Check the exclusive video, showing the vinyl for sale!
Check the exclusive video, showing the vinyl for sale!
Listening to Skyscraper in 2018 might make you misty-eyed for the days when rock was irony-free and larger-than-life showmen like Dave Lee Roth were heroes. It also reminds you just how good an album this was and still is. DLR is backed by a super-group that includes guitarist/co-producer Steve Vai, bassist Billy Sheehan and drummer Greg Bissonnette, and among some class tracks one of the highlights is the soaring, synth-drenched pop of Just Like Paradise.
David Lee Roth – Skyscraper
Label: Warner Bros. Records
Catalog#: 92 5671-1 [USA pressing]
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album
Style: Hard Rock
A1 Knucklebones 3:18
A2 Just Like Paradise 4:03
A3 The Bottom Line 3:37
A4 Skyscraper 3:38
A5 Damn Good 5:49
B1 Hot Dog And A Shake 3:19
B2 Stand Up 4:39
B3 Hina 4:40
B4 Perfect Timing 3:41
B5 Two Fools A Minute 4:28
Bass – Billy Sheehan
Drums – Gregg Bissonette
Engineer – Magic Moreno
Guitar, Co-producer – Steve Vai
Keyboards – Brett Tuggle
Producer, Vocals – David Lee Roth
Skyscraper is the second full-length album by David Lee Roth (of Van Halen), released in 1988. It was the last to feature guitarist Steve Vai, who left the group in 1989 to join Whitesnake and continue his solo career. Bassist Billy Sheehan would also leave the group before the tour to eventually form Mr. Big. This album contained the US hit single, “Just Like Paradise”, which reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Skyscraper was not a critical success at the time of release, but has since been labeled a ‘classic rock/hard rock’ album with a sunny ‘California’ feel, typical of Roths positive outlook.
“Hina” is notable in that it features only one guitar track; it is panned to one ear, while a delay effect then sends the guitar sound to the other ear, allowing Vai to, in essence, play off/harmonize with himself.
Roths management received a phone call asking for permission for “Just Like Paradise” to be used as the theme song of a new television show, Beverly Hills 90210. They rejected the idea without asking Roth first, so an original piece of instrumental music was used instead.
David Lee Roth – vocals
Steve Vai – guitar, horn (alto)
Billy Sheehan – bass guitar, backing vocals
Gregg Bissonette – drums, percussion, backing vocals
John Batdorf – backing vocals
Gary Falcone – backing vocals
Tommy Funderburk – backing vocals
Tom Kelly – backing vocals
Joe Pizzulo – backing vocals
Dr. Funk PhD – bass guitar
Brett Tuggle – keyboards, programming, backing vocals
Todd Grace – programming, keyboard programming
Richie Raposa – programming, keyboard programming
David Lee Roth – producer, concept, cover design
Steve Vai – producer, engineer
Gary Wagner – engineer
Doug Parry – engineer
Magic Moreno – engineer, mixing
Steve Holroyd – engineer
Bernie Grundman – mastering
Marnie Riley – engineer
Stephen Shelton – engineer
Pete Angelus – concept, cover design
Galen Rowell – photography
Paul Levy – engineer
Bob Cats – mixing
Vigon Seireeni – artwork
Gina Vivona – artwork
Year Chart Position
1988 The Billboard 200 6
Year Single Chart Position
1988 “Damn Good” Mainstream Rock Tracks 2
1988 “Just Like Paradise” Mainstream Rock Tracks 1
1988 “Just Like Paradise” The Billboard Hot 100 6
1988 “Stand Up” Mainstream Rock Tracks 5
1988 “Stand Up” The Billboard Hot 100 64
9:00 to 11:32 explains the story behind the album with exclusive commentary by Steve Vai
5.0 out of 5 stars The most underrated masterpiece of its decade!!!!!!!,
Simply put, this wonderful little bundle is mindlessly cheerful, lifes-so-groovy-to-me optimism, done with that cartoonish sense of humour we’ve all grown to love so much… and it STILL manages to successfully slam the works of other so-called artists of the eighties like Bon Jovi with a ferociously fierce talent and creativity few had during that decade. No wonder Eddie Van Halen loathed it so much when it was released… because it and all of Daves other albums, as Eddie HIMSELF admitted, show who was the REAL heart and creative genius behind Van Halen! Every song is a winner from start to finish, there are gorgeous melodies everywhere that jaded headbangers will probably never understand or appreciate, and Steve Vais playing is stupendous. Roth reminds me so much of Led Zeppelin… back during the seventies, Led Zep (another fave rave of mine) were slammed ruthlessly by critics with each and every release, all whining about how “pretentious” and “unlistenable” the album was and how the last one was better, even though the same critics had slammed IT too! Same with Dave… each album he has done solo-wise is a masterpiece, and each one has been critically slammed, only to be praised when the next one came out in the precise same way. The only thing that kept Diamond Dave from being fully appreciated for being the multitalented musical genius that he was and is was the presss and the publics bias against him after Eddie did everything he could to ruin him (and now we all know WHO the real jerk was after 1996, now, don’t we?). The “Led Zeppelin 3” of its time, SKYSCRAPER was a massive experiment for Dave as he challenged his audience with NEW strong points they never knew he had, one that was pulled off beautifully, and will hopefully one day get the critical applause and favour it so richly deserves. More, Dave! MORE!
5.0 out of 5 stars 1988 A Damn Good Time !!!,
1988 Fondly remembered for The Diamonds best release of his less than lack-luster solo career. Steve Vai starts the disc out with a chicken picking guitar opening that is least expected but he remains in tune to where Roth is headed and explains why Vai was easily meant to support Roth instead of you know who. Vai and Roth sink deep into Pop territory for Just like Paradise while flexing their metal muscle on Knucklebones. Vais fifth grade composition Damn Good comes off with some Damn good results and the title track —- contrary to other reviewers finds Vais backward masking and recording quite adventurous for its time and if listened to with the proper surround sound equipment will leave the listener in Awe.Perfect Timing is an excellent song that stands well on its own and should have been a single.Its competition OU812 flounders in comparison to this Pop Metal Masterpiece.
David Lee Roth‘s second full-length solo album, the commercially successful Skyscraper, has had mixed critical response since it was released in 1988. This album, while continuing much of the same good-time-hard-rock direction that Roth had personified throughout his career as a front man, also saw some subtle movement towards other sub-genres. Most of the compositions on Skyscraper were co-written by Roth and virtuoso lead guitarist Steve Vai.
Following the phenomenal success of Van Halen’s 1984, Roth decided he would give a solo project a go. In early 1985 he released Crazy from the Heat, a four-song EP of cover tunes, which was popular due mainly to innovative music videos and creative character roles. From this latter pool, Roth planned to create of feature-length film and, although the project fell through, the move played a part in Roth officially parting ways from Van Halen in on April 1985. Later that year Roth assembled a backing group consisting of Vai, bassist Billy Sheehan and drummer Gregg Bissonette. This group along with long-time Van Halen producer Ted Templeman recorded and released the LP Eat ‘Em and Smile in 1986 to widespread commercial and critical success.
For the production Skyscraper, Roth and Vai took the producer reigns. Recorded at various studios in Southern California in late 1987, this new arrangement gave the duo much creative freedom to try differing approaches. The original 1988 LP contained ten tracks while subsequent CD reissues incorporated the 1985 hits “California Girls” and “Just a Gigolo/I Ain’t Got Nobody” from Crazy from the Heat.
|Skyscraper by David Lee Roth
|Released: January 26, 1988 (Warner Bros.)
Produced by: Steve Vai & David Lee Roth
Recorded: Capitol Records Studio, Smoketree, SNS, Stucco Blue & Sunset S, Los Angeles, Spring–Autumn 1987
Just Like Paradise
The Bottom Line
|Hot Dog and a Shake
Two Fools a Minute
|David Lee Roth – Lead Vocals
Steve Vai – Guitars
Brett Tuggle – Keyboards
Billy Sheehan – Bass, Vocals
Gregg Bissonette – Drums, Percussion, Vocals
Co-written by Bissonette, the opener “Knucklebones” features a crisp, flanged guitar riff by Vai along with his later harmonized lead. Overall, the song is pretty catchy but standard hard rock with the apt hook for an opener “get the show on the road”. The album’s biggest hit song, “Just Like Paradise”, follows. The composition, which was co-written by keyboardist Brett Tuggle, is accented by piano chords and features just enough catchy melodies and hook to propel it to the Top 10 on the US pop charts.
The rhythm-driven track “The Bottom Line” features a rapid double-kick drum and a rolling bass line by Sheehan, making it musically rewarding albeit a bit tacky lyrically. The title track “Skyscraper” features plenty of synth and vocal effects, rhythmic rudiments to add atmosphere and finely dissolves into a jazzy acoustic coda towards the end. The original first side finishes with the climatic ballad
“Damn Good”, perhaps the highlight of the album. Led by the harmonized acoustic of Vai performed with a slightly Eastern bend, the song overall features just the right mix of melody and synth effects with a nostalgic lyrical nod by Roth back to the Van Halen years.
With “Hot Dog and a Shake”, the album returns to straight-up, good-time hard rock along with some obvious sexual innuendo. “Stand Up” goes in another direction as a pure eighties electronic pop with plenty of synth bass and brass motifs by Tuggle, the kind of sound that, ironically, Roth had criticized former band mate Eddie Van Halen for just a few years earlier. Industrial guitar tones dominate the intro to “Hina”, a unique track which results in one of the more interesting listens on this album. The album concludes with two more attempts at pop music, “Perfect Timing” and “Two Fools a Minute”, the latter featuring a more interesting musical arrangement complete with fret-less bass and bluesy guitars.
Although Skyscraper sold over two million copies and reached Billboard’s Top 10, the David Lee Roth band soon began to disintegrate with the departure of Sheehan soon after its release and Vai after its supporting tour. Roth’s solo career never again gained much traction and he eventually reunited with Van Halen.