Essential Atlantic: White Lion, PRIDE

Thursday, April 30, 2020
White Lion PRIDE Cover

For the next several weeks (or maybe just until we decide that we want to stop doing it, since normalcy seems likely to remain on hiatus for the foreseeable future), will be spotlighting an album from the Atlantic Records discography that qualifies as “Essential.” And what rigorous standards and/or mathematical algorithm did we use to come up with the criteria to define “Essential,” you ask? None at all. You’ll just have to trust our instincts. But they’re really good, we swear...

Today we’re taking a look at PRIDE, White Lion’s debut LP for Atlantic, and if you’re thinking, “Wait, was that album really all that popular?” we can assure you that, yes, it very much was. In fact, it sold two million copies and stayed in the Billboard 200 for a full year.

Produced by Michael Wagener, PRIDE was not White Lion’s first album. That honor went to 1985’s FIGHT TO SURVIVE, and what’s interesting – even if it was probably just really annoying to the band – is that they were signed to Elektra Records at the time, who decided to shelve the album. Understandably annoyed, White Lion’s manager wheeled a deal where the band was able to license the album to Victor Records, which released it in Japan, after which Grand Slamm Records – a Philadelphia-based indie label – bought the album from Elektra and released it in America.

It was after the success of FIGHT TO SURVIVE that White Lion scored their deal with Atlantic, and it took them six weeks to record PRIDE, but it wasn’t an immediate smash. In fact, it took seven months for the album’s breakthrough single, “Wait,” to finally become a hit, and it only happened because MTV latched onto the video and started playing it regularly.

In the end, “Wait” became a top-10 hit, climbing to #8 on the Billboard Hot 100, but it wasn’t even the biggest hit from the album: “When the Children Cry” made it to #3. As for PRIDE itself, it never got any higher than #11 on the Billboard 200, but like we said a few paragraphs ago, it stayed on that chart for a freaking year, so between that and the resulting sales figures, it’s still a success worthy of – wait for it – pride.


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