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Articles Home » 1985 Articles » Rolie, Gregg - 1985 Gregg Rolie
Rolie, Gregg - 1985 Gregg Rolie

ARTIST: Rolie, Gregg
ALBUM: Gregg Rolie
LABEL: Columbia
SERIAL: FC 40080
YEAR: 1985
CD REISSUE: 2006, Wounded Bird, WOU 4008


LINEUP: Gregg Rolie - lead vocals, keyboards

Additional Musicians: Dan Huff, Mark Ross, Carlos Santana, Neal Schon, Craig Chaquico - guitars * Dave Morgen - bass * Mark Craney - drums * Peter Wolf, Alan Pasqua - synthesizers, keyboards * Matt Schon, Bruce Miller - string and horn arrangements * Stan Bush, Kevin Beamish - backing vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Young Love * 02 Close My Eyes * 03 I Wanna Go Back * 04 Let Me Out * 05 Over And Over * 06 Don't Talk * 07 Marianne * 08 It's Only Make Believe * 09 Deep Blue Sea


When I first bought this album for a quarter four years ago I had no idea it existed, let alone its pedigree in AOR history. That it has no place in the genres pantheon is a huge disservice to the projects quality, as the man cut a first rate slice of all star AOR. Rolie had quit Journey four years earlier, just as they were about to reach superstar status. It wasn't until this that he re-emerged, after some years of silence. Rolie has said that he wanted out of the music industry, not wanting to deal with its rigors. You cannot deny the talent he assembled to help record this however. He obviously wanted to make an impact.

The Songs
The direction wavers between straight AOR and smooth MOR. The best examples of the harder edged style are 'Don't Talk', 'Zap Me' and 'Marianne', the latter featuring Rolie's old buddy Carlos Santana. The guitar work contains some tasty melodic licks, namely 'Don't Talk'. It's exceptionally done and interestingly more accessible than much of Rolie's Journey work. 'Over And Over' could be taken for a Chicago cut, due to the horns which dominate a funky bass riff underneath. The chorus, like all, is a treat to behold. Very radio friendly, made for lite FM indeed. Rolie's keyboard skill is the focus of many tracks as you would expect. 'Let Me Out' is a lesson to behold in his mastery, backed up by Alan Pasqua on synths. 'Close My Eyes', 'It's Only Make Believe' (featuring Neal Schon) and 'Deep Blue Sea' are far quieter, but still have the melody to qualify as contenders. Rolie tries a cover of Billy Satellite's 'I Wanna Go Back', three years before Eddie Money would, and with better results. It doesn't stray from the original much, but Rolie's heartfelt vocals are in keeping with the theme of wanting to be young again.

In Summary
Although the album didn't make any impact, its faultless music must be commended. Plenty for the AOR fanatic to sink their teeth into, especially if the lighter side of AOR is your bag. Rolie would return in 1987 with 'Gringo' and later with The Storm in the early 90's. In 2001 he released 'Roots', a set of latin influenced rock with heavy shadings of the direction Santana took with his 'Supernatural' monster of 1999. 'Gregg Rolie' unfortunately is the type of album you would have to scour offhand record stores to find. If you locate it, consider yourself a lucky man.

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#1 | Keith Nagy on April 28 2006 02:08:21
Greg Rolie is listed on Wounded Bird Records coming soon list.
#2 | gdazegod on January 06 2007 02:25:14
The track 'Close My Eyes' is also the same one that Paul Janz did on his 'High Strung' album.. coincidentally the same year 1985. 'I Wanna Go Back' as mentioned, has been done by Billy Satellite and Eddie Money, but it isn't a tocuh on either of those versions.
#3 | Vincenzo on November 23 2007 10:06:56
Between Rolie version of I Wanna Go Back, E. Money version and origibal Billy Satellite version...i prefer the G. Rolie version.
Regard the cover of Colse My Eyes i prefer the original P. Janz version. Though this is a LEGENDARY album.
#4 | rostoned on June 20 2008 15:52:40
Imho a really disappointing album, filled with average stuff where nothing really shines. The first 3 tracks, I understand the potential singles since they were covers, were produced by Bill Schnee and they sound terribly dated with those drum machines. The rest of the disc is produced by Keavin Beamish and it's slightly better but the songs just aren't there. For completists only.
#5 | richardb on June 20 2008 21:44:48
I agree a bit of let down for me too. So much so I didn't bother to check out his second solo lp.

#6 | jeffduran on June 21 2008 04:47:54
agree rostoned, seems to peter out along the way.
#7 | rostoned on June 21 2008 09:27:12
His follow up 'Gringo' from 1987 is superior since has better songwriting (Marlette, Pessis, Beckett, Page, Arrows, Pitchford), session players (Marlette, Nathan East, Colaiuta, Barrow, Stef Burns) and production (Richie Zito), even if in the same 'field' (pop aor) another album from 87, produced again by Zito and w/the same cast of players, beats 'em all: 'I'm Only Fooling Myself' by Eric Martin. Reviews for both LPs are much needed here....George???
#8 | gdazegod on June 21 2008 11:42:26
Prob not me. I am focused more on new releases and 70's stuff. I'm having a break from the 80's for a little while. Jeff or Alun might do the honors. When you say 'Reviews for both LP's are much needed here..' Who are you referring to? Eric Martin or Gregg Rolie? hmm! helpless
#9 | rostoned on June 21 2008 12:08:06
Both George (Eric Martin 'I'm only...' and Rolie's 'Gringo'). I may have a go at reviewing Martin, I'll pm you to discuss it beforehand....
#10 | Eric on June 21 2008 13:18:37
Looking forward to that Rostoned. This record never did much for me either, although I am a fan of Rolie's in general. Better material would have made for a better album.
#11 | dangerzone on June 22 2008 03:41:17
Have to disagree, great album all the way through.
#12 | george_the_jack on May 10 2009 16:05:55
Very good album IMHO. 'It's only make believe' is a storming AOR piece of art!
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