No list of my top rock albums would be complete without music from one of my favourite Canadian artists (and definitely my favourite female artist), the incomparable and immensely talented Lee Aaron. By 1989 Lee Aaron had become a household name in Canada (and other parts of the world) with 4 amazing rock albums under her belt. Now known worldwide as the “Metal Queen” (a title well earned and the name of her iconic second album), and coming off the success of her self titled fourth album, Lee was primed to take her career to the next level and she did exactly that with her fifth album Bodyrock.
I bought Bodyrock on cassette at one of our local record stores in North Bay, the great Records On Wheels (which in itself deserves it’s own blog post) and rushed home to play it. Bodyrock is an absolutely fantastic hard rock record. I know I tend to use this saying a lot when talking about my favourite rock albums, but Bodyrock is another shining example of an album that is “all killer and no filler”. Lee and her longtime writing partner John Albani crafted a perfect hard rock record; big hooks, great riffs, songs that you could sing along with cranked at full volume. Lee Aaron has always had one of the most powerful and distinctive voices in rock music and on Bodyrock it is on full display.
My original Bodyrock cassette!
On to the songs!!! Before we get to my three favorite tracks, I wanted to highlight a few of the other amazing songs on this album. The record kicks off with a great rocker, the flirty Nasty Boyz which rocks with a sassy Lee Aaron vocal and John Albani’s fantastic guitar work. Lee also does a killer cover of the classic Montrose track Rock Candy which she still includes in her live set list today. It’s always tough to cover a classic rock song, but Lee’s version of Rock Candy stands up to the original and I love her vocal performance on it. Shame and Rock The Hard Way are two more amazing rockers that could have easily been singles and continue the albums hard rocking vibe. The last song on the album, How Deep is a beautifully crafted ballad with Lee’s heartfelt vocals closing out the record.
On top of all those amazing songs are the three classic tracks that are not only my favourites on the record but also three of Lee Aaron’s signature songs. Up first is the first single from Bodyrock and Lee’s biggest hit, the classic Whatcha Do To My Body. This was first song on the album that I had heard and the one that I probably played the most for many years. The accompanying video was a huge hit and was in constant rotation on MuchMusic for months. It’s an absolute rocker of a song and a massive amount of fun! I love that it’s a song of female empowerment, turning the tables on the male rockers of the day and their “rock chicks”. Here’s a great interview with Lee explaining the process beyond the song:
…And of course the Juno nominated video! I love the fun this video portrays and Lee’s awesome performance.
Hands On, the second single from Bodyrock continues where Whatcha Do To My Body left off, keeping us in a fun loving hard rock mood. Hands On is one of those tracks you just can’t help singing along with, especially the amazing chorus. Make sure you crank the volume on this track when it comes on! It’s also one of my favourites to see played live.
Finally, the song that has become my favourite on the album over the years, the absolutely stunning and epic Sweet Talk. This is also one of Lee’s best vocal performances, you can feel the emotion in her voice and the range she displays on this song is unbelievable. From those soft low notes to the high pitches and sheer power, it’s a legendary performance from one of the best in the business. Although not released as a single, the video was also a hit on MuchMusic and is still a staple in her sets today.
Bodyrock was a smash hit in Canada upon it’s release, becoming Lee Aaron’s highest charting release and eventually going almost 3x platinum. Along with the chart success, the album received 3 Juno nominations including Album of The Year and Rock Album of The Year. In my opinion it’s one of the best rock records of the 80’s and deserves a place in every rock fans collection. I was happy to recently find a copy of Bodyrock on vinyl and I’ve had a blast rediscovering one of my favourite albums on the turntable!
My original 1989 Attic Records pressing of Bodyrock