Dragon is a New Zealand rock band which was formed in January 1972 and relocated later to Sydney, in May 1975.
“Body and the Beat” is album number seven. The album was released in June 1984, peaking at number 5 on the Australian charts and gained a platinum certification.
But it’s their first album since 1979.
At the time, Dragon was on the verge of breaking through worldwide but vocalist Marc Hunter was out of control with his heroin addiction and on stage antics, offending everyone, including audiences, other acts and label heads.
They had a US tour opening up for Johnny Winter that went pear shaped when Hunter called Winter’s blues rock audience rednecks and faggots. Then again it was another stupid decision to place Dragon on this bill, it’s like Imagine Dragons opening up for Iron Maiden.
Actually when I watched Maiden on the “Somewhere Back In Time”, the opening act “Behind Crimson Eyes” was the support. Now they are an Australian metalcore band with screaming vocals and they got booed after each song, until they played a cover of “Ace Of Spades” and the crowd cheered. Again, another misplaced opening act.
Anyway, back to Dragon, the band which included his brother Todd, fired him. This brought to an end the first period of Dragon which also involved the heroin overdose of drummer Neil Storey in 1976.
Hunter went solo and had some success and then the band got together again.
“Rain” was the output in 1983. Written by Johanna Pigott, Marc Hunter and Todd Hunter, it’s 3 minutes and 40 seconds of hard rock glory. Make sure you stick around for the “if you go out in the rain” melody.
Due to its success, the band went into the studio to record an album worth of songs.
It’s worth noting that the songwriting team of Johanna Pigott and her partner, Todd Hunter (Dragon bass player) also wrote the smash hit title track “Age Of Reason” for John Farnham.
The album kicks off with “Rain”. “Promises” and “Wilderworld” are melodic rock songs perfect for a summers day.
If it wasn’t for “Rain”, then “Cry” would be a favorite.
“Body And The Beat” has a bass groove and a feel that bands like INXS were making popular.
“Magic” feels like a driving song, with the window down and the warm winds blowing through.
Apart from “Rain”, this album is forgotten.
Everyone told the band the album would break the band overseas. But it didn’t. Within a year they were back in the studio recording another album..
A year after this album came out, keyboardist Paul Hewson and the writer of their classic songs “April Sun In Cuba” and “Are You Old Enough” was found dead in a friends car, hours after he told the band he wanted to leave.
Dragon continued and released the super successful (in the Australia market), “Dreams Of Ordinary Men” in 1986 and my favourite “Bondi Road” in 1989. A few greatest hits and acoustic re-recordings hit the shelves. And then tragedy struck again.
Marc Hunter was diagnosed with throat cancer in November 1997 and he died on 17 July 1998. Dragon have continued on with Todd Hunter still the driving force.