The Greatest AOR Albums Ever
Celebrating the very best of AOR from the golden age of the 70s and 80s. We also go beyond the hits and the household names to shine a light on the era’s cult classics and lost heroes.
dult Oriented Rock is the smooth sound that came out of the USA and became the soundtrack to millions of lives all over the world
– a sound defined by timeless anthems such as Boston’s More Than A Feeling, Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’,
Survivor’s Eye Of The Tiger and Toto’s Africa, and by monumental power ballads, none bigger than Foreigner’s global smash I Want To Know What Love Is. In a 15-page special, Classic Rock celebrates the very best of
AOR from the golden age of the 70s and 80s.
Here we present The 50 Greatest AOR Albums Of All Time.
Included are some of the biggest-selling records in the history of rock, and the stories of the people who made them. We speak to Boston’s maverick genius Tom Scholz, Steve Perry and Jonathan Cain of
Journey, Foreigner’s Mick Jones, Ann Wilson of Heart, Survivor’s founding member Jim Peterik, Jack Blades of Night Ranger and three members of the classic line-up of Toto: David Paich, Steve Porcaro and Steve Lukather.
We also dig deep, going beyond the hits and the household names to shine a light on the cult classics and lost heroes from this golden age. In AOR, as in life, there are winners and losers; for every fairy tale, a thousand hard-luck stories. Some of the greatest AOR albums were made by artists
who never made it big, among them Diving For Pearls, New England, Balance, Giant, White Sister, Valentine and Le Roux. And two now legendary albums were made by a singer who couldn’t get arrested when he was a rock artist, and failed an audition for Black Sabbath before reinventing himself as a soul star – the one and only Michael Bolton.
Equally, while AOR is a quintessentially American art form, a handful of Brits got in on the act, most notably Mick Jones, who founded Foreigner as an expat in New York City in 1977. One of the great AOR voices is Lancashire-born John Waite. And placed high in this Top 50 are albums by British acts FM, Strangeways (fronted by American singer Terry Brock) and Dare (featuring future Professor Brian Cox on keyboards!).
Likewise, while many of the leading American bands live on – including Journey, Boston and Toto – the rebirth of AOR in the new millennium has come from Europe. At its forefront are Scandinavian groups such as Eclipse and H.e.a,t., and the Italian-based record label Frontiers – named after a classic Journey album.
After the lean years of the late 90s, melodic rock rose again, and new albums of real quality are being made, showing that you can’t keep a good genre down for long. In the words that Steve Perry first sang back in 1981: ‘Don’t stop believin’, hold on to that feeling…’