Shanghai - Shanghai

geoviangeovian Earth Orbit
edited December 2022 in Year-1982


ARTIST: Shanghai
ALBUM: Shanghai
LABEL: Chrysalis
YEAR: 1982
CD REISSUE: 2009, Renaissance, RMED-277


LINEUP: Amanda Blue - vocals * Keith Lentin - guitars * Beau Hill - keyboards * Jimmy Lowell - bass * Anton Fig - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 SOS * 02 Always A Rebel * 03 X Ray Vision * 04 I Need Your Love * 05 Talk To Me * 06 Born to Rock * 07 Brand New Boy * 08 All Of My Tears * 09 On Video * 10 Cry Who Likes To Cry


Shanghai were formed from the ashes of New York band Spider. Originally signed to the Dreamland label, Spider released two good albums ('Spider' - 1980, 'Between The Lines' - 1981) which also featured budding songwriting superstar Holly Knight.

Some of the members were South African citizens originally, Fig, Lentin, and Blue all coming from the Republic though making their mark in the USA.

A couple of Spider's songs made minor inroads, including the singles 'New Romance' and 'Better Be Good To Me'. However, due to the popularity of a UK band with the same name, the US version decided to change things around a bit - in much the same way one moves furniture around the living room.

The band became Shanghai, recruiting ex Airborne member Beau Hill as a replacement for Knight, and changing labels to Chrysalis. A good move considering they could ride on the coat-tails of Pat Benatar, who was riding the charts in a huge way at the time.

Shanghai's music was slightly more adventurous than Ms Benatar, perhaps closer to Laurie Sargent's outfit Face To Face with lots of tinkly keyboards courtesy of Monsieur Hill, while the songs are a lot smoother to the ear.

The Songs

The initial triumvirate of songs is a welcome invitation to listen to more.

'S.O.S' features some Preview like keyboard work from Beau, the song itself being mildly bombastic. The whirly-gig keyboards and urgent guitar delivery from Lentin gives 'Always A Rebel' a harder edge than all the other tracks of offer.

The melodic pop strains of 'X-Ray Vision' makes it difficult to pinpoint this song in any other year apart from 1982, however 'I Need Your Love' would be right at home on David Pack's fantastic solo album from 1985 'Anywhere You Go'.

Meanwhile 'Talk To Me' is a song that's familiar, appearing on Fiona's debut album, in contrast, 'Born To Rock' is as hackneyed and regimented as the song title suggests, though thankfully our interest levels are restored with the overtly poppy 'Brand New Boy', the keyboards providing plenty of colour on top of Ms Blue's vocal warbling.

'All Of My Tears' is pretty good too, not unlike the aforementioned Face To Face, while 'On Video' sees Amanda going off on a Grace Slick vocal tangent, though the song is pure 1982 era AOR/pop. The closer 'Who Likes To Cry' is a weird one, it's mainly pop - yes, but the reggae styled mid-section? Err no.

In Summary

Just the one album for this lot, who all went off in different directions. Fig has since been a regular in David Letterman's house band plus heaps of appearances with other artists, Hill has become a top-notch producer, though has been quiet of late, while Lentin and Lowell have been active as well. Worth plucking out of the bargain bin if located.

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