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Articles Home » 1981 Articles » O Banion, John - 1981 John O'Banion
O Banion, John - 1981 John O'Banion

ARTIST: O Banion, John
ALBUM: John O'Banion
LABEL: Elektra
SERIAL: 6E-342
YEAR: 1981
CD REISSUE: 1990, Elektra (Japan), WPCP-3452 * 1999, Qwest (Japan), WPCR-10481 * 2011, Vivid, VSCD-3514 (SHCD)


LINEUP: John O'Banion - lead vocals * Richie Zito - guitars, keyboards * Joey Carbone - keyboards, percussion, backing vocals * James Newton Howard - strings * Sid Sharp - concertmaster * Dennis Belfield - bass * Carlos Vega - drums * Lenny Castro - percussion * Bobby Kimball, Jimmy Haas, Jon Joyce, Stan Farber - backing vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Love You Like I Never Loved You Before * 02 You're In My Life Again * 03 Love Is Blind * 04 Our Love Can Make It * 05 Love Is In Your Eyes * 06 Come To My Love * 07 Take A Chance On Love * 08 Walk Away Renee * 09 If You Love Me * 10 She's Not For You

He passed away a few years ago now, but the late John O'Banion still manages to excite GDM regulars with his brand of West Coast/AOR. Born in Indiana in the late 1940's, O'Banion was a talented bloke, a radio DJ, and TV presenter in his early 20's. Despite striking it big with this album in 1981, he was a late bloomer, turning 34 at the time.

The Songs
Of course the big seller on the album was the single 'Love You Like I Never Loved Before', with its Franke And The Knockouts styled crossover AOR. It did well on Billboard, going to #24. The tippy tappy piano was straight out of 1981. 'Love Is Blind' exhibits a tougher AOR style, again the tap piano leads the way. 'Our Love Can Make It' is in the same groove, and proves that O'Banion isn't solely a crooner, which is what some critics described back in the day. This one is in the same league as Jesse Colin Young. 'Come To My Love' is what it's all about. Fantastic stuff from 1981, no doubt helped by the duo of Richie Zito and Joey Carbone, two studio hounds from this timeframe. 'Take A Chance On Love' is the sort of period AOR that our resident writer 'Dangerzone' will drool over. Well, maybe. There's a cover of 'Walk Away Renee', which sounds great for the era, so too the Pablo Cruise like 'If You Love Me', disco-like west coast which might cause a few ruffles of laughter decades later, but I like it..

In Summary
Apart from the fact that nearly every song has the term 'love' in the song-title, this debut LP will take you back through the decades for a visit of nostalgia. Not only did he release five albums spanning the years 1981 to 1995, O'Banion also did film work during this time, however he was majorly affected by a severe car crash during the 90's, which led to dementia and his eventual passing 2 days before his 60th birthday in February 2007. I believe all his albums are worth obtaining in one form or another. This one and his 1982 follow-up 'Danger' in particular. As for reissues, I'm quite surprised this never made it to the Wounded Bird catalog (being an Elektra release), but it has seen three reissues over in Japan where he was much lauded. [413 words]

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#1 | gdazegod on January 05 2016 09:14:46
John O'Banion - 1981 Love You Like I Never Loved Before
#2 | dangerzone on January 05 2016 16:16:06
I definitely approve of that track you cited George. This album is a total classic all the way, along with 'Danger' of course.
#3 | richardb on January 05 2016 18:56:03
Nice to see this reviewed here. I think 'White light' is my favourite album though..
#4 | code4 on January 08 2016 14:08:21
Yep, quite a killer. An album regularly ranked as a westcoast golden era classic and rightly so. There are only one or two songs on this that are any less than excellent. Pretty awful looking back cover though with john appearing to have a sock shoved down his pants or else a monster package underneath there.
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