Hagar, Sammy - 1981 Standing Hampton

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ARTIST: Hagar, Sammy
ALBUM: Standing Hampton
LABEL: Geffen
SERIAL: GHS 2006
YEAR: 1981
CD REISSUE: 1987, Geffen, 2006-2 * 2013, Universal (Japan), UICY-75595

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: image

LINEUP: Sammy Hagar - lead vocals * Gary Pihl - guitars * Bill Church - bass * David Lauser - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 I'll Fall In Love Again * 02 There's Only One Way To Rock * 03 Baby's On Fire * 04 Can't Get Loose * 05 Heavy Metal * 06 Baby, It's You * 07 Surrender * 08 Inside Lookin' In * 09 Sweet Hitchhiker * 10 Piece Of My Heart

Background

By 1981, Sammy Hagar was at a major career crossroads. He had released five solo albums, but he was still searching for that big break to launch him to the next level of stardom.

Dissatisfied with Capitol Records, he signed a deal with fledgling Geffen Records. This was the catalyst he needed. He kept most of his band from the past few albums, adding drummer David Lauser. Aided by producer Keith Olsen, it was time to capitalize on his new situation.

The Songs

I was not very familiar with Hagar's material prior to this album until the past five years or so. But for those who were, the more polished sound along with the commercial leanings of these songs must have really jumped out.

This was released only 16 months after 'Danger Zone', but it quite far removed in its sound. He definitely achieved what he wanted with this album, as four of the first five tracks are staples on classic rock stations.

'I'll Fall In Love Again' became one of his biggest hits, the polished melodic sound driving this one to tons of airplay on rock stations. This is the song I always played after failed high-school romances back in the day. My favourite Hagar song for sure, and to me a perfect song.

'There's Only One Way To Rock' is another classic. Looking back on it, I'm surprised this was not the first song on the album. It was surprising to hear the word 'masturbation' on the air back then.

Sammy hits a great groove with 'Baby's On Fire'. Doing the math, he turned 34 in 1981, not sure he should be singing about a girl coming home from school - just sayin'. Must be a teacher.

'Can't Get Loose' is not as immediate as the previous songs, but I've grown to like it quite a bit. Rock music is full of songs about rock music, and this album has two such songs.

'Heavy Metal' was used in the animated movie of the same name. Great guitar riff and a song that I always crank when it inevitably is played on the classic rock station. It's hard to top side one, but fortunately the quality is still high on side two.

'Baby It's You' and 'Surrender' are nice slices of early 80's rock. 'Inside Lookin' In' has some nice keyboard touches and is one of the underrated songs in his catalog.

'Sweet Hitchhiker' sounds more like his earlier material than anything else on here (although more polished). The Janis Joplin classic 'Piece Of My Heart' gets a rework here, done nicely too.

In Summary

The move to Geffen definitely paid off for Hagar, as he finally got the airplay and album sales he was seeking. This album definitely overshadowed his earlier work for many people, so much that I can't remember hearing anything prior to this album on the radio since the very early 80's.

Hagar was able to headline tours, and he was sought out to contribute songs to various movie soundtracks (starting with 'Fast Times At Ridgemont High' in 1982). He returned with 'Three Lock Box' in 1983, which built on what he had accomplished with this album.


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