Night Ranger

  • Hard Rock band formed in 1979 from San Francisco California. The 80s lineup consisted of Jack Blades (bass guitar, lead and backing vocals), Brad Gillis (lead guitar, backing vocals), Kelly Keagy (drums, lead and backing vocals), Alan Fitzgerald (keyboards, backing vocals) and Jeff Watson (lead and rhythm guitar, backing vocals). All members contributed to songwriting, with Blades the primary writer.
  • Blades, Keagy and Gillis originally were members of the band Rubicon, a one-hit-wonder funk rock band that formed in 1978. When Rubicon disbanded, the three formed a new group called Stereo. They soon added Fitzgerald, and in 1980, Fitzgerald recommended another guitarist, Watson, who joined. They played at venues in San Francisco, changing their name to Ranger. By 1982, they were opening for acts like Sammy Hagar, ZZ Top and Ozzy Osbourne. They were signed to a recording contract that year.
  • They recorded their debut album, Dawn Patrol, in 1982. Still known as Ranger, the album went to print, but before its release, a country band with the same name claimed trademark infringement.  One of the songs on the album was called Night Ranger, so the band changed its name to that. The record company destroyed all copies of the album that were labeled as Ranger, and the debut Night Ranger album was released late that year. The song Don’t Tell Me You Love Me was released, and it reached #4 on the Mainstream Rock chart and #40 on the Hot 100, thanks to heavy rotation on MTV.
  • Their next 2 albums – 1983’s Midnight Madness and 1985’s Seven Wishes – proved to be their biggest successes. Both achieved platinum status. Their biggest hits were the power ballad Sister Christian, which reached #5 on the Hot 100 and #2 on the Mainstream Rock chart, and Sentimental Street, which peaked at #8 and #3 respectively. Sister Christian was written and sung by Keagy about his sister Christy. After performing it a number of times, Blades asked Keagy who Sister Christian was – Blades didn’t realize that Keagy was saying “Christy” instead of “Christian.” They liked “Christian” better, so they went with that version.
  • Between 1984 and 1987, Night Ranger contributed songs to several film soundtracks. Interstate Love Affair was used in the film Teachers, This Boy Needs To Rock was used in Explorers, and other tracks were contributed to the films Sixteen Candles, Out of Bounds and The Secret of My Success.
  • Their fourth studio album, Big Life, was released in 1987. The album was more polished and was more dependent on keyboards, which some fans felt was selling out of the glam hard rock sound from their earlier albums. The Secret of My Success managed to reach #12 on the Mainstream Rock chart, but the album was deemed a disappointment. Fitzgerald subsequently left the band and was replaced by a touring keyboardist, Jesse Bradman. Their attempt to return to guitar-driven stardom, 1988’s Man In Motion album, did not catch on to their fans, as their record label kept pushing for power ballads like Sister Christian. After their tour to support Man In Motion, the group split up.
  • After several years that the members worked on other projects, Gilles and Keagy reformed the group with 2 other new members. In 1995, they recorded their sixth album, Feeding Off the Mojo. The next year, Blades, Fitzgerald and Watson reunited with Gilles and Keagy, and 2 more album were released. They have toured ever since, juggling lineups, but with Blades, Gilles and Keagy remaining with the band today. Between 2007 and 2017, they released 4 more hard rock albums. Their most recent, Don’t Let Up, continues to feature their hard rock sound, with lots of guitars, drums and bass to keep their fans satisfied. Fans of 80s Hair Bands have plenty of opportunities to watch them perform today – they play throughout the U.S. at casinos, state fairs, Walt Disney World, and this summer, on Sammy Hagar’s Full Circle Jam Tour.
  • Here’s the song that put Night Ranger on the map – Sister Christian.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.