Night Ranger Biography

This talented and sophisticated American pomp-rock group released a string of first-class albums between 1982 and 1988. Featuring Jack Blades (vocals, bass), Brad Gillis (guitar, ex-Ozzy Osbourne), Alan Fitzgerald (keyboards, ex-Montrose), Kelly Keagy (drums) and Jeff Watson (guitar), they gigged in and around their home town of San Francisco as an extension of Gillis’ club band, Ranger. They soon attracted the attention of promoter Bill Graham, who secured them support slots to Santana, Judas Priest and the Doobie Brothers. They also signed with Neil Bogart’s short-lived Boardwalk label, though this decision had a major impact on their later career when Boardwalk was swallowed up by MCA, who had little sympathy for the band’s rock roots. However, Night Ranger’s first four albums made the Billboard Top 40 charts, with Seven Wishes reaching the Top 10 in June 1985. They also enjoyed two Top 10 single hits in the USA with ‘Sister Christian’ and ‘Sentimental Street’, peaking at numbers 5 and 8, respectively. Man In Motion saw the departure of Fitzgerald as the band adopted a rockier direction. Produced by Keith Olsen, the album was their first commercial failure. The band split shortly afterwards, with Live In Japan, featuring one of their 1988 concerts, emerging two years later. Jack Blades joined Damn Yankees with Ted Nugent, Tommy Shaw and Michael Cartellone. The name was resurrected in 1992 by Gillis and drummer/vocalist Kelly Keagy with new members, much to the disgust of Blades and Watson. It seemed unlikely that the new formation would add much to the existing Nightranger legacy of solid US AOR.

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