Michael Furlong - Use It Or Lose It

edited December 2022 in Year-1984

ARTIST: Michael Furlong
ALBUM: Use It Or Lose It
LABEL: Atlantic
SERIAL: 80181-1
YEAR: 1984
CD REISSUE: 2009, Retrospect Records, RR-260

LINEUP: Michael Furlong - vocals, guitar * Terry Petersen - bass * Chuck Ruff, Skip Gillette, Steve Self - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Careless * 02 Use It Or Lose It * 03 Head On Rock 'n' Roll * 04 Back To The Wall * 05 On The Firing Line * 06 Right A Way * 07 Don't Start Lovin' Me * 08 Two Hearts * 09 I've Got News For You * 10 Don't Gimme The Biz


Years ago I remember George describing Michael Furlong as an artist in the Michael Bolton/Rick Springfield mold, which makes it even more surprising it's taken me this long to hear this melodic rock masterpiece.

That summation of Furlong came from his stint as the vocalist for metal act Wild Dogs in the late 80's, which is far removed from the type of AOR presented here. This album was repackaged in various forms around the globe and apparently, Furlong's first band was an outfit called Boxer who recorded different versions of these songs for Roadrunner.

Furlong secured a major label deal and bought in a veteran lineup, including Chuck Ruff who had drummed for the likes of Edgar Winter and Sammy Hagar. Here Furlong takes the guise of the ultimate 80's AOR hero in comprehensive style, with an album held in high regard some three decades later by purists.

The Songs

Along with the Bolton and Springfield comparisons, you'd have to throw in Stan Bush and Paul Sabu too. If you can imagine a conglomeration of those legends then you'll know what to expect here.

'Careless' introduces us to Furlong's agenda, a massive slice of AOR with some compulsory stabbing keyboards and exceptional guitar work.

The title track is a party rock anthem you could compare to Quiet Riot in the shouted chorus, as catchy as it gets and a verified classic. This is definitely a product of the time and an indication of the superiority of AOR in general in 1984.

'Head On Rock and Roll' is similar, another anthem where Furlong almost passes for David Coverdale, with some great axe work and blistering synths in the mix. For the most part Furlong sounds similar to Steve Perry, although I swear that's Huey Lewis singing on the hard as nails 'Back To The Wall'.

'On The Firing Line' is pure AOR, this time Furlong coming off like Rod Stewart, with a bouncy rhythm and highly melodic chorus. This is indispensable, the type of AOR you dream about running into any given day. The machine gun synth bursts are almost unbelievable.

Even better is the veritable AOR clinic of 'Right-A-Way' and the various magical melodic twists and turns. This is the kind of fare heard on Stan Bush's 1983 debut, with a dash of Springfield in the hook. The Steve Perry vocal influence is on overload here, complimented by Furlong's brilliant guitar work. Honestly this is what this website is all about.

Almost as good is 'Don't Start Lovin' Me' with yet another made-for-radio chorus, followed by the brazen AOR of 'Two Hearts' where you could be fooled into thinking Foreigner were jamming with .38 Special in their primes.

Autograph is a good reference point for 'I've Got News For You' with the mixture of keyboards and guitars blending quite sublimely.

'Don't Gimme the Biz' is a rousing closer, with some bold riffs giving it a Paul Sabu and Sammy Hagar feel, especially when it moves at pace. Call me insane, but it could almost be Molly Hatchet in their more AOR period. Whatever the case it all works.

In Summary

Despite being dropped by Atlantic, Furlong recorded 1987's 'Breakaway' which is held in equally high esteem. Furlong surprised many by joining traditional metal experts Wild Dogs for their 1987 album 'Reign Of Terror,' a savage metal classic far removed from the AOR of his solo work.

It's sad to report that Furlong is better known now as a Tom Petty impersonator, which is how he makes a living based on what I've seen on the internet. A shame, but probably an easier way to make money than performing AOR.

This has been released on CD and is easy to obtain and a must for all AOR guru's. It's shocking it took me so long to hear it, but better late than never right? This is the kind of music that makes life worthwhile.

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  • gdazegodgdazegod Antipodes
    As I recall, when this album first came out it was initially titled 'Head On Rock N Roll'.
  • Haven't listened to this in at least five years and it's even better than I remember when I reviewed it. What a classic.
  • Finally got round to giving this a blast after getting it a few months back. Great stuff, man. Every track be a winner.

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