Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2019
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

Billy Squier / Riot

Riot V / Billy Squier

Squier blows by Riot on the road to success - 80%

Gutterscream, August 17th, 2017
Written based on this version: 1980, 12" vinyl, Capitol Records (Promo)

“…feel the earth move under my wheels…”

What may seem like an unlikely pairing today wasn’t all that strange back in the day.

While New York’s Riot were on the treadmarked trail toward semi-veteran status with already two full-lengthers under their personal bridge, yet were still quite unknown, Massachusetts native Billy Squier had just released his May debut, The Tale of the Tape, to I guess brisk sales (peaked at #169 on the US Billboard 200) due assumingly to some heavy spin time awarded to non-charting “You Should Be High Love” and lighter rotation of this single’s also chartless a-side.

A radio promo-only release, Capitol Records smartly dropped the same band/weaker b-side design in favor of two confirmed a-side quality tracks from two bands in need of exposure. A pretty swift move I’d say, and lazy deejays won’t have to move from their seats for the follow-up song, though for some reason this specific format never caught on.

“Big Beat” takes its time somewhat slow rolling a blues-based rhythm that changes only mildly as it hits its chorus. Fitting this temperament like a canned sardine is Squier’s laid-back, unrushed routine in both guitar and voice.

Narita’s “Road Racin’”, a sports-wheelin’ speedster, quickly carries the a-side’s blues away on the muscular back of a faster beat, orange with sun-ripened, almost lighthearted aggression caused mainly by the tune’s up-tempo nature.

This split works due to these polar opposite tracks playing off the diverse characteristics of one another, probably another strategy aimed as well in the deejay’s general direction, and if not him, then the station manager’s.

Of course Mr. Squier’s beat will bounce much bigger, higher and every other way with ‘81’s Don’t Say Know and the at least four Billboard-smashing hits (“My Kinda Lover”, “In the Dark”, “Lonely is the Night” and massively popular “The Stroke”) that’re smack dab on my genuinely cool list and continue to be classic rock radio mainstays. Meanwhile Riot road race onward with no Billboards in sight, and about the same time Squier starts saying yes to success, Riot start their third Fire Down Below.