I vividly remember the first time I heard Cinderella. Up here in Canada we had a show called Toronto Rocks, a one hour music video show that aired every day at 4pm. On Wednesday’s it was “Midweek Metal Mania” and since I was usually at my after school job during this time, I would have our Sony Betamax (yeah my Dad still insisted it was better than VHS) programmed to record each and every Wednesday so I could watch and re-watch all the hard rock and heavy metal videos of the day.
Cinderella’s “Shake Me” video came on one day and this song reached through the TV grabbed me by the throat and pun intended “shook me”! Tom’s voice was like nothing I had ever heard, loud raw and raspy. I loved the way they swung the guitars around in the video and Cinderella became my “find”. I was the first of my friends to pick up “Night Songs” their debut album and I was not disappointed as it is still one of my favourite albums today.
Night Songs opens with an epic intro that leads into the title track, a moody mid-tempo’s rocker that gets things rolling. “Shake Me” has the band rocking out and singing about SEX with Tom Keifer’s signature rasp. From there the album showcases Cinderella’s bluesy, brand of sleaze rock. A little more metal than their future releases and that might just be why it is still my favourite Cinderella album. “Once Around The Ride”, “Hell On Wheels” and “Push Push” kept the album rocking hard as hard as their hair was high.
Halloween night 1986, David Lee Roth brought the “Eat em and Smile” tour to Toronto’s Maple Leaf Gardens and opening up that night was Cinderella. I was 16, and was so excited for this show as I bought both a Cinderella and a David Lee Roth t-shirt (this was before they got so expensive you had to get bank loans to buy a shirt)
The houselights went down and the intro music to Night Songs came through the P.A. and I jumped to my feet. Cinderella kicked in and played a great warm up set playing through almost all of the debut album. I didn’t exactly have good seats but I will never forget the one thing that happened during their set. Many of you know how Jeff LaBar and Eric Brittingham are known for swinging their guitars around their body while playing. It looks so cool but sometimes relying on the strap isn’t always a great idea and on this night something went wrong.
Jeff flung his guitar with reckless abandon and either the strap broke or the strap button came loose. Either way, the guitar came away from his body slamming into the stage at breakneck speed. The sound that resulted was a little ugly until the sound man was able to kill the feedback, but Jeff just shrugged and took it all in stride. He soon strapped on a backup six string and continued on. I can’t remember what was said but Tom teased him about it after the song was done and again he just shrugged all innocent like. Was quite funny actually and very rock n roll.
Produced by Andy Johns, “Night Songs” would go on to sell in excess of 3 million copies as the band would tour with Bon Jovi on their massively successful Slippery When Wet tour. Although my favourite track “Shake Me” failed to chart, follow up singles “Nobody’s Fool” and “Somebody Save Me” saw Cinderella all over MTV. All three videos were linked together playing up Cinderella’s evil step sister story line. A move that although predictable, was very well done and solidified the band as MTV darlings beyond the debut album. Overall one of many great albums to land in ’86.
My intro to Cinderella back in 86