Monday, February 3, 2014

Steve Kipner - Knock the Walls Down (1979)

Released: 1979 (Elektra)
Produced by: Jay Graydon
Peak on the US Billboard 200: Did not chart

Side One Side Two
The Beginning
Knock the Walls Down
School of Broken Hearts
War Games
I've Got to Stop this Hurting You
Love is Its Own Reward
Cryin' Out for Love
The Ending

An under-appreciated West Coast/AOR release with all the usual L.A. suspects: Jay Graydon, David Foster, Larry Carlton, Victor Feldman, Michael Omartian, Steve Lukather, Jeff Pocaro, and other members of Toto.  Kipner was an Australian singer/songwriter that never found much chart success as a performer here in the US.  After this solid, but unsuccessful, release, Kipner found great success as a writer, penning hits such as Olivia Newton-John's "Physical," Chicago's "Hard Habit to Break" and "Genie in a Bottle" by Christina Aguilera.

I purchased this album based on my appreciation for the work of Jay Graydon who co-writes, produces, and provides tasty guitar work throughout.  Sadly, I was unaware of this album until a few years ago, but it's gotten plenty of playing time since then.  If I'd had it in '79 though, it would have perfectly complimented my record collection at that time.  Recommended for any West Coast fans.

  • The Beginning:  A smooth groove punctuated by great Graydon guitar licks, this album intro has a very Steely Dan sound to it.
  • Knock the Walls Down: Now we switch to a sound more reminiscent of Pablo Cruise.  Soft rock complete with synth string pads and more guitar from Graydon.
  • Lovemaker: The lyrics aren't great, but the music is good: the verse has a very danceable late-disco groove before dropping into a moody chorus then back again.
  • School of Broken Hearts:  The first real filler track on the album, saved by the chorus.  Can't figure out why they stuck a completely unrelated ending on it, though.
  • War Games:  The album's first ballad; solid playing tries but can't revive the weaker material.

  • I've Got to Stop this Hurting You:  Side two starts off with a funky shuffle.  This song was produced by Kipner and Tom Seufert and uses a different backing band, so I'm guessing it was from a different recording session.  Still, it retains the overall feel of the album.
  • Love is Its Own Reward:  Beautiful overdubbed vocal harmony compliment this midtempo soft rock tune with a very slight country feel.  I'm not sure any singles were released from this album, but this seems radio ready for the time.
  • Cryin' Out for Love:  Another shuffle with sax work from Don Roberts.  Wonderfully written with some unexpected chord changes and a beautiful upward-moving bridge.
  • Guilty:  A sappy ballad leads into a fairly good uptempo mid section, but then back to the ballad for the ending.
  • The Ending: A reprise of the first track, but ends with almost 2 minutes of one of the best guitar solos I've ever heard, courtesy of Mr. Graydon.

  1. The Ending
  2. Knock the Walls Down
  3. The Beginning
  4. Love is Its Own Reward
  5. Cryin' Out for Love
  6. I've Got to Stop This Hurting You
  7. Lovemaker
  8. School of Broken Hearts
  9. Guilty
  10. War Games


  1. Mark, thanks for sharing this one. I had never heard it before, but like you I would have been all over it back in 1979 if I had. I will have to track this one down to add to my library, if possible.

  2. Thanks for your time to share this album.

  3. If you like this you might also be interested in Kipner's early 70s band TinTin.

  4. If you like this you might also be interested in Kipner's early 70s band TinTin.