TNT – The Big Bang – The Essential Collection

TNT - The Big Bang – The Essential Collection


Release date: April 15, 2003

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Here today, gone tomorrow? No, Norwegian rockers TNT, fronted by American voice extraordinaire Tony Harnell, is set to explode again as the guys end their thirties. It’s more like “hair gone, Today ’N Tomorrow”. But who cares?

TNT made it quite far back in the late eighties, halfway up the American Billboard 200 charts. With a stronger push and the right support slot, they would have made it all the way up, but nobody wanted this explosive to open their night. A notorious LA band that went number one in 1989 once set the price so high that TNT had to back out of a European tour that would have done them good, they would in fact have wiped the floor with pornstars ‘n golfers.

Anyway, the story starts back in 1982, when Dag Ingebrigtsen, a talented songwriter who, together with Torstein Flakne from Stage Dolls, reached number one in Norway with his band The Kids and caused mass hysteria, found teenage guitar wiz Ronni Le Tekro through the grapevine, and released TNT, a hard hitting album with Norwegian lyrics. The song, “Harley Davidson” picked up attention from the underground worldwide, a song that best sums up drummer Diesel Dahl’s lifestyle. He still looks like the toughest kid on the block.

Two years later, Dahl, Tekro and bass player Morty Black, who joined in 1983, along with exile-Californian Tony Harnell, put out Knights Of The New Thunder, an album which still is as good as it gets, and the snowball is rolling. But I’ll stop here, you may look somewhere else for the complete story.

Frustrated about their ever changing drummer situation (Spinal Tap go home) and the changes in the music business, TNT took a break in the early nineties. In Japan shortly after, where TNT still is highly successful, their label put out Till Next Time, a compilation of all the records Tony Harnell cut with the band so far. This CD is basically the same as The Big Bang – The Essential Collection. Till Next Time had a few live tracks from the video “Forever Shine On”, while The Big Bang – The Essential Collection has a few new songs “Harley Davidson” sung by Dag Ingebrigtsen as well as “”Eddie”, a song from the first album that was face-lifted with Tony’s vocals and put on the US version of Knights Of The New Thunder. In addition, The Big Bang – The Essential Collection includes a few new songs and a demo from 1985, the unreleased “Destiny”.

If you’re not familiar with TNT, let me be the first to tell you that the band is known for incredibly catchy and sometimes rather commercial song writing, THE most unique high class guitar player to come out in the eighties (along with Criss Oliva), once rated as number two after Eddie Van Halen with only one album out on the international market, as well as just as unique and high (pitched) class vocals. The guitar/vocal chemistry quickly gave TNT their own distinctive sound.

The Big Bang – The Essential Collection is a nice collection of hits and shows the band’s most radio friendly stuff. To sum up TNT best songs with a single disc only, is hard, if not impossible. You can put a lot of tracks on, because back in the day their songs were over before they started, but only “Last Summer’s Evil” fails to fit in among the rest. So forget about what happened last summer and the girl who got knocked up or whatever, and include “Desperate Night”, “Lionheart”, “Without Your Love”, “Hard To Say Goodbye”, “Purple Mountain’s Majesty” and “Easy Street”, and you see that it’s not at all possible to make a “best of” single record by this band. Therefore, or maybe because of that, the label has chosen “… – The Essential Collection” included in the title. And here’s where the release fails totally. This is a good collection of some of TNT’s best material, but far from the “essential” collection. “Essential” to me means that you get to see the band’s diversity, and then, all of a sudden, you will have to include “Tell No Tales”, “Deadly Metal”, “All You Need”, “Tor With The Hammer”, “Rock’n Roll Away” and “Northern Lights”, even “Wisdom” and “Eventyr” from the first CD is essential TNT.

If this record was called “Greatest Hits”, it would be a fair title. But it’s supposedly the essential TNT – no f..king way.

Hair or not, the new songs make the old fan optimistic – welcome back, TNT.


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