Aldo Nova (1982)

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Aldo Nova’s debut album cover art

I maintain another blog called Autopolis, where I attempted to write something about every car I’ve ever liked. One of those cars, the Chevrolet Camaro conjures up distinct images of early ’80s rock bands.  Some of the soundtrack for teenage thrills and parking lot donughts might have come from Aldo Nova. Nova burst on the scene with his self-named and produced debut, mostly on the strength of “Fantasy”. That song made it to the Billboard top 10 and was followed by another successful single “Foolin’ Yourself”.

As ’80’s pop metal goes, Nova was a definitive force, although his contributions are often under credited. Nova’s songs used a time tested formula of strong rhythms, melodies and big power cords in a time when Journey seemed like the only real pop metal (or close to it) band around.  Like the Jonathan Cain of Journey had realized, Nova was ahead of his time in that he recognized the synthesizer could be an important element in metal. His lead would help launch the inspiration for the new and existing hair pop metal bands of the ’80s like Quiet Riot, Twisted Sister and to some extent Night Ranger.

Aldo Nova is filled with high energy anthems like “Under the Gun”, “Foolin’ Yourself” and power ballads like “Can’t Stop Lovin’ You”. Nova stayed in the public spotlight for a in the first half of the ‘80s, then found his true calling as a songwriter. His long list of clients included John Bon Jovi, Clay Aiken and Celine Dion. He in fact was closely linked with Dion, writing many of her award winning songs and even playing in her backing band.

Despite all the acclaim and awards Nova earned behind the scenes, it’s his short streak of high visibility in the dawning of the MTV era that he is likely to be remembered for (if at all).  So the next time you hear someone blasting “Fantasy” from a car stereo, it’s very likely to be coming from a cassette player in a car like a Camaro, complete with louvers and Craiger wheels. Some things are just meant to go together.

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