Respect to Lee Aaron! She’s persisted through the decades with a multi-faceted career, including her early metal roots. What she really needed was some kind of compilation CD that captured it all. 1992’s Powerline is a good compilation but some of Lee’s most interesting work came after. Radio Hitz and More… fills in some of the blanks from the past 20 years. You can only get it via Lee’s website as a promotional item. I bought a T-shirt and got the CD with it, signed and personalized.*
Even if it haunted her career at times, “Metal Queen” is a damn fine song. Period, end of sentence. Today we can see that “Metal Queen” had it all: killer quintessential riff, howling vocals and a searing solo. Few metal singers could touch Lee Aaron’s ability. While the fans knew she could do more than metal, she absolutely owned it on “Metal Queen”. Hail to the queen.
Lee eventually shifted into a hard rock mold. “Whatcha Do to My Body” was a big hit, and it’s next in radio edit form. It delivered big hooks and didn’t require any song doctors. Lee Aaron and her longtime guitarist John Albini wrote it and were rewarded with loads of MuchMusic video play. However the two did collaborate with an outside writer on “Powerline” (1987) and that outside writer was surprisingly former Rainbow singer Joe Lynn Turner. “Powerline” is a bit light and heavily reliant on keyboards, sounding a little like Heart.
The songs included from Lee’s “rock” period are all pretty much hits in Canada. “Hands On” followed “Watcha Do to My Body” in regular video rotation. “Sweet Talk” and “Sex With Love” were singles from another big Lee Aaron album, Some Girls Do (1991). The title track “Some Girls Do” is here and very Van Halen. Two of Lee’s most stunning ballads are included too. “Barely Holdin’ On” could be her best song, period. “Only Human” was from the 1987 pop rock era, but is a strong ballad regardless. Only a few notable singles are missing. The always likeable Disco-dis “Shake it Up” is too hard to find out there in the wild. Another big ballad, “Peace on Earth” is missing in action. However the space does not go to waste.
In 1996 Lee Aaron resurfaced with a new band called 2preciious. The lineup included Lee and the three Dons from Sons of Freedom! A strange combo to be sure, and the alternative-flavoured album they came out with didn’t make waves, though it got decent reviews. “Mascara” is edgy acoustic rock, completely unlike Lee’s previous work. There’s even a rare European-only track called “Concrete and Ice” which is a bass-heavy 90s groove rocker. Great stuff; it’s unfortunate it didn’t gain traction, because with Alanis Morissette being so big at the same time, perhaps Lee could have tagged along.
The next stage of Lee Aaron’s career was her entry into the jazz world. 2000 saw the release of her album Slick Chick, and in 2004 there was Beautiful Things. Tracks from both are here, including the instantly likeable “I’d Love To”. It’s a little jarring to hear “Handcuffed to a Fence in Mississippi” in the middle of a bunch of rock tracks, though.
This compilation is great for gathering together a bunch of Lee Aaron’s diverse hits, but that’s not all. Track 18 is a little bonus for collectors. From Sweden Rock, it’s killer track “Baby Go Round” originally from Emotional Rain. This live version is available nowhere else, which is like catnip for collectors.
77 minutes of music, for free? How do you spell N-O-B-R-A-I-N-E-R?
*If ordering, check before assuming they still offer signed CDs.