Tag Archives: Billy Squier Don’t Say No

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

Billy Squier/ Don’t Say No (1981)

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…

“The Stroke”
“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!