Like most chart-topping artists, Billy Squier had bounced around for a bit before he started scoring hits in the ’80s.
In fact, Squier kicked around New York city with a band called The Sidewinders in the 1970s, and ultimately formed the group Piper, which released two albums. That’s when I first heard of him.
Back then we were buying vinyl records all the time to see what was out there. My brother came home with the first Piper album and we both liked it. It was roughly produced, which gave it a “basement” kind of feel. And the material was polished, albeit not as pop as Squier’s later solo work would be.
In 1977 Piper toured with Kiss, and I saw them at Madison Square Garden while I was in high school. It was a good show, and we were interested enough to later buy Piper’s second and last album, Can’t Wait.
Can’t Wait was more polished in production than the debut, which had gotten quite a bit of acclaim from the music press. It was more of a bridge to Squier’s solo work.
So, he disbanded Piper and began a solo career that certainly brought Squier success. He kind of fizzled out after album sales dipped — in part due to some poor MTV video decisions. But he had quite a run with hits like “The Stroke” and “lonely is the Night.”
Squier’s alive and kicking today, and is currently on a national tour. In recent years he’s also been touring with Ringo Starr’s All-Star Band and seemingly having fun — I took my son to see them at Radio City last year.
So who knows? Maybe we’ll see a Piper reunion.
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