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Articles Home » 1985 Articles » Honeymoon Suite - 1985 The Big Prize
Honeymoon Suite - 1985 The Big Prize

ARTIST: Honeymoon Suite
ALBUM: The Big Prize
SERIAL: 25-28241
YEAR: 1985
CD REISSUE: 1986, WEA Canada, CD 25293 * 1990, Warner Bros, 9 25293-2 * 2013, Rock Candy Records, CANDY214


LINEUP: Johnnie Dee - vocals * Derry Grehan - guitars * Ray Coburn - keyboards * Gary Lalonde - bass * Dave Betts - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Bad Attitude * 02 Feel It Again * 03 Lost And Found * 04 What Does It Take * 05 One By One * 06 Wounded * 07 Words In The Wind * 08 All Along You Knew * 09 Once The Feeling * 10 Take My Hand


Honeymoon Suite's second album 'The Big Prize' is aptly named, as it is indeed a prize among melodic rock fans and collectors. Following on from their creditable debut album the year before, they continue in the vein of rock anthems such as 'New Girl Now' and the superb 'Burning In Love'. This time around, the faint 'new wave' angle is dropped in favor of strong AOR themes, and sees the band enhancing their radio friendly appeal.

The Songs
The catchy hooks of the opening track 'Bad Attitude' are an indicator of things to come. Strong keyboards - multiple layers plus the bells and whistles courtesy of Ray Coburn are a feature all through 'The Big Prize'. The sonic surge of 'Feel It Again' begins from a quiet intro, accelerating through the bridges culminating in booming choruses and solo sections. 'Lost And Found' is a bouncy effervescent piece followed by the magical anthemic ballad 'What Does It Take'. The next pair of melodic rockers are the album highlights for me: 'One By One' with it's stabbing pianos, and the glorious affair that is 'Wounded'. Coburn's keyboard work is killer on this one! Check out the staccato-like keys on the second verse. Ian Anderson from Jethro Tull makes an appearance on 'All Along You Knew', probably as payback from HMS touring as support to Tull the year before. Another superb track is the bright and bubbly 'Once The Feeling', while the end track 'Take My Hand' is the disappointment, ending with a whimper as a 'softly softly' ballad, and is as appealing as a warm wet blanket!

In Summary
I'm sure most readers of G-DAZE will have this album safely tucked away in the collection. Alongside Coney Hatch's 'Friction' album, this album would have to be one of the standout Canadian efforts during 1985. All of their follow up albums are worth getting too. Of course, the band have reformed properly, and are now back on the road, though their sound is not as glossy as it once was.

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#1 | Eric on May 14 2007 20:27:34
Easily one of the finest AOR albums of the 80's. I had a chance to chat with a couple of these guys a bit before a show when they played a tiny ballroom (since burnt down) in the middle of a cornfield in New Munich, Minnesota on 'The Big Prize' tour. Honestly, no more than 200 people fit into the building but what a great show, and Rob Preuss from Spoons had just joined the group on keys. He looked a little stiff, understandable being new to the group, but again, the band cooked. A memorable night indeed...
#2 | gdazegod on May 14 2007 22:18:34
It certainly is among my top 30 albums for the 80's decade. For sure! Thumbs Up
#3 | Jez on June 13 2008 10:00:20
Classic, classic,classic. HS's finest hour and then some. After the mighty debut, i didn't know what to expect. This completely knocked me out at the time, and still does to this day. Track after track of pure melodic rock heaven. Saw them at the Marquee club in London the night before the Saga show at the 'Hammy Odeon' gig and they were brilliant (i have a great cd of this show for the memory). They also gave Saga a run for their money the following night aswell. Ohh the memories!
#4 | reyno-roxx on June 23 2008 16:05:19
HS's best album by far!
#5 | george_the_jack on July 01 2008 15:30:52
Which of you can seriously claim that he has not sung out loud 'Bad Attutude'????? Albums that contain such monster tracks cannot be average. music
#6 | george_the_jack on July 01 2008 15:36:55
Johnnie Dee always reminded me of Lou Gramm! :0
#7 | DEMONAOR on July 13 2008 11:52:45
Mega Album score 10gunsgunsguns
#8 | george_the_jack on November 05 2009 16:16:31
What a great band! For me, they were the biggest surprise of FIREFEST VI! Their live sound was by far the best I've ever heard! Did they play their CDs backstage??? Pfft I was almost in front of the stage and my poor Kodak camera captured this majesty! 'Love Changes Everything'.
#9 | LALOROCK on March 12 2010 02:57:14
A Classic for sure,Wounded and Words in the wind are the highlights for me,pure AOR,great melodic hooks a wet dream for AOR lovers.
#10 | canadiantender on August 12 2012 05:33:22
This is a classic. Their debut was strong, but this is their finest hour. Derry Grehan has always been an underrated Guitarist, but Ray Coburn is the guy that drives this album. Every song is tremendous, and it sounds just as great today as it did in 85. Everyone should own at least 2 copies.
#11 | gdazegod on August 12 2012 06:19:19
YouTube Video:
#12 | gdazegod on August 12 2012 06:19:57
YouTube Video:
#13 | gdazegod on August 12 2012 06:24:40
YouTube Video:
#14 | code4 on February 12 2016 19:59:48
Well it took a few plays for this one to work it's magic but thanks to all the great reviews and a vote of confidence from Explorer when I said I had put this on order last month I gave this cd it's due and it paid off. Most the way it sounds a little heavier than the first album. Sort of Van Stephenson type of AOR style. To say the bridges in the songs have become more slick would be an understatement! Thanks all. Cost me $3.99 buy-it-now sealed with $3.49 shipping as well. Serious bang for buckSmile
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