Billy Squier: Signs of Life(1984)

 

As 1984 rolled into 1985 Billy Squier’s career was showing no Signs of Life! Lemme explain!

Squier had a great solo run of recorded material starting from 1981’s Don’t Say No right into 1983 with Emotions in Motion. Billy at the point in time was selling out arenas and bands opening for Billy included Def Leppard before Lep’s Pyromania sold millions upon millions …

Speaking of Lep. Jim Steinman co produced along with Billy on this album. Steinman of course produced Meat Loafs “Bat out of Hell” and basically co wrote/produced and did it all on Bat out of Hell.  Jim on Signs of Life just sat in the co- producers chair as Billy as he always does on his albums writes everything solo. Def Leppard must have liked the sound of this album as they tried working with Steinman early on in the Hysteria sessions before that crumbled and Leppard scampered  back to Mutt Lange!

Squier to keep the Momentum Train chugging down the Music Highway known as Making Money released Signs of Life in July of 1984.

The album quickly went Platinum and the lead single Rock Me Tonite was released and the video with Billy dancing around in a bedroom wearing pink pants torpedoed his career so quick. The fallout from the video was huge! Tickets to shows slowed down. Records stopped selling and Billy basically retired…

If you want to read an exact account of the fallout of this video read the book I Want My MTV. It’s a great account how the public can build you up and tear you down ……Quick!

Squiers career never recovered. A shame really as Billy released in 1989 what I would consider his best recording Hear and Now but no  once cared. A shame really but as they say ‘Shit Happens”

But let’s focus on the album from the 1984 period of Mr Squier!

Signs of Life is a pretty decent album. From opener All Night Long Billy and his band.  Jeff Golub(Guitar) R.I.P/Drummer Bobby Chounaird(Drums) R.I.P/ Alan St John (Keys) and Doug Lubahn(Bass) lay down that identifiable  sound that is Billy! Straight ahead rock tracks spread throughout this album!

Speaking of which….

The backing band that Billy had with him was top-notch as these guys played on all of Squier’s  albums as well as the  live shows and it was an ass cracking great act….

Rock Me Toniteif you erase the video from your memory is a great song period! It’s Squier doing what he does best. Writing a single that has a bit of oomph courtesy of the drums.

Throughout the albums 10 tracks Signs of Life clocks in at just over 50 Minutes! Not to many records from 84 were clocking in over that amount of time. Iron Maiden’s “Powerslave” record is one that clocks closer to an hour! So Billy and Maiden were pushing the grooves of the vinyl to their limits…

(Another)1984 features Queens Brian May punching out the solo during the song. This is a great track that leads off Side 2 and has a lot of giddy up in the song. Squier has some Queen connections as well as he opened for Queen in 1982.  Queen producer Mack produced Billy’s ‘Don’t Say No’ album!

Connections all around and why not use them to your strength. Billy is a smart fella and let’s not forget that in 2018 Billy is a very rich man as a bunch of Hip Hop/Rap artists have sampled his albums for the drum sounds that came from Billy’s records.(Billy owns 100% of his publishing)

Don’t feel too bad for Billy though….

Signs of Life in my opinion is a solid piece of Squier Rock. A good listen  and  I’m happy that I scooped this album for $5 as I originally bought this back upon its release in 1984 on cassette tape which had  absolutely no packaging inside the sleeve. (which drove me nuts).

“Don’t let a bad video other wise ruin a great album!”

 

36 thoughts on “Billy Squier: Signs of Life(1984)”

  1. Yikes! The curse of the pink pants… that’s quite incredible, really. I’d probably have changed my name and buy a disguise if I was him.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I dunno what Billy did….chilled out did some garden work? But he eventually moved on made the excellent ‘Hear and Now” record..kept plugging away….

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It is crazy the fallout from that video. I didn’t realize at the time how bad it was and started wondering where the hell did Billy go. I picked this one up a couple months ago on vinyl for about the same price as you. Played it two weeks ago and thought it still sounded great. And I do love the May solo!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah John it’s like Billy went underground…flat out disappeared for a few years….That is someone who should write a book. What a story it would be to hear from the one involved with the fallout

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Meh. In my old age, I’m losing a lot of my rock and roll memories and stories. Even Record Store Tales from 5 years ago. I read them now and say “Fuck, that happened?”

        Like

      1. Yeah I didn’t buy many tapes as that was Tbones deal but at least some I bought like Akimbo’s Shakin and Hysteria has the liner notes…even Maiden stuffed there Live After Death tape with liners…
        Others like Squier/Thorogood/AC-DC had nothing inside….Gah!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. From what I read Squier canned his manager hired Rod Stewarts manager at the time to stop the video but it was all too late..
      Amazing how it ruined his career and people weren’t about to give him a fair shake on his record ‘Hear and Now’ which was such a great record than and now…haha

      Liked by 1 person

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