If it’s rockin’ it’s got to be Dokken!
Once again I am using the great podcast Rock An Or Roll as the basis for an article. Greg Renoff returns but this time, he and host BJ are talking about Dokken. I am in agreement with them in feeling that Dokken is a vastly underrated band. I believe they get dismissed for their videos that do not seem to age well. Musically they can be denied. Don Dokken was a master at creating a nice blend of melodic yet heavy rock songs. Plus George Lynch is a monster on guitar. In the podcast they do a nice job of giving a history of the band with some info that I’ve never heard of before. Instead of Don becoming the singer for Exciter, which was George’s band, he somehow convinced them to join him. Supposedly he took the Exciter demo around, which he didn’t sing on, around and got the band a record deal. There is some other cool tidbits that you should listen to the podcast for.
After going album by album they gave their respective Top 10 songs. The songs are from the albums that had the original Dokken line-up. So no Erase The Slate with Reb Beach on guitar that I loved. Greg did include a song from Dysfunctional, the 1995 reunion album that BJ is not too fond of. Also I do need to point out that I did not include “Mr. Scary”. While it is an outstanding bit of playing, it’s an instrumental. Also, the reunion album Dysfunctional was a remix of the Japan import Dokken, that came out a year before. Dokken is vastly superior. One Night Live was another import that was released before Dysfunctional came out over here. When Dokken came out the store I was working in sold about 30 copies. That’s an impressive number considering what was popular at the time plus it cost $30. I do recommend going on eBay and buying a copy.
So here’s my list of the Top 10 Dokken songs.
Honorable Mention: Usually it ticks me off when people do this but since BJ did it, I guess I will too.
From the Beginning-One Night Live– I know there is a version on Dysfunctional but I like this one better. It’s a little more subdued and not as bright as the other. Bonus points for choosing something not so expected.
10-”Til The Livin’ End” from Under Lock and Key-This is one of the heaviest songs Dokken ever did. It is borderline metal. Great solo from George and Mick Brown shows what a powerhouse drummer he can be.
9-”Paris Is Burning” from Breaking The Chains-This was a song that was originally done by Exciter but re-recorded by Dokken. Staring off with some shredding from George, it also features some trademark Dokken harmonies.
8-Prisoner from Back For The Attack-In all honesty this is a pedestrian song but what does it for me is that dual guitar hook at the beginning of the song that comes back at the chorus. Those 4 simple notes are irresistible.
7-”Just Got Lucky” from Tooth and Nail– This was one of their bigger songs and I think it showcases all the bands strengths. Great singalong chorus too. Quick aside, this was when George was looking like Limahl from Kajagoogoo.
6-”Long Way Home” from Dokken– The version on the reunion album to clarify. While Dysfunctional is good, the self-titled is better. It was mixed like a Dokken record while Dysfunctional was mixed for a mid-90’s American audience. This song I think is a great representation of the band, just down tuned. Great riff and chorus.
5-”It’s Not Love” from Under Lock and Key– Just like “Prisoner” a simple guitar lick is the hook. I love how it slow builds to the chorus. Another great singalong chorus plus the spoken word section is what clenches it for me.
4-”Burning Like A Flame” from Back For The Attack-Another track that starts slow then kicks it in to high gear. It’s a very commercial sounding song but it’s oh so good.
3-”The Maze” from Dokken– Once again this version is better than the Dysfunctional one. I know it’s strange that I chose this ballad when “Alone Again” is one of their most popular tracks. I think this is a more mature ballad while the others were “obligations”. The acoustic version is pretty solid too.
2-In My Dreams from Under Lock and Key-The harmonies on this track are amazing. Simple, hooky chorus and great playing from George and he shows that you can show virtuosity in the confines of a pop song.
1-”Into The Fire”–Tooth and Nail– Tooth and Nail is not the best sounding of their albums. However, I think it’s that sound that I love about this song. It’s not as slick as the other stuff. Once again the harmonies on the chorus are infectious. Again, a great singalong that you cannot help but like. I’ve always loved that little breakdown that comes after the guitar solo.
Just like my Top 10 KISS songs of the 80’s list, this could change if you ask me tomorrow. In fact I’m pretty sure that I will change the order in between finishing the final draft. Dokken is a great band that the wave of Seattle swept away, unfortunately. However, we can still appreciate them by digging out our vinyl, still have mine, and cranking it up. We’ll just forget all the bad hairdo’s George and Don sported and enjoy the tunes.