Chrissy Steele

Mountain in the Sky Chrissy Steele - Magnet to Steele (Chrysalis) 1991

1. Love You 'Til It Hurts (5:11)
2. Armed And Dangerous (4:14)
3. Move Over (4:34)
4. Love Don't Last Forever (4:30)
5. Try Me (4:47)
6. Two Bodies (4:43)
7. Murder In The First Degree (4:49)
8. King Of Hearts (5:07)
9. Magnet To Steel (4:24)
10. Two Lips (Don't Make A Kiss) (5:45)
11. Cry Myself To Sleep (4:46)

When this CD arrived in my mailbox I was absolutely clueless as to who Chrissy Steele was. A bit of research revealed an incredible, but sad story. Steele was the vocalist for the band The Headpins. Original Headpins vocalist Darby Mills left the band to pursue a solo career and the band then hooked up with Chrissy Steele, a 24-year-old British Columbia native with a raspy voice that was very similar to that of Mills. The band toured through 1990, but by the time recording for the new album began guitarist Brian MacLeod was the only remaining member from the original Headpins line-up. More bad news arrived for "Too Loud" MacLeod when it was discovered that he had cancer. The recording for the new album was completed with Steele, drummer Pat Stewart and "Too Loud" MacLeod handling all guitars and bass duties. MacLeod had written the majority of the album with Tim Feehan, with guest writing credits going to Mutt Lange, Jeff Paris and members of Loverboy. With MacLeod's failing health, it was decided to release the album as a Chrissy Steele solo effort. Videos for the singles "Love You 'Til It Hurts" and "Love Don't Last Forever" were released in late 1991 while Steele put together a touring band to promote the new release. Despite being nominated for two Juno's in 1992, the record label dropped Steele from their roster and the band broke up shortly after. Guitarist Brian "Too Loud" MacLeod died of cancer April 25, 1992 at the age of 39. Wow! Quite the tragic story behind this album.

The music contained on "Magnet to Steele" is mostly straight-forward, hard rock 'n' roll and very little touching what I would describe as heavy metal. Songs like "Love You 'Til It Hurts", "Move Over", "Murder In The First Degree", and "Magnet To Steele" are all straight-forward hard rockers. "Two Bodies", on the other hand, pushes close to an 80's AOR sound. Actually, this song might have been at home on some of the 80's Heart records. As was the norm for the time, there are a few slower paced power ballads like "Love Don't Last Forever" and "Cry Myself To Sleep". Mark Slaughter (Slaughter/Vinnie Vincent Invasion) makes an appearance on background vocals on the Mutt Lange penned album closer "Cry Myself To Sleep". (The song was later recorded on Bonnie Tyler's "Angel Heart".) This song definitely could have been a Heart song. However, for the most part, this is a hard rock album and not a pop record. However, for the most part, "Magnet to Steele" is a hard rock album and not a pop record.

Chrissy's voice is only strong with just the slight rough and raspy approach. She has a lot in common with Joan Jett in style. I read one review that described Chrissy as a "too tough for pop rocker chick". That seems the perfect description for this female rocker. (And Joan Jett as well, for that matter.) Perhaps it's just the Canuck connection, but I also hear a touch of Lee Aaron in her voice as well.

Of course this album was released in 1991, just shortly before this type of sleazy hard rock went out of vogue in favor of torn flannel shirts and Seattle based grunge. Sort of a shame as "Magnet to Steele" is a solid record that could have done well if released a year or two earlier.

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