Boston rockers Extreme might star one of the all-time great shredders in the shape of whammy-whacking, dive-bombing, fleet-fingered axeman Nuno Bettencourt, so it's somewhat ironic that the band's biggest song is the much-loved acoustic ballad, More Than Words, which features none of the above.
It's a song with more than half a billion Spotify plays in the bank, a mere 1500% increase over the band's second most-played song, which just happens to be a remix of... yes, you guessed it, More Than Words. You could be forgiven for thinking they'd only written one song, but – as excellent new Extreme album Six happily proves – they're a band absolutely dripping with bangers.
So here's six of the best Extreme songs. That aren't, you know, More Than Words.
Teacher's Pet (Extreme, 1999)
An impressively shameless riff on Hot For Teacher, Van Halen’s cheeky paean to adolescent lust, Teacher’s Pet served notice that in Nuno Bettencourt Eddie Van Halen had a young pretender worth paying attention to. All together now: ‘Schoolboy fantasy, lose control of all my faculties…’
Get The Funk Out (Pornograffitti, 1990)
Now, truthfully, there’s an element of ‘you had to be there’ in the choice of this track as prime Extreme. But in 1990, with the release of Rage Against The Machine’s Killing In The Name still two whole years away, very few songs filled provincial rock club dancefloors as quickly as this dirty funker, with its irresistible chorus: ‘If you don’t like what you see here, get the funk out!’
Hole Hearted (Pornograffitti, 1990)
Aka ‘The Big Ballad That Isn’t More Than Words’. Although dwarfed by the success of Pornograffitti’s ‘other’ acoustic ballad, Hole Hearted did manage to break into the Billboard Hot 100’s top five, and it brings Extreme’s second album to a pleasingly upbeat conclusion.
Everything Under The Sun: I - III (III Sides To Every Story, 1992)
By the time Extreme’s third album emerged in September, the grunge revolution was in full effect. Knowledge of this did not deter Extreme from hiring a 70-piece orchestra at Abbey Road to add tasteful embellishments to this three-part, 21-minute-plus prog rock odyssey. Everything Under The Sun: I- III didn’t fill any dance floors, it’s fair to say
Comfortably Dumb (Saudades de Rock, 2008)
No prizes for guessing the inspiration for that cheeky title, but the hard-riffing, blues-based grooves of Comfortably Dumb owe more to Led Zeppelin (and its vocal harmonies to King’s X) than Pink Floyd. Your mate who hates Extreme will admit to liking this until he learns whose song it is.
X Out (Six, 2023)
The longest, hardest-hitting track on Extreme’s first album in 15 years wouldn’t sound out of place on a Muse or Audioslave album, or indeed on Queen II, the album over which Gary Cherone and Nuno Bettencourt first bonded in the mid-80s. If you want a song that definitively proves there’s more to the Boston quartet than that sappy ballad, look no further than this one.