I’m a big fan of so called “Corporate Rock”. Bands such as Boston, Styx, Kansas, and Foreigner. These bands have tons on classic songs that are played on the radio every day, yet they get no love from both critics and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Here are a few of my thoughts / memories of each of these bands
45 Years ago, the classic self titled Boston album was released, and it went on to become one of the highest selling debut albums of all times. Over the years they have released 5 more albums and I am a big fan of them all. Even the death of singer Brad Delp in 2007, the band has continued on. I have seen them numerous times and have great memories of each time, including when I scored 1st row tickets when they played Musikfest in Bethlehem PA. The ironic thing is I have never seen them live in the city of Boston. Maybe next time they tour I’ll get a chance.
Another classic band with tons of songs that are still going strong today. From the beginning with singer Dennis DeYong, to the current lineup with Tommy Shaw, James Young, and Lawrence Gowan, they continue to play to sold out shows. Songs such as “Come Sail Away”, “The Grand Illusion”, and “Blue Collar Man” have become staples on the radio. I’ve seen both Styx and Dennis DeYoung in concert and they were great shows. Lately I have been watching YouTube videos of young peoples reaction to listening to Styx songs for the 1st time.
One of the greates US Prog Bands, Kansas has been putting out albums since 1974. Songs like “Carry on Wayward Son” and “Point of Know Return” have become classics. I’m also a fan of there later albums like “Power” and “In the Spirit of Things”. I never saw Kansas live as the two times I attempted to see them were cancelled (once for lightning and once for personal issues with the band). And who doesn’t know their classic song “Dust in the Wind”. Here is a great bit by James Cordin and Jim Parsons on the Late Late Show
Even with most of the original members like Mick Jones and Lou Gramm of Foreigner retired and no longer playing in the band, they continue to tour and bring joy to millions of fans. Singer Kelly Hansen has taken over and does a great job. Songs like “Feels like the First Time”, “Double Vision” and “Urgent” continue to be played today and sound fresh and current. Here a cool version of their great some “I Want to Know What Love Is” with the Retro Festival Orchestra and 21st Century Choir
All these bands have a special meaning to me, and I’m guessing a special meaning for the millions of fans who have seen them live in concert, or bought one of their albums. Its time for the critics to get over themselves and acknowledge that these are all great musicians and while the band members are not the most flamboyant or recognizable, that shouldn’t matter.
As far as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, they need to acknowledge Corporate Rock (as well as Heavy / Hair Metal) as legitimate styles of Music and give them the credit they deserve. Constant air play, along with selling millions of albums and playing to millions of fans has to count for something.