The 1980s brought an onslaught of so-called “hair bands, to rock and roll culture. Big hair, heavy makeup, and high heels, and we are not just talking about the women. Fans of 1970s rock like Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd did not care much for the sound of bands like Poison and Def Leppard. For Zep fans, many of those hair bands displayed too much flash and not enough substance. Nonetheless, the ’80s did produce some great rock and roll music. One of our favorite bands of the 80s was a little-known group called Saraya.
The band Saraya was formed in 1987 by keyboardist Gregg Munier and vocalist Sandi Saraya. The band was signed in 1989 to Polygram records. Saraya released their first album in 1989. Joining the group were Chuck Bonafante on drums, Gary Taylor on bass and Tony Rey on guitar. The band’s sound was deep, fresh, heavy, and centered basically around the intense and virtuoso vocals of Sandi Saraya.
Their first album yielded a minor hit entitled “Love has Taken its Toll.” The band’s released one more album in 1991 before breaking up. Their sound no matter how great it was, would soon become overshadowed by the breakthrough of Nirvana and changing musical taste. If Saraya had released their debut album just a few years earlier in the wake of the big hair scene, chances are the band would have been much more successful than they ever were. Regardless of commercial success, the group has always been one of our favorite bands. Even though they only released two records and a single in a movie soundtrack, our desire is to turn people onto a really great band. We now present our favorite Saraya songs.
# 10 – Healing Touch
Starting out our Top 10 Sarya Songs list is the great big 80’s sounding song “Healing Touch.” The song was released on their debut album Saraya in 1989. The song appeared as the second track on the record. It’s probably the most keyboard dominated song on the record. The heavy synths wrap around Sandi Saraya’s golden voice while Tony Kays slick guitar licks intertwined in between the keys and the heavy drumming sound of Mr. Chuck Bonafante. All while Gary Taylor holds it all together on bass.
# 9 – Lions Den
The great track “Lion’s Den,” appeared on the band’s second album, When The Blackbird Sings. On the second recording, bassist Gary Taylor was replaced by Barry Dunaway. On this smoking track, the band’s guitarist Tony Rey shows off his virtuoso guitar playing on a killer guitar solo.
# 8 – Timeless Love
The power ballad “Timeless Love,” was released on the soundtrack to the 1989 Wes Craven film Shocker. The song only appeared on the soundtrack to the film and did not appear on either of the band’s two studio albums.
# 7 – Hitchin’ A Ride
One of the best transitions from an acoustic opening to total electrification ever recorded. A killer song, with a killer hook, and of course some smoking vocals by Sandi Sandi Saraya Man this band was so great! This song has a melody and a riff that just gets stuck in your head which for us is such a good thing.
# 6 – Bring Back The Light
The importance of Chuck Bonfante to the sound of Saraya can be heard so clearly on this great track. Chuck Bonfante is easily one of the most underrated drummers in rock. Bonafante had that big 80s sound to his playing but there was also a similarity in the way he played to Led Zeppelin’s John Bonham. I met him once at a friends house and I will never forget the pet pig he brought along with him. Very cool guy and a brilliant musician.
# 5 – St. Christopher’s Medal
This beautiful song was released on their first album in 1989. “St. Christopher’s Medal,” was the second to last song on the record. Great lyrics, beautiful melody and Sandi is so convincing on this one.
# 4 – Back To The Bullet
The song “Back To The Bullet,” was released as the second single from the band’s debut album. Anyone who loves pure rock and roll sung with passion energy and beauty will fall in love with this video. There is a bit of Patty Smyth in Sandi Saraya’s vocals and style but with a bit of a more metal edge.
# 3 – Tear Down The Wall
The last three songs on our Saraya songs list were real hard to put in any order. They are amazing recordings that really defined in so many ways why Saraya broke up way too soon. This was such a great band and its a shame they only recorded two albums.
# 2 – Queen Of Sheba
Talk about a song that you want to turn up to 11. An incredible opening sequence that lit up a great rock and roll song. The opening number off their second album and one of our favorite Saraya songs.
# 1 – Love Has Taken Its Toll
We close out our top 10 Saraya songs list with the great track “Love Has Taken Its Toll.” Yes, there is plenty of hair in this video, but listen to those vocals and you can hear there was so much mire going on wih this band. Sandi Saraya had what it took to become a huge star, the proof is in this video.
Their debut album SARAYA
The band’s second album When The Blackbird Sings
Both album covers are Amazon links. Clicking in either album picture will take you to the Amazon Page where the album can be purchased.
Updated Nov 7, 2020