Happy 35th: Blackfoot, VERTICAL SMILES
35 years ago this month, Blackfoot released their seventh album, an LP best known by fans as the first one by the band without guitarist Charlie Hargrett.
Co-produced by Al Nalli and Eddy Offord, VERTICAL SMILES found the band shifting to a more commercial sound, one which is evident within the album’s lone single, “Morning Dew,” an unexpectedly keyboard-driven number originally recorded by Bonnie Dobson. Indeed, Dobson later went on to perform the song live with Robert Plant, the performance of which you can see below.
Keyboard-heavy though the album may be, the band still knows how to rock, however, and they prove it throughout VERTICAL SMILES, particularly on “Heartbeat and Heels.” But for better or worse, there’s no question that this was an album made in the ‘80s.
It’s worth noting that although Hargrett left Blackfoot during the recording of VERTICAL SMILES, ostensibly over disagreements with the band’s management and within the band itself, the album credits do include a special thanks to Hargrett “for fourteen years of agony and dedication.”
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