Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Great White - Rock Me

Part of the appeal of rock and roll is that it is an escape from the real world, but every once in a while, the real world crashes the party.  Few bands know this better than Great White, as their story includes one of the most tragic chapters in rock history.

Of course, we are referring to the February 2003 fire at The Station nightclub in Rhode Island.  As most folks will recall, pyrotechnics lit by the band's touring manager ignited soundproofing foam and led to a fire that killed 100 people and injured another 200.  It was the fourth deadliest fire in U.S. history.  Among the dead was Great White's guitarist, Ty Longley, and WHJY DJ Mike "The Doctor" Gonsalves (who was MCing the show).

In the aftermath of the show, Great White toured to support the Station Family Fund, before the band split into two factions.  Lead singer Jack Russell continued to tour, using the name Jack Russell's Great White, while several other original members played shows using the Great White name.

All of this was a far cry from the band's successes during the late 1980's / early 1990's.  Their brand of blues-rock led to three straight top 25 albums, and two top 40 hits.  Great White's biggest hit was their cover of Ian Hunter's "Once Bitten, Twice Shy," but they had a second hit with "The Angel Song." (Nope, not sure I remember that one either.)

For the blog, we went with their breakout hit, 1987's "Rock Me" from the Once Bitten ... LP.  While the song peaked at #60 on the charts, it introduced the band to a wider audience, helped by the video below.  By the way, the woman in the video is Tracy Martinson, who appeared in a bunch of Great White videos, but left the industry years ago.

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