Over the years Billy Squier in my humble opinion has never gotten his due and take away his 1985 Career Ending Video (Rock Me Tonite) the dude wrote/recorded a bunch of great straight ahead rock songs!( Don’t get me started on 1989’s Superb Hear N Now album!)
1981 Billy and his Band release Don’t Say No and first single The Stroke explodes on the charts and rocks Billy to the top of the Charts in both Album and Single Sales.
The Dudes With The Instruments…
Billy Squier – lead vocals, guitars, percussion, piano
Cary Sharaf – guitars
Alan St. Jon – keyboards
Mark Clarke – bass, backing vocals
Bobby Chouinard – drums
Even in 2016 The Stroke is still sampled amongst rap acts and Billy is one of the few artists out there that has full control over his back catalogue. Smart fella that Billy with an even better Lawyer back in 1981!
Here’s some of the acts that have sampled Squier’s Stuff Below from this album…
“Hip Hop Is Dead” by Nas from the album Hip Hop Is Dead
“Stroke Me” by Mickey Avalon
“Berzerk” by Eminem from the album Marshall Mathers LP 2
“My Kinda Lover”
“Shady XV” by Eminem from the album Shady XV
What’s crazier is that Billy’s whole catalogue has been sampled 111 Times and has him third all time on the Most Sampled Rock Track List!
But back in 1981 this album had a bunch of standout tracks and thanks to Billy’s and Mack’s (Queen Producer) Production they hit this album out of the park in Grand Slam Fashion…
1. “In the Dark” 4:09
2. “The Stroke” 3:38
3. “My Kinda Lover” 3:32
4. “You Know What I Like” 2:56
5. “Too Daze Gone” 4:05
6. “Lonely Is the Night” 4:42
7. “Whadda You Want from Me” 3:43
8. “Nobody Knows” 4:20
9. “I Need You” 3:52
10. “Don’t Say No”
The songs have that real cool laid back early 80’s rock vibe and this is Billy before Billy was making serious $$$$. The sound of the album has elements of Queens The Game not in songs of course but the Sonic end of things.
The opener track In The Dark takes you all of about 30 seconds in to know that Squier has his own style of Rock Voice that is distinct and well to my ears Billy was and is a good singer that no one ever talks about. In The Dark fuses some cool drums/keys and guitars and makes the listener listen up! Great straight ahead rock track!
The Stroke. What can you say about this track that hasn’t already been said! The Drums are the centerpiece of this song dig the interplay between the suped up keys and guitars during the chorus! Yeah I could have posted this video but why? Just sing it …..STROKE/STROKE/STROKE……..
My Kinda Lover just keeps the radio rock hits going! Squier and the Boys keep the party buzzing and the song is just a 4 on the Floor rock song! Catchy chorus…slick verse’s all tided up by a fine vocal delivery by Billy.
Basically you cannot go wrong with the first three tracks as they are very good tunes and this vibe continues onto the rest of the album as well.
Songs like Too Daze Gone/Whadda Want From Me are straight rock tracks catchy with ton’s of Hook’s and great playing and singing whereas a track like I Need You sounds like if The Cars had lost a bit of quirkiness and went with running there keyboard through a Marshall Amp. I Need You is different but good.
Album closer and title track Don’t Say No has Billy and Band doing a little fade out at the beginning of the song that goes into some nice acoustic playing before the electrics once again show up and lead the song to the end of the albums conclusion.
Don’t Say No is a worthy Crash Course in all good things Rock!