Under The Radar: Shadow King (1991)
Shadow King was a star-studded albeit short-lived arena rock/hard rock band formed by ex-Foreigner vocalist Lou Gramm and guitarist Vivian Campbell (Dio, Whitesnake, Riverdogs , Def Leppard), bass player Bruce Turgon (Foreigner, Black Sheep, Lou Gramm Band) and drummer Kevin Valentine (Breathless, of Donnie Iris and the Cruisers, Lou Gramm Band).
The band released their self-titled 10 track record on October 1st, 1991 with multi-Platinum producer Keith Olsen (Whitesnake, Heart,Ozzy Osbourne, Emerson, Lake & Palmer) sitting behind the control boards.
Even though there was a huge amount of talent helming the Shadow King project, the self-titled debut album came and went and without a trace. Which is a shame, it was an entertaining listen.
Some believed that the album failed to make an impact because melodic rock had lost its foothold on rock and video stations due to the emergence of grunge music.
While it may be true that alternative rock did have a tight grip on most platforms in 1991, that didn’t stop bands like Bad English and Damn Yankees from having platinum albums and numerous hit singles.
So why did Shadow King fail?
In my opinion, I believe that Shadow King's career was cut short due to record label politics. Shadow King was signed to Atlantic, home of Lou Gramm’s other band, Foreigner. At that time there was tension between Foreigners founding members, Mick Jones and Lou Gramm. Mick Jones continued working under the Foreigner banner while Gramm went on to focus on his solo career.
I believe that Atlantic Records didn’t get behind the Shadow King project, because they wanted Lou Gramm back into their cash machine-Foreigner. Lou Gramm even mentions this on the liner notes of the Rock Candy reissue of the band's debut record; “there were dark forces within the label attempting to derail the project in an effort to reunite him with Foreigner”.
I believe that there was a lot of talent and potential in this group . With a few more albums and tours under their belt, Shadow King could have been a force to be reckoned with.
For whatever reason Shadow KIng was never given the opportunity they deserved.
In the end they left us with impeccably played and produced record.
So, if you like melodic rock then you owe it to yourself to give Shadow King a Listen.