The year was 1990 and my friend Tom, another great guy I have lost touch with, asked me if I wanted to go to an album release /artist coming out party of sorts. There were two shows at The Roxy… an 8 pm and an 11 pm. We were set for the 8. I think his cousin was managing or had something to do with the album or maybe was even in the band. Wow, memory needs updating. That is crazy.
Anyway… there were CDs on the table… Nice! Lisa Bonet in the upper corner… Nicer! Roxie Roker next to her… Really nice… I so loved her from The Jeffersons… and then out comes the hippie, retro rocker Lenny Kravitz. What an introduction!!! He rocked the house hard and put on such an amazing show, that when Tom’s cousin asked if we wanted to stay for the second show, I think we just nodded yes. Four hours of an artist I had never heard of made it clear that the world would soon know exactly who he was.
Lenny Kravitz – Let Love Rule
From the age of five he knew he wanted to be a musician and on many of his albums he plays all of the instruments… I said it before, I’ll say it again… Bastard!
His influences are deep and diverse, from jazz and Miles to Marley and Fela Kuti to classic Rock n’ Roll like Kiss and Zeppelin and of course The Beatles and especially John Lennon. Sounds like my iPod!
I had no idea that he was going by the stage name Romeo Blue… Good thing they convinced him to go back to his real name. That one sounds like a porn star.
Anyway… after rejections by almost every record label, he self-produced the album that would be Let Love Rule… A bidding war ensued, Virgin made the deal and the rest, as they say, is history.
This album has so many great songs and styles… funk, rock, R&B… and it is just so pure and raw.
“Let Love Rule” – This title track says it all and was a damn good jumping off point.
“Freedom Train” – Great funky beat and megaphone sounding, distorted vocals.
“I Build This Garden For Us” – This could be the hippie national anthem. Killer song with a great message.
“Mr. Cab Driver” – Thought this might be a response to Prince’s very sexy “Lady Cab Driver,” but it ain’t… it’s a sad statement about judging a book by its cover and calling out something that needed to be said.
“Empty Hands” is one of my favorite tracks for sure.
Mama Said came next and may be my favorite of his albums. I love that he and Slash went to high school together. Are You Gonna Go My Way was number three and I do dig that one, too. He definitely keeps getting better, but there is something really special about a first album and all the raw heart and soul and passion that comes pouring out. After all, you only get one first time and you’ll always remember it.
So go ahead world… LET LOVE RULE!