Loverboy Biography

Canadian hard rock outfit formed in 1978 by Mike Reno (Joseph Michael Rynoski, 8 January 1955, New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada; vocals), Paul Dean (b. 19 February 1946, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; guitar), Doug Johnston (b. 19 December 1957, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; keyboards), Scott Smith (b. Donald Scott Smith, 13 February 1955, d. November 2000, California, USA; bass) and Matthew Frenette (b. 7 March 1954, Calgary, Alberta, Canada; drums). Reno was formerly with Moxy, and Dean and Frenette had been members of Streetheart, a melodic AOR/heavy rock band. With this pedigree, Loverboy was signed up by Columbia Records in March 1980. Producer Bruce Fairbairn helped them to record a self-titled album that was to set Loverboy’s standard for years to come. It was an US styled melodic hard rock collection that also dipped into reggae and jazz moods. Buoyed by the US hit singles ‘Turn Me Loose’ (number 35) and ‘The Kid Is Hot Tonite’ (number 55), Loverboy went platinum. After touring, the band re-entered the studio, with Fairbairn again producing, to record the follow-up, Get Lucky. The album lived up to its name by selling over three million copies, helped by the US Top 30 success of ‘Working For The Weekend’ and ‘When It’s Over’. The only territory where the band had failed to take off was Europe. After further touring Fairbairn produced the multi-platinum Keep It Up in 1983, from which ‘Hot Girls In Love’ reached US number 11. Loverboy’s inviting blend of melodic AOR had been honed to a fine art, the album’s success keeping the band on the road for nearly two years. On Lovin’ Every Minute Of It they were joined by Tom Allom, best known for his work with Judas Priest. The result was a musically tougher album that proved to be the band’s least successful, though it still sold well over a million copies. The title track, written by Def Leppard producer Robert John ‘Mutt’ Lange, broke into the US Top 10, as did ‘This Could Be The Night’. ‘Heaven In Your Eyes’, taken from the soundtrack of Top Gun, reached US number 12 later in the year. Fairbairn had by now made his name as the producer of Bon Jovi, but returned to the helm for Loverboy’s Wildside, released in 1987, and one of their most cohesive albums. Bryan Adams, Richie Sambora and Jon Bon Jovi all co-wrote various tracks. This was followed by a marathon two-year tour, the band’s longest yet. They did, however, take a break for two months to record tracks with producer Bob Rock before supporting Def Leppard on their European tour in the spring of 1988.

Afterwards, Loverboy returned home to Canada and an uncertain future. Dean and Reno announced plans to record solo and this left the rest of the band in limbo. In 1989, the Big Ones compilation was released by Columbia. The album contained three new tracks that had been recorded with Bob Rock. Later that year, Dean released a solo effort assisted by Loverboy drummer Frenette and Jon Bon Jovi on harmonica. The parent band re-formed for a benefit gig in 1992, and the following May resumed playing as a full-time unit. Several US tours followed before Johnson decided to leave the band in December 1996. The remaining quartet released a new album on the CMC International label in 1997. Scott Smith died in a boating accident in November 2000. Loverboy carried on with Streetheart bass player Spider Sinnaeve.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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