Skid Row (Skid Row album)

Skid Row is the debut studio album by American heavy metal band Skid Row, released on January 24, 1989 by Atlantic Records. After being noticed by manager Doc McGhee, Skid Row signed with Atlantic and began recording its debut. The album was recorded in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin with producer Michael Wagener, and received favorable reviews upon its release. The band promoted Skid Row mainly as an opening act on worldwide tours by Bon Jovi and Aerosmith in 1989–1990. The album peaked at number six on the Billboard 200 and was certified 5× platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in 1995 for shipping five million copies in the United States. It generated four singles: "Youth Gone Wild", "18 and Life", "I Remember You" and “Piece of Me”, all of which were accompanied by music videos and received heavy rotation on MTV. The album's commercial and critical success made Skid Row a regular feature in rock magazines and brought the group nationwide popularity.

Skid Row
Studio album by
ReleasedJanuary 24, 1989 (1989-01-24)
StudioRoyal Recorders in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
GenreGlam metal[1]
ProducerMichael Wagener
Skid Row chronology
Skid Row
Slave to the Grind
Singles from Skid Row
  1. "Youth Gone Wild"
    Released: January 1989
  2. "18 and Life"
    Released: June 16, 1989
  3. "I Remember You"
    Released: November 18, 1989

Background and recordingEdit

Skid Row was formed 1986 in Toms River, New Jersey when guitarist Dave Sabo met bassist Rachel Bolan in a local guitar store Sabo was working at. They both shared similar music influences and soon began rehearsing at Bolan family’s garage. Guitarist Scotti Hill came from Bolan's previous club band, and Sabo's acquaintance Rob Affuso played drums in a Rush tribute band.[2] Once the band was formed, Skid Row started gigging in nightclubs throughout the Eastern United States and quickly built a small following.[3] Sabo was a childhood friend of Jon Bon Jovi and they had agreed if one of them succeeded in the music business, he would help the other out. Skid Row caught the attention of Bon Jovi's manager Doc McGhee while opening for Bon Jovi on his 1987 Slippery When Wet Tour. McGhee suggested the band to replace original singer Matt Fallon because he lacked the rest of the group’s drive.[4][5]

Sebastian Bach was introduced to Skid Row by Dave Feld, a friend of the band, who saw Bach singing Led Zeppelin covers at rock photographer Mark Weiss wedding. After completing the lineup, the group signed with Richie Sambora's and Bon Jovi's publishing company Underground, unknowingly giving them the lion’s share of the group’s royalties. Skid Row later restored Sambora's share of the royalties, but Bon Jovi kept his, which caused a rift between Bon Jovi and Bach.[4] After negotiating with a number of labels such Geffen, Atlantic, and A&M, Skid Row settled on Atlantic in 1988. The band entered the Royal Recorders in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin with producer Michael Wagener to record its debut. The studio was in the back end of the hotel the band stayed in. Skid Row worked according to a schedule made by Wagener and stayed dry during recording.[6] The recording went smoothly because the band had been performing the songs for a year.[7] The label initially pressed 150,000 copies of the album and booked the band an opening slot on Bon Jovi's 1988–1989 New Jersey Syndicate Tour.[2]

Critical receptionEdit

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic     [8]
Christgau's Record GuideC+[9]
Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal7/10[10]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music     [11]
Kerrang!     [12]
Los Angeles Times     [13]
Q     [14]
Rock Hard7.0/10[15]

Upon its release on January 24, 1989, Skid Row received mixed reviews from the music press.[11] Phil Wilding of Kerrang! found the album quite formulaic, but wrote that the praises for Skid Row expressed by Bon Jovi band members and the range of diversity in their music were "a big hint that they could be something very special in the future."[12] Q magazine described the album as a fusion of rock riffs and commercial hooks, and proclaimed it a notable debut.[14] Spin's Erik Davis said Skid Row was slightly different from contemporary albums by Warrant and Great White because it contained less "fake-gutter narratives of sluts and bad boys", and instead leaned more towards Bon Jovi's earnest anthems.[17] Aniss Garza was more critical in the Los Angeles Times, finding the record "highly unoriginal" and lacking any lyrical substance or musical ingenuity.[13] Robert Christgau in his negative review remarked how the band attempted some social commentary and was not "offensively sexist" if only by heavy metal standards, jokingly saying that the disreputable women in the songs were at least "characters rather than objects".[9] Rock Hard reviewer wrote that this album is an example of how "independence and originality are by no means as in demand" in the US music world as the following of the "success schemes" established by bands like Guns N' Roses, with only a couple of good songs saving it from "sad mediocrity".[15]

Modern reviews are generally more positive. Canadian journalist Martin Popoff described the album as a "basic well-executed corporate metal feast" and praised Bach's performance for carrying the record and "raising the average to something worth reckoning."[10] He thought Skid Row represented a "grittier, more street version of hair metal", unlike its California–based peers.[18] AllMusic's Steve Huey classified the album as "typical pop-metal fluff" of the late 1980s, but praised it for the consistent songwriting and said Bach's vocals gave the songs the much-needed nasty attitude.[8] Sputnikmusic's Dave Donnelly considered Skid Row one of the more talented bands of the glam era because of its charismatic frontman, and described the group's debut as mainly a "party album" best remembered for its ballads.[16] The critical and commercial success of Skid Row made the band a regular feature in rock magazines such as Hit Parader, Circus, and Metal Edge in the late 1980s and early 1990s.[19]


The 17-month worldwide tour included an appearance at Moscow Music Peace Festival in August 1989 to a crowd of 70,000. The event was organized by McGhee as a penance for drug smuggling and featured artists managed by him or his brother. Skid Row made its UK debut at the Milton Keynes Bowl supporting Bon Jovi, and headlined London's Hammersmith Odeon two months later.[20] After finishing the tour in support of Bon Jovi's New Jersey album, Skid Row opened on Aerosmith's Pump Tour, which launched in October 1989 and lasted a year. At the concert in Springfield, Massachusetts in December, a fan threw a bottle onstage during Skid Row’s set. Upset, Bach threw the bottle back into the crowd and hit a 17-year-old female fan in the face. The incident was filmed by a fan and Bach was arrested after the show. He was set free on $10,000 bail and received three years of probation.[21] At another show in 1990, Bach wore a T-shirt with the anti-gay slogan "AIDS Kills Fags Dead". Bach said he put the T-shirt on after a fan threw it onstage, but later regretted the incident, saying he does not support homophobia.[22] Thanks to heavy touring and the band's exposure on MTV, Skid Row quickly went platinum and remained a Billboard top 10 album three months after its release.[7] The album spawned three singles: "Youth Gone Wild", "18 and Life", and "I Remember You", of which the last two charted in the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100.[23] "Piece of Me" was released as a promo single and also featured a music video.[24]

Track listingEdit

1."Big Guns"Scotti Hill, Rachel Bolan, Dave Sabo, Rob Affuso3:36
2."Sweet Little Sister"Bolan, Sabo3:10
3."Can't Stand the Heartache"Bolan3:24
4."Piece of Me"Bolan2:48
5."18 and Life"Bolan, Sabo3:50
6."Rattlesnake Shake"Bolan, Sabo3:07
7."Youth Gone Wild"Bolan, Sabo3:18
8."Here I Am"Bolan, Sabo3:10
9."Makin' a Mess"Sebastian Bach, Bolan, Sabo,3:38
10."I Remember You"Bolan, Sabo5:10
11."Midnight / Tornado"Sabo, Matt Fallon4:17
Total length:39:28


Credits are adapted from the album's liner notes.[25]

Skid RowEdit



Chart Peak
Australian Albums Chart[26] 12
Canadian Albums Chart[27] 11
German Albums Chart[26] 22
Japanese Albums Chart[28] 35
New Zealand Albums Chart[26] 1
Swedish Albums Chart[26] 21
Swiss Albums Chart[26] 26
UK Albums Chart[29] 30
US Billboard 200[23] 6


Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[30] Platinum 70,000^
Canada (Music Canada)[31] 5× Platinum 500,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[32] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[33] 5× Platinum 5,000,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ "Top 50 Glam Metal Albums". Metal Rules. Archived from the original on November 26, 2017. Retrieved April 16, 2019.
  2. ^ a b Wild, David (September 19, 1991). "Skid Row: Pretty Bad Boys". Rolling Stone. Retrieved June 5, 2016.
  3. ^ Hur, Michael (2014). Shadows of the Music Industry. p. 172. ISBN 978-1-31230-605-9.
  4. ^ a b Ling, Dave (December 10, 2003). "How Skid Row and Sebastian Bach Went To War". Classic Rock. Retrieved June 5, 2016.
  5. ^ Metzer, Greg (2008). Rock Band Name Origins. McFarland & Company. p. 172. ISBN 978-0-7864-3818-1.
  6. ^ Derrough, Leslie Michele (August 4, 2014). "Interview with Dave 'Snake' Sabo of Skid Row". Glide Magazine. Retrieved June 8, 2016.
  7. ^ a b Black, Lee (December 1989). "Born to Be Wild". Spin: 45–47. Retrieved June 6, 2016.
  8. ^ a b Huey, Steve. "Skid Row – Skid Row". AllMusic. Retrieved June 20, 2011.
  9. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (1990). Christgau's Record Guide: The '80s. Pantheon Books. p. 372. ISBN 0-6797-3015-X. Retrieved June 9, 2018.
  10. ^ a b Popoff, Martin (1 November 2005). The Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal: Volume 2: The Eighties. Burlington, Ontario, Canada: Collector's Guide Publishing. p. 326. ISBN 978-1-894959-31-5.
  11. ^ a b Larkin, Colin (2007). Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 978-0-85712-595-8.
  12. ^ a b Wilding, Phil (28 January 1989). "Slippery Customers". Kerrang!. No. 223. p. 16. ISSN 0262-6624.
  13. ^ a b Garza, Aniss (May 14, 1989). "Pop Stars". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 8, 2016.
  14. ^ a b "Skid Row CD Album". CD Universe. Archived from the original on January 29, 2013. Retrieved February 19, 2013.
  15. ^ a b Schäfer, Wolfgang (1989). "Review Album: Skid Row- Skid Row". Rock Hard (in German). No. 31. Retrieved July 20, 2018.
  16. ^ a b Donnelly, Dave (January 16, 2006). "Skid Row – Skid Row". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved June 20, 2011.
  17. ^ Davis, Erik (July 1989). "Skid Row – Skid Row". Spin. Vol. 5 no. 4. p. 114. Retrieved June 6, 2016.
  18. ^ Popoff, Martin (2014). The Big Book of Hair Metal: The Illustrated Oral History of Heavy Metal's Debauched Decade. Voyageur Press. p. 162. ISBN 978-0-7603-4546-7.
  19. ^ Klosterman, Chuck (2007). Fargo Rock City: A Heavy Metal Odyssey in Rural North Dakota. Simon & Schuster. p. 103. ISBN 0-7432-0227-9.
  20. ^ Bon Jovi, Jon (November 1989). "Let Freed". Spin: 56. Retrieved June 9, 2016.
  21. ^ Catlin, Roger (December 2, 1999). "Bach: Put A Cork On Bottle Incident". Hartford Courant. Retrieved June 8, 2016.
  22. ^ Goldstein, Patrick (January 21, 1990). "Skid Row's Sebastian Bach Embroiled in AIDS Row". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 8, 2016.
  23. ^ a b "Skid Row – Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved June 4, 2016.
  24. ^ "Piece of Me single". Discogs. Retrieved February 23, 2017.
  25. ^ Skid Row liner notes. Atlantic Records. 1989.
  26. ^ a b c d e "Skid Row – Skid Row" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved June 4, 2016.
  27. ^ "Results - RPM - Library and Archives Canada: Top Albums/CDs". RPM. Archived from the original on May 19, 2011. Retrieved June 3, 2010.
  28. ^ "Skid Row Chart History". Oricon. Retrieved September 12, 2010.
  29. ^ "Chart Stats – Skid Row". Official Charts Company. Retrieved June 4, 2016.
  30. ^ Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia’s Music Charts 1988–2010 (PDF ed.). Mt Martha, Victoria, Australia: Moonlight Publishing. p. 255.
  31. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Skid Row – Skid Row". Music Canada.
  32. ^ "British album certifications – Skid Row – Skid Row". British Phonographic Industry. Select albums in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type Skid Row in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  33. ^ "American album certifications – Skid Row – Skid Row". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH. 

External linksEdit