TS: Lou Gramm's "Midnight Blue" vs. Steve Perry's "Oh Sherrie"

Message Bookmarked
Bookmark Removed
A bit of a follow-up to this thread. Which singer fared better with his first solo single?

Johnny Fever (johnny fever), Saturday, 27 December 2003 16:24 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

The a capella bit at the beginning of "Oh Sherrie" was a ballsy move, and sort of let you know in advance how proud Steve Perry was of himself. Gramm, on the other hand, took a simple 4/4 beat and some understated guitar and put together a strong song.

Gramm's modesty > Perry's ego

Johnny Fever (johnny fever), Saturday, 27 December 2003 16:45 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

"Midnight Blue" by about a thousand times. And not just because my mom taught Lou Gramm's kids and said he was really nice guy who came to all his parent-teacher conferences and even gave a little benefit concert for the school. And also not just because I saw R.E.M. do a fairly great cover of "Midnight Blue" in 1987. Mostly because of that great opening opening guitar riff and beat.

spittle (spittle), Saturday, 27 December 2003 17:23 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

What the hell happened to Lou Gramm anyway? It looks like he's been sucking on an air hose these last couple of years...

Naive Teen Idol (Naive Teen Idol), Saturday, 27 December 2003 22:15 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Well, he had a brain tumor removed about 5 years back, and became a born again Christian about four years back. That combination would make anyone look a little worse for wear, no?

Johnny Fever (johnny fever), Saturday, 27 December 2003 22:36 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Midnight Blue by a country mile. It's not even close.

Mark M, Sunday, 28 December 2003 07:48 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

"True Blue Love" and "Just Between You & Me" were alright and 'Long Hard Look' was a hysterical record title

dave q, Sunday, 28 December 2003 15:19 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Lou Gramm = full of soul
Steve Perry = Full of shit

Speedy Gonzalas (Speedy Gonzalas), Sunday, 28 December 2003 21:55 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

"Midnight Blue" is certainly the more profound of the two. I always thought this thing called "Life" to be a pretty complicated thing. But since February 1987 I've known that things are either Cherry Red or Midnight Blue. It's so fucking simple I can't believe no one thought of it before Old Man Gramm.

Mark (MarkR), Monday, 29 December 2003 21:01 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

they're either 'cherry red' or 'split'

dave q, Tuesday, 30 December 2003 12:40 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

three months pass...
"Midnight Blue," though it would be a much harder choice if you put it up against Steve's Sam Cookishly beyootiful "Foolish Heart." Anyway, here is my interview with Lou, circa "Midnght Blue":


chuck, Monday, 5 April 2004 18:30 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I can't believe I missed this one! "Midnight Blue," easy, though I do like both a lot. (and I don't like Foreigner or Journey, so figure that one)

Matos W.K. (M Matos), Monday, 5 April 2004 18:44 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

one year passes...
Just heard these two back-to-back on the radio about 10 mins ago. "Midnight Blue" so easily bests "Oh Sherrie" when they're set up beside each other.

Johnny Fever (johnny fever), Saturday, 11 June 2005 15:20 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Winner by a first round KO--Midnight Blue.

These songs aren't in the same league.

kornrulez6969 (TCBeing), Saturday, 11 June 2005 15:31 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

i remember being a kid and swooning in a grade school way over the Sherrie in the video. now, all i can remember about it is steve perry's nose.

i remember totally ignoring "midnight blue" when it was first released. then i remember reading in a spin or rolling stone profile of r.e.m. that they covered it live and i gave it a chance. loved it. i also remember it being one of my favorite songs to hear while training for the marathan in 2002.

john'n'chicago, Saturday, 11 June 2005 17:12 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Midnight Blue, hands down. Because I can gleefully sing along to it and not get confused by the chorus like I do with Oh Sherrie, which no matter how many times I hear it, I think he's saying "Oh Sherrr-ie, outta luck, hose gone, hose gone", even when I KNOW the right words. Plus, on my first day of high school, they put on a lunchtime concert for the newbies, and some hott Year 12 boys played a cover of this song.

VegemiteGrrl (VegemiteGrrl), Saturday, 11 June 2005 18:54 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Midnight Blue, I mean.

VegemiteGrrl (VegemiteGrrl), Saturday, 11 June 2005 18:54 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

ten months pass...
Just wanted to wish Lou a happy birthday!! I too am from Rochester,NY and just had craniopharyngioma surgery in Seattle, WA. I know what he went through. I wouldn't wish this even on my worst enemy. Best wishes to him. Thank you!

Brenda Plarr, Tuesday, 2 May 2006 23:15 (twelve years ago) Permalink

"Midnight Blue" (which I reviewed in the Voice when it came out), easy.

But "Midnight Blue" vs Steve Perry's best solo single "Foolish Heart" would be a lot closer.

xhuxk, Tuesday, 2 May 2006 23:20 (twelve years ago) Permalink

here's my Creem interview with Lou, around the time of that hit:


xhuxk, Tuesday, 2 May 2006 23:21 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Midnight Blue, absolutely.

Does anybody here actually have the REM cover of it?

Edward Bax (EdBax), Wednesday, 3 May 2006 00:13 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Chuck is right, except Steve's best solo is "Oh Sherrie."

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn (Alfred Soto), Wednesday, 3 May 2006 00:20 (twelve years ago) Permalink

ha. hey chuck, take a look at your comments of april, 2004...

my name is john. i reside in chicago. (frankE), Wednesday, 3 May 2006 01:03 (twelve years ago) Permalink

"Just Between You & Me" was one of those songs I heard ad nauseum as a high schooler that has just vanished.

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn (Alfred Soto), Wednesday, 3 May 2006 01:05 (twelve years ago) Permalink

xp: ha ha, how redundant! i haven't budged one inch in the past two years, I guess.

though i have definitely changed since 1987: "if your idea of hard rock is Double Vision or Head Games, you'll probably eat it up. (My idea of hard rock is the Stooges or Slayer, so I can hardly stomach any of it.."

I have insulted Slayer on this board somewhere between 500 and 1000 times, I believe,

xhuxk, Wednesday, 3 May 2006 01:07 (twelve years ago) Permalink

y'know, i was about to say that "midnight blue" is a much more believable song than "foolish heart", but as i thought about it, no. that is one of perry's better vocals, isn't it?

my name is john. i reside in chicago. (frankE), Wednesday, 3 May 2006 01:22 (twelve years ago) Permalink

eight months pass...
Just heard "Midnight Blue" at the cafeteria. It's genius.

TS: "Foolish Heart" vs "Just Between You and Me"

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn (Alfred Soto), Wednesday, 17 January 2007 17:09 (eleven years ago) Permalink

I don't think I've ever seen such consensus on an ILM thread. Impressive...

i'll mitya halfway (mitya), Wednesday, 17 January 2007 17:37 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Would love to fuck with the unanimity, but I can't. Midnight Blue all the way. Loved it in '87 and I love it still.

Adam Beales (Pye Poudre), Wednesday, 17 January 2007 17:59 (eleven years ago) Permalink

TS: "Foolish Heart" vs "Just Between You and Me"

April Wine, every time.

kornrulez6969 (TCBeing), Wednesday, 17 January 2007 18:03 (eleven years ago) Permalink

I can't believe I haven't posted on this thread before! ILM is correct: "Midnight Blue," though the production hasn't aged terribly gracefully.

hearditonthexico (rogermexico), Wednesday, 17 January 2007 18:44 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Oh Sherrie.

jimn (jimnaseum), Wednesday, 17 January 2007 18:46 (eleven years ago) Permalink

And not just to break up the hive-mind consensus. The video alone is a marvel. Steve refusing to do some hokey medieval film shoot. Electing instead to stand around on some stairs singing to a distinctly unimpressed woman (presumably the titular Sherrie).

jimn (jimnaseum), Wednesday, 17 January 2007 18:47 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Was she cherry-red?

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn (Alfred Soto), Wednesday, 17 January 2007 18:48 (eleven years ago) Permalink

As I recently said to Soto:

"Midnight Blue" is a crap song no matter who's singing it, and Lou Gramm's golden tones - more like aluminum - do it no favors.

For the record, Foreigner have one classic in their catalog ("Waiting for a Girl Like You") and another I like for personal reasons ("I Don't Wanna Live Without You," can't defend it, don't ask). That's it, and that's two more than Lou Gramm's got, in my book.

However, I just bought the remaster of Street Talk this weekend, and it's a surprise: not only does "Oh Sherrie" still sound great, so does "Foolish Heart," so does (especially) "She's Mine," a superb little slab of mid-'80s paranoia pop-rock, hell, so does even "Strung Out" (the fourth and final single). Not just those, but the album as a whole is much more solid than it's got any right to be.

I should be thoroughly ashamed to say this, but fuck it, I'm 36 and it's right: Steve Perry may be one of my favorite singers ever.

Thomas Inskeep (submeat), Wednesday, 17 January 2007 19:06 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Thomas, now I'm wishing you would have come to Florida so Alfred and I could make fun of you to your face! haha

Johnny Fever (johnny fever), Wednesday, 17 January 2007 19:10 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Bring it on, baby. BRING IT.

Thomas Inskeep (submeat), Wednesday, 17 January 2007 19:17 (eleven years ago) Permalink


Johnny Fever (johnny fever), Wednesday, 17 January 2007 19:19 (eleven years ago) Permalink

i have never really heard Midnight Blue, just went to itunes to hear a sample. it was a pretty big hit in 87, but i was in college then and not listening to a lot of "chart" stuff. the snippet doesn't sound great, seems like a bit more uptempo Foreigner. Oh Sherrie is classic for all the wrong reasons

bobby bedelia (van dover), Wednesday, 17 January 2007 19:22 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Listen to the rhythm, the guitar, and how Gramm employs his gruff tenor to talk-sing, saving his wail for the chorus.

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn (Alfred Soto), Wednesday, 17 January 2007 20:41 (eleven years ago) Permalink

one year passes...

The R.E.M. cover of "Midnight Blue"...wow.

Johnny Fever, Monday, 22 December 2008 09:16 (nine years ago) Permalink

Thing about Midnight Blue vs Oh Sherri is that they're such totally different kinds of songs. Choosing between them feels like taking sides in yesterday's style wars. Oh Sherri is consistent with Journey's material and with late-70s & 80s arena rock aesthetics: I'm thinking Boston, Journey, Foreigner, Queen, Supertramp, etc. It's big, dramatic, soaring and anthemic. The arrangement is textural and complex, celebrating its own craftsmanship and making no attempt to seem like a captured performance-moment. It's like an Andrew Lloyd Webber showtune: emotionally grandiose to the point of absurdity, poofed and powdered and glossed to within an inch of its life. There isn't anything reserved or subtle about it, any trace of an attempt to appear "legitimate" or "authentic". That makes it easy to dismiss as bullshit, easy to cringe from, easy to hate.

Midnight Blue is almost its polar opposite. It slots in not with the ambitious pretension of post-prog mullet rockers, but with emerging retro-authenticity types like Bryan Adams and The Smithereens, even The Replacements. Big vocals and gated boom notwithstanding, it splits the difference between gloss and gravel and takes a step back from Oh Sherri's gushing, shameless emotional floridity. It seasons optimism with a hint of wisdom and simmers as much as it soars. I guess I guess I mean that's it's classicist and deliberately cool, referencing raw bar-band rock, country, soul and gospel for authenticity points.

You see this in the videos. While Steve rejects a corny medieval fantasy scenario in favor of something more "real", Oh Sherri ends up resembling a jokey, budget version of Madonna's Like a Virgin, with the singer posing romantically while serenading his beloved. Lou, on the other hand, rocks a black leather jacket while jamming with his buds in a dusty old barn. The "for the girls" vs. "for the guys" lines couldn't be drawn any more clearly. "This is pop" vs. "this is rock" spelled out in big neon capitals.

Me, I like Midnight Blue better. But then again, I like rock more than pop and guy stuff more than girl stuff, so no surprise. But in a way, I respect Oh Sherri's tasteless, flagrant ambition more. Lou's kinda playing it safe, turning in an excellent version of what time has worn comfortable and what critics have deemed "true". Steve, meanwhile, is just letting it all hang out, risking looking like a total fool, and making music that belongs only to its moment. Oh Sherri seems more inventive, like music that's building its own rules and genre, rather than simply observing familiar formal conventions. This impresses me somehow, it seems braver and more guileless (though foolish). Still like Midnight Blue better...

Bored American Aerospace Defense Command (BORAD) (contenderizer), Wednesday, 24 December 2008 18:10 (nine years ago) Permalink

Misspelled "Sherrie" throughout. Fucking fuck...

Bored American Aerospace Defense Command (BORAD) (contenderizer), Wednesday, 24 December 2008 18:12 (nine years ago) Permalink

sorry but no - steve perry was never anything BUT a simpering clown with insane vocal chops, so there's no "risk" for him in looking like a total fool. Total Fool is his gimmick!

I think you're pretty much OTM wrt Midnight Blue, though it's funny to think of it as a roots manuva given that it sounds so overpolished now. But it was a step away from the gospel-choir stuff that made Foreigner a zillion-selling hit with the ladeez back toward their earlier rock stuff.

It's also nice and propulsive and fun to play on guitar.

butt-rock miyagi (rogermexico.), Wednesday, 24 December 2008 19:37 (nine years ago) Permalink

I like lots of Foreigner, but Lou Gramm never affected this "Street Life"-era Bryan Ferry vocal before, so "Midnight Blue" wins.

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn, Wednesday, 24 December 2008 21:58 (nine years ago) Permalink

four years pass...

I love Midnight Blue SOOO much. SO MUCH.


Steve Perry comes right in with those big pipes all desperate to win everyone from the first line like HAY THIS IS MY SOLO SONG PLEASE LIKE ME YOU REMEMBER ALL MY JOURNEY AWESOMENESS THIS IS SERIOUSLY WAY BETTER and it's good but it's more the beat that is catchy because the words are kinda bollocks

Lou plays it way cooler, goes bigger, doesn't even care if you know it's him right away...but by the end he's losing his mind over this car/chick/dad whatever. I love the build to the end!

'When I win your heart, I'm gonna paint it cherry red' Hands down. Win.

set the controls for the heart of the sun (VegemiteGrrl), Sunday, 18 August 2013 22:34 (five years ago) Permalink

sorry -- love them both. Perry does restrain himself in verses in which the synths do the talking.

first I think it's time I kick a little verse! (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 18 August 2013 22:37 (five years ago) Permalink


set the controls for the heart of the sun (VegemiteGrrl), Sunday, 18 August 2013 22:40 (five years ago) Permalink

God, I love "Midnight Blue" so hard.

Ⓓⓡ. (Johnny Fever), Sunday, 18 August 2013 22:57 (five years ago) Permalink

The R.E.M. cover of "Midnight Blue"...wow.

― Johnny Fever, Monday, December 22, 2008 4:16 AM (4 years ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Haha, I was at the next night's show (same venue). Friends at school told me they'd covered "Midnight Blue," but I didn't believe them. All we got was the Velvets' "After Hours."

Shart Week (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Sunday, 18 August 2013 23:21 (five years ago) Permalink

four years pass...

We liked it. Odd juxtaposition, for sure, but a great song. https://t.co/6AXQ4uDQXs

— Mike Mills (@m_millsey) November 3, 2017

Ⓓⓡ. (Johnny Fever), Saturday, 4 November 2017 03:54 (one year ago) Permalink


Squeaky Fromage (VegemiteGrrl), Saturday, 4 November 2017 05:07 (one year ago) Permalink

mike mills OTM

Larry Elleison (rogermexico.), Wednesday, 8 November 2017 20:16 (one year ago) Permalink

Ha! I saw them do that on the Document tour. Radio City Music Hall. They also sprinkled in a bit of Heartbreak Beat by Psychedelic Furs which was big back then.

kornrulez6969, Wednesday, 8 November 2017 20:48 (one year ago) Permalink

nine months pass...

new Steve Perry, I like it!


The Desus & Mero Chain (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Thursday, 16 August 2018 19:42 (three months ago) Permalink

i do too!

princess of hell (BradNelson), Friday, 17 August 2018 16:51 (three months ago) Permalink

i had a huge grin on my face from the opening chords on

princess of hell (BradNelson), Friday, 17 August 2018 16:52 (three months ago) Permalink

I guess I never thought of him as having very distinctive vocal phrasing but the whole time I was realizing that he really does

you can tell he doesn't have quite the oomph or range but he seems to be able to work around it pretty well

The Desus & Mero Chain (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Friday, 17 August 2018 17:09 (three months ago) Permalink

it’s decent but i dunno if i’d listen to it more than once. husky steve is fine :)

it’s not really a hot take but young belting steve is still the best steve

Squeaky Fromage (VegemiteGrrl), Friday, 17 August 2018 19:36 (three months ago) Permalink

I guess I never thought of him as having very distinctive vocal phrasing but the whole time I was realizing that he really does

*cough cough* Sam Cooke *cough*

the titular refrain is terrible, but otherwise this is about what I would expect a latter day Steve Perry song to sound like

Οὖτις, Friday, 17 August 2018 19:40 (three months ago) Permalink

pretty much

i think the love is more a delighted “oh hey it doesn’t suck”

Squeaky Fromage (VegemiteGrrl), Friday, 17 August 2018 19:41 (three months ago) Permalink

You must be logged in to post. Please either login here, or if you are not registered, you may register here.