#902: Animal Heart by Glass Tiger
Discovered in the summer of 1984 when a band from Newmarket, Ontario called Tokyo spent two evenings performing before capacity crowds at Toronto’s Maple Leaf Gardens opening for Boy George and Culture Club. Their dynamic original sound captured the moment, and the race to sign them was on. Tokyo, which had become a major force in suburban high schools and the Ontario club circuit, officially became Glass Tiger early the following year when a record deal was finally signed with Capitol Records. The band consisted of Alan Frew on vocals and guitar, Sam Reid on keyboards, Al Connelly on guitar, Wayne Parker on bass and Michael Hanson on drums.
After being introduced to Jim Vallance, who had previously produced albums for Prism and Bryan Adams, Glass Tiger was off to the recording studio to work on their first album. The Thin Red Line set a record for being the fastest selling debut recording in Canadian history, going gold within weeks of its release. To date, this album has received four Platinum records in Canada and earned Gold status in the USA. One of Glass Tiger’s many hit singles “Don’t Forget Me (When I’m Gone)” climbed all the way to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100, followed by “Someday” which peaked on the US charts at #5. Both songs were written by Jim Vallance and made Canadian history when Glass Tiger won successive Juno’s a year apart for Single of the Year from the same album.
On July 25, 1986, Glass Tiger performed in concert at the Expo Theatre at Expo ’86.
With five Juno awards and a Grammy nomination under their belt, Glass Tiger was invited as concert openers for Tina Turner’s 1987 European tour. Meanwhile, another single from The Thin Red Line was “You’re What I Look For“. It climbed into the Top Ten in Vancouver in January 1987.
Glass Tiger’s second release Diamond Sun, established Glass Tiger’s reputation as being one of Canada’s better recording artists at crafting a song. Diamond Sun ended up charting four singles into the Canadian RPM Top 30 singles chart: “Diamond Sun,” “I’m Still Searching,” “My Song,” and “(Watching) Worlds Crumble.” The album was awarded Double Platinum status based on its sales. After the album was released drummer Michael Hansen left the band. While Glass Tiger didn’t replace him with a drummer until Chris McNeill in 2000, they had studio musicians who were drummers hired for subsequent album productions.
Glass Tiger’s third album, Simple Mission, sold well and went Platinum in Canada. It featured the hit singles “Animal Heart” and the band’s duet with Rod Stewart on the Celtic tune, “My Town.”
“Animal Heart” offers listeners a number of similes to express the kind of heart the man in this song has for the woman he adores. A simile is a figure of speech involving the comparison of one thing with another thing of a different kind, used to make a description more emphatic or vivid. In this case the singer has a heart as dependable, reliable and predictable as day turning to night, a river running to an ocean and a rich man needing lots of cash. His heart isn’t fleeting or occasional. His heart is constantly attentive to the woman he has this attraction for. It makes him do whatever it takes to win her. Listening to the song in 2018, one image that might not be quite so appealing to some listeners of the song is the line “Just like a hunter stalks the hunted, in a jungle of lust, it’s true, I’ve got an animal heart…. I know the “game” is you.” In a year after the rise of the #MeToo Campaign, the image of “stalking” one’s “game” is out of fashion. I consider the band was thinking of the positive attributes of a guy who is not a shrinking violet and wants a woman to know he is really serious about her and wants to win her love. But in 2018, twenty-seven years after the release of “Animal Heart”, not that many women want to be thought of as “game” to be stalked, even if the sentiment is expressed in a poetic simile.
After the Simple Mission album Glass Tiger went dormant, but reformed and began to tour again ten years later in 2003. On January 20, 2006, Glass Tiger performed at the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver.
Keyboard player Sam Reid founded his own production company called Willow Music. Alan Frew wrote the 2010 Olympic Broadcast theme song “I Believe”. Guitarist Al Connelly has continued producing and writing new material, as well as performing. And Chris McNeil has been a drummer with Randy Bachman, Honeymoon Suite and Platinum Blonde. As well, McNeil has been a producer. On September 12, 2012, Glass Tiger appeared in concert at the Rogers Arena in Vancouver, with Roxette the opening act. Two years later Glass Tiger returned to Vancouver to appear at the PNE Summer Nights Concert series on September 1, 2014.
In 2015 Alan Frew suffered a stroke and was partially paralyzed for awhile. In 2018 Glass Tiger released their fourth studio album 31. In June 2019 they went on tour with Corey Hart, performing at the Rogers Arena in Vancouver on June 25th.
Glass tiger bio ~ glasstiger.ca
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