New York’s Twisted Sister became a household name in the mid ’80s with the success of their 3rd album Stay Hungry, and more so with the hit single “We’re Not Gonna Take It” and the comical videos created for the Stay Hungry singles, as well as the follow up album’s videos. But my favorite from Twisted Sister is their 2nd album – You Can’t Stop Rock N Roll in 1983. The album may not have been a huge commercial success, but it was the band at their best, before the hilarious videos, and the attempts at appealing to the mainstream. You Can’t Stop Rock N Roll was full of straight on edgy and angry TS rockers and anthems. You Can’t Stop Rock N Roll was actually the band’s first North American album release, as their debut Under The Blade was recorded in the UK and did not get a US deal & release until after the band had found commercial success; it was remixed and issued in 1985 in Canada and the US. It was produced by British producer / Engineer Stuart Epps who, at the time was producing Wishbone Ash and Vandenberg, and who’s previous engineering credits included Elton John, Chris Rea, Bill Wyman, and US band Shooting Star. Also recorded in the UK, where the band had built up a strong following and would issue 3 singles from You Can’t Stop Rock N Roll. The cover art was simple – with the band name in huge pink letters accompanied by the TS logo on a dark background, Difficult to miss, very to the point!
One thing Twisted Sister albums always had were great intro songs, Under The Blade had “What You Don’t Know (Sure Can Hurt You)”, Stay Hungry and Come Out And Play both had strong intros with the title tracks, and You Can’t Stop Rock N Roll had “The Kids Are Back”. Drawing on those rebellious / outsider teen ideas, with a chorus (like many TS songs) that’s not overly complicated but easily burns into your brain. The next 2 tracks come at you aggressively first with the opening riff to “Like A Knife In The Back”, followed by “Ride To Live, Live To Ride” and heavy metal battle cry “The Power And The Glory”. “I Am (I’m Me)” went in to the band’s sorta poppier direction, catchy, but ..ok; was probably a good choice as a single.
Side 2 opens with “We’re Gonna Make It”; a good song, tho the riff reminds me of Sammy Hagar’s “There’s Only One Way To Rock”. A couple of solid rockers in “I’ve Had Enough” and fast paced “I’ll Take You Alive”, followed by the closest thing to a ballad in “You’re Not Alone (Suzette’s Song)” – penned by Snider for his wife; not one of my favorites here, but it’s a decent forerunner to future ballads “The Price” and “I Believe In You”. The album closes with the title track,; another great anthem, intro & title would’ve fit well on an AC/DC album! Cool video to boot.
The 2018 2 disc reissue contains 3 bonus tracks, as well as 1 disc being the band’s 1983 performance at the Marquee in London, UK.
The band followed this up with their break through classic album Stay Hungry in 1984. That album I remember picking up at the time, then later going back to get the previous 2 some time later. It was their biggest success with a couple of huge hits & videos, but the band’s next album Come Out And Play veered more in to the commercial direction, lacking a bit of the weight and anger, but heck I loved that album, and played the crap out of it! It is also notable for including the return of Alice Cooper (I was a huge AC fan then, and this was his first ‘new’ thing when he came back). The band’s last album was 1987’s Love Is For Suckers. And whether I wasn’t paying attention at the time or what, but I don’t recall hearing anything about it until I walked in to the local Sam The Record Man and saw it on display. I liked that one too, tho’ not so crazy about the production (heck, I don’t think TS ever found a great producer to capture them properly, and consistently). The band split after this album, and Dee Snider (who also wrote the band’s songs) went off to other projects, but by then I’d moved on and didn’t keep up. I have gone back and picked up some of the archived and later released live albums, as well as Dee’s last album For The Love Of Metal, and the excellent For The Love Of Metal : Live, released last year.
07 / ’21