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Bachman Turner Overdrive - 1979 Rock N Roll Nights

ARTIST: Bachman Turner Overdrive
ALBUM: Rock N Roll Nights
LABEL: Mercury
SERIAL: SRM-1-3748
YEAR: 1979


LINEUP: C.F. Turner - vocals, guitar * Jim Clench - vocals, bass * Blair Thornton - guitar * Robbie Bachman - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Jamaica * 02 Heartaches * 03 Heaven Tonight * 04 Rock N Roll Nights * 05 Wasting Time * 06 Here She Comes Again * 07 End Of The Line * 08 Rock And Roll Hell * 09 Amelia Earhart


Some years ago, our own Eric delivered a somewhat scathing review of this albums predecessor, 1978's 'Street Action' which was BTO's first album without main man Randy Bachman. While it wasn't as polished as some of the bands more well-known 70's work, it proved there was life after Bachman in a musical sense, if not commercially. Over the years this album has been widely panned also, but it showed the increasing AOR element, helped mostly by the songwriting contributions of Jim Vallance and ex April Wine man Clench. It had definitely been an ignominious decline for the band after their early to mid-70's highs though, but there's more than an abundance of melodic treats being offered on what was to be their last album until 1984. Looking at the album cover it's apparent there was a visible theme carried over from the horrific artwork from 'Street Action', this time with a female model smoking amidst hotel room clutter from what I assume was a 'rock 'n' roll night'.

The Songs
The Vallance penned 'Jamaica' is incredibly catchy, verging on the heavier side of AOR, with just enough bite in the guitar work to elevate it above that. Rick Springfield adapted the song as 'Kristina' on 1982's 'Success Hasn't Spoiled Me Yet', ensuring Vallance saw a delayed hefty payday for his efforts. 'Heartache' pushes the AOR envelope further, a great piece of late 70's melodic rock which paired with the Clench voiced 'Heaven Tonight' is more appealing to me than much of the bands 70's work. The title track is a somber song in tone, but otherwise a moody and powerful anthem which really deserves to be more recognized in the grand scheme of things. A young Bryan Adams penned 'Wastin' Time' and it has his songwriting style firmly in place, although B.T.O. manage to turn it into their own with their identifiable pounding rhythm section. 'Here She Comes Again' succeeds with another instantly memorable hook, this one more in line with their earlier 70's hits, especially the worn out 'You 'Aint Seen Nothing Yet'. Clench's 'End Of The Line' is a pure ballad, with acoustic guitars that could be from a Rod Stewart album of the era. It shows a nice variation on what is a near flawless album. Another overlooked song is 'Rock And Roll Hell', a scathing take on the lifestyle of a successful musician and in my opinion a far better track than the Kiss version on 'Creature Of The Night'. It often annoys me how no credit is given to B.T.O'.s original, as if it didn't exist, this one another Vallance contribution. The epic tone of 'Amelia Earhart' is yet another classy touch, with passages in the guitar work and keyboard sequences that verge on progressive. An easy but cornball way to describe it would be haunting, but in reality that's probably what the intent was anyway.

In Summary
It's a shame B.T.O. had reached the 'end of the line' themselves when this album was released, as there was a ton of promise on display for further albums. This sold poorly though and the band called it quits until 1984 when Randy Bachman returned to the fold, although Blair Thornton and Robbie Bachman were absent.

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#1 | Eric on September 17 2013 02:55:35
'Heartaches' got a bit of air play, I heard it a few times but this album went straight into the cut-out bins. Cool sleeve photo.
#2 | Eric on September 17 2013 02:57:08
YouTube Video:
#3 | rkbluez on September 17 2013 17:18:10
Always liked Rock N Roll Nights and Street Action...wish some label would reissue them...maybe a 2 on 1 by BGO would be nice...not sure if it's Rock Candy's thing.

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