Back to Mystery City

Back to Mystery City is the fourth studio album by the Finnish rock band Hanoi Rocks, released in 1983. It was produced by ex-Mott the Hoople members Dale Griffin and Pete "Overend" Watts,[2] and was the first with Razzle on drums. Besides Hanoi Rocks, the album also features keyboardist Morgan Fisher, and Miriam Stockley on backing vocals, who had also sung with Pink Floyd.

Back to Mystery City
Back To Mystery City.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedMay 1983
LabelJohanna Kustannus, Lick Records, Nippon Phonogram
ProducerDale "Buffin" Griffin and Pete "Overend" Watts
Hanoi Rocks chronology
Self Destruction Blues
Back to Mystery City
All Those Wasted Years
Singles from Back to Mystery City
  1. "Malibu Beach Nightmare"
    Released: May 1983
  2. "Until I Get You"
    Released: 12 August 1983

Song informationEdit

"Strange Boys Play Weird Openings"

An acoustic intro that Andy McCoy came-up with in the studio.

"Malibu Beach Nightmare"

McCoy wrote song at home while smoking hashish. The song was originally recorded in 1981 as a calypso version titled "Malibu Nightmare". This version was just made as a joke but it was re-recorded for this album, as a more serious rock song. The song was also released as a single.

"Mental Beat"

The song is about speed, and was inspired by Michael Monroe's wild behavior as a child. This was also the only song that (according to Pete Watts) drummer Razzle had a hard time recording.

"Tooting Bec Wreck"

This song was inspired by a London apartment full of rats, in Tooting Bec, where Hanoi Rocks lived.

"Until I Get You"

Andy McCoy wrote this song at the band's manager Seppo Vesterinen's house in Helsinki. McCoy hated the song but Razzle loved it, and wanted it on their next record. Ultimately, McCoy also fell in love with the song. The song is also a great example of Hanoi Rocks' melodic glam rock-style. Also, the arrangement for the song was inspired by Alice Cooper's "I'm Eighteen". L.A. Guns covered the song on their 2004 album Rips the Covers Off.

"Sailing Down the Tears"

Written in 10 minutes, but the band still loved the song. The song was written as a mid-tempo, standard 70's rock-, pop-song.

"Lick Summer Love"

This song sparked some controversy when it was released. McCoy wrote the song when he was 17 years old. The song deals with making love and having oral sex with his girlfriend. Monroe has since said that he thinks the song is an "awful slime-ball", and that he hated the lyrics.

"Beating Gets Faster"

A love-song written by Monroe and McCoy.

"Ice Cream Summer"

A song dealing with a summer romance.

"Back to Mystery City"

At the time of its release, the song was very popular, but it has since been overshadowed by the many other Hanoi Rocks' hits. Andy McCoy wrote the song about Hanoi Rocks' adventures in the Far-East, the band's fans and the buzz that was also surrounding the band in 1983. The song is also composed in the same style as Tommy James and the Shondells' song "Mony Mony". The song's title was inspired by the London club Mystery City.

Critical receptionEdit

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic     [2]
Kerrang!(very favorable)[3]
Robert ChristgauC+[4]

In a contemporary review for The Village Voice, music critic Robert Christgau said that Monroe and McCoy lack hooks, are backed by "cute if over-calculated" dual guitar playing, and "yowl English-language lyrics that must impress Finns more than native speakers like myself."[4]

In 2005, Back to Mystery City was ranked number 293 in Rock Hard magazine's book The 500 Greatest Rock & Metal Albums of All Time.[5]

Back to Mystery City is also featured in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[6]

Track listingEdit

1."Strange Boys Play Weird Openings"Andy McCoy0:42
2."Malibu Beach Nightmare"Andy McCoy2:46
3."Mental Beat"Andy McCoy5:04
4."Tooting Bec Wreck"Andy McCoy6:11
5."Until I Get You"Andy McCoy4:37
6."Sailing Down the Tears"Andy McCoy4:09
7."Lick Summer Love"Andy McCoy4:21
8."Beating Gets Faster"Andy McCoy, Michael Monroe3:51
9."Ice Cream Summer"Andy McCoy5:11
10."Back to Mystery City"Andy McCoy5:02
1988 U.S. version
11."Rebel on the Run"Andy McCoy2:48
2013 Japanese remastered edition
11."Malibu Beach Nightmare (Calypso)"Andy McCoy2:05
12."Back to Mystery City" (demo)Andy McCoy4:57
13."Until I Get You" (demo)Andy McCoy3:53
14."Ice Cream Summer" (demo)Andy McCoy4:22


Hanoi Rocks
Additional personnel


Production personnelEdit

  • Producers: Dale Griffin and Pete "Overend" Watts
  • Engineer: Andy Lyden
  • Arrangers: Michael Monroe and Andy McCoy

Other personnelEdit

  • Cover photo: Fin Costello
  • Layout: Hilary Goodwright

Remastering personnelEdit

  • Digitally remastered: Mika Jussila
  • Reissue sleeve and booklet: Jari Mattila

Chart positionsEdit


Year Chart Peak
1983 UK Albums Chart[7] 87
1983 Japanese Albums Chart[8] 64
1983 Finnish Albums Chart[9] 6


Year Single Chart Peak
1983 "Malibu Beach Nightmare"
Finnish Singles Chart[10] 8
1983 "Until I Get You"
Finnish Singles Chart[10] 20


  1. ^ Hotten, Jon (8 June 2021). "10 glam metal albums you should definitely own". Classic Rock. Retrieved 27 September 2021.
  2. ^ a b Raggett, Ned. "Back to the Mystery City – Hanoi Rocks | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 7 March 2012.
  3. ^ Dickson, Dave (19 May 1983). "Hanoi Rocks 'Back to Mystery City'". Kerrang!. Vol. 42. London, UK: Spotlight Publications Ltd. p. 40.
  4. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (12 June 1984). "Christgau's Consumer Guide: Turkey Shoot". The Village Voice. New York. Retrieved 22 August 2013.
  5. ^ Best of Rock & Metal - Die 500 stärksten Scheiben aller Zeiten (in German). Rock Hard. 2005. p. 95. ISBN 3-89880-517-4.
  6. ^ "1001 Albums You Must Hear – 2008 Edition".
  7. ^ "Back to Mystery City The Official Charts Company". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 7 March 2012.
  8. ^ "Hanoi Rocks Chart Positions in Japan". Retrieved 31 May 2017.
  9. ^ Timo (2015). "Suomen vanhat albumilistat: 1983".
  10. ^ a b Timo (2015). "Suomen vanhat singlelistat: 1983".