Artist: Eric Martin Band
Title: Sucker for a Pretty Face
Label/No.: Elektra 60238
Year: 1983
Peak Chart Position: #191
Producers: Kevin Elson and Rodney Mills
Singles: “Sucker for a Pretty Face” (Mainstream Rock #42); “Don’t Stop” (didn’t chart)

Sucker for a Pretty Face
Don’t Stop
Private Life
Ten Feet Tall
Letting It Out

Young At Heart
Just Another Pretty Boy
One More Time
Catch Me If You Can
Love Me

Judging by the Cover: Looks very power pop to me. The little earring. The heavily shellacked junior mullet look. The rouged cheekbones, and coy androgyny of the sideways glance. The voluptuous pink lips. The black jacket over the red t-shirt, and a lapel pin of the band’s logo. Seriously, what’s not to love. Except, yikes! That creepily exploitive silhouette in the background! Still… his face looks familiar. Where have I seen him before? Oh, shit. What have I done? Do you know what this is? Do you know who this is? Here’s a hint: I’m the one who wants to be with you, deep inside I hope you feel it too.

What It Sounds Like: Yup, by the end of the decade, Eric Martin would be the lead singer of one of the wankingest hair metal bands ever: Mr. Big. But in 1983, he was leading an eponymous sextet (the other five are pictured with comically feathered hair and blank looks on the back cover) playing the kind of soul-destroying-but-super-catchy hard rock (with keyboards!) that other, arguably more talented bands like Survivor and Journey were taking to the bank. As demonstrated by this LP, the Eric Martin Band really could have been contendahs in the 80s second-tier film soundtrack sweepstakes. Their sound has just the sort of crassly generic bigness that would sound great next to, say, a montage featuring Ralph Macchio preparing himself for, like, the challenge (any challenge) of a lifetime. Needless to say, I love it. The title track has a galloping beat that’s hard not to love, and other songs like “Ten Feet Tall”, the piano-driven, Hammond-organ accented “Private Life”, and “Just Another Pretty Boy” all have an appealing bar band feel to them (that is the kind of bar band that plays in a bar in a 1983 Demi Moore vehicle) that seems thankfully far removed from the Hollywood pop metal scene of the early 90s. On the other hand, the ballads that close both sides of the LP rival Air Supply for pure, shameless, guilty-pleasure treacle. As it turns out, Eric Martin did land himself a spot on the soundtrack of the 1984 film Teachers (starring Nick Nolte and – what? – Ralph Macchio!). But that song isn’t here. (And frankly, though I remember loving it when I was in junior high, it’s been ages since I’ve seen Teachers, so I couldn’t tell you what scene you’ll hear Eric Martin singing in.)

Recommended If You Like: Survivor (the band, not the TV show), Journey, Second-Tier Sports Movies, Feathered Hair and Jumpsuits

CD Availability: In the late 90s, “Sucker for a Pretty Face” was reissued in Japan with newer, more generic cover art, and five bonus tracks. Right now, the cheapest you’ll pay for it on Amazon though is $55. Yikes. Keep the vinyl – it’s good.

The Highlight Reel: Snippets of “Sucker for a Pretty Face”, “Private Life”, “Ten Feet Tall”, “Just Another Pretty Boy”, and “One More Time”