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Pop Music: The Overdue Return of AOR

Some forty years ago, between 1975 and 1982, the best examples of Adult-Oriented Rock tunes were recorded. Now AOR quality tunes are back, thanks to a few players.

On February 21st, 2020, ‘Canyons’ will be released, the third album by a duet called Young Gun Silver Fox, consisting of the American multi-instrumentalist Shawn Lee and the British vocalist Andy Platts. Mama’s Gun was the name of Platt’s former band in which he was the singer who filled the center of all stages he conquered.

Stimulating Hormones

Shawn Lee, who is also known as a video game producer, is the mastermind of the project. These two men are doing the world a big favor: Young Gun Silver Fox is bringing back the quality of the 1970s in an area in which it is badly needed, namely Pop music. Yes, quality is returning, thanks to them.

‘Love Guarantee’, recorded in 2018, follows the AOR tradition.

‘Canyons’ and their first two albums, ‘West End Coast’ and ‘AM Waves’, are offering exactly what it says in their titles: West coast sound songs like the ones played on AM radio waves in 1978, the kind of music that would spread warmth, stimulate hormones and have an uplifting effect in every way imaginable.

Ed Motta is one of today’s AOR heroes.

Modern Day AOR Heroes

Their earlier tunes, such as ‘Love Guarantee’ and the new ones, including ‘Kids’ could have been recorded in Los Angeles, which some of them actually were, forty years ago. Young Gun Andy Platts and Silver Fox Shawn Lee will be touring The Netherlands in March of 2020.

Stephen Bishop’s ‘Somewhere In Between’ was used for the 1979 movie ‘The China Syndrome’.

There are a few other modern day AOR heros. One of them is the Brazilian vocalist, composer, multi-instrumentalist and record collector Ed Motta. He also delivers Musica Popular Brasileira and Jazz-Funk, but these are related genres that go very well together. Ed Motta’s 2013 album was even entitled ‘AOR’. There was a Portuguese and an English version. He himself favored the latter, but fans like the author of these lines like the Portuguese one more.

Kenny Loggins’ most brilliant AOR tune was ‘This Is It’.

Different Direction

Stephen Bishop, The Doobie Brothers, Kenny Loggins, Hall & Oates, 10cc, Toto, Steely Dan, The Eagles, Eric Tagg, Airplay, Boz Scaggs, Bill Champlin and so many other artists delivered the original AOR sound forty years ago. Most of those tunes were excellent compositions that included stunning singing jobs and expensive arrangements involving huge string or horn sections, or both.

David Foster’s ‘In the Stone’ became one of Earth, Wind and Fire’s Many Hits. This is the version he recorded himself, with Bill Champlin.

Back then, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, when music was still music, when good was still good and bad was good too, turning on the radio did not mean the person who did had to expect to be drowned in garbage sounds like today. Sure, there was some of that too, but it took a very different direction.

Related Genres

The AOR heroes of those times would not have sounded the way they did if it hadn’t been for the creators of the stunning Soul and Funk tunes of those times, since some of their typical elements and entire approach ended up in AOR recordings. All of those were, and still are, related genres. Acts like The Average White Band even played all of it. Young Gun Silver Fox are bringing some of the fascination back today.

Their first two albums can already be purchased and downloaded at the usual online stores. The same applies to the songs recorded by the pioneers, back in the days.

By the way: The publication you are reading, The Berlin Spectator, was established in January of 2019. We have worked a whole lot, as you can see. But there has hardly been any income. This is something we urgently need to change. Would you consider contributing? We would be very thankful. Our donations page can be found here.