With our top ten Max Webster songs list we are looking not at the work of a solo artist as the name might suggest to anyone not familiar with the music, but a Canadian rock band who were first formed in 1972. This very unique and criminally unknown act have combined many different styles over the course of their career. Their music often combined genres of rock music that not many other bands would think of mixing. They had elements of progressive rock but also often played in a hard rock style with themes of rock n roll and partying. In addition to this they also dabbled with punk and new wave sounds.
Although Max Webster has never been a massively well-known act, they have an association that a lot of people primarily know them for. They have always been close friends with a certain band from the same area called Rush, with their vocalist Geddy Lee has stated that he has always been a fan and has joined them several times on stage, as well as collaborating with them on their final album Universal Junkies. Unfortunately, Max Webster has always been something of a local act in Canada, having success there but not really anywhere else. In the United Kingdom, they had a minor hit with the song “Paradise Skies” and did appear on the country’s flagship chart program “Top of the Pops” in 1979. After the band initially split in 1981, vocalist Kim Mitchell would go on to have more success with his solo career.
Since their split, Max Webster has had several reunions, with their latest one being in 2007. Since then they have remained defunct. All of the members have been involved with other projects both in and outside of music. Here is a list of their ten best songs.
# 10 – Battle Scar
Kicking off our top ten Max Webster songs list we have this track taken from the fifth and final album Universal Junkies released in 1980. The album was produced by Jack Richardson who is known for this work with The Guess Who. This track features a guest appearance by Rush, with Geddy Lee providing backing vocals on the chorus.
# 9 – Blue River Liquor Shine
Up next is another track taken from the Universal Junkies album that was released as its first single. Although the lyrics to this song could be better written in places, the song does get better as it goes on, particularly with the harmonies and backing vocals. Other than that, the song is generally well written with some particularly impressive guitar work.
# 8 – A Million Vacations
Next up is the title track from the band’s fourth album released in 1979 entitled A Million Vacations. To this day, this remains a staple of Classic Rock radio in Canada. It is a very summery track that is ideal for parties and for many Canadians, gives them something to look forward to during their very cold winters. It is among the band’s more accessible material.
# 7 – Paradise Skies
Our next track is the opening track of the fourth album and one that, as stated in this article’s introduction was their only minor hit in the UK. It is one of their most recognizable tracks and is a strong opener. It is quite commercial-sounding with very catchy hooks and has a general rock n roll vibe to it.
# 6 – Let Your Man Fly
Ending the first half of this list is a track taken from the band’s third album Mutiny Up My Sleeve released in 1978. It was certified Gold by the Canadian Recording Industry Association. They began recording it in 1977, producing it themselves and initially with Terry Brown as co-producer. When they resumed the sessions the following year, the band’s ex-bassist Mike Tilka replaced Brown after he quit.
# 5- Hawaii
Kicking off the second half of our list is this track also taken from the third album. This album marks the debut of Dave Myles on bass after the departure of Mike Tilka. When the band’s entire back catalog was released on CD in 1988, the front cover read “featuring Kim Mitchell” to capitalize on his success as a solo artist.
# 4 – High Class In Borrowed Shoes
The next track on the list is the title track of the band’s second album released in 1977. This song is a real blaster that has elements of AC/DC and Van Halen. Combined with this, it has some progressive overtones, particularly with its use of keyboards and its impressive guitar solos during parts of the song outside of the main verse and chorus.
# 3 – Gravity
At number three is what is easily the best track taken from the group’s second album which starts of sounding like their friends in Rush with its combined sounds of seventies progressive rock and metal. In addition to this, there are also elements of soft rock and even New Wave before that genre even existed. After the conventional first half, the song then takes a complete U-turn and becomes much more experimental. It is a great example of how this band were a group who were really diverse in terms of the kind of rock music that they were playing.
# 2 – Hangover
Just off the top spot is the opening track of the band’s self-titled debut album released in 1976. As the title would suggest, the song is about the feelings that you get the morning after a night drinking. The song shows the band’s penchant for good time rock n roll vibes although this track does also have progressive elements to it. This song was the album’s title track when it was re-released the following year.
# 1 – Blowing The Blues Away
At the top spot of our Max Webster songs list is the amazing track entitled “Blowing The Blues Away.” The song “Blowing The Blues Away,” was the lead single from their first album. The previous entry on this list was the B side to it. It has a different sound to it than that song, having more of a sixties psychedelic vibe to it. In 1979 this album was certified platinum by the Canadian Recording Industry Association.
Top 10 Max Webster Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2022
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