30 years ago Twisted Sister released what would become their most well known album, Stay Hungry. The record achieved massive success, selling more than 3,000,000 copies and spawning two signature hits: in “I Wanna Rock,” and “We’re Not Gonna Take It.” It was those two singles that made Twisted Sister a household name in the headbangers community.
Stay Hungry will always have a place reserved in my music loving heart. It was the first metal record that I purchased upon release. After hearing “We’re Not Gonna Take It” on the radio and seeing the video several times, I knew that I had to own this record. And while Kiss’ Destroyer was the first hard rock record I ever owned, that was purchased used at a garage sale, and only because Scott Thornton couldn’t stop talking about this band called Kiss. He raved about them so much that I had to check out their work. Stay Hungry was different. The purchase of that cassette was entirely my decision and influenced by no one other than me. Purchasing Stay Hungry was one of the best decisions I ever made in my music loving life.
My decision and my cassette tape are now 30 years old. It’s amazing how quickly time goes by. It’s also amazing how well Stay Hungry has held up over the years. Every song on the record was fantastic in 1984 and every song on the record still sounds fantastic to this day. Stay Hungry is a metal masterpiece and should be higher on the list of greatest rock records of all time than it is usually placed. With classics like the aforementioned “I Wanna Rock,” and “We’re Not Gonna Take It,” in addition to the amazing power ballad “The Price,” and fan favorite “S.M.F.,” how could Stay Hungry not be considered one of the greatest rock albums?
This hard rocking masterpiece has aged well and if Stay Hungry were released today, I’m betting that it would still be considered a classic. The music is timeless and the themes span generations. There will always be kids that want to rock and everyone feels that they aren’t going to take it anymore, no matter what age. Hell, I still blast that song in my car from time to time when I’ve had a rough day at work. The beauty of the anthem is that it can be appreciated by almost anyone.
In 2004, Twisted Sister tried to capitalize on the 20th album, adding additional tracks, and titling it Still Hungry. The re-recorded songs did not sound as good as the originals and the album was panned by most critics. There were a lot of rumors that the album was re-recorded because it was the only record that Twisted Sister did not hold the rights to and the re-recording would change that, paving the way for a proper re-mastered version.
In 2009, for the 25th anniversary of the album, the re-mastered anniversary edition was released and included a bonus disc of early demos and unreleased tracks. This version of the record sold much better than the Still Hungry fiasco, which five years later, was still being snubbed by critics and fans alike. It was also for the 25th anniversary that Twisted Sister first played Stay Hungry in its entirety. This was a watershed moment in the band’s career as songs like “Don’t Let Me Down” and “Street Justice” had never been performed live before.
Even now in 2014, songs from Stay Hungry are a staple of live Twisted Sister shows. “We’re Not Gonna Take It,” “I Wanna Rock,” and “The Price,” are almost always played in concert. And every time they are performed, the audience sings along at the top of their lungs. After 30 years, Stay Hungry is still one of the best rock records ever recorded. To me, the album doesn’t get the proper recognition that it deserves, but that’s fitting in the world of Twisted Sister, as the band never got the recognition they deserved either.