Parr, John - 1984 John Parr

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ARTIST: Parr, John
ALBUM: John Parr
LABEL: Atlantic
SERIAL: 7 80180-1
YEAR: 1984
CD REISSUE: 1985, Mercury 826 384-2 * 2001, Atlantic, 35172

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: image

LINEUP: John Parr - lead vocals, guitar, producer

Additional Musicians Pete Solley - keyboards, Hammond organ, producer * Christopher Marra - guitar * Colin Farley, Bruce Laing, Brad Lang - bass * John Cook, Richard Cottle, Johnathon J. Jeczalik - keyboards * The Kick Horns - horns * Graham Broad - drums, percussion * Simon Phillips - drums * Chuck Kirkpatrick, John Sambataro - backing vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Magical * 02 Naughty Naughty * 03 Love Grammar * 04 Treat Me Like An Animal * 05 She's Gonna Love You To Death * 06 Revenge * 07 Heartbreaker * 08 Somebody Stole My Thunder * 09 Don't Leave Your Mark On Me

Background

John Parr burst on the scene in 1984 after playing in a couple of bands in his native England. He got some attention while writing songs for Meatloaf that would appear on his 1985 album 'Bad Attitude'.

After meeting John Wolfe (tour manager for The Who), Parr got his break and signed a recording deal. He wrote or co-wrote all nine songs that would appear on his eponymous debut.

The Songs

This album contains nine songs that are textbook AOR. Parr is a strong lyricist, painting vivid pictures of love & lust, heartbreak & revenge. And the arrangements contain all the elements we as AOR fans love.

'Magical' leads off the album in a grand way. It was the second single (but one I never heard on the radio), hitting #73 in the U.S. top 100.

'Naughty Naughty' is, as you'd expect, a rather risqué tune. When I first heard this as a 17-year-old high school senior, it was the first time I'd ever heard the word 'horny' on the radio. It was the first single, catchy enough to receive heavy airplay. It made it to #23 on the U.S. charts, high enough to guarantee airplay indefinitely on radio stations that still play 80's hits.

The third single was 'Love Grammar', and I did hear this a handful of times on the radio. It didn't nearly hit the chart heights of 'Naughty Naughty' (#89), but it may very well have been the strongest song on a superb album.

Moving from heartbreak to horndog, we next have 'Treat Me Like An Animal', another lustful tune. You'll want to stay away from the woman in 'She's Gonna Love You To Death', yet another standout track.

'Revenge' is another winner about love gone bad. 'Heartbreaker' switches roles from 'She's Gonna Love You To Death', I wonder which character would win that showdown? I've always thought Parr sounds a lot like Lou Gramm on this song.

After seven absolute killer songs, I've always felt the next two were a slight dropoff, but not by much.

'Somebody Stole My Thunder' is the first song that's not a relationship song, and the lyrics are just vague enough that I haven't really been sure why he's seeking revenge.

The album ends with 'Don't Leave Your Mark On Me', another spirited workout with lyrics that don't resonate as much with me as those on the first seven tracks.

In Summary

Parr got his career off to a nice start with this album, but his real break came later in 1985 when he was asked to record the title track to the soundtrack for the movie 'St. Elmo's Fire'.

The movie was a big hit, as was the song (co-written with David Foster). It made it all the way to #1 and was nominated for a Grammy. One would think an artist would receive a huge career boost from that kind of success, but Parr's second album 'Running The Endless Mile' didn't even crack the top 200 in the U.S.

Parr remained active as a songwriter for several more years before leaving the biz until coming back in a limited fashion in the 2000s. To me, this album will remain the highlight of his career, one that I've enjoyed since my late teens.


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