FIREFALL-UNDERTOW, CLOUDS ACROSS THE SEA AND BREAK OF DAWN.

Firefall-Undertow, Clouds Across The Sea and Break Of Dawn.

Label: BGO Records.

By September 1979, Firefall had released three successful studio albums which had sold nearly two million copies in America alone. However, this had come at a cost and the years of constant touring and recording, had caught up on the band from Boulder, Colorado. Firefall were almost burnt out, after years of constantly recording and touring. Despite this, Atlantic Records were expecting Firefall to begin work on their fourth album, Undertow which was recently reissued by BGO Records alongside Clouds Across The Sea and Break Of Dawn.

That was despite Firefall having  just returned from a fraught and eventful tour of Japan. During the tour, drummer Michael Clarke had been drinking excessively and sometimes, this resulted in him missing shows. Other times,  was ‘unfit’ to play and got that Firefall placed German drummer Dan Holsten was on standby, and he was ready to replace Michael Clarke at a moment’s notice. However, before long, Firefall realised there was another problem.

Having released three successful album the members of Firefall believed that they had a nice nest egg awaiting them when they called time on their career with the band. The way things were going, this could be sooner rather than later. This made Firefall’s discovery all the more worrying.

Firefall finances the band discovered weren’t in the best shape. While the cupboard wasn’t quite bare, it wasn’t far of it. That came as no surprise to many who had watched the Firefall story unfold over the years.

The Firefall story began in Boulder, Colorado where Rick Roberts returned to, after the death of his friend Gram Parsons on September the ‘19th’ 1973. The death of God Own Singer came as a shock to Rick Roberts who had been playing alongside Gram Parsons for three years.

Gram Parsons had been one of the founding members of The Flying Burrito Brothers in 1968, who Rick Roberts had joined in 1970. The men quickly became friends and when Gram Parsons embarked upon a solo career, Rick Roberts left The Flying Burrito Brothers and became a member of The Fallen Angels, Gram Parsons’ backing band. That was until that fateful night in September 1973.

Having returned home to Boulder to come to terms with Gram Parson death, eventually, Rick Roberts began to think of the future. By then, Rick Roberts was back home in Colorado and so was Jock Bartley, who had replaced Tommy Bolin in Zephyr. They had first met when Gram Parsons and The Fallen Angels were playing two nights in the same venue in New York. Since then, they had kept in touch.

A few days later, Rick Roberts decided to look his old friend up, and that day, his timing was perfect as Jock Bartley was playing his guitar. Rick Roberts watched as Jock Bartley unleashed a virtuoso  performance. This lead to Rick Roberts suggesting they practise together.

Soon, Rick Roberts and Jock Bartley were practising together regularly, and before long, were thinking about forming a band together. They started thinking about possible additions to the band, and the first name on their list was Mark Andes, a bassist and vocalist.

Mark Andes had previously been a member of Spirit and Jo Jo Gunne, until he decided to retire, albeit temporarily, and went to live in the rocky mountains outside of Boulder, Colorado. Rick Roberts and Jock Bartley were hoping to tempt Mark Andes out of retirement an succeeded in doing so. With Mark Andes now a member of the nascent band, now there were only three names on Rick Roberts and Jock Bartley’s shortlist.

The first was Larry Burnett, a singer, songwriter and guitarist, who Rick Roberts had met on his travels. Larry Burnett fitted the bill and Rick Roberts was keen to add him to the lineup of the new band. 

It was a similar case with keyboardist and guitarist Mark Hallman, who knew Mark Andes from the band Navarro. However, when Mark Hallman was asked to join Firefall, he rejected the opportunity, and eventually joined Carole King’s backing band. 

Meanwhile, the search for a drummer for the band continued, with various local drummers auditioning, but failing to make the grade. Eventually, Rick Roberts decided to phone his old friend Chris Hillman who had previously been a member of The Byrds and The Flying Burrito Brothers. That was where he met Rick Roberts. However, since leaving The Flying Burrito Brothers, Chris Hillman had lived first in Hawaii and latterly in Washington. WhenRick Roberts phoned Chris Hillman, he agreed to head to Colorado and joined Firefall.

 For their first year together, Firefall played in the clubs around Colorado. Quickly, Firefall became a popular draw in Boulder and Aspen, where the nascent band honed and tightened their sound. After just over a year of playing live, Firefall decided to record a demo.

Firefall recorded a three song demo which was produced by Chris Hillman, and shopped to the major labels. Alas, the demo failed to find a taker, and things weren’t looking good for Firefall.

So much so, that in 1975, Rick Roberts, Jock Bartley and Mark Andes were drafted in to Chris Hillman’s band for several performances. This included a gig at The Other End in New York, during June 1975. Not long after the band arrived in New York, Chris Hillman became ill, and couldn’t continue the tour and Larry Burnett and The Byrds’ drummer was drafted in to play at The Other End and finish the tour.

In the audience that night at The Other End, was an Atlantic Records’ A&R executive. He had listened to Firefall’s demo tape, and was keen to hear the new band, so made his way to the front of the stage. After Firefall’s set, the Atlantic Records’ A&R executive headed backstage and signed Firefall on a multi-album contract. At last, Firefall had signed to a major label.

The only problem was that Rick Roberts had agreed to head out on tour with Stephen Stills during the summer of 1975. This meant the recording of Firefall’s eponymous debut album had to be postponed until Rick Roberts’ return and it wasn’t until late 1975 that work on Firefall could begin.

Firefall.

After Rick Roberts returned from touring with Stephen Stills, a decision was made that David Muse should also join Firefall in the studio. He was a talented multi-instrumentalist, who could seamlessly switch between saxophone, flute, keyboards and harmonica. David Muse would add a new dimension to Firefall’s sound. So would Jim Mason, who had been chosen to produce Firefall’s debut album.

For Firefall’s eponymous debut album, Rick Roberts penned the album opener It Doesn’t Matter with Stephen Stills and Chris Hillman. He was no longer a member of Firefall, and had been replaced by Michael Clark. Rick Roberts the cofounder was also Firefall’s songwriter-in-chief and wrote Livin’ Ain’t Livin’, Dolphin’s Lullaby,You Are The Woman and Mexico. Larry Burnett wrote Love Isn’t All, No Way Out, Cinderella, Sad Ol’ Love Song and Do What You Want. These songs featured on Firefall which was recorded at Criteria Recording Studios, in Miami.

When Firefall arrived at Criteria Recording Studios, the lineup featured a rhythm section of drummer Michael Clark, bassist Mark Andes, and Larry Burnett on electric and acoustic rhythm guitar. Jock Bartley added lead, slide and pedal guitar, while Rick Roberts added acoustic guitar. New recruit David Muse played piano, clavinet, synths, flute, tenor sax and harmonica. Guest artist Joe Lala was drafted in to add a myriad of percussion to Firefall,  which was produced by Jim Mason.  Once the album was recorded, mixed and mastered, Firefall was scheduled for release May 1976.

Before that, critics had their say on Firefall. They were won over by a polished and accomplished album where soft rock rub shoulders with folk rock, country and Americana. This genre-melting album showcased a tight, talented and versatile band who put all their years of experience to good use on Firefall. It was released to critical acclaim in May 1976.

When Firefall was released May 1976, it reached number twenty-eight on the US Billboard 200, and sold in excess of 500,000 copies and was certified gold. By then, Firefall were already being compared to The Eagles and Poco, which was a lot for the band to live up to. However, more success had come Firefall’s way after enjoying their first hit single.

You Are The Woman had been released as the lead single, and reached number nine on the US Billboard 100 and number six on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary Charts. Livin’ Ain’t Livin’ then reached forty-two in the US Billboard 100, while Cinderella reached just thirty-four in the US Billboard 100. This was despite many radio stations refusing to play the single because of its controversial lyrics. Still, Cinderella gave Firefall another minor hit single as they were hailed as one of American music’s rising stars.

That was no surprise, as Firefall had already three hit singles to their name and their eponymous debut album had just been certified gold by the RIAA. Buoyed by this success, Firefall embarked upon what was their first lengthy tour. 

Over the next two years, Firefall were constantly touring and shared the bill with everyone from Leon Russell to The Doobie Brothers and Tom Waits to Lynyrd Skynyrd, Roy Buchanan, the Electric Light Orchestra and The Band. In the midst of this gruelling schedule, Firefall had to fit in the recording of their sophomore album Luna Sea.

Luna Sea

Originally, the working title for Firefall’s much-anticipated sophomore album was Tropical Nights, and it was scheduled to be recorded at Criteria Recording Studios, in Miami. That was where David Muse would make his debut as a full-time member of Firefall. However, percussionist Joe Lala, who returned for the recording of Luna Sea, was still a guest artist.

Joe Lala was one of several guest artists who joined Firefall when  they began recording their sophomore album Criteria Recording Studios. The Memphis Horns, Poco’s Timothy B. Schmidt and a trio of female backing vocals joined percussionist Joe Lala, and the newly expanded lineup of Firefall. After the success of Firefall, Jim Mason had been drafted in to produce the album. Everything seemed to go to plan, and within a month, Firefall had recorded their sophomore album. However, there was a problem.

Once the album was completed, it was sent to Atlantic Records who decided after hearing the final mix, that the album would have to be recorded. This was a huge blow for Firefall and an added expense the band could’ve done without.

For the recording, Fireball headed to Los Angeles, where some of the songs on Luna Sea were rerecorded. Other songs were discarded, and replaced by new songs. By the time Luna Sea was complete, it featured four songs penned by Rick Roberts So Long, Just Remember I Love You, Someday Soon and Only a Fool. Rick Roberts wrote Even Steven with Larry Burnett who Sold On You, Getaway and Head on Home. Just Think and Piece Of Paper were credited to Firefall, which was the first time the band had written songs together. Both songs made their way onto Luna Sea, which was released in 1977.

Prior to the release of Luna Sea, critics received advance copies of an album that had much in common with Firefall.  Luna Sea was a slick, polished and accomplished album that attracted critical acclaim from critics as soft rock rubbed shoulders with folk rock, country and Americana. Luna Sea showcased a talented and versatile band who were maturing with every album.

When Luna Sea was released in 1977, it reached twenty-seven in the US Billboard 200. The lead single, Just Remember I Love You reached number eleven in the US Billboard 100, and number one in the US Billboard Adult Contemporary Charts. However, the followup So Long, stalled at just forty-eight in the US Billboard 100. Despite this, Luna Sea had built on the success of Firefall and the future it seemed looked bright for Firefall.

Elan.

Behind the scenes, it was a different story and all wasn’t well within Firefall. The band had spent nearly two years touring almost nonstop. That had been the case since the release of Firefall in May 1976, right through to 1978 when the band’s thoughts turned to recording their third album Elan. 

By 1978, Firefall had toured the world with the great and good of music and had recently opened for Fleetwood Mac on their Rumours’ tour. This Firefall hoped would introduce their music to a wider audience, but instead, it almost tore the band apart.

During the two years of nonstop touring, some of the members of Firefall had acquired expensive habits. Rick Roberts, Larry Burnett and Michael Clarke all began to drink heavily and began to experiment with drugs. Soon, things had escalated, and drink and drugs became a problem within Firefall, as Rick Roberts, Larry Burnett and Michael Clarke all became heavy drug users. This started to affect the group dynamics. To further complicate matters, Firefall were having problems with their management. For a group who were at the peak of their popularity about to record their third album, this didn’t bode well.

For their third album Elan, Firefall decided to bring a new producer onboard. This was a huge risk, as Jim Mason had played an important part in the rise and rise of Firefall. They seemed to have underestimated the importance of Jim Mason, and sadly, he was cast aside for a producer with a bigger name…Tom Dowd.

By 1978, Tom Dowd had an enviable track record as a producer, and had been working in the music industry since 1947. Over the last thirty-one years he had produced everyone from Charlie Mingus and Cream to Dusty Springfield and Eric Clapton, to Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding, The Allman Brothers, Chicago and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Now Tom Dowd was about to work with Firefall, and set about uniting a band divided.

Despite the problems within the Firefall, they had written ten new songs, with songwriter-in-chief Rick Roberts contributing Strange Way, Count Your Blessing, Goodbye, I Love You, Sweet Ann and Winds of Change. Rick Roberts also teamed up with Jock Bartley to pen Sweet and Sour. Larry Burnett contributed Wrong Side of Town, Get You Back and Baby and also joined forces with Mark Andes to write Anymore. This time, there were neither songs penned by Rick Roberts and Larry Burnett nor Firefall. The times they were a changing as Firefall made the journey to the familiar surroundings of Criteria Sound with Tom Dowd.

When recording began at Criteria Recording Studios, Miami, Firefall were joined by drummer Jim Keltner, vocalist Laura Taylor and percussionist Steve Forman who would augment Firefall as they recorded ten new tracks. However, the Firefall and Tom Dowd partnership proved not to be the dream team everyone had hoped.

While the members of Firefall got on well with Tom Dowd, the problem was he had a different ‘vision’ for the band. They were content to stick with the formula that had served them well for two albums. Rather than trying to sort out their differences with Tom Dowd, Firefall continued to record Elan. Eventually, and somewhat belatedly, Firefall’s new management company decided to intervene and try to resolve the situation. By then, Elan was recorded, and a large amount of money had been spent. This was money wasted, in light of what happen next.

Firefall’s management company approached Mick Fleetwood, who the band had recently befriended when they opened for Fleetwood Mac during their recent Rumours’ tour. Mick Fleetwood was a member of one of the most successful bands in the world, and listened as Firefall told him that they weren’t happy with their third album. Eventually, he agreed to speak to executives at Atlantic Records, in the hope that they would allow Firefall to rerecord Elan.

When Mick Fleetwood got in touch with Atlantic Records, they agreed to let Firefall rerecord Elan. There was a catch though, Firefall would have pay for the rerecording of their third album. There was a problem though, this would put Firefall would put Firefall into debt with Atlantic Records. Whether the members of Firefall were fully aware of the implications of recording Elan was unclear?

For the rerecording of Firefall’s third album Elan, Atlantic Records brought onboard Howard and Ron Albert to coproduce the album. The sessions took place at Firefall’s favoured studios Criteria Sound in Miami, with other sessions taking place at the Record Plant in Los Angeles. By the time the sessions were complete, Elan was transformed and was a very different album. Firefall’s decision to rerecord Elan had paid off.

Before the release of Elan, critics had their say on Firefall’s third album. They called the album Firefall’s finest hour which wasn’t surprising given the quality of songs on Elan. 

When Elan was released in 1978, it reached number twenty-seven in the US Billboard 200, and was certified platinum. The lead single Strange Way reached number eleven in the US Billboard 100, while Goodbye, I Love You stalled at number forty-three. Despite this, Firefall had just enjoyed the most successful album of their career. It should’ve been a time to celebrate.

Sadly, all wasn’t well within Firefall. The years they had spent constantly touring and recording, had caught up with the band and Firefall were almost burnt out.  There was still tension within Firefall who had been divided when they began work on their last album, which they ended up recording twice. Although it was a time to celebrate, it was worrying and expensive time for Firefall.

This wasn’t helped by Firefall’s love of the rock ’n’ roll lifestyle, which although pleasurable and pleasing was proving expensive and eventful. The Japanese tour that took place during August 1979 was a case in point.

Firefall had spent most of August 1979, touring Japan, and during the tour Michael Clarke had been drinking heavily, and sometimes, even missed shows. Other times, he was ‘unfit’ to play, and it got that German drummer Dan Holsten had to be on standby, and ready to replace Michael Clarke at a moment’s notice. This was the chance of a lifetime for Dan Holsten who Jock Bartley and Larry Burnett saw play in a bar in Colorado Springs. Now he was playing with Firefall on their Japanese tour. It had been a dream come true for Dan Holsten, as he flew home with the rest of Firefall. They had much to think about.

Having returned from a fraught and eventful Japanese tour, Firefall’s thoughts in September 1979 turned to their fourth album for Atlantic Records Undertow. 

Undertow.

Just like previous albums, Rick Roberts continued in his role as songwriter-in-chief when work began on Undertow. He wrote Love That Got Away. Headed For A Fall, Stardust, If You Only Knew and Undertow. Rick Roberts and Mark Andes renewed their songwriting partnership when they wrote Laugh Or Cry. Larry Burnett penned Only Time Will Tell and Business Is Business while Jock Bartley contributed Leave It Alone. These songs were recorded in the familiar surroundings of Criteria Recording Studios.

A Criteria Recording Studios, the rhythm section of drummer Michael Clarke, bassist Mark Andes and Larry Burnett on electric, acoustic and rhythm guitar. Meanwhile, Jock Bartley played guitars and added lead vocals, while Rick Roberts added acoustic and electric guitar plus backing vocals. Multi-instrumentalist David Muse played flute saxophone, harmonica, acoustic and electric guitar. The members of Firefall were augmented by various guest artists who often only played on or two tracks. This included percussionist Joe Lala; organist Bill Payne, drummer Andy Newark, Paul Harris on electric piano and Christopher Dennis on tambourine and cowbell. Adding backing vocals were Rhodes, Chalmers and Rhodes who featured on numerous Hi Records’ recordings and Tom Kelly who featured on Laugh Or Cry. These guest artists played their part on Firefall’s eagerly awaited fourth album Undertow, which was released in 1981.

Despite the infighting and tension with Firefall, who continued to embrace the rock ’n’ roll lifestyle, Undertow found favour with critics who were won over with their fourth carefully crafted album. It showcased the different sides to Firefall on what was the band’s most eclectic and intense album. This intensity came as no surprise given the in-fighting within Firefall at that time. However, this wasn’t the only change as Firefall embraced an eighties sound and production styles as they flit between soft rock, country rock, pop rock and power pop on Undertow where beautiful ballads and rocky tracks rub shoulder.

Undertow opens with the rueful rocker The One That Got Away. It gives way to the wistful rocky ballad Headed For A Fall where Larry Burnett delivers an emotionally charged vocal. He reaches new heights on the beautiful understated ballad Only Time Will Tell. Very different is the anthemic Laugh Or Cry, before Firefall drop the tempo on Stardust which another is beautiful ballad where harmonies augment Larry Burnett  AOR and country rock combine. Firefall change things around on If You Only Knew, which is a freewheeling rocker. It’s followed by the pop rock of Some Things Never Change, the acoustic ballad Business Is Business and the power pop of Leave It Alone. Closing the album is Undertow another rocky track from Firefall, which closed a chapter in their career.

Despite the critically acclaimed reviews, Undertow failed to even trouble the lower reaches of the charts. The singles fared slightly better with Love That Got Away reaching fifty in the US Billboard 100 and nine in the Adult Contemporary charts. The followup Only Time Will Tell the reached forty-six in the Adult Contemporary charts. This was a disaster for Firefall who two years earlier, had sold a million copies of their third album Elan.

Not long after the release of Undertow, drummer Michael Clarke and Mark Andes both announced that they had left Firefall.  They were soon replaced by Kenny Loggins’ rhythm section of drummer Tris Imboden and bassist George Hawkins. The new additions made their debut on Firefall’s fifth album Clouds Across The Sun.

Clouds Across The Sun.

When work began on Clouds Across The Sun, it soon became apparent that things were changing within Firefall. This time around, songwriter-in-chief Rick Roberts only wrote three songs Clouds Across The Sun, I Don’t Want To Hear It and Don’t It Feel Empty. Jock Bartley penned Be In Love Tonight and Quite Like You while Larry Burnett wrote No Class. David Muse joined with George Hawkins who made his Firefall songwriting debut on Dreamers. These songs were joined by covers of Jimmy Webb’s Old Wing Mouth, Robin Miller’s Love Ain’t What It Seems and John Lewis Parker and Tom Snow’s Staying With It, and became Clouds Across The Sun.

This time around, the new lineup of Firefall didn’t head to Criteria Recording Studios in Miami, and instead, sessions took place at four different studios. Over the next few weeks and months, the rhythm section of drummer Tris Imboden, bassist George Hawkins and Larry Burnett on electric guitar. Meanwhile, Jock Bartley played guitars and added lead vocals, while Rick Roberts added acoustic and electric guitar plus backing vocals. Multi-instrumentalist David Muse played flute, saxophone, synths, keyboards and vocoder at Northstar Studios, in Boulder, Lee Hazen’s Studio By The Pond, in Hendersonville, Tennessee, GroundStar Studios, Nashville and at Mountain Ears Studio, Boulder. Gradually, Clouds Across The Sun which was produced by Kyle Lehring took shape and was released in December 1980.

Critics on hearing Clouds Across The Sun noticed that Jock Bartley had emerging more as singer and vocalist as Firefall moved in the direction of a harder, new wave sound. This was very different to Firefall’s sound on their first three albums. However, like previous albums, Clouds Across The Sun still incorporated elements of pop rock and country rock.

Clouds Across The Sun opens with the rocky Be In Love Tonight, where blistering guitars provide a counterpoint to the harmonies as Firefall move in a new direction. Staying With It is an anthemic and melodic rocker which gives way the melancholy ballad Old wing Mouth. After that, Firefall revisit the rockier sound on No Class, Clouds Across The Sun which is one of the album’s highlights and then Quite Like You, However, things change on the ballad Love Ain’t What It before Dreamers features an urgent anthemic sound complete with harmonies and sultry saxophone. Closing Clouds Across The Sun is the power ballad How It Seems, which ends the album on a high.

When Clouds Across The Sun was released in December 1980, history repeated itself when the album failed to chart. This was yet another disappointment for Firefall, who desperately needed the album to chart as their contract with Atlantic Records was almost at end. 

Things got for worse for Firefall when bassist George Hawkins resigned from Firefall and joined Mick Fleetwood’s new side project Zoo who were recording in Africa. This left Firefall in the lurch.

As 1991, dawned, Staying With It was released as a single and reached thirty-seven in the US Billboard 100 and forty-six in the Adult Contemporary charts. This resulted in Firefall being invited onto American Bandstand.

The only problem was the band didn’t have a bassist. Fortunately, former bassist Mark Andes agreed to return to help his old band when they played on American Bandstand in February 1981. 

On April the ‘19th’ Firefall were one of several bands on the bill at Miami Baseball Stadium, where they were due to play in front of a huge audience. However, this time it was Larry Burnett who left Firefall in the lurch when he disappeared, and was eventually found in his hometown of Washington DC. Surely, things couldn’t get any better for Firefall?

Later in 1981, Atlantic Records dropped Firefall from its roster after six years and five albums. In late 1981, Atlantic Records released the ubiquitous Greatest Hits album which brought Firefall’s time at the label to an end. With no recording contract Firefall was at a crossroads.

Break Of Dawn.

In the spring of 1982, Jock Bartlett who was still unhappy with how things had ended for Firefall, decided to put together a new lineup of the band. At the suggestion of producer Ron Howard, Jock Bartlett got in contact with two Miami based musicians including guitarist, keyboardist and vocalist Johnne Sambataro. Having secured his services, Jock Bartlett brought onboard singer, keyboardist and guitarist Chuck Kirkpatrick. The three men became the latest lineup of Firefall.

With ten new songs written, the new lineup of Firefall headed to Criteria Recording Studios in Miami, where guitarist and lead vocalist Jock Bartlett, Johnne Sambataro and Chuck Kirkpatrick were joined by producers Howard and Ron Albert. Helping the trio new lineup record Break Of Dawn were drummer Joe Galdo, bassists Arnold Paseiro, Richie Goldman and Kim Stone. They were joined by percussionist Joe Lala and Alain Salvatia who played synth, synthesised strings, piano and flutes. The other musicians made their way to Criteria Recording Studios included some familiar faces.

This included Stephen Stills who played guitar, piano and added backing vocals. He was joined by alto saxophonist David Sanborn and two former members of Firefall. David Muse played flute, harmonica, synths and vocoder, while Rick Roberts added backing vocals. Alas, he was only a guest artist on the group he had cofounded all these years ago. It must have been a sad day for Rick Roberts who once lead Firefall during their glory days.

That must have seemed like a long time ago, but in reality was just four years since Firefall had released their million selling third album Elan. Four years and two albums later, the new lineup of Firefall was looking for a record company to release Break Of Dawn.

Eventually, Firefall found a label willing to take a chance on Break Of Dawn…their former label Atlantic Records. They scheduled the release Break Of Dawn for September 1982.

Prior to the release of Break Of Dawn, it received mixed reviews from critics. Break Of Dawn with its synth, synths strings and Roland drums had an eighties sound as Firefall continued to combine AOR, country rock and pop rock. 

That was the case on album opener Break Of Dawn and Body On Soul where Firefall combine eighties technology with tight harmonies. This is the case on Falling In Love where a needy vocal is delivered against an urgent arrangement. The ballad Always is without doubt one of Break Of Dawn’s highlights. In The Dead Of The Night features a West Coast sound and a strong Eagles influence. Again, there’s an urgency to the melodic It’s Too Late which gives way to Take Me Back which features a heartfelt and hopeful vocal. Fall For You has a rockier sound before Firefall drop the tempo on Suddenly. Don’t Tell Me Why is almost anthemic song that closed Break Of Dawn and Jock Bartlett hoped would bring about a change in fortune for Firefall.

Sadly, that wasn’t to be and Break Of Dawn failed to trouble the charts. When the single Always reached fifty-nine in the US Billboard 100 and twenty-four in the US Adult Contemporary charts. This was a far cry from the days when Firefall were being compared to The Eagles and their third album Elan sold a million copies. 

That must have seemed like a lifetime ago for Jock Bartlett who by the time Break Of Dawn was released in 1982, owned the name to Firefall. Break Of Dawn was just the latest chapter in the Firefall story which began seven years ago in 1982 when two friends started making music together. 

Seven years later, and the various lineups of Firefall had released six albums, which included Undertow, Clouds Across The Sea and Break Of Dawn which were recently digitally remastered and reissued by BGO Records as a two CD set. While these three albums failed to replicate the commercial success of Firefall, Luna Sea and Elan, they feature some of the most underrated music of Firefall’s career. 

Especially Undertow and Clouds Across The Sea which should’ve followed in the footsteps of Firefall’s first three albums. Sadly, that wasn’t to be, and commercial success eluded Undertow and Clouds Across The Sea.

Even when Firefall reinvented their sound on Break Of Dawn, it failed to find the audience that it was aimed at, and the latest lineup of Firefall were left scratching their heads. This was disappointment for Firefall, whose first three albums sold around two million copies. 

After the release of Break Of Dawn in 1982, Firefall’s roller coaster career continued, and continues to this day. Sadly, they’ve never again reached the heights of  Firefall, Luna Sea and Elan which feature a group at the peak of their powers. They hoped to reach these heights on Undertow, Clouds Across The Sea and Break Of Dawn where the talented and versatile Firefall, continue their search for commercial success with their unique and inimitable brand of genre-melting music.

Firefall Undertow, Clouds Across The Sea and Break Of Dawn.

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