“Greatest Hits” by Night Ranger

Artist: Night Ranger
Title: “Night Ranger’s Greatest Hits”
Label: MCA Records
Release Date: 6/1/1989
Genre: Hard Rock
Rating: 4/5

If you are one of those tried and true eighties Hard Rock fans then you are bound to remember just how it was when a band you enjoyed first hit you, and how hearing some of their signature tunes managed to take you back to a certain point in your life just a little bit. Such is the freedom of music and its powers over the human psyche and of course the feeling might not be exclusively relegated to that decade but for me it is since Metal was really growing and recieving a lot more media attention during this time. The twelve tracks presented on this Night Ranger collection are a great way to enjoy a band that was one of the genres shining stars when it came to Melodic Hard Rock that one would hear on a wide range of radio channels and during that time this meant a little more because you had clearly defined stations with Country, Rock and Commercial stuff. There were some dedicated to Talk and Disco but no real Rap focused stations to speak of yet and to the rockers it was a big deal to find a rocking tune over on a more mainstream Top 40 station. As a band I always found something special in the stuff that Night Ranger was dishing out. We had learned about their guitarist Brad Gillis from his short tenure as one of Ozzy’s guitarists as he is featured prominently on the “Speak Of The Devil” live CD if you wanted to look into that one. Yet the group he formed with Jack Blades would be slightly different because while heavy at some points, it was done on a more commercially acceptable level and really focused on the melody and catchy song structure. The riffs were great and we found this in tunes like “You Can Still Rock In America” which for its 1983 release year was also a pretty cool statement about how much freer a music fan was in the States.

The bands ability at composing a hit melodic track gave us a warm track from “Dawn Patrol” with “Sing Me Away” but it wasn’t until the song “Sister Christian” from “Midnight Madness” that the group would reach the stratosphere with their tunes. The song was a very personal one and written and sung by drummer Kelly Keagy about his younger sister. The song became the benchmark for Power Ballads going forward and has remained a popular track since. “When You Close Your Eyes” was a great tune that found Jack Blades reflecting on life and the “what could have been” as he muses aloud about a long lost person in his love life whom he wonders if he is still on the mind of. The tune was another popular one and I think that its premise was something that everyone of us is guilty of at one time or another as life moves forward. In the eighties I followed the bands first three albums and while the first one was the heaviest of the lot, the second one was my overall favorite and that made me happy to find the four tracks that appealed to me most included on this compilation. If you need to pick up any single release by the band that is not a compilation then please direct your focus on “Midnight Madness”. “Seven Wishes” is also touched upon here with three tracks and while “Sentimental Street “ is nice, it was a little too sappy for me, and I preferred the way in which “Goodbye” flowed instead. The bands core has remained at Keagy, Blades and Gillis in today’s music world but Jeff Watson (guitar) and Alan Fitzgerald (keyboards) have moved on to other adventures.

This was one release that didn’t bother me to have set as a single CD because it manages to smartly touch upon all of the bands most relevant material. Of course back when this one first came out the double CD effort for a greatest hits package was not as common as it is found to be today. There is not much to speak about in terms of a booklet and my hope is that in the future we will find a little more of an expanded anthology with larger focus on not only their first three most influential albums but also some of the other material that followed them. In any case it’s a great way to absorb a perfect moment in time about how eighties Hard Rock was and one of the best bands that was doing it for the genre.

Track Listing:
1. (You Can Still) Rock In America
2. Sing Me Away
3. Goodbye
4. When You Close Your Eyes
5. Sister Christian
6. Don’t Tell Me You Love Me
7. Sentimental Street
8. The Secret Of My Success
9. Restless Kind
10. Four In The Morning
11. Eddie’s Comin’ Out Tonight
12. Rumours In The Air

Official Website: http://www.nightranger.com

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