Pat Travers: six songs you need to know

Pat Travers
(Image credit: Fin Costello )

Canadian star Pat Travers has recorded more than 30 albums, came close to joining Thin Lizzy (he was mooted as a replacement for Brian Robertson after the Lizzy man injured in hand during an infamous moment of violence in a London club, but Gary Moore got the job), and has influenced more than one generation of musicians, from Dimebag Darrell – who loved his Go For What You Know live album – to the shred king himself, Paul Gilbert.

So he should be more well known, right? For the uninitiated, Here's six tracks to get you started. 


Rock 'N' Roll Susie (Makin’ Magic, 1977)
A perfect Saturday-night listen before you head out to a gig, this amorous Travers gem was inspired by his then-girlfriend. Aplayful guitar-feedback intro sets the tone before lift-off.

Stevie (Makin’ Magic, 1977)
Written for/about his hell-raising kid brother, this echoing, atmospheric ballad voiced elder-sibling concern without being judgemental: ‘But I guess I was the same once… I’d stay out drinkin’ all night and I’d get all the girls…

Heat In The Street (Heat In The Street, 1978)
Super-tight, high-octane riffing on the title track of the album that had Pat Thrall join on second guitar. Is that Thin Lizzy’s influence we hear on the twin-guitars around 2.12 minutes?

Boom Boom (Out Go The Lights) (Pat Travers Band Live! Go For What You Know, 1979)
Travers covered Stan Lewis’s magnificent boogie on his self-titled 1976 debut album, but this barnstorming live version – showcasing the dazzling interplay between his lead guitar and that of Pat Thrall – is definitive.

Snortin' Whiskey (Crash And Burn, 1980)
The living-it-large hit single that broke the Pat Travers band on FM radio. Alas the classic line-up would crash and burn after performing at the Reading Rock Festival that August.

Who'll Take The Fall (Black Pearl, 1982)
One of several fine songs on a criminally unsung solo album that saw Travers expand his sound. Great production, great singing – even some cosmology: ‘We began with a bang in a long lost time, that’s what I believe.’

James McNair

James McNair grew up in East Kilbride, Scotland, lived and worked in London for 30 years, and now resides in Whitley Bay, where life is less glamorous, but also cheaper and more breathable. He has written for Classic Rock, Prog, Mojo, Q, Planet Rock, The Independent, The Idler, The Times, and The Telegraph, among other outlets. His first foray into print was a review of Yum Yum Thai restaurant in Stoke Newington, and in many ways it’s been downhill ever since. His favourite Prog bands are Focus and Pavlov’s Dog and he only ever sits down to write atop a Persian rug gifted to him by a former ELP roadie. 

With contributions from