“Nice” was the perfect word to describe Loverboy, a friendly good-natured Canadian rock band so wholesome they could have joined the Boy Scouts.
Their first two albums – Loverboy and Get Lucky – sold millions of copies, with Get Lucky occupying the American Top 15 for some 33 weeks.
Though vocalist Mike Reno was the front-man and a collaborator on most of Loverboy’s songs, it was guitarist Paul Dean who did most of the writing, co-produced the records and was a major influence on the musical direction. It was also Dean who kept tabs on managers Bruce Allen and Lou Blair.
It was Dean who – after eighteen years as a professional musician, after playing in 13 bands that no one in America has ever heard of, after years of making no more than $125 a week – got dumped by band number thirteen.
He took a year off, and while his girlfriend supported him by waiting on tables in Calgary, he tried to figure out just what it would take to finally make it.
Dean discovered Reno (who started out as a club band drummer) singing in a rehearsal hall and discovered the two shared a similar perspective on the music business.
The duo began writing songs and assembling Loverboy: classically-trained keyboardist Doug Johnson (fresh from his first rock band,) drummer Matt Frenette and bassist Scott Smith.
Twenty-two record companies turned the band down before it signed a deal with the Canadian branch of CBS Records.
As it turned out, Loverboy’s sound was just what AOR radio was looking for. As FM stations across North America began picking up on their debut self-titled album, Loverboy began a fifteen-month tour as an opening group for Kansas, ZZ Top and Journey.
Loverboy’s songs – such hits as Turn Me Loose, The Kid Is Hot Tonite and Working For The Weekend – didn’t contain any deep messages, but the band were seen by millions of kids, and the kids liked what they saw and heard.
While their third album, Keep It Up (1983) was smooth, consistent and likely to satisfy the band’s already substantial following, the band were faltering musically.
Bassist Scott Smith drowned on 30 November 2000 when he was swept out to sea by a 25-foot wave while sailing.