Dokken, The Lost Songs: 1978-1981 (Silver Lining Music 2020)

Directly from Don Dokken’s vaults to you, the earliest recordings that lead to the internationally famous Glam Rock band Dokken have come to light.

The bands that followed after the early heavy music pioneers like Black Sabbath are typically referred to as Hard Rock – think Judas Priest, early Scorpions, and so on. Glam Rock (or Hair Metal of Glam Metal) came a bit later, in the early eighties, with bands like Mötley Crüe, Vandenberg, Hanoi Rocks, and, of course Dokken. {I am leaving Alice Cooper out on purpose because he was his own thing.} The difference between what I am calling Hard Rock and Glam Metal is that the latter was known for guitar-driven music with heavy riffs but with a pop music radio-play sensibility Hard Rock did not have. Glam Rock is also known for stadium anthem-ballads. Glam Metal was a major musical driving force through the 1980s into the 1990s, and Dokken was there at the beginning.

Dokken’s first album was Breaking The Chains in 1981 so the music on the new release was what lead up to this debut. The story is that Don Dokken recorded these early songs at Media Arts Studio in Redondo Beach in the late seventies then took them with him to Hamburg, Germany where fate and hard work eventually conspired to bring together producer Michael Wagener and Dokken. They hit upon a sound based on these demos and Dokken went on to extraordinary success selling millions of records. These earliest songs have not seen the light of day until now.

You can hear elements from the pieces on The Lost Songs: 1978-1981 on Dokken albums that came later and occasionally, the principal song itself, like “Felony” which made its way onto Breaking The Chains (1983) and “Prisoner” which showed up on Back For The Attack (1987), both in dramatically different forms. Songs like “Hit and Run,” “Step Into The Light,” and “No Answer” to me show that Dokken’s unique hallmark sound was there at the very beginning. The music developed, matured, and became more polished over the years but the early inspiration stayed with Don Dokken all the way through. Listening to this collection is nostalgic, sure, but it is also fascinating to discover how hard wired the Dokken sound was from the start. If you are a fan of Dokken or any of the 1980s Glam Metal bands, you are going to be excited to hear this album. Recommended.

The Lost Songs: 1978-1981 comes out this Friday, August 28th. You can get the music by itself or a merch bundle at the Dokken Store link below.


Dokken, The Lost Songs: 1978-1981 (Silver Lining Music 2020)