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Articles Home » 1982 Articles » Shanghai - 1982 Shanghai
Shanghai - 1982 Shanghai

ARTIST: Shanghai
ALBUM: Shanghai
LABEL: Chrysalis
YEAR: 1982
CD REISSUE: 2009, Renaissance, RMED-277


LINEUP: Amanda Blue - vocals * Keith Lentin - guitars * Beau Hill - keyboards * Jimmy Lowell - bass * Anton Fig - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 SOS * 02 Always A Rebel * 03 X Ray Vision * 04 I Need Your Love * 05 Talk To Me * 06 Born to Rock * 07 Brand New Boy * 08 All Of My Tears * 09 On Video * 10 Cry Who Likes To Cry

Shanghai were formed from the ashes of New York band Spider. Originally signed to the Dreamland label, Spider released two good albums ('Spider' - 1980, 'Between The Lines' - 1981) which also featured budding songwriting superstar Holly Knight. Some of the members were South African citizens originally, Fig, Lentin, and Blue all coming from the Republic though making their mark in the USA. A couple of Spider's songs made minor inroads, including the singles 'New Romance' and 'Better Be Good To Me'. However, due to the popularity of a UK band with the same name, the US version decided to change things around a bit - in much the same way one moves furniture around the living room! The band became Shanghai, recruiting ex Airborne member Beau Hill as a replacement for Knight, and changing labels to Chrysalis. A good move considering they could ride on the coat-tails of Pat Benatar, who was riding the charts in a huge way at the time. Shanghai's music was slightly more adventurous than Ms Benatar, perhaps closer to Laurie Sargent's outfit Face To Face with lots of tinkly keyboards courtesy of Monsieur Hill, while the songs are a lot smoother to the ear.

The Songs
The initial triumvirate of songs is a welcome invitation to listen to more. 'S.O.S' features some Preview like keyboard work from Beau, the song itself being mildly bombastic. The whirly-gig keyboards and urgent guitar delivery from Lentin gives 'Always A Rebel' a harder edge than all the other tracks of offer. The melodic pop strains of 'X-Ray Vision' makes it difficult to pinpoint this song in any other year apart from 1982, however 'I Need Your Love' would be right at home on David Pack's fantastic solo album from 1985 'Anywhere You Go'. Meanwhile 'Talk To Me' is a song that's familiar, appearing on Fiona's debut album, in contrast, 'Born To Rock' is as hackneyed and regimented as the song title suggests, though thankfully our interest levels are restored with the overtly poppy 'Brand New Boy', the keyboards providing plenty of colour on top of Ms Blue's vocal warbling. 'All Of My Tears' is pretty good too, not unlike the aforementioned Face To Face, while 'On Video' sees Amanda going off on a Grace Slick vocal tangent, though the song is pure 1982 era AOR/pop! The closer 'Who Likes To Cry' is a weird one, it's mainly pop - yes, but the reggae styled mid-section? Err no..

In Summary
Just the one album for this lot, who all went off in different directions. Fig has since been a regular in David Letterman's house band plus heaps of appearances with other artists, Hill has become a top-notch producer, though has been quiet of late, while Lentin and Lowell have been active as well. Worth plucking out of the bargain bin if located.

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#1 | sabace on March 13 2008 16:28:33
not bad but I prefer both SPIDER lps
#2 | reyno-roxx on March 13 2008 19:15:03
I've never heard anyone say that before! For me, this totally trounces the Spider stuff! I find it amazing that Shanghai wasn't reissued at the same time as the Spider albums. It's one of the best pop rock albums ever made. Is it on rapidshare yet?
#3 | reyno-roxx on March 13 2008 20:42:31
S'ok, found it....
#4 | sabace on March 18 2008 14:15:23
I just think that the spiders lps are more distinctive and if I
AM CORRECT hOLLY KNIGHT is not on the Shanhai lp .
#5 | rostoned on October 03 2009 11:19:55
the recent CD reissue by Renaissance is cool. The sound, a vinyl transfer (as ALL indie reissue label do, trust me, even the more prestigious ones) is very good (but not superlative) and inside the 4 panel booklet you can find 7 rare pictures (+ 1 on the back sleeve) of Amanda and the boys, courtesy of Amanda 'Blue' Leigh herslelf who was involved in the reissue, even it seems to me that just 3 pictures show Shanghai, the others for me were from the Spider era (with Holly out of frame of course)....
#6 | rostoned on October 04 2009 12:36:34
A few interesting points not mentioned in the original review. The album was produced by Bruce Fairbairn and engineered by Bob Rock, who also mixed 3 tracks (SOS, Talk To Me and On Video). "SOS" was written by Russ Ballard and "X Ray Vision" by Peter Sinfield (King Crimson, ELP, Cher, Bad English, Bad Company) and Terry Taylor.
#7 | gdazegod on October 04 2009 14:19:48
S.O.S was also covered by Graham Bonnet on his 1981 album 'Line-Up'.. which has just recently been reviewed.
#8 | super80boy on March 17 2013 00:01:55
Being a fan of female fronted rock this was a great set of keyboard tinged AOR melodic rock songs.
#9 | gdazegod on April 12 2016 21:24:38
You can grab the fileshare from here..
#10 | rostoned on July 25 2016 09:53:03
Shanghai's 'Brand New Boy' was covered by Shor Patrol on their 1983 EP 'Loverboy'
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