The self-titled debut album from The Rings had everything going for it: great production by the band, management by New England promotion guy Al Perry, putting them in the same envious position held by the Cars, representation by a guy who knew all the right radio people, and excellent songwriting by everyone in the group. Comparisons to the Cars are obvious, but Michael Baker shared the limelight with bassist Bob Gifford and lead guitarist Mark Sutton. Maybe the problem with selling the group was their lack of image. The album cover, a pink hula hoop descending on a swimming pool, may not have been as exciting as the rings of Saturn, and the photos of drummer Matt Thurber and the rest of the group are so plain that they mislead. The band is closer to Devo in style, but the Rings’ eclectic pop was far more commercial. From the sounds of the last track “Third Generation” and its psychedelic Harry Belafonte riff, to the magnetism of the first track, “Opposites Attract,” this band had everything going for it. “I Need Strange” is the quintessential anthem for men on the prowl; “Got My Wish” is a stunner, a pop tune that pulls you into its space; and “Watch You Break” is just tremendous with infectious music and lyrics. Was it MCA that couldn’t deliver superstardom for these guys? Or was it just bad luck that made for only two major-label releases and no national spotlight? They had a local following, and from the basic rock & roll of “My Kinda Girl” — almost an answer to the Real Kids “All Kinda Girls” — to “Who’s She Dancing With,” the Rings pretty much cover the musical spectrum of rock without doing a ballad. “I Need Strange” is the Cars doing an up-tempo “Moving in Stereo” — just terrific. There’s not a bad track on this album and it is such a shame that they came and went like a great web page you try to save, but it’s gone before you know it.
1. “Opposites Attract” (C. Lindstrom, M. Baker) – 3:38
2. “Who’s She Dancin’ With” (M. Sutton, M. Thurber) – 3:15
3. “This One’s For The Girls” (B. Gifford) – 2:49
4. “Let Me Go” (M. Baker) – 3:32
5. “Got My Wish” (B. Gifford) – 4:55
6. “My Kinda Girl” (M. Baker) – 3:00
7. “I Need Strange” (B. Gifford, M. Sutton, M. Baker) – 3:43
8. “Watch You Break” (M. Baker) – 4:12
9. “Too Much Of Nothin'” (M. Sutton, M. Baker) – 3:12
10. “Third Generation” (M. Baker) – 3:24
- Recorded At – Electric Lady Studios
- Mixed At – Sound Mixers
- Mastered At – Sterling Sound
- Phonographic Copyright (p) – MCA Records, Inc.
- Copyright (c) – MCA Records, Inc.
- Art Direction – George Osaki
- Bass, Vocals – Bob Gifford
- Drums, Backing Vocals – Matt Thurber
- Engineer – Fred Torchio
- Engineer [Assistant] – David Witman, Edwin Hobgood, John Palermo
- Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals – Mike Baker
- Illustration – Holly Hollington
- Lead Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals – Mark Sutton
- Management [Road] – Michael Moody
- Management [Sound] – Frank Canata
- Management, Executive Producer – Al Perry
- Mastered By – Ted Jensen
- Photography By [Photo Inserts] – Jerome Higgins
- Producer – The Rings
Recorded at Electric Lady Studios, N.Y.C. and Intermedia Studios, Boston.
Mixed at Sound Mixers, N.Y.C.
Mastered at Stering Sound, N.Y.C.
Style: Pop Rock
Label – MCA Records