Thirty Years Ago Today: Mr. Mister's "Kyrie" Hits #1!


On this day in 1986, Mr. Mister landed at #1 on the U.S Billboard single charts with "Kyrie", becoming their second chart-topping hit from the album Welcome To The Real World, which also landed at #1 on the Billboard Top 200.

The band's singer, Richard Page, had previously turned down offers to join both Chicago and Toto when each of their singers left the band, but chose to forge his own path by remaining with Mr. Mister and, for as time, it appeared Page had made the right decision.

After the multi-platinum success of Welcome To The Real World, however, Page got a friendly reminder of life's realities when his band's follow-up album, Go On, failed to even graze the Top 40 in 1987.

The music industry is a fickle mistress whose whims cannot be predicted, or prevented and, thus, the once shining beacon that was Mr. Mister circa 1986 would fall dark by 1989, leaving the door open for the band's drummer Pat Mastelotto to join the Rembrandts prior to them scoring a Top 20 hit with "Just The Way It Is, Baby" in 1990, as well as the worldwide smash hit "I'll Be There For You" in 1995.



Page, inexplicably, seemed to drop off the face of the earth, surfacing only long enough to take part in Third Matinee, a band formed with former Madonna collaborator Patrick Leonard from the ashes of his previous band Toy Matinee. Their 1994 album Meanwhile stiffed.

Ten years after the success of "Kyrie", Page released his first solo album, Shelter Me, which also stiffed.

From 2010 to 2014, he was a member of Ringo Starr's All-Star Band.

In the thirty years that have passed since the success of "Kyrie", the song remains a fixture on soft rock and '80's radio formats. As a post-punk purist of sorts, this writer was largely ambivalent to the song's (and the band's) charms during its chart run - mostly because you couldn't go anywhere without being subjected to the song's plaintive refrain.

How do we rate the song now, you ask?

Something tells us that if Page had joined Chicago or Toto, this song would have surely been a hit for either of those bands, but that the song itself is very much an indication of where the industry found itself in 1986. While a lot of great music came out that year, it seemed by that time, the wonderfully jagged edges that had made the early 80's so musically exciting and vital had been rounded off and a sense of jaded introspection and social awareness crept in.

These were, after all, the days of social consciousness in the wake of Live-Aid and We Are The World, as well as Amnesty International's growing presence brought on by U2's affiliation with the organization.

At the same time, bands like Wang Chung and Huey Lewis & The News took frivolity to new heights as songs like "Everybody Wang Chung Tonight" and "Hip To Be Square" ruled the airwaves.

In a lot of ways, Mr. Mister shares much common ground with the Hooters, whose 1985 album Nervous Night was a huge chart success spawning the hits "And We Danced", "Day By Day", and "Where Do The Children Go", only to see their socially-conscious follow-up  One Way Home fail to attract a comparable audience.


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