ARTIST: Franke & The Knockouts
TITLE: Franke & The Knockouts
YEAR RELEASED: 1981
CHART ACTION: #31
SINGLES: Sweetheart (#10, #27 Mainstream Rock), You’re My Girl (#27), Come Back (#45 Mainstream Rock)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Of course not
LINEUP: Franke Previte, Leigh Foxx, Billy Elworthy, Claude LeHenaff, Blake Levinsohn, Tommy Ayers
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Generic rock band from New Jersey gets a hit with a retro-sounding hit. The rest sounds like warmed over Foreigner or April Wine.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: “Sweetheart” is one of those songs you think you know from somewhere. It’s not played a lot now, but has been around long enough and played somewhere enough times that even the youngsters know it. I dug it then and I like hearing it now.
It’s also kind of anomalous. It’s a retro sounding track, while the rest of the album sounds like a band struggling to find the sweet spot where rock stations could safely tuck them into their playlist because they sound like other bands. Foreigner, April Wine, REO Speedwagon, that ilk of band. They kinda sorta rock but are soft around the edges, too. “Tonight” reminds me of a Boston song without Tom Scholz. Think about that.
A couple songs turned my ear. They don’t have the songs, or the individuality, to make a difference, really. The lyrics are kind of clichés about love and stuff and things. Heard it all before.
They released a couple of other records. I’m passing.
NOTES & MINUTAE: Franke Previte co-wrote two big smashes from the Dirty Dancing Soundtrack: “Hungry Eyes” and “(I’ve Had )the Time of My Life”. Also, Charlie Dominici (later of Dream Theater) sang backing vocals on this record.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No
GRADE: C: It’s competent, but really you’ve heard a lot of this before. A lot of it is exiled, but I still like “Sweetheart” a lot!