Billy Squier

May 12, 1950

Billy Squier Artistfacts

  • Squier played for two all-but-forgotten bands, the Sidewinders and Piper, during the 1970s before embarking on his much more successful solo career. (Piper's greatest claim to fame was as the opening act for KISS during that band's legendary 1977 tour.)
  • His first solo album, Tale Of The Tape, was a modest success but produced no hit singles. Its most noteworthy track is "The Big Beat," which became - and still remains - a popular choice for sampling by Hip-Hop and Rap artists.
  • Squier brought in Reinhold Mack, who had produced Queen's album The Game, to produce his follow-up album Don't Say No. This turned out to be his breakthrough release, producing US Top 40 hits "The Stroke" (#17) and "In The Dark" (#35), along with lesser hits "My Kinda Lover" and "Lonely Is The Night." All 4 of these still get considerable airplay on Classic Rock radio.
  • "The Stroke" quickly became Squier's signature tune, and was also Squier's only hit in the UK, where it reached #52. Because of its title, some people thought the song was about masturbation.
  • Squier's third solo album, Emotions In Motion, produced another US Top 40 hit, "Everybody Wants You" (#32). The title track, which featured Queen frontman Freddie Mercury on backing vocals, was also a minor hit. In 1983 Squier began his first American headline tour to promote the album - only to be upstaged by his opening act, Def Leppard, who had just broken through in the US.
  • His fourth album, 1984's Signs Of Life, produced his biggest - and last - US Top 40 hit single "Rock Me Tonite" (#15). The video for this featured a bizarre, somewhat effeminate performance by Squier, at odds with the hard-rock image he had cultivated over the years. He may have been trying to parody Jennifer Beals' dancing performance from the previous year's movie Flashdance, but his mystified fans didn't get the joke, and as a result this video is widely considered Squier's act of "jumping the shark." His biggest hit since that video debacle was "Don't Say You Love Me," which only managed to reach #58 US in 1989. Squier has performed and recorded sporadically in the years since then, including in 2006 as a member of Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Joshua - Twin Cities, MN, for all above

Comments: 2

  • Erol Otum from FlIn the Dark is a great tune. It picks up on Billy’s moral brand-theme of personally critiquing the vain people close to him. For example, “You guard your hopes and you pocket your dreams. You’d trade it all to avoid an unpleasant scene” is very reminiscent of his admonishing “putting on the eyes like there’s nobody else, you never realize what you do to yourself” from Everybody Wants You.
    While of possible value to haughty teenage girls of the 1980’s, it made us dorky teenage boys feel like they might be attainable if they only listened.
    The arpeggiated and later harmonized-inversion synths in the chorus show a particular attention to musicality that was not always present in other works by Billy.
    This one stands out as a great one.
    Nice work Mr. Squier! Come back on a national tour with your full band - we would love to see your show!
  • Harry from South Bend, InI just started listening to Billy Squier, and, so far, he's great. "The Stroke" is what got me hooked, and it's become one of my favourite choruses in any song.
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