Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Twofer Tuesday: The Michael Stanley Band

By suggestion from my friend Greg Rector, I bring a new Tuesday feature – “Twofer Tuesday.” Actually, I’ve been considering this for some time as the idea is similar to a feature we had at WOAY AM/FM in Oak Hill, WV. Nearly every AOR station in the 80s did “Twofer Tuesdays,” so many will be familiar with the concept. Greg even volunteered a few selections for this feature’s maiden voyage. Today, we feature two cuts from The Michael Stanley Band’s “Heartland” album from 1980.

The Michael Stanley Band was the darling of the Rust Belt. From Cleveland, OH, they constantly packed the local arenas whenever they played on their home field. While the band had three major record deals with Epic, Arista, and EMI-America, they failed to garner a large national base.

With disappointing album sales and being dropped from Arista, the band took it upon themselves to record the “Heartland” album and shop it to various labels. If that failed, they would release it themselves.

The tactic worked, as EMI-America picked up MSB and released four of their albums. Three of these would become their highest charting releases. While they failed have a Top 20 album, they had a good chart showing for a band who had a limited regional following.

“Heartland” featured two single releases “He Can’t Love You” and “Lover.” Released in 1980, “He Can’t Love You” was written by keyboardist Kevin Raleigh who also sings lead on the cut. “He Can’t Love You” became the band’s highest charting single when it peaked at #33 in 1981.

The follow-up single, “Lover,” didn’t fare as well and the band’s fourth highest charting single at #68. Michael Stanley, who wrote “Lover,” sings lead. Both songs feature the tenor saxophone work of Clarence Clemons of the Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band.

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