Golden Oldie: Poison – Open Up and Say… Ahh!

Fallen Angel (Poison song)
Original cover art (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A quick name-change from “Oldie but Goldie” to the shorted “Golden Oldie” and the first under the new banner is a classic of glam rock. The reason I’ve plucked Poison‘s Open Up and Say… Ahh! out is after hearing a track or two from it being played over the PA before Rock of Ages the other night (read the review here), plus one song is used in the musical itself.

The late 80’s into the 90’s were a peak for the hard rock and glam genres, and Poison were right at the top of the whole thing. It must be something, being known for being at the forefront of a musical wave that involved wearing make-up and pretty much inventing the duck-face (female selfie-takers take note – you’re copying men from thirty years ago).

The fact that the band is still going today, with all four of the (almost) original line-up, makes a little bandanna-wearing part of my heart clap its hands with joy. The only non-original member is a C.C. DeVille, who’s been with the band since slightly after their inception and has been on every single album. To all intents and purposes, he is an original member. He’s also the only member of the original line-up to leave (sacked for his drug addiction) and then welcomed back (his replacement was screwing singer Bret Michaels‘ then-fiancée!) and then return – his replacement’s replacement was replaced by DeVille once differences were patched up.

Open Up and Say… Aah! was the band’s second album, following on the from the impressively sleazy debut that was Look What The Cat Dragged In. By this time they’d proven themselves live, and in the year of release (1998) went from opening for Van Halen to headlining their own national tour.

The album itself peaked at number 2 in the US and spawned four singles, three of which were top ten including a number one for “Every Rose Has Its Thorn“. Since then it’s gone 5x Platinum in the US, 4x Platinum in Canada and Gold in the UK.

With the advent of grunge and the more manufactured music that follows, Poison never reached those heights again. They have kept going, though – through car accidents and appendectomies and a subarachnoid haemorrhage (all Michaels, funnily enough – the guy’s jinxed), they’ve never stopped.

In and of itself, it’s a great album. A perfect snapshot of the glam rock era at its peak. Ten songs which cover pretty much everything the genre was singing about at the time – rebellion, sex, partying, lost love, sex, being bad, sex… you get the idea. There isn’t a bad song on it (though one or two aren’t perhaps as strong as the majority) and it deserves its place in the Golden Oldie collection. Even if you don’t like the style of music (in which case you’re dead to me anyway), but the balls-out attitude behind its creation and touring life is a perfect picture of the rock’n’roll ideal that still lives on today in so many younger bands, regardless of whether they’re playing thrash, doom, glam, death or whatever.

A timeless slice of the bygone days when rock ruled the musical world.

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September 6, 2014 10:07 AM

[…] Yeah, it’s silly but – damn – it’s a good album. An anthem of the eighties, filled with quality rock tat and “that” ballad. If you want more on this one, check out the recent “Golden Oldie” article. […]