Excerpt from Sunday Old School:
Great White started as a standard lipstick and big hair glam band before evolving into one of the best blues hard rock bands of the eighties. Great White had amazing highs in the eighties, but nothing matches their tragic low in 2003. Today (as is the current trend with eighties bands) the lineup is a mess; with two bands touring as Great White. A made for Hollywood story from a band formed in Los Angeles.
Great White was created in the early 80’s by Jack Russell (vocals) and Mark Kendall (guitar). With Lorne Black (bass) and Garry Holland (drums) the band would record an independent EP that was produced by Don Dokken (Dokken). ‘Out of The Night’ received local airplay and just like that the band played to large crowds and became a signed band. In 1983 they released their self-titled album ‘Great White’ and went on the road to support Whitesnake and Judas Priest. After their third album, ‘Shot In The Dark’, was released the band went out and played the opening slot for Dokken. In 1987 the band hit the mainstream in a big way with their next album, ‘Once Bitten…’ which featured the singles “Rock Me”, “Lady Red Light”, and “Save Your Love.” The videos for “Rock Me” and “Lady Red Light” were essentially the same video highlighting big hair, jean jackets, oversized aviators, and of course a blonde squeezed into a leather skirt. Actually “Save Your Love” was also the same video, just slowed down a bit: same hair, same leather skirt, same jean jackets…
The band followed up ‘Once Bitten…” with “…Twice Shy” in 1989 and blew up with their giant hit “Once Bitten, Twice Shy”, a cover of a single by Ian Hunter. They received a Grammy Award and the album went double platinum that year. They also produced a video that featured model Bobbie Brown (SEE: Warrant and the video “Cherry Pie”) and the greatest “air drum solo” of all time. It was quite a video to say the least. Great White finished off the eighties headlining tours with Bon Jovi for an unofficial battle of the jean jackets; they were truly at the top of the success chain, and then everything went south.
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David S. Grant is the author of "Blood: The New Red", follow David on twitter .david_s_grant