Welcome, one and all, to another list post! This time around, I’m diving back into the world of music so that I can feature one of my favourite vocalists. So, this is my… Top 5 Songs Sung By Johnny Gioeli.
Now, let’s start with an introduction. Johnny Gioeli is an American hard rock vocalist. He began his career in 1983, forming the band Brunette. Now, you may not have heard of Brunette, largely because they never recorded an album for a record label. They did break the single-weekend attendance records on Hollywood’s Sunset Strip though, which is quite an achievement when you consider they were previously held by The Doors and Van Halen. Johnny’s next band, Hardline, had some success but called it quits after one album.
Johnny went on to join German guitarist Axel Rudi Pell’s band, replacing the departing Jeff Scott Soto, and eventually reformed Hardline. He would then go on to become the vocalist for Crush 40, who appear in many of the modern Sonic the Hedgehog releases. Alongside these three bands, Johnny has found the time to appear as a guest on multiple other releases, as well as releasing a solo album and a few other bits and pieces.
So, with all that history, I figured I’d put a simple rule in place for myself with this list: I can only pick one song from each project Johnny has been involved in. With that, let’s begin:
Hardline – Hot Cherie
The second single from Hardline’s 1992 debut Double Eclipse is a cover of Danny Spanos’ 1983 hit. Harder than the original, and in my opinion, performed with more energy, this was built for hard rock. In that regard, Johnny excelled here, showing off an edgy tone in the verses while providing a strong melody in the chorus. It was the highest-charting single from the album and it’s not hard to see why.
Axel Rudi Pell – Forever Angel (Acoustic)
Axel Rudi Pell first rose to prominence with the metal band Steeler, and he had been a fan of Johnny’s work in Hardline, stating that he thought he would be a great fit for the music. On that point, he was correct. The band has a lengthy back catalogue of straight-up rockers, but the fact that they have released several ballad compilations should tell you that they’re no slouch in this area either. The acoustic version of this tribute to the Hell’s Angels appeared on Ballads III and is an excellent showcase for Johnny when it comes to more mellow tracks.
Crush 40 – Live And Learn [Live]
I picked this one for several reasons. First of all, it is often cited as one of Johnny’s favourite tracks, so it feels right to include it on a list of his best. Second, it was one of my favourites too, and still brings back memories of playing Sonic Adventure 2 for the first time (including hearing the song and saying, “Is that the dude from Axel Rudi Pell?”). Finally, the performance for the Sonic 30th Anniversary show was excellent and shows off Johnny’s quality in the live setting.
Gioeli – Castrononovo – Through
This is a track that marked a return to Johnny’s roots. He first played with Deen Castronovo on Hardline’s debut, then they went their separate ways. Deen actually went on to play with both Ozzy Osbourne and Journey, so has seen plenty of success himself. This track feels like it would have fit in on a hardline album to me, and both play off each well vocally. It’s built for radio play, with a wonderfully catchy chorus.
Johnny Gioeli – One Voice
I wanted to end with this one because it’s the title track from Johnny’s first solo album. It’s a track that represents his desire to bring the world together in the love of music, and that’s really reflected in the chorus. This is a ballad that’s built for stadiums full of lighters and phone screens illuminating the darkness as the crowd sings along.
So, there you go. Those are my top 5, though there are a ton of favourites I’ve missed off there. But what about yourselves? Were you familiar with Johnny Gioeli already? Did you enjoy these tracks? Let me know in the comments below!