By Adam Waldman
On April 13, 1981, Billy Squier his second studio album, Don’t Say No. The album (which was the most successful of Squier’s career) cracked the top 5 on the Billboard 200, and remained on the chart for over two years.
Many rock artists are known to have suffered from the “sophomore jinx” after strong debut albums. While Squier’s debut (Tale Of The Tape) enjoyed some success, his sophomore release is the one that still resonates with rock music fans several decades later.
Don’t Say No features a number of hits songs, the most successful being “The Stroke,” which peaked at #17 on the Billboard Hot 100, and at #3 on the Mainstream Rock chart. Other popular singles from the album include: “In The Dark,” “My Kinda Lover” and “Lonely Is The Night.”
Back in the early ‘80s, during the dawn of MTV, Squier was on top of the world. All four singles from Don’t Say No were featured regularly on the channel that was an obsession for most Gen Xers.
It’s hard to believe that a multi-platinum artist with strong ties to a band like Queen, and who helped expose Def Leppard to the masses when they opened for him on their Pyromania tour, would have a relatively short career. Def Leppard went on to become one of the most successful bands in rock history, regularly touring arenas throughout their career.
Billy Squier (with Def Leppard opening) was the third concert that I attended. I still remember the energy of the show, and the frenzy of the crowd when the headliner came on stage. During Def Lep’s set, we stood on the chairs about 20 rows back at the Nassau Coliseum. When Squier took the stage, we tried to get a better view, so we decided to try and balance ourselves on the backs of our chairs and the ones in the row in front of us. Best laid plans as the saying goes. It wasn’t long before one of my friend’s crashed to the ground as the chair collapsed. Despite the fall, it is still one of my favorite concert memories.
Listening to Don’t Say No again in its entirety brought back some great memories. No one could have predicted that Squier’s career would peak around this time.
My favorite Squier song of all-time still gets played on classic rock radio today…
Dead on assessment of Squier. One of the best artists of the early 80’s. Massively underrated then and even more now.
I saw the same tour you mentioned. March of ’83 in Atlanta.
Actually from the Emotions in Motions tour (another amazing album from Squier). I remember in school the argument over who should be opening for who? IMO it was definitely Squier, even though I thought Def Leppard was great. A few months later Leppard and Pyromania were on top of the rock world
Squier would suffer with his Rock Me Tonite video the next year. Never seemed to recover even though he continued to put out some great music through the rest of the decade.
I love Don’t Say No, but feel Emotions in Motion, Signs of Life and Creatures of Habit are right there with that album. Close anyways.
Thanks for your feedback, Tommy. I agree with everything that you said. It’s amazing how one video could essentially sabotage a career. Granted, the video was incredibly cheesy, but then again, wasn’t that pretty common in the early days of MTV? I’m sure that Squier would like to have that moment in time back to rethink doing the video for “Rock Me Tonite” (which also happens to be a great song).