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.
Twisted Sister’s “Stay Hungry” from the 2004 CD, Still Hungry is available as a free download from Amazon.com. Get it at this link!
TWISTED SISTER guitarist Jay Jay French has posted the following message at the band’s website:
“A couple of years ago, while playing to 80,000 fans in Quebec after not playing there since 1984, it struck me just how important our album Stay Hungry had become. It broke sales records in 8 countries and the videos made us international stars. Canada especially had gone crazy for the album and bought it at a much greater proportional rate against US sales then any album in recent memory.
We had just released our re-recorded version of it called Still Hungry. While talking to our fans in Canada, it struck me how many still preferred the original Stay Hungry. Maybe, as band members, we were just too close to the whole thing. Maybe we just weren’t seeing it and, more importantly, hearing it through the eyes of the fans who had spent the last 23 years with their ears tuned in to the sound of the original record. I knew that in two years a milestone was approaching. In May of 2009 The 25th anniversary of Stay Hungry would arrive. I started to think of a way to recognize and celebrate the music and the times which had become so important to the lives of not only our millions of fans around the world, but also to acknowledge the importance and relevance of all of the music created by the hard rock bands of that period. What became obvious to me was that just re-mastering the original record was not a reason to re-release it. The only way this could be ‘special’ was to locate any material that was recorded by us at the time and never released so as to make a truly great 2 disc package.
Much to the band’s surprise, Atlantic/Rhino discovered a series of cassettes that comprised almost a whole extra albums worth of material. This original music was part of the ‘demo’ process used in making Stay Hungry. These tapes were recorded in December 1983 at Nino’s studios in Baldwin, LI along with all the songs that wound up on the finished album. I completely forgot that these tapes ever existed. The band barely remembered these songs ever being recorded. Most of the songs, upon fresh listening are shockingly good. Remember, these are demo’s which means that they are unfinished versions of songs. Maybe some day we will actually fully finish and record some of them if you, the fans, yell loudly enough. Don’t ask me why some didn’t make the record, the politics of that question are too deep to get into. Suffice it to say, we are proud of this material and, to make the re-release really special, we also recorded our first new song in 10 years – a song called ’30’.
A remastered Stay Hungry
– ten never heard before songs originally demo’d for Stay Hungry
– five early demos of songs from stay hungry
– one brand new song
– one rare radio spot using ‘SMF’ as the music bed
That is a reason to celebrate an important milestone.
The release date is Tuesday, June 23rd.
We hope you love this package as much as we do.”
Stay Hungry bonus tracks:
‘Death From Above’
‘Were Not Gonna Take It’
‘ This One’s For You’
‘Were Coming On’
‘Call My Name’
‘Burn In Hell’
‘Pay The Price’
‘What’s Love Without You’
‘Our Voice Will Be Heard’
‘You’ve Got To Fight’