MSB (album)

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Michael Stanley Band - MSB album cover.jpg
Studio album by Michael Stanley Band
Released August 23rd 1982[1]
Recorded (March - June, 1982)[2]
Genre Rock
Label EMI America
Producer Michael Stanley Band and Don Gehman [3]
Michael Stanley Band chronology
North Coast (album)
(1981)North Coast (album)1981
You Can't Fight Fashion
(1983)You Can't Fight Fashion1983

MSB is an album by the Cleveland, Ohio based Michael Stanley Band that was released in August 1982 on the EMI America label. It was the band's third release on the EMI America label. The record reached #136 on the Billboard Magazine Album Charts in 1982 and was lead guitarist Gary Markasky's last outing with the group.[4]

Meaning behind album name[edit]

The Michael Stanley Band or MSB as their fan base called them, decided to name the album MSB in homage to this tradition. However, the record failed to ignite further fire, as many record buyers did not know what MSB stood for. This hampered an otherwise well-produced and potential single hits-filled album.

The third EMI America/MSB offering[edit]

Following the monumental albums known as Heartland and North Coast in 1980 and 1981 respectively, the Michael Stanley Band came out with this effort in 1982. The album features the raw and powerful consistency that the band never failed to bring to the forefront of their formidable talent laden unit. By this point in their career, the Michael Stanley Band had become known as a rock outfit always capable of writing "good solid rock," and this album is hardly an exception to that rule.

There were many guest talents on this record including Mick Ralphs of Mott the Hoople and Bad Company fame, Donald Fagen and Walter Becker of Steely Dan, and Rick Bell on saxophone; Don Gehman produced it. Illustrating the point that this band could ironically readily call to mind numerous friends and collaborators that were all too happy to help it forge its impressive wall of sound history.

The recordings were laid down at the Recording Connection in Cleveland, Ohio and the Bee Gees' Middle Ear Studio in Miami, Florida.[5]

The Michael Stanley/Kevin Raleigh collaboration continues[edit]

By this time, Michael Stanley and Kevin Raleigh were writing top notch fan favorites without much of an issue over getting Cleveland (and mid western markets in general) coveted radio station air play. EMI America seemed to be exactly what the band needed to put a fire in its belly and crank out hit after hit. The powerful "doo wop-ish" styled "Night by Night" is an instant recognizable Stanley (with help from Becker and Fagen) harmony-layered composition. The disc also gave fans another superb ballad titled "Spanish Nights." Written once again by front man Stanley, the tune is an ebbing and flowing tale of love and life in accordance with Stanley's unique writing prowess. In line with the previous and future MSB platters, the Raleigh-penned song "One of Those Dreams" is bolstered by a flawless sax line by Bell. The LP lead vocals/main writing credits are equally divided (five and five) between group dominants Stanley and Raleigh.

Continued singles success[edit]

Following in the tradition set forth by the two previous LPs, this record highlights two more of the bands top selling singles of all time. Raleigh's "When I'm Holding You Tight," which was coupled with Stanley's powerful self letter styled song "In Between the Lines," was the first of the two. The single hit the Billboard Hot 100 in 1982, charting at more-than-acceptable #78. Incidentally, "In Between the Lines" is to this day a live favorite with audiences.[6] The track features a beautiful piano lick by Bob Pelander and iconic Stanley growl style vocals, shouting out "some six-string, front-page temporary loss of sanity.....but you ain't reading, baby, in between the lines." The song is a farewell open letter to John Lennon (who died in 1980). Michael Stanley said he wrote it almost as a nod to himself for finally achieving his dream of becoming a famous singer/songwriter, thereby following the steps of his much more revered hero of the universally popular Beatles.[5]

The second single features the second Stanley scored masterpiece, called "Take the Time," which hit the charts and peaked at an honorable #81 in mid-1983. The song was so well-received that an MTV video was produced.[5] The song was a cautionary tale about not rushing into judgement over decisions of love and life in general. The A side was backed with- as was custom on this album- a strong Kevin Raleigh tune called "Just a Little Bit Longer."

Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (1981) Song Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 "When I'm Holding You Tight" 78 [7]
U.S. "Billboard" Hot 100 "Take The Time" 81 [8]

Track listing[edit]

Track Name Writing Credit(s)
In Between the Lines Michael Stanley
If You Love Me Kevin Raleigh
Night by Night Walter Becker/Donald Fagen/Michael Stanley
When I'm Holding You Tight Kevin Raleigh
Spanish Nights Michael Stanley
One of Those Dreams Kevin Raleigh
Love Hurts Kevin Raleigh
Hang Tough Michael Stanley
Just a Little Bit Longer Kevin Raleigh
Take The Time Mick Ralphs/Michael Stanley