Mr. Big's career spans almost three decades, and their radio hits only represent a small fraction of their greatest songs.
The band consists of Eric Martin, Paul Gilbert, Billy Sheehan, Pat Torpey and as of recently, Matt Starr. Perhaps the greatest talents behind the band though, are Paul and Billy's musicality and wizardry in their respective instruments, a la the ridiculous duo solo they once performed in Budokan. Having been at the forefront of Mr. Big's grizzled, arena-ready sound for so long, Paul's guitar work and Billy's bass playing have steered the band to become what it is today.
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If you think 'Wild World' is an original song by them — it's not, but their version is fantastic — or if 'Green Tinted Sixties Mind' is their only good song, you'll need this primer into some of Mr. Big's best work in preparation for their upcoming concert in Singapore.
MR. BIG (1989)
'Addicted To That Rush'
We're kicking off this playlist with 'Addicted To That Rush', off the band's 1989 debut album. The high energy track perfectly highlights the musicality of the band, with each member getting their own chance to shine. If you've never heard of Mr. Big before, this song will get you.... addicted to that rush.
'Anything For You'
Anything For You, while being slower-paced and "softer" than 'Addicted To That Rush', still plays intelligently with hard rock dynamics, despite being a noticeably straightforward ballad. The song showcases the band's talent to write good music in whichever genre they decide to tackle.
LEAN INTO IT (1991)
'To Be With You'
You know this song, everyone does. If the title doesn't ring a bell, the first second of the chorus will have you reeling in nostalgia.
While predominantly an acoustic track, the song doesn't shy away from the rest of the members, with group vocals, an acoustic bass guitar (if you listen close enough) and a cymbal crashing here and there. Though the bass and cymbal work is minimal, it proves that the band can come together to work on a sound different from what we've covered in the playlist so far. Even in its simplicity, you'll know why this is Mr. Big's biggest song to date.
'Just Take My Heart'
The ballad starts off with an acoustic melody before Eric Martin's signature voice leads the rest of the band in by the time the chorus hits. Yet another song that exemplifies that sometimes, less is more.
'Green-Tinted Sixties Mind'
An electric guitar lick leads the song, reminiscent of Guns N' Roses' 'Sweet Child O' Mine'. A classic rock song that pays tribute to the '60s, in the best way possible.
BUMP AHEAD (1993)
Quite possibly one of the most beloved covers of all time, Mr. Big's rendition of Cat Stevens' 'Wild World' has resonated with fans since 1993, and it shows no sign of slowing down, with several of today's kids still rocking out to the classic jam.
'Ain't Seen Love Like That'
Yet another acoustic track, the song showcases how much the band has matured since its inception four years prior.
GET OVER IT (2000)
The first song of the 2000 album, 'Get Over It', introduced fans to a new era of Mr. Big with the entrance of Richie Kotzen, who joined the band following Paul Gilbert's departure. The opening track carries a darker tone than anything the band has done before, but it works with the musicality of Kotzen.
'Dancin' With My Devils'
Starting off with a drum fill that leads the song in, the infectious grooves of this track is bound to get your tapping your feet along to the rhythms. Richie Kotzen's solos breathe new life into the band with his blues-influenced style.
ACTUAL SIZE (2001)
Shine was one of the biggest songs of 2001, and for good reason. One listen to the track and you'll be grooving along to the hook-y lyrics, belting your heart out.
The opening seconds of the song should be an indication of the frantic sounds of 'Suffocation'. Kotzen and Martin trade vocals flawlessly, giving fans a different side of the band featuring Kotzen's rougher vocals, but it pays off better than anyone would have expected.
WHAT IF... (2011)
A decade after the band released Actual Size, they returned with their original line up. 'Undertow', which opens the album, shows the band returning to their classic sound. Despite not having written music for majority of the 10 years they spent away, there is no sign of rusting anywhere. Mr. Big was back and better than ever.
A harder rock song, 'American Beauty''s real star is Pat Torpey's relentless drumming. Listening to this track, it's hard to believe that Torpey would reveal three years later that he's been stricken by Parkinson's Disease.
...THE STORIES WE CAN TELL (2014)
'Gotta Love The Ride'
While evolving with the times, Mr. Big has managed to find the perfect combination of mixing their classic sound with the newer sounds that were all the rage in the scene at the time. Paul Gilbert's solo takes an already great song to newer heights.
Take a listen to this song, and you'll realize one thing. Mr. Big successfully released a '90s era song in 2014. Everything about this song screams nostalgia. Such a good feeling.
The title track off this year's release starts with a quirky lick that sets the tone for the rest of the song. The longest track on this playlist, the band never lets up, and the song never dips. After 28 years, Mr. Big still manages to keep things fresh.
'Forever And Back'
It's rare to see power ballads in 2017, and perhaps no one can pull it off better than Mr. Big. 'Forever And Back' is as powerful as ballads get and it's bound to have listeners scrambling to find more ballads from one of the most talented bands ever.
Mr. Big is set to take the stage at the Kallang Theatre on Sunday, 15 October. Score tickets for the show here.
This feature is presented by Shining Entertainment.