Title - 'Hanoi Rocks - Strange Boys Box'
Artist - Hanoi Rocks
For those not in the know, Hanoi Rocks was a Finnish rock band formed in 1979, most successful in the early 1980s. The band broke up in 1985, a year after its drummer Nicholas "Razzle" Dingley died in a car accident. Original vocalist Michael Monroe and guitarist Andy McCoy reunited in 2001 with a new line-up of Hanoi Rocks until 2009.
According to Finnish radio and TV personality Jone Nikula, who was the band's tour manager in the 2000s, Hanoi Rocks's albums have sold between 780,000 and 1,000,000 copies around the world, but mostly in Scandinavia and Japan.
And so, and with regard all that happened between 1979-1985, the rest, as they say, is musical history, for Hanoi Rocks were, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the most beloved hair metal bands of the mid-80's.
Thus, and with Hanoi Rocks having been coined as the "Strange Boys of glam punk", let alone Helsinki's finest rock n' roll export, Cleopatra Records offer up this magnificent 5 CD box-set of their first four studio albums plus the live album, All Those Wasted Years.
These are the complete albums and include several of the group's signature tunes such as "Tragedy," "Motorvatin'," "Don't You Never Leave Me," "Malibu Beach Nightmare," "Back To Mystery City" and lots, oh so many more! The box-set recreates all of the original artwork with individual wallets/sleeves plus a gorgeous full-color booklet with extensive excerpts from the band's official biography; which will be released for the first time in English later this year.
Disc: 1 - Bangkok Shocks, Saigon Shakes, Hanoi Rocks (1981)
Generally, this Hanoi Rocks debut album is considered as their best, but although it contains lot of fast, energetic glam rock, it doesn't match the heights to which Oriental Beat rose. Bangkok Shocks, Saigon Shakes, Hanoi Rocks is still a very, very good debut album though, with its best songs being "Tragedy", "Lost In The City" and "Cheyenne". Lyrically, they aren't superior than much else that was ever released by them, in truth, but Mike Monroe's vocals and the powerful guitar playing by Andy McCoy are enough to create a smile when listening to it, that's for sure. Even today!
1. Tragedy 2. Village Girl 3. Stop Cryin' 4. Don't Never Leave Me 5. Lost in the City 6. First Timer 7. Cheyenne 8. 11th Street Kids 9. Walking with My Angel 10. Pretender
Disc: 2 - Oriental Beat (1982)
Oriental Beat is the second album from Hanoi Rocks and it's a lot more pop-oriented than their other releases. Which is not a bad thing, that's for sure, as it allowed them to expand their fan base a wee bit more, that's all. Tracks like "Don't Follow Me", "Teenangels Outsiders", and "Motorvatin'" excel in this kind of songwriting formula; and if there was any justice in the world, these songs would have been huge radio hits! But, with all this slick pop business going down at the time, their glam and trashy underbelly still showing on strong tracks like "Lightening Bar Blues" and the title track, they just couldn't compete as they ended the 80's.
1. Motorvatin' 2. Don't Follow Me 3. Visitor 4. Teenangels Outsiders 5. Sweet Home Suburbia 6. M.C. Baby 7. No Law or Order 8. Oriental Beat 9. Devil Woman 10. Lightning Bar Blues 11. Fallen Star
Disc: 3 - Self-Destruction Blues (1982)
Personally, this is my favorite of all the Hanoi Rocks albums. Indeed, for my money, and my ear, Self-Destruction Blues is the most perfect link between late 70's punk bands (like The Nervous Eaters) and those hair bands of the 80's (like Britny Fox). I love the raw sound of the guitars and vocals on this great album, where all the songs are catchy without being mainstream in the slightest. If you are a fan of bands like The Cramps, New York Dolls and such you have to pick this up. I mean, this incredible 5CD box-set aside, if you find this album solo somewhere BUY IT!
1. Love's An Injection 2. I Want You 3. Cafe Avenue 4. Nothing New 5. Kill City Kills 6. Self Destruction Blues 7. Beer and a Cigarette 8. Whispers in the Dark 9. Taxi-Driver 10. Desperados 11. Problem Child 12. Dead By X-Mas
Disc: 4 - Back To Mystery City (1983)
On Back to Mystery City, former Mott the Hoople members Buffin and Overend were on hand as producers for their Scandinavian acolytes. Personally, I think Mystery City is as good as any of Hanoi Rocks' discs (save for the aforementioned Self-Destruction Blues, perhaps) with such cuts as the blistering opener "Malibu Beach Nightmare", the title track and "Tooting Bec Wreck" as clear stand outs. "Until I Get You" is a great ballad and much of the second half of the record is slower, which is fine, but maybe not as memorable.
1. Strange Boys Play Weird Openings 2. Malibu Beach 3. Mental Beat 4. Tooting Bec Wreck 5. Until I Get You 6. Sailing Down the Tears 7. Lick Summer Love 8. Beating Gets Faster 9. Ice Cream Summer 10. Back to Mystery City
Disc: 5 - All Those Wasted Years: Live at the Marquee (1984)
The Finnish glam band were most definitely on fire here, top of their collective game, when they came together at The Marquee in London in December 1983. Sadly, it was also to be about a year before the death of Hanoi Rocks' drummer Razzle. The live engineer was Mick Staplehurst, the longtime FOH Engineer for Hanoi Rocks and his tunemanship here is outstanding, given the day and the equipment offered him.
Originally released as a 2-vinyl LP (yummy!) in 1985, it is truly great to finally have it here in this 5CD box-set as a remastered CD (it's also out as a single CD stand alone from this box-set, FYI). As one would expect, it contains the big hits and fan favorites such as the rock steady "Back To Mystery City", "Motorvatin'", "Don't Never Leave Me", "11th Street Kids", "Taxi Driver" and their two covers - their so-so version of Alice Cooper's "Under My Wheels" and the Yardbirds standard "Train Kept A Rolling".
Again, and I can't stress this enough, but the sound quality is great and as much of a live album fanatic I am, I'm totally pleased with this remastered live album. The line-up on this night (which I SO wish I had been at, just from listening to it), was: Mike Monroe (vocals), Andy McCoy and Nasty Suicide (guitars), Sam Yaffa (bass), and the extremely missed Razzle on drums.
1. Pipeline 2. Oriental Beat 3. Back to Mystery City 4. Motorvatin' 5. Until I Get You 6. Mental Beat 7. Don't Never Leave Me 8. Tragedy 9. Malibu Beach Nightmare 10. Visitor 11. 11th Street Kids 12. Taxi-Drivers 13. Lost in the City 14. Lightning Bar Blues 15. Beer and Cigarette 16. Under My Wheels 17. I Feel Alright 18. Train Kept a Rolling
'Hanoi Rocks - Strange Boys Box' 5CD Purchase Link