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Articles Home » 1984 Articles » Dakota - 1984 Runaway
Dakota - 1984 Runaway

ARTIST: Dakota
ALBUM: Runaway
YEAR: 1984
CD REISSUE: 2002, Melody BLVD, 0001 * 2012, Rock Candy Records (UK), CANDY123
SPONSOR: Rock Candy Records


LINEUP: Jerry Hludzik - guitars, vocals * Bill Kelly - guitars, vocals * Rick Manwiller - piano, keyboards * Neil Stubenhaus, Bill McHale - bass * Danny Seraphine - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Runaway * 02 Tonight Could Last Forever * 03 Heroes * 04 When The Rebel Comes Home * 05 Love Won't Last * 06 Into The Night * 07 Angry Men * 08 If Only I'd Known It * 09 Over And Over * 10 Believin' (bonus, RC reissue) * 11 More Love (bonus, RC reissue)


When we talk about West Coast style rock, a few names spring to mind. Fee Waybill, Bill Champlin, David Roberts, Toto, Richard Marx to name a few. All classic artists of the genre. For me, Dakota are right up there, and this their second album from 1984 'Runaway' is a legend of that West Coast genre. Intially, and primarily the nucleus of Dakota were the twosome Bill Kelly and Jerry Hludzik. They released their self titled album on RCA four years earlier, and it was a typical West Coast release for that era. 'Runaway' then, has some truly memorable moments on it.

The Songs
From the opening track, the self titled and hi-tech 'Runaway' we hear some classic AOR songwriting. Lyrics which can find a home easily on a website like G-DAZE. 'I can see that you're running faster.. running from some kind of disaster in your heart, You say you're too young to know the feeling, still your head is reeling from the pain'.. Synth stabs and subtle passages from Manwiller create the space for Kelly and Hludzik to weave their magic. There is a musical warmness exemplified on the next track 'Tonight Could Last Forever'. It moves in the same space as an upbeat Christopher Cross for example. 'Heroes' is an anthemic ballad, for want of a better description while 'When The Rebel Comes Home' has a more urgent beat to it. The albums 'piece de resistance' come in the shape of three songs in a row, the magnificent AOR of 'Into The Night' (yes .. hackneyed AOR song title and all) which reminds one of Beau Coup, the super melodic rhetoric of 'Angry Men' and the subtle balladry of 'If Only I'd Known It'. All wonderful statements to AOR music.

In Summary
Some talented individuals lend a helping hand on this album, namely Bill Champlin, Steve Porcaro, Mike Boddicker, David 'Hawk' Wolinksi, saxophone expert Ernie Watts and producer Richie Zito. Unfortunately, Dakota went into hiatus for many years though were still around in a local capacity in their native Pennsylvania state. Their first two albums became much sought after by collectors ever since. They resurfaced with a vengeance in 1996 with the 'Mr Lucky' album and followed this up with 'The Last Standing Man' album the following year. It is nice to see that after all these years, one of the AOR fans favourite bands is still hanging in there.. Addendum from Lee Bradfield: 'This classic title has at long last been released on cd (during 2002), and what a cd ! The cover art is faithfully restored, all the lyrics and original credits are included along with a wealth of rare photos. Selected copies are even autographed by the band, and there are 2 killer bonus tracks and a radio promo ! Then we come to the remastered sound ... an absolute dream come true, just what this album deserves. If that wasn't enough, the 1980 debut is due out in late September 2002..' Suffice to say that Rock Candy Records turned up ten years later with remastered reissues of both albums. Finally, there is justice in the world!

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#1 | jeffduran on May 19 2008 19:12:19
One of my favorite West Coast Style releases up there with David Roberts 'All Dressed Up', Bill Champlin 'Runaway', and
#2 | JuniorNB on November 07 2008 14:09:05
A really great, underappreciated album. I shouldn't say 'underappreciated', perhaps. Just under-known. Outside of th e hardcore westcoast/AOR fans, I don't think many people even know who Dakota is.

Runaway, Tonight Could Last Forever, Over and Over, the great songs just go on and on. If you're unfamiliar with it, go out and grab it ASAP.
#3 | dangerzone on November 07 2008 14:47:33
Totally agree. Every track is an AOR masterpiece.magician
#4 | tonissive on January 29 2009 10:02:49
what underrated band!
what underrated album!
"when the rebel come home" is a killer track!!
#5 | aor-fm on August 01 2009 15:03:02
Classic album, and one of my top ten of all time. Every songs a winner...
#6 | gdazegod on November 12 2009 09:27:59
Another album that just makes me weak at the knees. I imported a sealed LP from a vinyl trader in the USA years ago (anyone remember Al Norris from Houston, TX)? Al had all the goodies. Hmm, I spent a lot of money with that man, and always well worth it in my opinion, though my partner at the time did not agree. Oh well, a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do! shop
#7 | gdazegod on October 08 2010 14:35:07
YouTube Video:
#8 | swazi on January 25 2012 13:05:39
This release is definitely one of the AOR classics! Fantastic!
#9 | AOR Lee on February 07 2012 15:16:38
This whole album was pure class. So sad it didn't set the world on fire, in fact the ongoing obscurity of Dakota and Hobbit are among the biggest travesties in melodic music. I still play this very loud here in Joburg, and yes with strong coffee
#10 | kim_hp on September 07 2012 22:26:52
I got this back in 2004-2005 while just getting into AOR and was immediately hooked. Songs like the title track and 'Heroes' still gives me chills to this day, but in all honesty there isn't a bad track here. Together with Survivor - Vital Signs, Alliance - s/t and a handful others, this is truly the epitome of early to mid 80's AOR.
#11 | bpdp3 on August 17 2017 01:36:10
Sheesh, not one mention of what to me is CLEARLY the best track, 'love won't last'!?!eek
....anyway, really great lp that this review led me to. Thanks!
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