Greatest Hints

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Greatest Hints
Msb great hints.jpg
Studio album by Michael Stanley Band
Released 1979
Recorded Feb-March 1979
Genre Rock
Length 41:38[1]
Label Arista Records
Producer Harry Maslin
Michael Stanley Band chronology
Cabin Fever
(1978)Cabin Fever1978
Greatest Hints
(1979)
Heartland (Michael Stanley Band album)
(1980)Heartland (Michael Stanley Band album)1980

Greatest Hints is an album by the Cleveland, Ohio based Michael Stanley Band that was released on Arista Records in 1979 and reached #148 on the Billboard Magazine charts. The album cover art prominently features the members of the band in black and white photographs. This was a direct attempt to introduce the world to Michael and his bandmates.[1]

Album name[edit]

At this point the band was almost five years old and had not yet been able to crack into the top third (at least #50) of the all important Billboard magazine charts nor would they ever. Their highest charting album would be their last for EMI America, the ironically titled You Can't Fight Fashion (1983). There have been many opinions over the succeeding decades as to why this was not accomplished, but in any event the band had failed to secure a foothold outside of the Midwest market. This might have been owing to a lack of promotion by Arista, or perhaps a lack of success in the charts by the band or Stanley or maybe just bad timing on a rich landscape of crowded rock groups vying for national attention. One thing has never eluded critics, it was not from lack of talent or effort by the band.

The band was famous in rock heavy Cleveland and the state of Ohio in general, parts of Michigan, and Pennsylvania, but not really anywhere else in the country. The band embodied so many values of the Cleveland mentality. They were young, ambitious, resilient, determined, hard working and talented. This hit a major chord with the midwest culture/mindset and would in the 1980s allow MSB to set attendance records at the Cleveland Agora and Richfield Coliseum that are still standing to this day.[2] In essence, the title 'Greatest Hints' was the band's way of poking fun at their inability to reach their musical career goals despite the fact that on the last album, Cabin Fever, they worked with legendary producer Robert John Mutt Lange who would go on to produce AC/DC, Billy Ocean, Foreigner, Shania Twain, and Def Leppard to name but a few.[3] Finally, the name is also a play on the music industry standard of bands having greatest hits albums after producing several studio albums. The band to this point had already produced three studio albums, You Break It... You Bought It (1975), Ladies' Choice (1976), and Cabin Fever (1978), along with the live Stagepass (1977) album.

Kevin Raleigh now on board[edit]

This MSB (Michael Stanley Band) album is most notable for the introduction of the keyboardist and lyricist Kevin Raleigh. Raleigh would eventually rival Stanley as the main songwriter of the band. Raleigh would later contribute "He Can't Love You", "Save a Little Piece for Me", "When Your Heart Says It's Right", "You're My Love" and many other MSB classics. Raleigh was able to provide a sharp contrast to Stanley's low register singing with his soaring high vocals and harmonies, which would become a hallmark of the group from this album on.[4]

The songs[edit]

"Beautiful Lies", "Lights Out" and "Promises" would go on to become fan favorites and give the group the unique harmonic melodies that they became synonymous with. We also get some searing sax licks for the first time on Stanley's "Down to the Wire" and the Holland/Dozier/Holland cover "Back in My Arms Again" by Gismondi which would become another feature of later hits on subsequent albums by MSB. The songs on this album are decidedly more catchy and hook filled than the albums that proceeded this outing. The ballads and the love songs are in supreme form and we have the first taste of what the MSB style in the future would hold.

Track listing[edit]

No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Last Night"Kevin Raleigh & Michael Stanley3:42
2."Don't Lead with Your Heart"Stanley4:17
3."Promises"Raleigh4:01
4."Down to the Wire"Stanley4:12
5."No Turning Back"Raleigh4:55
6."Back in My Arms Again"Holland/Dozier/Holland3:42
7."Beautiful Lies"Pelander & Stanley4:39
8."Lights Out"Pelander & Stanley4:25
9."Hold Your Fire"Raleigh4:25
10."We're Not Strangers Anymore"Pelander & Stanley3:45
Total length:41:38

Personnel[edit]

  • Michael Stanley – lead and backing vocals, electric and acoustic guitars, percussion
  • Gary Markasky – vocals, lead electric guitar, acoustic guitar
  • Bob Pelander – vocals, grand piano, clavinet, synthesizer
  • Kevin Raleigh – vocals, organ, Fender Rhodes, synthesizer, chimes
  • Michael Gismondi – bass, saxophone, percussion
  • Tommy Dobeck – drums, percussion

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Bret Adams. "The Michael Stanley Band - Greatest Hints (1979) Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards at AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 2015-08-10. 
  2. ^ "The 80s". MichaelStanley. Retrieved 2015-08-10. 
  3. ^ "The 70s". MichaelStanley. Retrieved 2015-08-10. 
  4. ^ "Michael Stanley". ItsAboutMusic.com. Archived from the original on 2015-08-10. Retrieved 2015-08-10.