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Articles Home » 1984 Articles » Squier, Billy - 1984 Signs Of Life
Squier, Billy - 1984 Signs Of Life

ARTIST: Squier, Billy
ALBUM: Signs Of Life
LABEL: Capitol
SERIAL: ST-51236 1
YEAR: 1984
CD REISSUE: 1990, Capitol, CDP 7 46481 2 * 2008, American Beat Records, 24522


LINEUP: Billy Squier - vocals, guitar, synclavier * Bobby Chouinard - drums * Alan St. Jon - keyboards, synthesizers, backing vocals * Jeff Golub - guitar, slide guitar * Doug Lubahn - bass, backing vocals

Guests: Jimmy Maalen - percussion * Larry Fast, J.B. Moore - synthesizer * Eric Troyer, Rory Dodd, Alfa Anderson - backing vocals * Brian May - additional guitar ('Another 1984')

TRACK LISTING: 01 All Night Long * 02 Rock Me Tonite * 03 Eye On You * 04 Take A Look Behind Ya * 05 Reach For The Sky * 06 (Another) 1984 * 07 Fall For Love * 08 Can't Get Next To You * 09 Hand Me Downs * 10 Sweet Release


You can't discount the success of Billy Squier during his 1980-1984 run. Three platinum selling albums including this one, all provide a telling statistic about the buying habits of middle America during this timeframe. I still get the impression that 'Signs Of Life' may not have had the same profile as 'Don't Say No' or 'Emotions In Motion', but the sales figures would say otherwise. Containing the same personnel as previous albums, the Billy Squier sound is retained into 1984 with excellent results. A big booming producton thanks to Jim Steinman, 'Signs Of Life' would move more than two million units (double platinum).

The Songs
There are a few synth dabbles here, which makes this LP sound a bit sterile and over-produced. I would've preferred it to be more of an organic rock 'n' roll record, but this was the dawning of the age for synths, electronic percussion and studio gimmickry. Still, songs such as the single 'Rock Me Tonite' (which ended up being Billy's biggest hit, believe it or not) and '(Another) 1984' sound cool for what they are. The latter features Queen's Brian May. 'Fall For You' is a lukewarm ballad in the vein of Foreigner but nowhere near as good, and it's not until the end of the LP with 'Hand Me Downs' that we get something akin to the gritty Squier style. Though again, this could've been a Foreigner cast-off from 'Agent Provocateur', especially that chorus.

In Summary
Obviously the big talking point about the album is the MTV video for 'Rock Me Tonite', which has been described as the one single event which ruined his career. That maybe the public perception, but Capitol Records didn't think so, as they stuck by him for several more albums, right up until 1993's 'Tell The Truth'. Billy's next LP 1986's 'Enough Is Enough' was still pretty good but didn't sell in the same region as his previous LP's. This would be the pattern right through to the end of the decade. [word count 328]

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#1 | super80boy on January 01 1970 01:00:00
Billy's production team brought in the keyboards for this 4th go around and they definitely make themselves at home right out of the gate on catchy opener and second album single 'All Night Long'. Even on the huge selling single 'Rock Me Tonite' the keyboards pomp away. There's cool guitar work on 'Reach For The Sky'. Billy tries to harken back to his earlier days with the edgy rocker 'Can't Get Next To You'. The operatic female background singing is a bit strange on 'Another 1984'. Capitol spared no expense on the album marketing
#2 | gdazegod on January 10 2016 21:56:32
Billy Squier - 1984 Rock Me Tonite
YouTube Video:
#3 | Eric on January 14 2016 22:40:26
To be frank, these are a lot of the same moves he used when I saw him open for Queen in 1983. The setting should have been different including ditching the satin sheets and crawling on the floor was questionable, but still. Consider the time, AIDS was everywhere and American paranoia over Gays was huge, heck Freddie Mercury's mustache killed their US success and even synth pop bands like OMD and Human League were considered 'fey'. The song is NOT that great and I think the public overreacted.
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