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We’ve Turned Loverboy Loose for an Encore

Everybody remembers their first Loverboy song. Maybe it was “Turn Me Loose” off the band’s debut album. Their curtain-raising single, it became a Top 20 hit in their homeland of Canada. Or maybe your tune was “Queen of the Broken Hearts” – their first MTV video extravaganza and a certain showstopper when they play it again on The 80s Cruise in March.

But I’m betting it’s “Working for the Weekend,” Loverboy’s epic “Friday at 5” anthem from their “Get Lucky” album. Did you know that wasn’t even the original name of the song? It was “Waiting for the Weekend.”

Guitarist Paul Dean, who co-authored the song, told me the story behind the tune a few months before Loverboy’s first-ever voyage on The 80s Cruise, back in 2018.

“I was living down by the beach in Vancouver in a little apartment, and I went for a walk one Wednesday,” Paul said. “And I wondered where the hell is everyone? It was deserted! So I said, ‘I guess they’re all waiting for the weekend.’ Bingo! That’s how a lot of the stuff comes. You’re just talking to yourself.”

The boys from Calgary must have done a lot of talking to themselves, because by the time our beloved decade was over, Loverboy scored 14 hits on the Top 50 charts in the U.S.

During the 2020 cruise, look for Paul, lead singer Mike Reno and the boys to be the scene stealers among the crowd. In 2018, they popped up at piano bar singalongs, happily snapped photos with other performers and generally made themselves at home among the awesome 80s fans.

While we wait for the Explorer of the Seas to set sail, here are few other things about Loverboy you probably didn’t know.

  • THE AMAZING ALBUM COVER: Everyone knows the signature artwork for Loverboy’s 1981 album “Get Lucky” – the red-leather covered behind of a presumed rocker with a male hand crossing its fingers in front. Which band member’s posterior was that? Nobody’s. Turns out the pants were worn by a teenage model – actually the 13-year-old daughter of the photographer who shot the cover – and the only person who could fit into the pair of landmark leggings.
  • QUEEN OF THE BROKEN HEART: In the early 80s, MTV was infamous for their contests. Win a little pink house from John Mellencamp! Have The Cars play a show in your backyard. And my favorite: Win a spot to appear in the Loverboy video for “Queen of the Broken Heart.” Watch the video today and at the 15-second mark, you’ll see the winner, right? Wrong. That’s the winner’s mother. Back in 2014, Mike Reno told me the girl who won the contest was too freaked out to make the video shoot.

    “So the mother went and they limo’d her out to the desert and on the way out there, she got so drunk from all the liquor that was in the limo that she wouldn’t get out of the limo,” Mike told me. “So finally, they almost crowbarred her out of that limo and put her in a scene somewhere because she had to be in a scene.”

  • HARDLY PARADISE: Will Loverboy play the heart-thumping ballad “Almost Paradise” from “Footloose” on the cruise? We’ll see. When Mike paired up with Heart’s Ann Wilson in 1984 and created the steamy classic hit, not every bandmate was happy about it.

    “Oh, Paul thought we were finished,” Mike told me. “Paul thought we were going to turn into a ballad band. … I never wanted to get away and just do a solo career. I was just asked to do this song.”

    For his part, Paul has warmed to “Almost Paradise” over the years – a little. “My take on that song was: Not another ballad!” he said. “We’d done so many ballads. It just wasn’t right for me. Even though for the 15 minutes of time it took Mike to record that song, he was able to buy a 37-foot speed boat. But I still stand by it.”

  • IT STILL FEELS NEW TO THEM: Even when the lights explode on the big stage next spring, the boys in the band will still be feeling a little like it’s the first time all over again. At least it will for the lead singer.

    “Before the show, I’m so nervous, I can’t even hold food in my stomach,” Mike told me. “It’s like I’m on the edge just ready to jump off. It’s like skydiving almost for me. I just kinda go ‘Oh my God, oh my God’ and then boom! The lights come on, the audience jumps up and it’s like “Yeeeeahhhhhh!”

(Steve Spears is the co-host and creator of the award-winning Stuck in the ’80s podcast, which celebrated its 500th episode on the 2019 voyage of The 80s Cruise. He and co-host Brad Williams also emcee Big 80s Trivia each cruise. Listen to their podcast for free on iTunes, Google Play or your favorite podcast app. And find out more about the podcast at http://www.sit80s.com.)