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Saturday, November 25, 2006

Mr. Big - Get Bigger

MRBIG001Mr. Big combined two popular musical trends of the rock scene in the 1980s: a particular brand of hard rock, focused on melodies and listener-friendly choruses, and impressive technical proficiency, then called shredding. The seeds for the group were sown when bass player Billy Sheehan (considered one of the top bassists of rock, often compared to the bass equivalent of guitarist Eddie Van Halen) left David Lee Roth's solo band in 1988. Almost immediately after his exit, Sheehan began piecing together a new outfit, with the help of Mike Varney from Shrapnel Records, a label specialized in the shredding genre.

The band, managed by former Journey and Santana manager Herbie Herbert comprised of Shrapnel artist and former Racer X guitarist Paul Gilbert, Pat Torpey on drums, and singer Eric Martin, who had a number of album releases throughout the 1980s with his Eric Martin Band. MRBIG003By 1989, the newly formed quartet had already inked a recording contract with Atlantic, resulting in the release of a self-titled debut the same year. Despite causing a buzz amongst musicians, the album failed to crossover to a mainstream rock audience stateside; however, Mr. Big was an immediate smash success overseas in Japan.

The band's breakthrough came with their second album, Lean Into It, in 1991. It featured two ballads that established the band as a commercial success: "To Be With You" and "Just Take My Heart", as well as rock songs that remained as staples of their live set for years to come, such as "Green-Tinted Sixties Mind". MRBIG002Other releases followed, Bump Ahead in 1993 and Hey Man in 1996, but the band never replicated its earlier success in the US market. In Japan, on the other hand, they continued to sell out tours, resulting in a number of live releases for the Japanese market throughout their career.

MRBIG004

Live in USA 1992

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