Sliding in the door
Are the roads we all know
Yesterday’s heroes with no room to grow
You say you want the money
You want the Big Prize
But they’ll cut you
Down to size, with your…..
Here come those fellow fun-loving Canucks known as Honeymoon Suite dropping down a pretty serious slab of vinyl in the form of The Big Prize back in the good old year of 1985!
The Big Prize was the followup to the self-titled debut from 1984 and was a significant step up to my ears that is. The songwriting and mainly the production courtesy of the Late Great Bruce Fairbairn and his mixing engineer sidekick Bob Rock.
The debut wasn’t bad. Had some decent songs (New Girl Now/Funny Business) and some silliness (Wave Babies) but overall not bad. Where they won me over is when they opened for Helix in front of 3-4000 people here in Tbay back in the summer of 1985!
Hell at this show it was not only myself but along for the ride was Tbone and his brothers in tow Dar and Rugg!
So for that, Honeymoon Suite got a pass so when The Big Prize dropped into the record shops in the fall of 1985 it wasn’t too long before dEke’s/Tbone and many others in Canada and even the U.S scooped up wanting the Big Prize!
Honeymoon Suite succeeded on many fronts the packaging and the presentation of the album wasn’t the norm at the time. Definitely not metal looking but still kinda a slick concept if I don’t say so myself!
The Big Prize opens with Bad Attitude. A great ass kicker in the Hard AOR Department if anything. High tempo as well and Honeymoon on this album had 3 aces up there sleeve that being Guitarist Derry Grehan/Lead Singer Johnnie Dee and Keyboardist Ray Coburn who all contributed material. (especially Grehan who wrote 7 of the bands 10 songs on the album)
The sonics are superb on this album as this is the record previous to Fairbairn and Rock applying their talents on the mega-selling Slippery When Wet album by Bon Jovi a year later in 1986!
You know by working with a guy like Fairbairn in the hard rock circles there would be a few singles along the way. Honeymoon Suite went 4 singles deep with Bad Attitude/All Along You Knew/ What Does It Take and Feel It Again,
This was a smart move on whoever’s decision it was to release the singles. 3 solid rock tracks along with the typical kinda power ballad that was really becoming mandatory in the mid to late ’80s!
With the four pack of singles mentioned about 3 are excellent choices with the already mentioned Bad Attitude. All Along You Knew which features Mikey Ladano’s homeboy Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull) on flute which is a significant track none the less. What Does It Take is the power ballad and is ok. Not really my bag as I want hard rock driving tracks but I get it. Honeymoon had to crossover to get the Ladies!
Feel It Again written by keyboard fella Ray Coburn is the bonafide winner in the singles that were released on this album. It went to number 16 on the Canadian Singles Chart and charted at number 34 on the Billboard Singles Chart in the U.S!
Feel It Again is a fantastic written track. Derry plays some sweet licks on the 6 string while Dee delivers an impressive vocal as the chorus is the real money shot with Coburn driving what sounds like a Hammond organ at times! Perfect as in sweet Ear Candy! The video is goofy, but the song is gold!
Honeymoon Suite was a band on a good roll as back in the day they released a string of solid albums from the Debut in 1984. The Big Prize(85) Racing After Midnight( my fav of there’s from 1988) and the very underrated Monsters Under The Bed(1991).
Honeymoon Suite is still going today as the current lineup including drummer Dave Betts and bassist Gary Lalonde is intact. Coburn though is a no show in the present incarnation.
The Big Prize is a solid piece of hard rock! Good time listen harkening back to a simpler time!
Long Live The 80’s!