STARSHIP – Knee Deep In The Hoopla [remastered Japan Blu-Spec CD2]
If there was an album that perfectly blended commercial Rock&pop with ’80s AOR it should be without a doubt “Knee Deep In The Hoopla” by STARSHIP. The Platinum certified record has been released in Japan as part of the ’80s Goodies Legacy Recording’ series, in a remastered form and pressed on the excellent sounding Blu-Spec CD2.
First known as Jefferson Airplane and later Jefferson Starship, after the departure of bandleader Paul Kantner in 1983, the newly christened Starship experienced an unexpected commercial comeback with 1985’s “Knee Deep in the Hoopla”.
The LP featured two Number 1 hits: the unusual and much-maligned “We Built This City” and the Mickey Thomas-sung ballad “Sara”, for me, one of the greatest AOR songs of all time.
As said, “Knee Deep in the Hoopla” brought AOR to mainstream rock&pop listeners, and helped to make the genre much more popular.
AOR aces like Peter Beckett, JC Crowley, Martin Page or Chris Sutton not only provide backing vocals, they also co-write and arrange many of the songs.
Female vocalist Grace Slick – the only remaining member from the ‘Jefferson’ days – shares lead vocals with the amazing Mickey Thomas, but her presence is heavily muted, leaving the spotlight to Thomas’ high-pitched arena rock wails.
As for the songs, all are potential hits.
“Before I Go” is penned by AOR genius David Roberts, while the wonderful “Desperate Heart” (written by Michael Bolton & Randy Goodrum) also appears on Bolton’s cracking AOR album Everybody’s Crazy released the same year.
It’s also really fun to hear the late Kevin Dubrow of Quiet Riot doing a duet with Slick on “Rock Myself To Sleep”, and “Love Rusts” is another highlight, an eerie duet between Thomas and Slick tracing the dissolution of a relationship.
“Knee Deep In The Hoopla” is one of my favorite records from the ’80s. I actually wore out the cassette (remember those?) from overplaying. When I think back to those years, I still smile when I think about that music and the memories that it brings back. I picture myself with my ‘new’ Walkman listening to “Sara” and singing at the top of my lungs “We Built this City”, without a care in the world.
This Blu-Spec CD2 sound is awesome, and Starship’s “Knee Deep In The Hoopla” a must have in your Eighties collection.
Sony Music Japan ~【SICP-30187】
Legacy Recordings ’80s BSCD2
01 – We Built This City
02 – Sara
03 – Tomorrow Doesn’t Matter Tonight
04 – Rock Myself To Sleep
05 – Desperate Heart
06 – Private Room
07 – Before I Go
08 – Hearts Of The World (Will Understand)
09 – Love Rusts
Mickey Thomas – vocals
Grace Slick – vocals
Craig Chaquico – guitars
Pete Sears – bass, synth bass
Donny Baldwin – drums, electronic drums, vocals
Peter Wolf – keyboards, producer
Kevin Dubrow – additional vocal on “Rock Myself to Sleep”
Les Garland – DJ voice on “We Built This City”
Dave Jenkins – background vocal on “Desperate Heart”
Peter Beckett, JC Crowley, Siedah Garrett, Ina Wolf – additional background vocals on “Tomorrow Doesn’t Matter Tonight” and “Love Rusts”
Simon Climie, Lorraine Devon, Phillip Ingram, Martin Page, Chris Sutton, Oren Waters – additional background vocals on “Love Rusts”
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