Marco Mendoza & John Sykes
J .....O ..... H ..... N
S ....Y .... K .... E ....S

John Sykes is one of the many guitar virtuosos to have been in the arsenal of Thin Lizzy guitarists. He has also performed and recorded with Whitesnake,
Tygers of Pan Tang
, as well as his own band Blue Murder.

Please Don't Leave Me John Sykes - Please Don't Leave Me (MVP Japan) 1992

1. "Please Don't Leave Me" [original version] (4:51)
2. "Don't Take Nothing" (2:52)
3. "Bad Times" (3:07)
4. "All or Nothing" (2:44)
5. "Don't Give a Damn" (4:31)
6. "Please Don't Leave Me" [short version] (4:19)
7. "Slave to Freedom" [live] (5:02)
8. "Raised on Rock" [live] (4:44)
9. "Paradise Drive " (3:45)
10. "Love Potion No. 9" (2:08)
11. "Please Don't Leave Me" [instrumental version] (3:57)

A collection of singles that John Sykes had his hand in. This particular compilation was released in Japan only. The title track, which is repeated three times on this disc, is a Phil Lynott/John Sykes penned track that was apparently recorded as a single for Thin Lizzy. The rest of the tracks are all pre-Lizzy tracks that John recorded with the Tygers of Pan Tang. Pretty cool to hear some of those old NWOBHM classics again. Of course my favorite track is the 'original version' of "Please Don't Leave Me". Still, a good listen all the way through. May have to add some Tygers of Pan Tang to my collection. "Love Potion No. 9" is a cover of an old 50's or 60's hit, but for the life of me I can't remember who wrote it.

Pretty Maids covered "Please Don't Leave Me".

Sykes - Out of My Tree (Mercury Japan) 1995

1. "Soul Stealer" (3:38)
2. "I Don't Wanna Live My Life Like You" (3:11)
3. "She' All Action" (3:21)
4. "Standing at the Crossroads" (3:54)
5. "I Don't Believe in Anything" (5:03)
6. "Black Days" (5:02)
7. "Jesus & Mary" (4:16)
8. "Do or Die" (3:15)
9. "If You Ever Need Love" (4:17)
10. "Sleep On" (4:48)

This Japanese only release is a cauldron of musical styles ranging from the heavy AOR that one would expect from John Sykes to a few blues based tunes and even punk. The production is thick, the song writing is top notch and the packaging is excellent as well. What also makes this disc is the guitar man's proto-metal solos. This man knows how to play his guitar. On board for the ride is drummer Tommy O'Steen and bassist Marco Mendoza, who has also performed as of recent with Thin Lizzy ("On Night Only") and Ted Nugent ("Full Bluntal Nugity"). Picked up this gem in an internet trade. The disc came complete with obi strip and that extra insert with all the lyrics in Japanese.

Loveland John Sykes - Loveland (Mercury/Japan) 1997

1. "Everything I Need" (4:03)
2. "Didn't We Say" (4:10)
3. "Don't Hurt Me This Way" [Please Don't Leave Me '97] (4:45)
4. "Hold The Line" (2:59)
5. "Thank You For The Love" (3:21)
6. "Wuthering Heights" (2:48)
7. "Till The Day I Die" (4:39)
8. "Haunted" (4:59)
9. "I'll Be Waiting" (3:13)
10. "Don't Say Goodbye" (5:01)

This album paints a very somber and emotional picture as "Loveland" is a much more mellow affair than other John Sykes releases. Much of the music on this disc would be considered ballads or at best power ballads. A few of these tracks, like "Thank You for the Love," probably would have been huge MTV hits in the early 90's had they been written while Sykes was in Whitesnake. "Please Don't Leave Me" makes it onto this release as well, under the name "Don't Hurt Me This Way". This re-recorded version still features some of the original vocals by Phil Lynott. Other tracks like "Wuthering Heights" have a Beatles feel to them. "Don't Say Goodbye" also gives a nod to the Beatles in both the lyrics and the music. The verse to this song is, "Imagine Lucy in the sky Had a ticket to ride, told the fool on the hill get back. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Di Penny Lane drive me car, now the magical mystery tour ends...I cried the day when I heard John Lennon died. Lord in Heaven was asleep when the fool with the gun stole his life." So, despite this not being John's heaviest album, it is still quite diverse and a good listen from song one through ten.

20th Century John Sykes-20th Century (Mercury/Japan) 1997

1. "Look In His Eyes" (3:47)
2. "20th Century Heartache" (3:58)
3. "I Get Around" (2:56)
4. "2 Counts" (4:27)
5. "Defcon 1" (3:37)
6. ""System Ain't Workin'" (3:27)
7. "The Way You Kiss Me" (3:16)
8. "Found What I Needed" (3:34)
9. "Cautionary Warning" (3:28)
10. "Touched By Evil" (5:37)

Marco Mendoza
Marco Mendoza

John Sykes is not only a talented singer and guitarist, but is also a talented songwriting. The man has helped to write mega-hits for Whitesnake and has written some classic songs with Phil Lynott for Thin Lizzy. However, his solo material, while appealing to the same fan base, doesn't sound like either band. Unlike other artists who have left successful classic rock bands and gone solo, John has not tried to recreate the sound of his old band, has not retreated to doing the blues or written experimental albums that are nothing but rhythms in which to solo over. In fact, it's a shame that the U.S. is so fickle and does not accept good melodic hard rock anymore because '20th Century' is an album that deserves accolades, but only saw release in Japan as far as I know. As with the last two Blue Murder albums, bassist Marco Mendoza (pictured above) joins John on the bass. There are also several guest artists including the drummer who would work with John in the reunited Thin Lizzy, Tommy Aldridge. This packaging of this Japanese import includes a full color insert, a black and white insert with lyrics in both English and Japanese, a sticker, and that nifty little Japanese obi strip.

Chapter One John Sykes - Chapter One (Mercury) 1998

1. "We All Fall Down" (4:43)
2. "Riot" (6:22)
3. "Look In His Eyes" (3:46)
4. "Don't Hurt Me This Way (Please Don't Leave Me '97)" (4:48)
5. "Billy" (4:13)
6. "I Don't Wann Live My Life Like You" (3:11)
7. "Black Days" (5:05)
8. "Jelly Roll" [live] (5:10)
9. "Soul Stealer" (3:38)
10. "Defcon 1" (3:37)
11. "She Knows" [live] (5:07)
12. "Thank You For the Love" (3:25)
13. "System Aint Workin'" (3:28)
14. "Hold the Line" (2:59)

Yet another in a long line of excellent Sykes releases that didn't see release in the U.S. "Chapter One" is a Japanese compilation featuring songs from Sykes as well as Blue Murder. The first two songs alone should have been rock/metal radio hits, but for some reason were not. "Don't Hurt Me This Way" features the soulful vocals of Phil Lynott. The version recorded here is different from any I had heard before. I suppose the vocals were recorded as a demo or something and Sykes just re-recorded all the instruments. Overall, a stellar collection of Sykes material packaged in a special die-cut, cardboard cover.

Sykes - Nuclear Cowboy (Mercury) 2000

1. "Intro" (:35)
2. "We Will" (4:08)
3. "Nuclear Cowboy" (4:24)
4. "Arc Angel" (4:56)
5. "Nothing Means Nothing" (4:35)
6. "Talking 'Bout Love" (5:41)
7. "One Way System" (3:43)
8. "Interlude-All Good People" (:26)
9. "Degraded" (4:16)
10. "Sick" (4:11)
11. "I Wish It Would Rain" (7:14)

Nuclear Cowboy is an accurate name for this album. While the guitar work is exactly what you would expect from John Sykes, the songwriting and overall production has a much more modern, almost industrial sound. I was surprised to hear drum loops and odd keyboard effects on a Skyes album. However, there is no denying the man is a good songwriter. The modern elements don't really distract from the overall sound, even though I would rather have had a more down to earth, hard rock sound from Sykes. The disc starts off with one of Sykes most brilliant songs. "We Will" features one monster groove and an attitude that is hard to put into words. From there the album pretty much sways all over the place. There is no doubt that Sykes was having a blast experimenting in the studio with this release. The song "Arch Angel" features some insane guitar work. Likewise, "Nothing Means Nothing" features some cool guitar riffs laid on top of a funky, programmed drums beat. Nuclear Cowboy is a bit more experimental than I expected from John Sykes, but it's also pretty darn successful. I dig it.

Related collections:
Blue Murder | Thin Lizzy
| Phillip Lynott | Whitesnake | Tygers of Pan Tang

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