Mr. Mister: Welcome To The Real World / Go On...

A two-million-selling classic, and the bungled follow-up.

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Even at the height of their fame in the mid-80s, they were never cool. Mr. Mister was a terrible name for a rock group, and frontman Richard Page looked like Sting modelling for Top Man. But what this LA-based quartet created in 1985 was a classic melodic rock album featuring two of the defining songs of that era.

It might never have happened. After the band’s debut I Wear The Face bombed, Page was offered jobs with Toto and Chicago. He stuck with Mr. Mister though, and it paid off in ’85 with their second album.

Welcome To The Real World (910) was a brilliant synthesis of AOR and new wave, comparable to The Cars’ classic Heartbeat City. And two singles topped the US chart: Kyrie, a quasi-spiritual anthem of huge melodic power, and Broken Wings, a subtle ballad as masterful as The Cars’ Drive.

Two years later came the career-killing flop. Go On… (510) had all the traits of the serious artist of the 80s: gospel-style backing singers, fretless bass, even bloody pan pipes. What it lacked was great songs, save for one hymn-like epic, The Border. Now, 30 years on from his masterpiece, Page plays in Ringo Starr’s band. Things haven’t turned out so bad.

Classic Rock 215: Reissues

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Freelance writer for Classic Rock since 2005, Paul Elliott has worked for leading music titles since 1985, including Sounds, Kerrang!, MOJO and Q. He is the author of several books including the first biography of Guns N’ Roses and the autobiography of bodyguard-to-the-stars Danny Francis. He has written liner notes for classic album reissues by artists such as Def Leppard, Thin Lizzy and Kiss, and currently works as content editor for Total Guitar. He lives in Bath - of which David Coverdale recently said: “How very Roman of you!”