Published on July 17th, 2019 | by Justin G.
Aviator: Aviator (Rock Candy, 1986/2019)
Underrated American AOR band Aviator (not to be confused with the Aviator from the ‘70s) released their self-titled debut album in 1986. This band (and album) had all the ingredients to have been a big hit at the time – a lineup of veteran arena rock musicians (plus Terry Brock on backing vocals), a perfect production job by Neil Kernon and of course an incredibly radio-friendly AOR sound – but they may have been just a tad too late to the AOR party. It’s easier to imagine this album tearing up the charts in 1984 before hair metal took over.
Mega-hit or not, the Aviator debut is one of the absolute classic melodic rock albums of the 1980s. Between the fantastic guitar work, catchy, well-crafted songs and strong, steady vocals, Aviator should have been in the same league as Aldo Nova and early Bon Jovi. There’s also a strong Adrenalin, Fortune and Foreigner vibe here. Check out “Back on the Street,” “Wrong Place, Wrong Time” and “Through the Night” for an idea of the album’s overall sound. Album opener “Frontline” could have been a breakthrough single, but for whatever reason, the label never released a single…or a video…or a tour. It’s the classic story of a band that could have been huge with the right push, but that push never arrived.
Aviator never got the big break that they deserved, and this ended up being their only release. Mega-stars or not, they left behind an almost perfect example of what made the ’80s AOR sound so much fun. If you’re a serious fan of the ‘80s AOR and melodic rock sound, you really need to get your hands on the Aviator debut. It’s a definite winner for fans of Journey, Adrenaline, Fortune, Aldo Nova, and Foreigner.
Reissue Notes: There was a CD release of the Aviator debut by the Escape label in 1997, but Rock Candy finally gave us the definitive Aviator release this year. Their deluxe reissue features newly remastered audio, the two bonus tracks the Escape reissue had, and an informative booklet complete with a band history and vintage photos. It’s a first class reissue overall, and most importantly it puts this AOR gem back in fans’ hands after a long absence.
Summary: Deluxe reissue of this AOR classic