Zebra was one of the most popular bands on Long Island. The big three back then from Long Island, New York were Zebra, Twisted Sister and The Good Rats. They were three completely different bands. I loved Zebra and The Good Rats. Twisted Sister were also a great and entertaining band while doing many covers. The Good Rats performed all their own material. Zebra was a Led Zeppelin cover band. However, the group Zebra had a few originals that their fans loved. Over time, the group began performing more of their original music. The same fans who had religiously went to see the band every night for their Led Zeppelin covers were now following the band because of their original music. A populist movement began among their fans in trying to get the band signed to a record deal. Eventually with the help of Long Island’s rock radio station WBAB, Bob Buchmann and the band’s ever growing loyal following on Long Island and in their hometown of New Orleans, Zebra was signed to a recording contract with Atlantic Records.
The band’s first album was released in 1983. The album entitled Zebra brought the band their first and only Gold Record. It was a fantastic album filled with all the songs that we had been listening to the band perform in the clubs on Long Island for the previous five years. Zebra went on the road with the band Loverboy in 1983 to promote the album. I saw Zebra perform at the Nassau Coliseum in November of 1983. The band opened for Loverboy. It should have been the other way around because that entire Nassau Coliseum was filled with Zebra fans. For all of us there, it was a pretty amazing moment to being seeing a band that we had stood only a few feet from every night at the Mad Hatter in Stony Brook, New York now up on the concert stage of the Nassau Coliseum.
In 1984, Zebra released their second album entitled No Tellin’ Lies. However the band’s album was overshadowed by a changing music scene that was engulfed in multi miliion selling albums like Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the U.S.A and Prince’s Purple Rain. That classic 1970s rock sound that defined Zebra was losing interest among a changing musical audience. No Telling Lies was a great record, but the national music audience was changing. Two years later, Zebra released their final album for the time being entitled 3.V. A live album was released in 1990. In 1998, the band released a greatest hits album entitled The Best of Zebra: In Black and White followed by a King Biscuit Flower album release in 1999.
Zebra fans thought they were dreaming when it was announced that a new studio Zebra album was being released in the early 2000’s. In 2003, Zebra released the album appropriately titled Zebra IV. The album featured all three original band members including Randy Jackson on guitar, Felix Hanemann on bass and Guy Gelso on drums.
Our Top 10 Zebra songs is just a simple list of our favorite Zebra songs. It is a tribute to one of our favorite bands. If you are an old time Zebra fan you will undoubtedly have your own personal favorites. However, our main reason for writing these lists is to turn people on to bands that they may not be familiar with. We hope you take the time to listen to these great Zebra songs.
# 10 – As I Said Before
We start out our Top 10 Zebra songs with a classic track from the band’s debut album entitled Zebra. The song “As I Said Before,” was written by Randy Jackson. It appeared as the fourth track on side one of the album.
# 9 -Arabian Nights
The Zebra song “Arabian Nights,” was the opening track on the band’s comeback album in 2003 entitled Zebra IV. Its metal sounding minor chord opening guitar riff set the tone for a sound that seemed updated yet still retained that classic Zebra sound. The band sounded great on this recording. Listen to how Guy’s snare drum cuts through the mix in such splendid fashion. Killer track all the way. Randy’s on fire as usual. Listen to his solo, listen to his vocals while Felix holds it all together. And add a little James Bond riff there at the end. Yeah we hear it Randy. Nice job
# 8 – No Tellin’ Lies
“No Tellin’ Lies,” was released on the band’s sophomore album No Tellin’ Lies. The album was released in 1984. “No Tellin’ Lies,” opened up side two of the record. The song starts of with a great heavy Randy Jackson guitar riff and then explodes all over the places as Guy Gelso and Felix Hanemann wrap themselves around Randy’ iconic vocals for a spellbinding tour of rock and roll. Yeah Baby!
# 7 – Time
The great Randy Jackson song “Time,” was one of those tracks that Zebra fans held even closer to their hearts. It’s a magical piece of music. We always thought it was one of Randy Jackson’s greatest compositions. The song was released on the band’s third album entitled 3.V.
# 6 – Take Your Fingers From My Hair
Zebra’s first album defined all the years of playing that the group did in the clubs on Long Island and New Orleans in the 1970’s. The album was loaded with all those great songs we listened to every night. We just have a certain sentiment for this great album. This was one of those songs that we all fell in love with the first time we heard it.
# 5 – One More Chance
Another great track from the band’s first album entitled Zebra. Randy Jackson wrote such great choruses. His transition from verse to chorus and the change in his vocal performance from chest voice into his falsetto in the music was the band’s trademark. Such an amazing piece of music.
# 4 – Wait Until The Summer’s Gone
This great song was one of our favorite track on the band’s second album. The song “Wait Until The Summer’s Gone,” was the opening song on the No Tellin’ Lies album. The drums and bass on this one were killer. These guys really tore this one up when they played it live.
# 3 – Tell Me What You Want
It was tough to pick the order of the next group of Zebra songs. This next group of songs are the the band’s fan’s most loved songs. The classic track “Tell Me What You Want,” would be released on the band’s debut album Zebra. I can’t tell how great it was to finally have these fantastic songs to play vinyl.
# 2 – Who’s Behind The Door
“Who’s Behind the Door,” was the band’s first official single release on Atlantic Records. Their was a progressive 70s rock sound to this one that fans went crazy over. That was the magic of Zebra. Their sound blended the best elements of bands like Led Zeppelin and Yes that stood as the hallmark of that classic rock feel.
# 1 – TIE -The La La Song / Bears
If you ask any Zebra fan to list their favorite Zebra song, chances are they are going to say “The La La Song, ” or “Bears.” Both songs were incredibly loved song by the band’s fans. One cannot mention the legacy of Zebra without mentioning these two classic Zebra songs. “The La La Song,” was released on the band’s first album entitled Zebra. However, Zebra fans who had fell in love with the band when they played the nightclubs had been listening to that song for years before it was finally released in vinyl.
The great song “Bear,” was released on Zebra’s second album entitled No Tellin’ Lies. Randy’s vocals were on fire in this one as well as that smoking guitar sold in the middles of the tune. These guys were amazing!!!!!!!!!!