Falling Apart At The Seams – Cinderella

This band may have picked the single worst band name of all time but they still had their moments. Despite (or perhaps because of) the bands truly awful name: Tom Kiefer, Jeff LaBar, Eric Brittingham and Fred Coury do not make the most obvious choice of act who would shift over 15 million units in their time together. Imagine an act comprising of heavy rock roadies calling themselves The Little Mermaids or Belle Of The Ball or Princess Pyjama Party and then attempting to be taken seriously. But Cinderella? Sure call your heavy metal band that. It’s 1986. What could possibly go wrong?

The initial purple patch ran from ‘86 to ‘91. There are later releases and more moves away from hair metal to blues rock but the band will forever be sequinned and teased in the history books alongside Mötley Crüe and Poison.

The truth of the matter is their debut album Night Songs is quite the heavy record. It’s a metal album the same way Blizzard of Ozz or Metal Health or Defenders Of The Faith are all metal albums. Songs like Push Push, Once Around The Ride and Shake Me are as much a part of the 80’s US metal landscape as anything by Ratt or Van Halen. Over in the UK mind you. Nada. They barely registered outside the pages of Kerrang!

The second album though? That was where the band tried to get out from the shadow of big hair, pointy guitars and (to quote Gene Simmons) “Dressing like Phyllis Diller’s cousin”. To start the second album with lap steel slide guitar and mono 78’rpm style blues showed a dimension to the band they’d follow further later on. By album number three they were homegrown down home consummate blues men. Trouble is, so were Poison, Bon Jovi and every other crossdressed band wagon rider grasping for credibility before their bubble bursts. Heartbreak Station is a really solid record. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Cinderella’s second album Long Cold Winter is a quality item. It’s opening track/tracks widely regarded by those who were there at the time as the bands best work.

The phono intro Bad Seamstress Blues gives way to a hard rock anthem of the era. Falling Apart At The Seams is a belter of a track. It puts the all star version of Whitesnake on the back foot. That vinyl crackle and slide guitar of…

“Lookin’ on back when I was young, I tried to sing it but my song had been sung”

…Pretty soon gives way to a beefed up rock riff and the big production boom of the real opening number. I can’t write a post about Cinderella and not mention Kiefer’s voice. It is a unique instrument. The one entirely original aspect of the whole band. Cinderella were good, they had tunes and could play. But Tom Keifer. What a voice. Not, conventionally pleasant to listen to but raspy, rough, raw and ragged. All words that have been used to describe Keifer’s sound. I’d know Tom Kiefer singing on anything, such was my fandom for those first three Cinderella albums.

“Old friends seem much closer now, they stand the test of time some how”

On the album, the opening twofer falls immediately into their big hit single Gypsy Road. Then their lighters aloft piano ballad Don’t Know What You Got (‘Til It’s Gone). Both did big business on MTV and AM radio over the pond. They got the band a showcase in the UK at the Marquee. Where they were ably supported by the UK’s own hair metal babies Little Angels. A legendary show that many a UK Metalhead of a certain vintage claims to have been at. Now either the Marquee was an arena sized TARDIS for one night only or some greying moshers are telling fibs. That club held no more then 300 people. The gig though. Legendary.

This barn storming opener of what is now a renowned hidden gem album deserves a day in the sun before the spring is upon us. I’m so tired of the cold and dark.

“My heart’s like a wheel and my head’s just a stone, I’ve got my memories”

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13 thoughts on “Falling Apart At The Seams – Cinderella

  1. I was not at the Marquee, I have never been to the Marquee, I was however dragged to the Manchester Apollo in 1988 by mu hair metal loving pals, I have no memory of the gig only the morning after, I blame the snakebite.

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  2. Great band as they never made an album I didn’t like. All four are good spins. Keifer is one talented cat and this tune proves it. Last summer I picked up both Night Songs and LCW on vinyl as I had originally owned NS on cassette tape and LCW on CD.

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  3. This was so much better than the debut. I loved that blues sound and Kiefer’s gritty vocals. Sadly, only 4 albums by these guys and what a shame as they were a cut above the rest. Kiefer’s solo stuff is pretty kille rtoo.

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  4. Great tune, man. I only really paid attention to Cinderella a few years ago… before that I thought “na” on account of them looking like a generic hair metal outfit. I think Still Climbing was the first one I heard. I have those first four albums now. Never judge a book by it’s cover, eh?

    Also, I second John’s recommendation about Kiefer’s latest. It’s pretty stellar.

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  5. Cinderella were great! They were way more intense than the hair metal bands at the time. They had some bangers on that first record. Unfortunately, that’s as far as I got because I was too lazy to search anything past that. I only knew “Shake Me,” “Night Songs,” “Don’t Know What You Got Until It’s Gone,” and “Gypsy Road.” If any of the mentioned tracks were on the following record, then I wouldn’t remember because it’s all a blur now. I’d like to search more tracks from them, but I don’t know where to start.

    Liked by 2 people

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