It was surprising to see Tycoon three years later with an album that was completely different, and held by many scribes as being an absolute AOR gem!
Written by: gdmonline
ALBUM: Turn Out The Lights
SERIAL: AL 9555
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
LINEUP: Norman Mershon – vocals * Mark Kreider – bass, vocals * Jon Gordon – guitars, vocals * Bobby Messano – guitars, vocals * Mark Rivera – sax, vocals * Keith Taylor – keyboards * Mike Braun – drums
TRACK LISTING: 01 This Island Earth * 02 One More Try * 03 Turn Out The Lights * 04 Walkin’ The Line * 05 Let It Down * 06 Hang On In * 07 Can’t Take That Away * 08 Love You Till It Hurts * 09 C’mon Over * 10 Call The Police
Tycoon were a band primarily made up of New York session musicians during the late 70’s. An accumulation of musicians (some listed above) joined forces, and under the guiding hand of Mutt Lange produced their debut album in 1978. If you’re an AOR tragic, then you’ll probably love it.
So it was surprising to see Tycoon three years later with an album that was completely different, and held by many scribes as being an absolute AOR gem! Yes, TOTL is a very special album of great songs, and features a superb vocal performance by Norman Mershon, the guitar slinger antics of Bobby Messano (previously with Starz) and a top notch production by Vini Poncia (Adrenalin).
Tycoon open up with the reggae flavoured ‘This Island Earth’. A unique way to start an album for sure. I quite liked the funkiness of ‘One More Try’, with Rivera’s sax working overtime on this one. The title track ‘Turn Out The Lights’ has a punchy piano arrangement, and is similar to John O’Banion‘s material.
The purest form of AOR is the sensational ‘Walkin’ The Line’, where you see an integration of debut era Balance mixed in with Toto. ‘Let It Down’ is a ballad with a foot in the REO Speedwagon camp. Then we get a pair of uptempo 80’s AOR tracks, ‘Hang On In’ (made popular by Art Garfunkel the same year), and ‘Can’t Take That Away’.
Without doubt one of my favourite tracks is ‘Love You Till It Hurts’, a track that should’ve been on Toto‘s songlist. The last pair of tracks are as energetic as they are inviting. ‘Cmon Over’ is great while ‘Call The Police’ is a hilarious workout, which I’m sure the boys from The Tubes would’ve had fun playing.
The band split not long after, but years after the event, I think the album had a CD release somewhere. Mershon and Kreider, the two leading lights kept Tycoon going up until 1983 at least, despite losing their deal with Arista. An unreleased set of tunes appeared years later under the title ‘Opportunity Knocks’, reportedly released as a series of demos in 1983. We’ve reviewed that one too, click the tag below. For what it’s worth, ‘Turn Out The Lights’ is a pretty good effort, and one that is well respected by the AOR community at large.
Walkin’ The Line
Love You Till It Hurts
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[Dangerzone] ‘Love You Till it Hurts’ has to be the best song Franke and the Knockouts never recorded.