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Hayes, Michael (Badstreet Band) - 1987 Off The Streets

ARTIST: Hayes, Michael (Badstreet Band)
ALBUM: Off The Streets
LABEL: Grand Theft Auto
YEAR: 1987


LINEUP: Michael Hayes - vocals * Ricky Medlocke, Rocky Athas, Kim Davis, Jim Casey, Larry Velez, Kim Sharp, Dave Barnett - guitar * Sanford Hayes, Mike Hargrove, Ricky Phillips, Mike Medina, Bill Frances - bass * Jimmy Papa - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Everything Is Alright * 02 When The Loves Come Down * 03 The Night You Can't Remember * 04 Ain't Superstitious * 05 Touch My Level * 06 Boys Are Back In Town * 07 You Made Me The Way I Am * 08 Blue Jean Queen * 09 Heart Beat Away * 10 Badstreet U.S.A.

The 80's were rife with pro wrestlers making the crossover into melodic hard rock and some years back this was explored here with the unlikely Terry Funk effort 'Great Texan.' Seemingly made for rock stardom however was Michael 'P.S.' Hayes, another notoriously legendary figure during the 1980's wrestling boom. Hayes made his name with The Fabulous Freebirds outfit, tearing up the Texas circuit in the early 80's with cohorts Buddy Roberts and Terry Gordy. In 1984 the single 'Badstreet USA' was released, an instant anthem, reaffirming Hayes' flamboyant rebel gimmick. Indeed Hayes lived the rock star lifestyle, with his excesses well noted in wrestling circles. Therefore an album was inevitable, this one coming in 1987 when melodic rock was in its prime. Hayes gathered a well-rounded group of musicians, including Ricky Medlocke of Blackfoot, who helped give this album the same edge as Blackfoot's own self-titled 1987 effort. Scanning the cover art it's safe to say this album would probably be banned in today's sensitive day and age, the image of a nude Hayes draped in a confederate flag reflecting what was acceptable once upon a time. Depending on your world view it could probably be seen as tasteless or extremely funny, but Hayes and company weren't shy about touting their Southern beliefs.

The Songs
As expected this album has been widely mocked over the years due to the nature of the artwork and a wrestler at the forefront of the album. But like the Terry Funk album there's some superb compositions, this one benefitting from better vocals and some stellar musicianship. 'Everything is Alright' is lightweight AOR, with some attempts at tough guitar work thrown in. Horns are prominent and Hayes' vocals are far from a joke, well suited to this type of music. Medlocke's guitar work is obvious on the hard rock workout of 'When the Love Comes Down' despite the obvious 'Whole Lotta Rosie' riff rip off. The melodic guitar solo makes up for this, steeped in all the 1987 traditions. Hayes gets to parlay his rebellious streak on the fiery 'The Night You Can't Remember' with some boisterous vocals and pummeling guitar work. There's a crack at Willie Dixon's 'Ain't Superstitious,' although I'll take Megadeth's version from 1986 over this. 'Touch My Level' has a ZZ Top feel, with the synthesized bass effects giving it the obligatory high-tech approach. It's purely average as a result and a cover of 'The Boys Are Back in Town' doesn't exactly set the world on fire. I'm sure Hayes felt it suited his personality and overall sensibilities of his wrestling faction, but it's eminently forgettable. The heavy AOR of 'You Made Me the Way I Am' gets things back on track, although the production leaves something to be desired, with the vocals far too high in the mix. The laid back pop moves of 'Blue Jean Queen' are impressive, horns once again blaring, combining with sax for something you'd only hear in the 80's. The guitar solo again is of the highest quality, handing this the rock element missing prior. Hayes delivers a pure AOR cut in 'Heartbeat Away' and this one almost verges on classic, with some melodic twists that will satisfy the most ardent AOR listener. There's more guitar players on this album than I can count, but Dave Barnett turns in a masterful performance here. The inclusion of 'Badstreet USA' seems token and out of place, being three years old at the time of the album's release, but it's still one of the greatest wrestling anthems ever recorded and a perfect summation of how great wrestling once was, much like AOR.

In Summary
My version of this album features a track called 'I Gotta Have It' which wasn't on the original album and is full of blatant synth parps and excessive fretboard work. Where it came from I'm unsure, but it's another nice track. Just how this album performed commercially I'm unsure, but these days it's somewhat of a collector's item, mainly due to the novelty value. As stated earlier this album is largely derided for its artwork, but for the more discerning out there you'll find some real musical worth if you overlook these aspects.

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#1 | gdazegod on December 18 2016 08:28:40
There must be more wrestlers out there doing hard rock? Surely it's not just Terry Funk and this guy? lol

Ted DiBiase or Randy Savage possibly?
#2 | englandashes on December 18 2016 10:02:41
Fozzy, with Chris Jericho, last couple of albums are excellent, especially the track, Unstoppable, probably one of the best motivational tunes out there, better than any other management technique.
#3 | gdazegod on December 18 2016 10:30:04
Yeah true, Jericho and Fozzy. I was thinking more the 1980's era.
#4 | gdazegod on December 18 2016 10:30:43
BTW, that photo of Hayes and the Confederate Flag, that is so godawful.. lol
#5 | englandashes on December 18 2016 17:57:25
Not sure if Big Daddy or Giant Haystacks ever recorded anything, one for all grapple fans! Thumbs Up
#6 | gdazegod on December 18 2016 20:10:30
I believe this was reissued in 2011. That's where the extra track comes in. I'll update details once I know them.
#7 | Hadley on December 21 2016 03:24:35
'When the Love comes Down' is actually a cover of a song by the Christian Rock Group Rez Band. Kind of an obscure song to cover IMO.
#8 | Eric on December 22 2016 22:02:08
Good god, those are some of the worst covers I've seen and a Rez Band tune as well??helpless
#9 | gdazegod on December 22 2016 22:06:30
haha Eric..!

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