Rocker Billy Squire Performing at the 2013 Voodo Music + Arts Experience in New Orleans
Admittedly, it may have been a while since you’ve listened to this guy (or even worse, for some of you, this could even be a first time experience) but as soon as you do, you’ll quickly remember/understand why Squire was once such powerful musical force back in the early ’80s, blasting out some of the most vicious riffs in rock history:
AndÂ then ONEÂ video savagely murdered his entire career . . .
The New York Post vividly described Squire’s sudden plunge from the glorious heights of stardom deep into the dark abyss of rock oblivion as follows:
By the time Squier released his next album, 1984â€™s â€œSigns of Life,â€ he was a megastar. â€œRock Me Tonite,â€ the first single, was the biggest hit he had ever had. MTV was relentlessly promoting an imminent world premiere . . . â€œWhen I saw the video, my jaw dropped,â€ Squier told them. â€œIt was diabolical. I looked at it and went, â€˜What the f-â€Š-k is this?â€™â€‰Directed by choreographer Kenny Ortega and shot two weeks before its premiere, the video opens with a shirtless Squier lolling on a bed of satin sheets, bouncing around a pseudo-industrial loft, pawing his way along the floor and ripping off his shirt, all filtered through a soft pink neon haze. The video is so unironic it seems as though it must be ironic. â€œMy girlfriend said something like, â€˜This is gonna ruin you,â€™â€‰â€ Squier recalled. â€œI was a mess .â€‰.â€‰. Itâ€™s like â€˜Rock Me Toniteâ€™ is an MBA course on how a video can go really wrong.â€
With record sales in free-fall and swiftly emptying concert venues, almost over night Squire tragically vanished into a life of self-imposed isolation. Or so he imagined . . .
Despite Squire’s untimely departure from the world of rock, the hip-hop community began embracing his work with even more enthusiasm than his original (and sizable) fan-base: “stripping his singles for parts and, in the process, proving just how unerring and malleable a songwriter he was. ‘The Big Beat’ â€” the song that would change everything â€” never charted, but the record did, and in 1983, Run-D.M.C. sampled the song on â€œHere We Go (Live at the Funhouse).â€ Itâ€™s the first known commercial hip-hop sampling of Billy Squier â€” one of nearly 200 today . . . Itâ€™s estimated that Squier has earned millions of dollars through sampling alone â€” and a mostly uncredited second life as a Billboard superstar.”
So the next time youÂ lose your job, get dumped by your super-model girlfriend, go brokeÂ and find yourself doing an unexpected stint in federal prisonÂ simply because you mistakenly hitÂ “reply all” while illegally sharing a stock tip (or – ya know – just have a REALLY bad week…) remember the legend of Billy Squire.
Even for you, redemption may be just around the corner.