Weekend Spin- Billy Squier: Don’t Say No (1981)


Billy Squier stormed the charts with both album and single sales in 1981 with Don’t Say No.

Speaking of singles how about that three-pack of songs that lead off Side 1. In The Dark, The Stroke, and My Kinda Lover. Of the three The Stroke I still hear on local crap radio and good on Billy as we all know he owns all the publishing on his music so whatever amount of dough is being paid out goes into his pocket directly! (which should be the case).

My buddy Muk bought Don’t Say No on vinyl basically upon its release and I quickly followed suit buying it on cassette tape for the good old Sony Walkman for those bike rides or walks to and from high school.  

Billy crafted a real solid 10 pack of songs on what is his second major-label album (Tale of the Tape from 1980 didn’t go anywhere) which Squier know’s the fine art of writing songs to get played on the radio but keeping enough of a rock edge to satisfy young headbangers like me.

Some credit has to go to Reinhold Mack who co-produced  Don’t Say No with Billy. Mack, as you may recall also co-produced the magnificent The Game album by Queen and worked with a bunch of acts ranging from Black Sabbath, ELO, Rainbow, and John T Snow’s homeboy David Coverdale amongst many others.

Mack dialed in the sonics so brilliantly that songs like The Stroke still sound good on radio! You can hear Mack’s production influence on this record and Billy’s next album Emotions In Motion. Mack had a big hand as Billy’s stuff sonically has that Queen style of production.

And it worked.

Such a great hard pop-rock album. The thing I also liked about Squier is that even though he was tagged as the solo artist Squier basically had the same backing band with him throughout the 80’s even into the early 90s. Nice to see continuity as we know of bands that had a rotating band member carousel back than ( take a bow Whitesnake).

Check out the video below of Billy and his posse from 1981 blasting a live version of the super cool track Whadda You Want From Me. Squier plays some slick slide guitar on it.

Come to think of it Squier was the first single-artist I had in my ever-growing tape/vinyl collection at the time(1981) as up to that point it was just bands.

Perhaps that’s why I have always dug what Billy has done. Oh yeah, plus his music is stellar!  

For further listening check out the criminally underrated Hear And Now album from 1989!

Billy has a big bank account thanks to that Eminem fellow!

  • The Stroke
    • “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


61 thoughts on “Weekend Spin- Billy Squier: Don’t Say No (1981)”

  1. I loved those Billy Squier albums growing up. Funny, ive been listening to all of them the past week. Love Hear & Now! Such a shame he walked away from recording rock albums. And aside from Dont Say No, his catalogue seems to be tough to obtain on CD.


    1. I just checked Amazon.ca KJ and there is one 3 cd set for $13 Canadian.
      Squier know his deal with writing great rock tracks.
      I have his stuff up to Creatures of Habit which was totally ignored but still had some decent moments.


      1. Yeah, not all are easy to find at a decent price. Ordering vinyl Lp of Creatures of Habit on Discogs – missimg that one on Lp.


    1. To be honest Joe. Neither. lol
      I just havve them all in 3 sections.
      Two used vinyl sections and one new section which is basically albums I have gotten from Amazon etc.
      When I started collecting 3 years ago I had 3 records all from my daughters. Now I’m pushing close to 400.
      I guess I should put B.S under geez I don’t know. lol

      Liked by 2 people

    1. I’ve got mint copies of Tape, Don’t Say No, and Emotions in Motion on vinyl. I’ve got a copy of Signs of Life that unfortunately has an impurity, but was sealed when I bought it. That’s okay though because I have a really rare original pressing of that album on CD I lucked into getting cheaply, and it sounds great.

      Definitely go vinyl on the early stuff, Jon. The Don’t Say No CD sucks, it’s shrill and thin, not warm like the vinyl at all. That’s such a great rock record, I don’t think he matched it. Tale of the Tape and Emotions sound better on vinyl too. I’ve got all the later ones on CD, up to and including King Biscuit Flower Hour and Happy Blue. Very hit and miss after Signs of Life.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. If it’s good enough for young Deke’s old walkman, it works for me!
    Good point about the split between solo artists & groups in the collection – I think early on for me, it was all bands + Bryan Adams / Morrissey!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think Adams may been the second artist now that I think of it that I ever bought and that of course was when Reckless came out. Liked the fact that both Billy and Bryan kept there bands together. It showed a band like vibe which I liked. Whitesnake should have been called Coverdale as David couldn’t keep a lineup together. lol

      Liked by 1 person

    1. As disturbing as that video was, Rock Me Tonite was one of his biggest singles. It may be a combo or turning off some fans, not having a big 2nd single, and not having huge single off the next album (?)

      Liked by 1 person

    2. KJ said it best. Not a real followup single could save the album. Signs of Life is a great record as Brian May played on a track. Billy brought the goods but people back than where way to judgey on video.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Several good songs on that one for sure. Mack as the producer probably helped both in making it sound clean and accessible and in getting the record co. to invest in promoting it. They would pay a big dollar for a producer like that, so they’d want to be sure they re-couped their money by selling it to radio in a big way.
    You mentioned Rainbow in there. I heard ‘Stone Cold’ last week, had forgotten about that track. Used to love it, had the 7″ single.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That Rainbow album that Stone Cold comes from is my favourite.
      Straight Between The Eyes was my starting point with Rainbow. Perfect blend of Hard Rock and Pop in one!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. For me this is his best album… The first song I heard first was The Stroke and it sounded so different at the time than anything else. He was great live as well.

    Lonely Is The Night and My Kind of Lover are my goto Billy Squier songs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great songwriter. I think Learn How To Live is another great track. Emotions I will have to spin that one at some point.
      Your right The Stroke sounded like nothing at the time and that is why it succeeded.


  5. Great choice with this killer album. I still remember the first time I heard Mr. Squier. The DJ on my favorite radio station in New York said something like, here’s a new one from Billy “Zeppelin” Squier…which was followed by “Lonely Is The Night.” As a Zep-head still reeling from John Bonham’s death the previous year, my ears perked up and I knew I had found a new artist to love. I bought this album the next day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a great story Rich!
      It’s always neat to hear one’s discovery of a new band/ artist. The backstory is so great to read about


  6. This reminds me that you thought my friend Jade Squire was cool even though her last name is spelled differently! Funny thing — I worked with Jade at the Record Store and my sister works with Jade now at the school.

    Never got into Billy, he was always outside my metal boundaries but since I have been knowing the boundaries down, I will check him out more.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yep your right.
        I Want My MTV was a great read as they featured a whole chapter on what went down on and the fallout from it.


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