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  #1  
Old 11-19-2022, 07:15 AM
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Arrow Rock A Little release 37th anniversary

How will you feel 37 years from now?

RAL was released 37 years ago yesterday (November 18, 1985). The album got mixed reviews but most of them were positive. It was highly anticipated after about a year delay. I remember reading in Rolling Stone in April 1984 that Stevie was putting the "finishing touches" on her new album. It would not be released a year and a half after that article. The album did achieve some commercial success but was a disappointment in commercial success and album sales. After 2 prior solo albums raced to the top of the charts: Bella Donna #1 and Wild Heart #5 on the heals of a #1 Thriller and Flashdance soundtrack, RAL never even made top 10. Stevie lost many rock stations who had her Bella Donna songs in heavy rotation and were not going to play Talk To Me or HAEWAFY. Stevie's drug addiction was in full swing and its a miracle an album even got finished. Studios were rented where she never showed up. Jimmy Iovine walked out midway, and her demos were so messed up the record company had to bring a bunch of songs she never wrote to include on the album. Stevie rejected songs like These Dreams and Dont Come Around Here No More. I was 15 when the album came out and at the peak of my cult worship. Even though I bought the album immediately after release and played it to death, deep down I hid my disappointment. Even at 15 I was shocked how bad she sounded on some songs and wondered why anyone would allow a vocal like on the title track appear on the album. Sure Waddy adds a few guitar licks and the song has a cool bass line that shows up but the rest of the track is crap. You can barely hear her in her coked out, Kool Mild 100 raspy voice. The rest of the song sounds like a cheap casio keyboard programmed track. Songs like Sister Honey were ruined by the synth pop funk of its time. This was not the Stevie I knew. At least there was a Heartbreakers tune on the album and we hear real instruments. But it sounds like the Heartbreakers took about 5 minutes to make up and play that track. Imagine the Heartbreakers playing on Sister Honey. Remove the funk and have some guitars churning with real drums. It could have been a great rocker and a single. Even songs like No Spoken Word were ruined by synth pop programmed bass and drums. RAL is the only album by Mac members I owned on vinyl that I never upgraded to CD. I dont own a copy of this album since I discarded the vinyl many moons ago. As much as the album was not a huge commercial success, the RAL tour was wildly successful. It was the first time Stevie doubled looped around some cities playing there twice on the same tour. It also moved Stevie into concert success equaling Fleetwood Mac numbers which only strengthened her management's position for more percentages of Mac tour proceeds.
Imagine that after the Wild Heart tour Stevie went into rehab. She could have had a solo album much better and could have been there for the Mac's Tango album. The mid 80s were a dangerous time for Ms Nicks. Instead of doing RAL promotion in the fall of 1985, she was partying on tour with Heart. Instead of coming to her RAL tour rehearsals, she was partying down under with Tom and Bob. She did not take her career or music serious because the party became the priority. The studio time and concert time gave her an excuse to over indulge and facilitated her problem. Much of what attracted me to Stevie Nicks was not there on RAL but like any cult member, I hid my disappointment.
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  #2  
Old 11-19-2022, 07:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Macfan4life View Post
Stevie lost many rock stations who had her Bella Donna songs in heavy rotation and were not going to play Talk To Me or HAEWAFY. Stevie's drug addiction was in full swing and its a miracle an album even got finished. Studios were rented where she never showed up. Jimmy Iovine walked out midway, and her demos were so messed up the record company had to bring a bunch of songs she never wrote to include on the album. Stevie rejected songs like These Dreams and Dont Come Around Here No More.
I know you hate Talk to Me, and your dislike for the song is affecting your feelings about how successful it was. I believe Talk to Me went to #4 and was one of her highest charting singles. It was also nominated for a Grammy for rock song of the year. It get tremendous airplay on radio stations, as well as MTV.
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Old 11-19-2022, 09:02 AM
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I believe Talk to Me went to #4 and was one of her highest charting singles. It was also nominated for a Grammy for rock song of the year.
It went to #4, or so I read. But I couldn't find a source that mentioned as a grammy nominee for song or rock song (rock song awards were established in 1992). I did find it for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance in 1987.
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Old 11-19-2022, 09:57 AM
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While I still worship Bella Donna, and love The Wild Heart, Rock a Little was starting to show the cracks. I still liked it, and played it a lot, but the magic wasn't there. By the time Other Side of the Mirror came around, the cracks were blatantly showing. That album sucked. I'd gone from worship to meh.
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Old 11-19-2022, 10:19 AM
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I thought Rock a Little was a mess. I didn’t understand all the synthesizers and awkward attempts to serve the musical zeitgeist of the mid-80s.

I remember being baffled after listening to song after song—until “Imperial Hotel.” All of a sudden I thought “she’s back, her instrument is still intact.” Yes, she sounds a tad overwrought even here, but that suits the subject of the song. (Musically, it could have fit easily on Bella Donna. Her Tom Petty tributes like this were her best departures from the FM sound she perfected on “How Still my Love.”)

I remember a few weeks later reading Mark Coleman’s Rolling Stone review of RAL and agreeing with all of it (that she should take her own advice and rock a little more). I also felt vindicated that like me he saw the gold in “Imperial Hotel,” a song hardly anyone appears to like.

I saw her live on this tour. She was an absolute mess, all coked up and manic. At one point she threw a tambourine behind her in the air and it landed some place back stage. Here’s hoping no one’s head was split apart by it.
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Old 11-19-2022, 12:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Villavic View Post
It went to #4, or so I read. But I couldn't find a source that mentioned as a grammy nominee for song or rock song (rock song awards were established in 1992). I did find it for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance in 1987.
Thanks for the correction. I knew it was nominated for a Grammy, just not specifically which category. I think a Pat Benatar song may have won that year, Im not sure.
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Old 11-19-2022, 12:52 PM
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Just in case anyone is interested, I looked on Wikipedia and saw Stevie has been nominated several times for Best Rock Performance by a Female Artist- Edge of Seventeen 1981, Stand Back 1983, Talk to Me, Whole Lotta Trouble, and Planets of the Universe 2002.

Talk to Me peaked at #4 for 2 weeks, and hit #1 on Top Mainstream Rock Chart. Billboard said “it packs a real wallop.” Stand Back peaked at #5 and #2, respectively.

Pat Benatar won many times when she was nominated in the same category, but Tina Turner won the year Talk to Me was nominated for a song I never heard of. Back Where You a started, I think it was called.
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Old 11-19-2022, 01:06 PM
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Benatar's career was in even more trouble than Stevie's by 1985. Her album Seven the Hard Way released at the same time as RAL barely went gold and had no hits. The musical landscape had changed dramatically since 1983. In 1983 almost no one knew who Madonna or Whitney were. Still RAL is an uneven mess with a few highlights.
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Old 11-19-2022, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by bwboy View Post
Just in case anyone is interested, I looked on Wikipedia and saw Stevie has been nominated several times for Best Rock Performance by a Female Artist- Edge of Seventeen 1981, Stand Back 1983, Talk to Me, Whole Lotta Trouble, and Planets of the Universe 2002.

Talk to Me peaked at #4 for 2 weeks, and hit #1 on Top Mainstream Rock Chart. Billboard said it packs a real wallop. Stand Back peaked at #5 and #2, respectively.

Pat Benatar won many times when she was nominated in the same category, but Tina Turner won the year Talk to Me was nominated for a song I never heard of. Back Where You a started, I think it was called.
I think Stevie's two Grammy Awards are from Rumours?

Amazing though that Stevie won no solo Grammy awards yet she's called the Queen of Rock. Tina is the King and Queen. I stand with Lizzo's opinion on that.
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Old 11-19-2022, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by bwboy View Post
I know you hate Talk to Me, and your dislike for the song is affecting your feelings about how successful it was. I believe Talk to Me went to #4 and was one of her highest charting singles. It was also nominated for a Grammy for rock song of the year. It get tremendous airplay on radio stations, as well as MTV.
You missed my entire point. The charting of a pop song she did not write has nothing to do with my sediments. Your rating for talent depends on pop charts? I dislike Talk To Me because of its simplicity. This is where Stevie jumps the shark IMHO. She did not write SDMHA either but that song had some grit. Talk To Me is bubble gum puffery. I used to try and write songs when I was in high school and I couldn't. I was horrible. I bet I could have wrote the lyrics to Talk To Me. I remember people who liked Stevie at the time was not crazy about the song. The song had no Stevie mystery or charm as her earlier work.
I dont take Talk To Me into the equation of RAL at all. Its by itself. I am talking about the album. There was potential there but it went so off the rails. I Cant Wait is a powerful Stevie vocal and the song is good. If they toned down the disco swishes it would be better. Almost every other version of The Nightmare I have heard is better than the album version. If you listen to Stevie on Rockline in 1989 she states how she freaked out when her best pal Tom Petty called her a pop star. She loathed him saying that which I interpret how she looked back on RAL with distain. There is a reason why she never performs much from the album except her ballad HAEWAFY and No Spoken Word. She jumped the shark. Her cokey demos suddenly could not be morphed into a good song that also could be a radio single.
The chart success of its first single was a double edged sword. It gave the album a hit but put Stevie into another category where she needed others to write her songs. She had a catalog with good songs. Some discipline and creativity could have went a long way. She no longer was the innovator. She became the imitator. She was copying the mid 80s look with wearing neon gloves in videos.
BTW in case anyone is keeping score, Talk To Me is not Stevie's highest charting single. It reached #4 but SDMHA reached #3. Learn it. Know it.
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Last edited by Macfan4life; 11-19-2022 at 11:25 AM..
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Old 11-19-2022, 12:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Macfan4life View Post
You missed my entire point. The charting of a pop song she did not write has nothing to do with my sediments. Your rating for talent depends on pop charts? I dislike Talk To Me because of its simplicity. This is where Stevie jumps the shark IMHO. She did not write SDMHA either but that song had some grit. Talk To Me is bubble gum puffery.

The chart success of its first single was a double edged sword. It gave the album a hit but put Stevie into another category where she needed others to write her songs. She had a catalog with good songs. Some discipline and creativity could have went a long way. She no longer was the innovator. She became the imitator. She was copying the mid 80s look with wearing neon gloves in videos.
BTW in case anyone is keeping score, Talk To Me is not Stevie's highest charting single. It reached #4 but SDMHA reached #3. Learn it. Know it.
I got your point, we just disagree, that’s all. I never thought of Talk to Me as bubble gum puffery, especially compared to, say, Maybe Love Will Change Your Mind. But then I like that song, too, so maybe I like bubble gum puffery LOL. Talk to me has grit, I’m not sure why you can’t hear it, so we must have different definitions of grit. My comments about Talk to Me were specific rebuttals to your comment that radio stations who played singles from Bella Donna and the Wild Heart weren’t playing Talk to Me, and I don’t agree with that.

I just wanted to add I never said Talk to Me was her highest charting single, I said it was one of her highest charting singles. I think Stand Back might have peaked at #4, too.

Stevie played a ton of songs from Bella Donna live, not just because it was a great album that she loved, but also because it was her only album up to that point, so she didn’t have much choice. You said she doesn’t sing songs from RAL live much anymore, and that’s true, but her Wild Heart tour only played 3 song live, I believe, and RAL had 4 songs on the tour. OSOTM played 4 songs as well, ironically she didn’t play the best songs on the album except for Rooms on Fire. My point being, RAL was better represented in the tour than the Wild Heart was.

Don’t get me wrong, I agree with your assessment of the album, but disagree with a few things.
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