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Twenty years on, Night Ranger is still motorin' with "Sister Christian"

@graffonmusic, Facebook.com/Gary Graff on Music

Posted: Thursday, August 15, 2013

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Sometimes, Jack Blades says, it seems like "only 30 minutes," but Night Ranger's biggest hit and signature song, "Sister Christian, turns 30 this year.

The song, which drummer Phil Keagy wrote about his then-teenaged sister Christy, hit No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1983 and has enjoyed an after-life that's included a performance on "Glee" and inclusion in the musical "Rock of Ages" and the film "Boogie Nights." "We knew it was a great song," says singer-bassist Blades, 59. "We actually had it and did not put it on our first record, for reason I don't know. It wasn't a master plan -- 'Let's hold this for our next album ('Midnight Madness') and have a big record with the second record.' But as fate would have it, it became the go-to song for us.

"It's pretty amazing when a song becomes part of the collective consciousness like this has. It hit that nerve with everyone."

Night Ranger's audiences certainly come to hear "Sister Christian" and the group's other 80s hits, but the band isn't only living in the past. It released a new album, "Somewhere in California," in 2011, and Blades says a dozen songs are already "in the bag" for its follow-up.

"It's pretty rockin' stuff," Blades reports. "We were going to release it this fall but pushed it off to the spring of next year so we can write seven or eight more songs.

"We had such a great response to 'Somewhere in California' (that) I think we feel a little heat to belly up to the bar and top that one and make this (new) thing really good.. We've got a little heat on us, which we haven't had in 20-something years, and that's kind of fun."

Night Ranger and Artificial Agent perform at the 2013 Chevrolet Rockin' on the Riverfront series at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 16, behind the GM Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit. Admission is free. Visit www.facebook.com/RockinontheRiverfront.

Web Site: www.facebook.com/RockinontheRiverfront

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