Bookended by Cats was named after Milo and Otis. They are the short, orange, and furry brothers who, upon entering our lives in 2003, often bookended us on our couch. And who are we? We're a geek couple living in PA. We love music, movies, TV, comics, books, and comic cons. And, from time to time, we'll share our thoughts on these nerdy things.

Friday, March 8, 2024

Friday 80s Flashback for March 8, 2024

[Does the Fire Still Burn?] -- In November 1983, Sammy Hagar (in the midst of a solo career) and Neal Schon (of Journey and Santana fame) played a series of live dates with veteran bassist Kenny Aaronson and drummer Michael Shrieve (who had previously played in Santana with Schon). Two of the gigs were recorded for a one-time MTV broadcast, but there was no official videocassette or DVD release of the concerts.

However, the concert audio was used for an album. 

During the mixing process, the studio reduced the crowd noise, and might have added guitar overdubs (depends on where you read about it), but largely left the concerts as recorded. And a few months later, in March 1984 – or maybe in May 1984 (again, depends on the source) – Geffen released the one and only album by "supergroup" HSAS (named for Hagar, Schon, Aaronson, and Shrieve): Through the Fire. That album turned 40 years old this week. Or, it will turn 40 at some point between now and the end of May 2024. But the point is, this one-off album by a one-off (er, one tour) band turns 40 in 2024. 

I had a cassette copy of this album back in the day. I don't recall how I found out about it. Maybe I just happened to see it and recognized Hagar and Schon. Maybe it was hyped in CIRCUS or some other magazine at the time. But I'm pretty sure I was the only one in my entire hometown who bought a copy of Through the Fire. I might also be one of the few people who remembers, let alone enjoyed, this record. It received pretty lousy reviews, even retroactively. AllMusic rated it 2 1/2 stars. Robert Christgau gave it a D+ grade. Classic Rock & Culture, however, calls it "one of the best 'one and done' albums you’ll ever encounter." 

There are some clunkers on the record. But it is largely a solid rock record, particularly for fans of hard rock guitar. And in my re-listen, I find that I still enjoy the record. Highlights include "Top of the Rock," "Missing You," "He Will Understand," and "My Home Town." Even their cover of Procol Harum's "Whiter Shade of Pale" is worth a listen, and it's the only track that found a spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. 

The links above are live performances saved on YouTube. The embedded playlist below is all audio. 

FlashbackThrough The Fire (March 1984)

And that's all till next week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the Prophet or Madman archives or via Bookended's 80s Flashback tag. As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.

I'll see you in seven!

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