NIGHT RANGER – Big Life [Japan remaster SHM-CD] [Limited Release]
Someone asked for the YesterRock remaster of “Big Life“, the fourth studio album by NIGHT RANGER. Unfortunately, this reissue is out of print. But a couple years ago Universal Japan released their own remaster of the album and pressed it on a High Quality SHM-CD.
When speaking of the leading US Melodic Hard Rock bands from the ’80s, San Fransisco based Night Ranger are on top of the list of many fans of this lovely musical genre.
Fronted by the mega-talented Jack Blades alongside the not less gifted Brad Gillis, Kelly Keagy, Jeff Watson and Alan Fitzgerald, Night Ranger is the definition of the genre, producing one great album after another, with sales surpassing the 10 million mark only during the Eighties.
Sometimes the term ‘underrated’ means it’s just a brilliant album but not heard by many, but it may also be a less popular album compared to the rest of a band’s discography. A clear example could be Night Ranger’s “Big Life”.
Blades & Co. had already released ‘Dawn Patrol’, ‘Midnight Madness’ and ‘Seven Wishes’, which were all million sellers, before venturing into making hit-singles for soundtracks, of which “The Secret Of My Success” written for the 1987 film of the same name starring Michael J. Fox it’s included here in “Big Life”.
The hardcore fans didn’t liked much this move, and also due that year (1987) success of Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, Poison and then newcomers Guns N’ Roses, “Big Life” didn’t reach platinum (a million units sold) status.
When looking back it’s obvious that the music buying audience was overly spoiled at the second half of the ’80s, because this is one hell of a Melodic Rock album.
Rocking and catchy tunes like title-song “Big Life”, “Carry On” or “‘Color Of Your Smile” go hand in hand with lighter-swinging ballads as the sublime album closer “Hearts Away” and the atmospheric AOR of “Rain Comes Crashing Down” featuring a breathtaking guitar work.
“The Secret Of My Success” is great too, co-written by Blades together with David Foster, Tom Keane and guitar master Michael Landau, showing Night Ranger’s more AOR / commercial side. I still remember this being one of the most played videos in the spring of 1987 on MTV.
Produced by the band with the help of expert Kevin Elson (Europe, Journey, Mr. Big), as you expect, the sound in “Big Life” is lush, glossy and polished.
This Japanese remaster is fuller, well balanced and high on dynamics.
Night Ranger ranks among my favorite bands of all time, and “Big Life” is my second favorite of their entire discography. From a band with such great albums under their belt, this position in my fav list say something.
Sadly, this “Big Life” Japanese SHM-CD has become scarce too, so if you find it at a decent price buy it without hesitation.
A Must Have for any serious Melodic Hard Rock fan.
Universal Japan ~ UICY-94149
01 – Big Life
02 – Color Of Your Smile
03 – Love Is Standing Near
04 – Rain Comes Crashing Down
05 – The Secret Of My Success
06 – Carry On
07 – Better Let It Go
08 – I Know Tonight
09 – Hearts Away
Jack Blades – lead and backing vocals, bass
Brad Gillis – lead and rhythm guitars, vocals
Jeff Watson – lead and rhythm guitars
Alan Fitzgerald – keyboards, piano
Kelly Keagy – lead and backing vocals, drums, percussion
David Foster – additional keyboards
Kevin Chalfant – additional backing vocals
BUY IT !