This is "The Big 10 - The Essential Tracks", in which we take a closer look at particular artist's or band's back catalogue, and choose the 10 finest moments. These are our subjective choices, so if you want to ask how on earth we could leave off such and such song from the list, you can... and the answer is... because we could.

  Black N Blue, one of the fun acts I discovered thanks to Gene $immons and the KISS connection. It's Portland, Oregon, U.S. of A in the 1970's - Guitarist Tommy Thayer (to some better known as Fake-Ace Frehley in KISS nowadays) and drummer Jaime St. James met in high school. The two decided to form a band that would eventually turn out as BLACK N BLUE and cut their first demo in late 1981. By then St.James had made the switch to vocals and high school friend Pete Holmes replacing him behind the kit. In fact. One of the demo songs ended up on the second pressing of the cult classic 'Metal Massacre' compilation which also included the very first appearance on record by Metallica.

"Day in, day out. Gotta let go, gotta let it out. I want it all and I want it now". Signed by Geffen Records and their legendery A&R guru, John Kalodner, the self-titled debut album from 1984 was recorded and produced in Germany by Dieter Dierks (Accept, Scorpions). Hardly any of the demo songs with the exception of "Chains Around Heaven" made the record as a more radio friendly and commercial hair-metal sound was decided upon. "Without Love" from 1985 displayed the even more polished, Pop-Metal approach and sound, a move that sadly didn't bring any major success. However, they found themselves out on the roads with KISS as the opening act on the 'Asylum' tour which lasted five months and led to Gene $immons producing two albums (Nasty Nasty, In Heat) before the end of the eighties and the break-up in 1989.

"We're all right. The kids are burning bright. Hey - Rock On!". Sneaky-fishy Gene would later re-use the main riff from 'Nasty Nasty' in order to compose Domino on the 'Revenge' album. Not to mention recruiting Tommy Thayer as the new KISS tour manager in the early/mid nineties and eventually replacing him for Ace Frehley. BNB reunited in 2003 (without Thayer) to tour and record a new album, entitled 'Hell Yeah!', originally intended as the Z Records release. However, dodgy business and the fact that St.James became the new singer for Warrant, pushed back the release date. Frontiers finally released the album in 2011 with the band's new line-up consisting of St. James, Patrick Young, Pete Holmes, and new guitarists Shawn Sonnenschein & Brandon Cook. They are still going strong. Watch them 'Heat It Up! Burn It Down" at the Firefest in the U.K. in late October. For now... the Big 10.

10. Heat It Up! Burn It Down!
9. Chains Around Heaven
8. Stop The Lightning
7. Miss Mystery
6. I'll Be There For You

5. Nasty Nasty
"She's a go getter. She's a red corvette. She's gonna take me to outer space". DOMINO! Ehem. Excuse me. It's Nasty Nasty and it's good good. The title track from BNB's third album and co-writer ($immons) decided to use the KISS part from 'The Elder' (the guitar bridge) to build this particular monster. Not to mention that he later borrowed the NN riff to use on the Revenge album. Nasty Nasty indeed.

4. Hold On To 18
"I got one small thing that's on my mind. Am I half dead or am I doin' fine". It's the ancient story of youth growing old(er) or if you prefer its pompous title, 'the unsuccessful blockade of the grim reaper'. The fear of getting old(er) and holding on to something that's clearly not going to happen. You'll never be forever young. At least not your body. The song written by St.James/Thayer and from their debut album is however the perfect example of staying young at heart (and mind).

3. Without Love
"So you're feeling you're living your life on the run. Ain't got nobody. There's just too much work to be done". Another album title track at #3. The more I listen to "Without Love", the more I'm reminded of The Cars (the chorus part) and the Mutt Lange sound. It's however co-written by Canadian songwriter as well as Bryan Adams' sidekick, Jim Vallance. Simply a great song, upbeat, uplifting, uproarious, and with the catchy/quirky chorus part.

2. I Want It All (I Want It Now)
"I think about a rocket ship. Tie you on, send you on a trip". Ahhh... the drums, the drums are calling! I love the beat and its stunning shout-a-long refrain. Slightly dumb/corny/silly, but oh-so-catchy Hair-Metal at its best/worst. Co-written by Gene Simmons (again) and the first song I ever heard with the band. Yours truly, constantly howling along to every single word, every single time. Everybody now: Day in, day out. Gotta let go, gotta let it out. I want it all and I want it now!.

1. Rockin' On Heaven's Door
"We eat raw power and we digest noise". Inspired by Bob Dylan and that special song of the seventies? Nah. Probably not. "We do nothing all day. But we do it good". It's the proper 'feel-good-melodic-rock-party-anthem' with no intention to save the world from anything more than boring days and nights. The opening seconds and its beat might just have you thinking about Judas Priest and 'You've Got Another Thing Coming'. However, for the rest of the time, it's pure and catchy BNB rock with a knock'em dead hook.

This list by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,

The list as a YouTube playlist

Individual lists:

Kimmo Toivonen:

10. Stranger
9. Heat It Up! Burn It Down!
8. One For The Money
7. The Strong Will Rock
6. Rockin' On Heaven's Door
5. Stop The Lightning
4. Without Love
3. I'll Be There For You
2. Miss Mystery
1. Hold On To 18

Rich Dillon:

10. Heat It Up! Burn It Out!
9. Autoblast
8. I'm The King
7. Rockin' On Heaven's Door
6. Stop the Lightning
5. Hold On To 18
4. Nasty Nasty
3. Chains Around Heaven
2. Miss Mystery
1. Wicked Bitch


(c) 2014 RockUnited.Com


10. I Want It All (I Want It Now)
9. Wicked Bitch
8. Chains Around Heaven
7. I'll Be There For You
6. Nasty Nasty
5. Stop The Lightning
4. Without Love
3. Rockin' On Heaven's Door
2. Miss Mystery
1. Hold On To 18