Damn Yankees (band)

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Damn Yankees
Upper left: Tommy Shaw, upper right: Ted Nugent, lower left: Jack Blades, lower right: Michael Cartellone
Upper left: Tommy Shaw, upper right: Ted Nugent, lower left: Jack Blades, lower right: Michael Cartellone
Background information
OriginNew York, New York, U.S.
GenresHard rock,[1] arena rock,[2] glam metal[3]
Years active
  • 1989–1994
  • 1998–2001
  • 2004
  • 2010
LabelsWarner Bros.
Past members

Damn Yankees were an American rock supergroup formed in New York City, in 1989. Consisting of singer/guitarist Tommy Shaw of Styx, singer/bassist Jack Blades of Night Ranger, guitarist Ted Nugent of the Amboy Dukes, and drummer Michael Cartellone (who would later join Lynyrd Skynyrd).[2]

They are remembered for the songs "High Enough" and "Where You Goin' Now", both Top 40 hits in the early 1990s.


In the late 1980s, the US rock music scene witnessed a trend for supergroups; Bad English, Mr. Big and Badlands were all formed around that time.[4] Shaw, Blades and Nugent were put together by big time Rock mover and shaker John Kalodner as Damn Yankees in 1989 [5]in response to declining commercial success of their original bands.[6] Produced by rock producer Ron Nevison, the newly formed band's self-titled debut album was released in 1990 and went double-platinum in 1994.[7] Jack Blades's leading single "Coming of Age" hit No. 60 on the U.S. Hot 100 and No. 1 on the AOR charts, while Shaw-penned "Come Again" received extensive AOR airplay.

The power ballad "High Enough" became their best selling single rising to No. 3 on U.S. Billboard Hot 100[4] and No. 2 on AOR charts at the beginning of 1991. "High Enough" was Ted Nugent's first mainstream top ten single. The band's songs appeared on several Hollywood film soundtracks, such as Gremlins 2: The New Batch, Nothing But Trouble and The Taking of Beverly Hills.

After the release of their debut, the Damn Yankees went on an 18-month world tour with the likes of a revamped Bad Company, Poison and Jackyl. Their US tour coincided with the Persian Gulf War, in which the band unfurled American flags and made patriotic statements.

In 1992 Damn Yankees went gold with their follow-up album Don't Tread.[4] The title song, sung by Blades, was included on the album Barcelona Gold, released in coordination with the Barcelona Olympic Games. Nugent also appeared on Rock the Vote, voicing support for the GOP against Bill Clinton. Although the second release was not as successful as the first album,[6] it spawned several popular singles, such as "Mister Please," "Where You Goin' Now" and "The Silence Is Broken," a power ballad featured in the 1993 Jean-Claude Van Damme film Nowhere to Run.

Shaw Blades[edit]

By 1994, there had been a changing of the guard at Warners. Jack Blades explained:[8]

The new regime came in, and they didn't want to do anything with that style of music. And in fact, they paid Damn Yankees a million dollars not to do another Damn Yankees record. We're like, 'Really? OK, we'll just take the check. Why not?' That was how it was because Damn Yankees had sold so many records and we were so recouped, so in our contract the next thing was like 'We get a million bucks to do an album,' and they just paid us the million dollars NOT to do the record. That's how much nobody wanted anything to do with that era and style of music.

So after that, Nugent revived his solo career, leaving Tommy Shaw and Jack Blades to record their own album as the duo Shaw Blades. Released in March 1995, Hallucination received very little support from its label as the personnel change brought in industry executives more sympathetic to alternative and grunge bands.[8] Ultimately, the Shaw Blades album came out to some critical praise, but it vanished without major single support or a national tour (which had been cancelled by Warner Bros.). "I'll Always Be With You" did garner some AOR airplay and the title track was heard in the hit movie Tommy Boy, but after a brief West Coast tour, both Shaw and Blades went back to their respective original bands, Styx and Night Ranger.

In 2007 Shaw Blades released their new album Influence, which consisted solely of cover songs that influenced them, mostly from the 1960s and 1970s. The pair also recorded a cover of the classic Christmas song "The Twelve Days of Christmas" on the "A Classic Rock Christmas" album by various Classic Rock artists in 2002. Both members still principally record and perform with their respective original bands.


During a hiatus in both Night Ranger and Styx, Shaw and Blades met with Ted Nugent to record a new Damn Yankees album in 1999.[8] However, the album, provisionally titled Bravo, failed to please either the band members or the prospective record labels.[8] According to Blades, some of this unused material has since surfaced on various group and solo albums of the band members:[8]

That will never come out. It will always be the long lost record. Little pieces of that have dripped out on my solo record. Tommy had a song on Styx's Cyclorama record. Ted's done two or three of them. It's been hard to figure out, like, 'Oh yeah! That was one of our songs.' It's pretty wild. That record will never see the light of day, but the ones that came out are the best of it.

While on the VH1 Classic show Power Ballads of 88, Jack Blades commented about recent rumors regarding Damn Yankees. Jack said he, Ted, and Tommy had been talking and hanging out. Jack then said there would be new music and a tour from Damn Yankees in the future.[citation needed]

In 2004 at Alice Cooper's Christmas Pudding, an annual charity concert to benefit Alice Cooper's Solid Rock Foundation and Teen Center in Phoenix, AZ, Damn Yankees reunited on stage.[9] The band played "Don't Tread", "High Enough" and "Coming of Age".

On January 15, 2010 at the NAMM Show in Anaheim, California, the original members of Damn Yankees made a surprise appearance at the Taylor Guitars exhibit. Jack Blades, Tommy Shaw, Ted Nugent and Michael Cartellone performed an acoustic set on the Taylor Stage, including hits such as "Coming of Age", "High Enough" and the Ted Nugent anthem "Cat Scratch Fever".[citation needed]

In 2011 Nugent joined Jack Blades' band Night Ranger to record an extended version of "Coming of Age" as a B-side for their album "Somewhere in California." In place of his original solo, Nugent plays a version of the guitar solo from "Stranglehold."[10]

In May 2017 Cartellone joined Night Ranger at the Wildflower Festival in Richardson, Texas for a performance of "Coming of Age."[11]

As far as a potential Damn Yankees reunion goes, Cartellone told Cleveland NBC affiliate WKYC that he and other members of the band have continued to meet and write over the years. While a new album has yet to materialize, he says that does not mean the Damn Yankees are finished. They never purposefully disbanded and are keeping a reunion an open door to this day.[12]

Band members[edit]

Former members[edit]

  • Tommy Shaw – rhythm & lead guitars, lead & backing vocals (1989–1994, 1998–2001, 2004, 2010)
  • Jack Blades – bass guitar, lead & backing vocals (1989–1994, 1998–2001, 2004, 2010)
  • Ted Nugent – lead & rhythm guitars, backing & lead vocals (1989–1994, 1998–2001, 2004, 2010)
  • Michael Cartellone – drums, percussion, backing vocals (1989–1994, 1998–2001, 2004, 2010)

Session members[edit]

  • Robbie Buchanan – keyboards on Don't Tread (1992 — multiple tracks)


Studio albums[edit]

Title Release Peak chart
Damn Yankees 1990 13
Don't Tread 1992 22
  • RIAA: Gold

Live albums[edit]

  • Extended Versions (2008)

Compilation albums[edit]

  • The Essentials (2002)
  • Rhino Hi-Five: Damn Yankees EP (2005)
  • High Enough - Best of: Damn Yankees (2019)


Title Release Peak chart
"Coming of Age" 1990 60 1 -
"High Enough" 3 2 57
"Come Again" 1991 50 5
"Runaway" 9
"Bad Reputation" 31
"Where You Goin' Now" 1992 20 6
"Don't Tread on Me" 3
"Silence Is Broken" 1993 62 20
"Mister Please" 3

Soundtrack appearances[edit]


Music videos[edit]


Release Director
"High Enough" 1990 Larry Jordan[14]
"Coming of Age" Ethan Russell[15]
"Come Again" 1991
"Don't Tread on Me" 1992
"Where You Goin' Now" Larry Jordan[14]
"Silence Is Broken" 1993 Piers Plowden[16]


  1. ^ McPadden, Mike (August 7, 2015). "5 Hair Metal Ballads Inspired By/Ripped Off From Extreme's "More Than Words"". VH1. Viacom. Archived from the original on May 22, 2022. Retrieved October 9, 2016.
  2. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Damn Yankees – Artist Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved March 25, 2010.
  3. ^ Popoff, Martin (2014). The Big Book of Hair Metal: The Illustrated Oral History of Heavy Metal's Debauched Decade. Voyageur Press. pp. 182, 187. ISBN 978-0-76034-546-7.
  4. ^ a b c Colin Larkin, ed. (1999). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Heavy Rock (First ed.). Virgin Books. pp. 115/6. ISBN 0-7535-0257-7.
  5. ^ https://ultimateclassicrock.com/damn-yankees-history/
  6. ^ a b "Where Are They Now? Pop's Class of 1990". Rolling Stone. July 10, 2012. Retrieved December 12, 2021.
  7. ^ "Gold & Platinum". RIAA. Retrieved March 20, 2023. 2x Multi-Platinum / August 17, 1994
  8. ^ a b c d e "Jack Blades: Label Paid Damn Yankees $1 Million to Avoid Third LP". Ultimate Classic Rock. June 20, 2021. Retrieved April 17, 2024.
  9. ^ "Alice Cooper, Damn Yankees Perform At Christmas Pudding Show: Photos Available". Blabbermouth. December 20, 2004. Retrieved July 3, 2020.
  10. ^ Wardlaw, Matt. "Night Ranger's Kelly Keagy Refuses to Choose Favorite Song on New Album". ultimateclassicrock.com. Retrieved December 29, 2016.
  11. ^ "Night Ranger - playing Coming of Age (Damn Yankees cover)". youtube.com. Archived from the original on December 22, 2021. Retrieved May 20, 2017.
  12. ^ Mahaffee, Mac. "Beyond the Beat: Lynyrd Skynyrd/Damn Yankees drummer Michael Cartellone". Wkyc.com. Retrieved April 26, 2018.
  13. ^ Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988–2010 (pdf ed.). Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia: Moonlight Publishing.
  14. ^ a b "Larry Jordan Videography". mvdbase.com. Archived from the original on October 14, 2011. Retrieved October 1, 2011.
  15. ^ "Ethan Russell Videography". mvdbase.com. Archived from the original on January 9, 2008. Retrieved May 1, 2012.
  16. ^ "Piers Plowden Videography". mvdbase.com. Retrieved February 26, 2017.

External links[edit]