near progressive piece and a Queensryche like structure, but this one takes off on a wing by the 3 minute 20 sec mark, and sprints toward the finish line during the last minute or so. Things don't stop there, the impressive Party's Over' stylised in a Winger like fashion with twin guitars ablaze.

In Summary
This was the album to put Tesla into the major leagues. The album did very well on the charts, but it was the two singles 'Love Song' and 'Way It Is' which did most of the hard work. 'Love Song' was a top 10 single, plus all songs featured heavily on MTV. Coupled with a wide-ranging touring schedule, Tesla would become a household name in 1989. Preceding the Unplugged phenomenon by a few years, many of the songs on TGRC would appear the following year on Tesla's 'Five Man Acoustic Jam' CD. A few more albums would follow into the 90's, some would arguably say that their best was yet to come..

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#1 | gdazegod on May 07 2012 11:33:35
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#2 | gdazegod on May 07 2012 11:35:25
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#3 | sabace on May 09 2012 16:54:30
not that it really matters but marconi was born in ireland his mother was from the famous jameson whiskey family!
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