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Articles Home » 1980 Articles » Red Rider - 1980 Don't Fight It
Red Rider - 1980 Don't Fight It

ARTIST: Red Rider
ALBUM: Don't Fight It
LABEL: Capitol
SERIAL: ST-12028
YEAR: 1980
CD REISSUE: 1994, EMI Canada, 289732 * 2010, Lemon, CDLEM 181 (with bonus track)


LINEUP: Tom Cochrane - lead & background vocals, guitar * Peter Boynton - lead & background vocals, keyboards * Ken Greer - guitar, keyboards, background vocals * Jeff Jones - bass, background vocals * Rob Baker - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Don't Fight It * 02 How's My Little Girl Tonight * 03 White Hot * 04 Just The Way It Goes * 05 Good News * 06 Look Out Again * 07 Make Myself Complete * 08 Avenue A * 09 Iron In The Soul * 10 Talkin' To Myself

Although they had been a fixture on the Toronto club circuit since 1976, Red Rider burst on the national scene seemingly out of nowhere. 'Don't Fight It' went gold in Canada and in fact, I remember quite a bit a buzz south of the border as 'White Hot' fired up FM radio albeit all too briefly. U.S gigs with The Kinks and a major arena jaunt across the Provinces with April Wine solidified their status as one of Canada's brightest hopes.

The Songs
Although some might disagree, next to the progressive hi-tech of 1983's 'Neruda' I feel 'Don't Fight It' is Red Rider's strongest effort. The cheesy cover and Tom Cochrane's skinny tie on the inner sleeve photo screams turn of the decade pop rock and a dated new wave tone can be heard, including the title track which became the albums second hit single. Yet nothing on the record is as frantic as The Knack or Cheap Trick and this can partly be attributed to Cochrane's folky background which took center stage following the iffy 'Breaking Curfew' album as well as the proggy tendencies of keyboardist Peter Boynton who adds just the right amount of pizazz without going overboard. No getting around who was in charge as the poignant 'How's My Little Girl Tonight' is typical Cochrane as he dominates much of the song credits but it's 'White Hot', a co-write with guitarist Ken Greer that received most of the attention and deservedly so. Based on French poet Arthur Rimbaud's travels through Africa, 'White Hot' is a masterpiece of literate songwriting from Boynton's lilting piano intro to a tasty chorus with dramatic and picturesque lyrics drawing the listener into a story that's both a love song and travelogue. The flip's first two cuts are essential period AOR with 'Good News' bringing memories of the late great Roger Voudouris to mind while 'Look Out Again' feels like a long lost Trooper tune and a good one too. Sadly the record falters with the final three tracks, again hinting at the Midwest sound Cochrane would embrace years later which was never my cup of tea but as they say, it is what it is.

In Summary
1981's 'As Far As Siam' gave Red Rider its first and only platinum record and with 'Lunatic Fringe' a permanent spot on classic rock radio's frustratingly limited playlist. Cochrane's solo hit 'Life Is A Highway' was another biggie and while he remains a star and multi-Juno winner in Canada, he's relatively unknown elsewhere.

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#1 | gdazegod on May 21 2012 21:07:44
This is another album from my high school years. Surprisingly played on my local radio 2ZG back in the day, which is where I heard 'White Hot' being played often. Their first three albums are collectables, haven't really sat down with 'Breaking Curfew'.. I know Alun reviewed it some time back, might give it some air time this week.
#2 | reyno-roxx on May 22 2012 10:18:34
Very interesting band. Perhaps I'm in the minority in choosing 'As Far As Siam' as my favourite in their catalogue, although 'Lunatic Fringe' is by far and away the best song on the thing. It was even featured in an episode of 'My Name Is Earl'!
#3 | Eric on May 22 2012 12:30:33
'Lunatic Fringe' is so overplayed on radio here in the States. Classic rock radio is played 24/7 at work (not by my choice) and I hear the song at least twice a week. Ugh and what I wouldn't give to hear 'White Hot' just once...
#4 | reyno-roxx on May 22 2012 13:06:04
What I'd give to hear 'Lunatic Fringe' on the radio over here! Other than on 'Planet Rock' (which, after a certain length of time you begin to realise just how repetitive and restricted the playlist is) on DAB radio the UK airwaves are dominated by Ollie Murs, Cheryl Cole ("the nation's sweetheart"? I think not!), Rihanna, Jessie J and all manner of 'urban' artists that their innovative and beautiful sounding R'n'B ancestors must shake their heads at.
The only bright spot at the moment pop wise I think is Carly Rae Jepsen...I must confess though to having a soft spot for Maroon 5's 'Move Like Jagger' (the playing of which I can set my watch to) mainly because I find myself singing "you gotta deke like Jagr, shoot like Jagr and sco-oooo-re goals like Jagr...."
#5 | Eric on May 22 2012 13:23:14
Too bad about UK radio- the birthplace of real rock. Classic rock radio is brutal here. The Eagles, U2, Journey, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Boston looped over and over again as if these bands recorded only 5 songs in their life time. I don't get it and then you get half drunk yahoo's calling in 'Hey man, can you play 'That Smell'?' DJ answers- 'Sure thing- lets get the party started for Billy Bob in St Paul on KQ92!' I just shake my head, if they listened for another hour, two Skynyrd songs will be played along with The Doors, Zep and Clapton. It's sad that 'our' music has been boiled down to its lowest common denominator.
#6 | reyno-roxx on May 22 2012 14:34:09
I remember American radio was playlisted as such when I first visited Florida in 1985. Zep, The Doors, Skynyrd.....nothing's changed in nearly thirty years.

Oh, for a pirate radio revival!
#7 | dangerzone on May 22 2012 15:26:27
That's a funny observation Eric, I've been saying the same thing for so long myself, especially listening to stale classic rock stations in Iliinois. I'd be driving to work and some reject would call up and request some atrocity like 'Money' by Pink Floyd. I would almost be tempted to crash my car into a wall when I'd hear shit like that. Same songs, over and over. It's as if they brainwash people into it so that's all they'll ask for. I know another time someone requested 'More Than A Feeling' too. It's staggering. It might as well be 1985.
#8 | Nick C on May 25 2012 05:40:48
Ahhhh! I first heard this lot on an aeroplane flying over to Canada in 1980. Don't Fight It was the actual song and when I was in Canada it was all over the radio along with Prism who had just released Young and Restless, Loverboy and Toronto both of whom also had debut albums out. Then I found that I had White Hot on a sampler album.
The first album I bought was As Far as Siam though mainly due to a rave review by Paul Suter??? Then picked this up not long afterwards. The first 3 albums are great but I wasn't over keen on Breaking Curfew at the time apart from the song Beacon Hill, but now it's grown on me a lot more. Anyway great band whose songs have some great memories for me.
#9 | Nick C on May 25 2012 05:49:14
Oh yeah the classic rock stations.... I listen to Planet Rock....but not enough to hear the repetitiveness, but I also listen to Real XS (once Rock Radio) - and after a week or so you have to switch off and give it a rest - like mentioned the same songs come on over and over again. They play Hanoi Rocks - Up Around the Bend like it's the only song they ever recorded. Mind you it's owned by the "REAL" group of stations, I have to put up with Real Radio at night while at work and I swear they have a couple of "Now That's What I Call Music" CD's and just play them. You can hear the same song 5 or 6 times in a 12 hour period. At least overnight when I get the chance to have Real XS on it's rare I hear a song played twice.
#10 | reyno-roxx on May 25 2012 09:20:27
Nick's mention of Prism brought back the memory of listening to a German radio station and hearing 'American Music' for the first time next to 'Got To Be Together' by The Commodores, The Korgis biggest hit (ya know the one!) and a Hawkwind live track from 'Live 1979'. It was my mission then to get each of those records. Still not got round to the Hawkwind album though even after over thirty years!
#11 | dangerzone on June 09 2012 19:16:48
I was driving a U-Haul this morning moving things into my new place and I made a rare foray into central Texas classic rock radio in the process. During one trip alone these are the tracks I subjected myself to: 'Life in the Fast Lane,' 'Lay Down Sally,' 'Caught Up In You,' 'Twilight Zone,' 'Walk This Way' and some Collective Soul song. If it gets any more stale or cliched than that then I'd like to know. I reached for my M-16 to end the suffering but sadly I handed it in upon my return.
#12 | Eric on June 09 2012 21:54:39
Seriously laughing my ass off Alun! I know the feeling all too well!
#13 | super80boy on July 05 2015 17:07:02
'Just The Way It Goes' is quite catchy, along with most of the songs on Side 1. You can hear the balancing act between Cochrane and the rest of the band on the different directions to go in…Cochrane wins out with his folky side on the last few songs, that's for sure. The Neruda album would be an improvement and more rock/prog oriented.
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