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Great White - 1984 Great White

ARTIST: Great White
ALBUM: Great White
LABEL: EMI America
SERIAL: ST-17111
YEAR: 1984
CD REISSUE: 1990, Capitol, CDP 7 48953 2


LINEUP: Jack Russell - vocals * Mark Kendall - guitars * Lorne Black - bass * Gary Holland - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Out Of The Night * 02 Stick It * 03 Substitute * 04 Bad Boys * 05 On Your Knees * 06 Streetkiller * 07 No Better Than Hell * 08 Hold On * 09 Nightmares * 10 Dead End


Originally named Dante Fox (allegedly), Russell and Kendall soon changed their band-name to the simpler Great White, shortly after their inception in 1981. Ploughing the LA club scene, Don Dokken was impressed enough to produce their debut e.p, 1982s Out Of The Night. After selling twenty thousand copies, the band were picked up by EMI America, their full LP debut appearing in early 1984. Great White contains three songs included on the e.p, 'Out Of The Night', 'On Your Knees' and 'Dead End'. Musically it was significantly more metal-influenced than their later, very bland hard rock efforts of the late 80s. It remains the most powerful music they ever conjured, in terms of basic heaviness at least.

Alternate cover - UK/Europe

The Songs
Having cut my teeth on Great White through Once Bitten (1987) and Twice Shy (1989), this came as an eye opener on first listen some five years back. It has a roughness and raw energy, that if had been maintained, could have seen Great White enjoy a reputation as a genuine metal act, rather than the blues/hard rock later on. There's nothing remotely blues influenced here. The opening blast of 'Out Of The Night' surges with rebellion in outlaw lyrics and warp speed riffing, especially in the verses. 'Stick It' says it all, and the music and lyrics again, define the title. Russell even screams cranking the metal! halfway through, proof of where they were at musically. The cover of The Whos 'Substitute' is intriguingly handled, given a fresh early 80s metal approach to keep it from being a stale retread. Theres no room for breathing, 'Bad Boys' and 'On Your Knees' continue the assault, both worthy examples of primal, anthemic metal. 'Streetkiller' has a vague Scorpions feel, as does the raging speed of 'Dead Line', complete with Klaus Meine styled vocals from Russell. Elsewhere you have the blatant Judas Priest copy 'No Better Than Hell' that revisits their 'British Steel' era. The closest it gets to remotely commercial is 'Hold On', which passes for near AOR, but has nothing in common with 'Lady Red Light' (1987), infinitely more darker and moody.

In Summary
EMI America judged the album a disaster and Great White were dropped (dont get me started on EMI America Alun.. Ed!!!). This led to a rethink by the band, and they became less heavy, introducing a tame hard rock sound for later albums. It helped sell albums, but the promise they displayed on the debut went untapped. There's enough vigour on offer to suggest they could have rivaled Motley Crue and Van Halen, although those bands went soft musically around the same period (85-86). Otherwise they could have been an American alternative to AC/DC, waving the flag for bad boy rock. But it never happened and instead we got a watered down version. It makes you wonder where Great White's heart really lay.

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#1 | Jokerdean on March 15 2006 18:58:52
Boy did this thing dent my ears when it came out! Couldn't get enuff! Remember bands like these did not get airplay. Nothin...nada! They had to build a following thru touring, I guess it wasn't in their blood to be Metal. This just Smokes IMO!Cool
#2 | jeffduran on June 06 2008 03:01:48
Great White catalogue fills in cue! This was a classic metal release! Saw them open for Judas Priest at Long Beach Arena and they were like a pack of dogs!
#3 | Eelgram on April 16 2009 02:36:11
Great White delivered a blistering set opening for Judas Priest in Dallas. Sadly, the metal sound of 'Out Of The Night' and this self-titled release surrendered to second-rate - though chart-topping - blues rock. Nothing wrong with that, but gimme 'Streetkiller' to 'Once Bitten' any day.
#4 | george_the_jack on May 10 2009 17:40:25
One of my favorite 80s meta/Hard Rock albums.In the beggining GW was sounding like an American Judas Priest version indeed.
#5 | rkbluez on February 07 2012 22:36:37
My favorite Great White and like others have mentioned here after this album and Shot In The Dark they started moving in a more bluesy less hard rockin' direction which was good but the older stuff is still the song here for me is "Stick It".
#6 | englandashes on February 07 2012 22:42:45
The European version came with a different cover, they actually made it over to the UK. I saw these guys supporting Whitesnake at Wembley Arena, only my second concert, must have enjoyed their performance because I went out and brought this record..although haven't played if for years.
#7 | gdazegod on July 14 2012 05:00:51
L.A metal the way it's meant to be..
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