Ted Nugent - Penetrator

Ted Nugent – Penetrator


Ted Nugent goes AOR? Not quite, but the man went very close with this and other 80’s albums ‘Little Miss Dangerous’ (1986) and ‘If You Can’t Lick ‘Em….Lick ‘Em’ (1988).

Written by: Dangerzone

ARTIST: Ted Nugent
ALBUM: Penetrator
LABEL: Atlantic
SERIAL: 80125
YEAR: 1984
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List

LINEUP: Ted Nugent – guitars, vocals * Brian Howe – vocals * Doug Lubahn – bass * Bobby Chouinard – drums * Alan St John – keyboards * Peter Wolf – percussion and sequences

TRACK LISTING: 01 Tied Up In Love * 02 Where Do You Draw The Line * 03 Knockin’ At Your Door * 04 Don’t You Want My Love * 05 Go Down Fighting * 06 Thunder Thighs * 07 No Mans Land * 08 Blame It On The Night * 09 Lean Mean R & R Machine



Ted Nugent goes AOR? Not quite, but the man went very close with this and other 80’s albums ‘Little Miss Dangerous’ (1986) and ‘If You Can’t Lick ‘Em….Lick ‘Em’ (1988). Nugent’s commercial power was on the wane in 1984, the heady days of the late 70’s when he ruled American rock ‘n’ roll long since passed.

Coming off the excellent ‘Nugent’ (1982) Ted shook things up and hired a new backing band, comprised of three former Billy Squier members, Lubahn, St John and Chouinard and future Bad Company singer Howe. The sound was half melodic rock mixed with Ted’s wild man rock style, with the emphasis on keyboard use more than usual. To Nugent’s anger, radio shunned ‘Penetrator’ resulting in a poor chart placing (#56) although the live shows were more successful.

The Songs

Nugent was obviously influenced by what was happening in mainstream hard rock in 1984, with the opening track ‘Tied Up In Love’ heavily synthesized, brimming with massive melodic guitar riffs and a hook suited to the airwaves. Howe’s vocals could make you think this is Bad Company, particularly on ‘(Where Do You) Draw The Line’, consummate AOR.

There’s an overdose of sweat inducing choruses on ‘Knockin’ At Your Door’ and ‘Don’t You Want My Love’, bodyblows of AOR class. Ted Nugent hits Survivor like anthem territory with the politically themed ‘Go Down Fighting’, with a solid backbeat complete with stunning harmonies. True 80’s magic.

Nugent takes vocals on the more traditional ‘Thunder Thighs’, a 70’s throwback which made the man a household name. Not too dissimilar to ‘Free For All’ in sound. There’s a hardcore riff dominating ‘No Man’s Land’, Nugent’s overblown guitar work the strength of the cut. Searing AOR returns with ‘Blame It On The Night’ followed by the self explanatory ‘Lean Mean R&R Machine’, blistering stuff.

The piano based power ballad (?) ‘Take Me Home is a reflective finale’, displaying Ted’s ‘gentler’ side! (Ted?.. gentler side? Ed)

In Summary

Nugent soldiered on despite the negative reaction to ‘Penetrator’. It wasn’t until 1990’s Damn Yankees project that Nugent enjoyed some commercial fortune, but that fizzled out soon after, a 1992 follow-up ‘Don’t Tread’ going nowhere.

He released ‘Spirit Of The Wild’ in 1995, continuing to tour heavily, but not issuing any new material until the recent ‘Craveman’ CD in October of this year. The man remains an American institution and can get away by touring alone these days, but as expected wouldn’t play anything off ‘Penetrator’ if forced to at gunpoint.

Ted still backs the album claiming in the sleeve notes ‘In the case of 84’s ‘Penetrator’, ‘Thunder Thighs’ is a career high point as far as I and many others are concerned’. Actually the whole albums a high point – an ultimate example of 80’s AOR/Hard Rock as only the Americans could do.


Tied Up In Love

Ted Nugent - Tied Up In Love

Entire Album (Select Tracks)
Tied up in Love

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