In my opinion, ‘Billy Satellite’ is one of the best true AOR albums ever released. It’s got everything really. Even now when I review it years later, it still sounds as fresh now as it did then.
Written by: gdmonline
ARTIST: Billy Satellite
ALBUM: Billy Satellite
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
LINEUP: Monty Byrom – vocals, guitars * Danny Chauncey – guitars * Ira Walker – bass * Tom Falletti – drums
TRACK LISTING: 01 Satisfy Me * 02 Last Call * 03 Do Ya * 04 I Wanna Go Back * 05 Trouble * 06 Rockin’ Down The Highway * 07 Turning Point * 08 Bye Bye Baby * 09 Standin’ With The Kings * 10 The Lonely One * 11 Pokerface* * 12 Ready To Rock And Roll
If there was one musical timeframe and city I would have loved to have been a part of, that would be living in San Francisco during the late 70’s and early 80’s. San Francisco and the Bay Area just produced some wonderful AOR acts during that time.
Let’s see, a quick roster: Journey, Jefferson Starship, Pablo Cruise, Y&T, Sammy Hagar, Montrose, Gamma, Taaxi, Night Ranger, Huey Lewis And The News, Eddie And The Tide, Wild Dogs, the list rolls on. Now Billy Satellite. Who is he then? Well, there’s no Billy in there whatsoever, but a band which oozes absolute class on every track.
My recollection of Billy Satellite is that they won a Battle Of The Bands contest in Frisco during 1982/83, culminating in the release of their self-titled debut on Capitol and produced by Don Gehman. In my opinion, ‘Billy Satellite’ is one of the best true AOR albums ever released. It’s got everything really. Even now when I review it years later, it still sounds as fresh now as it did then.
From Track 1 to Track 10 every one of them is a winner. The album kicks off with the sassy and strutty ‘Satisfy Me’, the punchy raucous of ‘Last Call’ and the pop smarts of ‘Do Ya’. An opening triumvirate of classic AOR rockers.
‘I Wanna Go Back’ is as close to AOR balladry perfection as you are likely to get. This one was covered by Eddie Money and Gregg Rolie a few years later, but neither are a touch on this version. Maybe I’m biased? Lol.
All the other tracks which I haven’t mentioned here are all brilliant, honourable mentions going to ‘Bye Bye Baby’ and the album closer ‘The Lonely One’. One of the features of this album are the memorable choruses and hooks. If only there was a band doing this style now! (sigh).
I won’t spoil it for you. Just buy the album! The band did return for a second stint during 1985, and producer Keith Olsen was bought in to produce the album, but things didn’t work out between the band and Olsen, and subsequently the entire sessions were scrubbed and the band called it quits.
In the ‘where did they go to’ stakes, Monty Byrom joined forces with his brother Tanner Byrom as well as New Frontier bandmate David Neuhauser and fronted new country band Big House. To date they have released 2 albums ‘Big House’ (1997) and ‘Travellin’ Kind’ (1998).
Danny Chauncey of course went off to 38 Special (we did an interview with Danny, click tag below) while Ira Walker was tinkering around with an outfit called Skins N Snakes.
In later years, this album saw significant reissues from German label ATM Records during 2000, plus the easier to obtain Rock Candy version from 2009. Also, AOR Heaven released the previous unreleased ‘Billy Satellite II’ album in 2016. These were tracks from the before mentioned and ill-fated 1985 sessions. Click the tag below to read more.
I Wanna Go Back
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[Tarotman] Picked this up recently at a local flea market, never having heard it, but remembered the name from some AOR classics lists. First listen was quite underwhelming, but I’m starting to see what the fuss is about after 3-4 listens. Very classy.
[PatrickHemming] When it comes to meat and potatoes rock & roll, (with a little bit of hi-tech & aor thrown in for good measure), you could do a lot worse. This is a good little album. A few weeks ago I played Eddie Money’s take on When You Gonna Satisfy Me. Next time I circle back to the 80’s I’m going to play something from it.
[Nick C] I actually prefer Eddie’s version of When You Gonna Satisfy Me and I Wanna Go back too – but then I’m might be a bit biased and still waiting for his final album to get a full release! I’m kind of on the same page as TarotMan – I still think the album is just okay and even after all these years of owning it it has never become one that really got it’s hooks in me, it’s a very competent album – I kept hold of it either way.
[Rkbluez] Always loved this album…it’s got a great mix of songs and sounds great…big and punchy…should of sold a lot more copies.