Back in the 1980s, metal ruled. It was decadent and glamorous, had more sleaze than substance, and the only thing bigger than the riffs was the hair. Motley Crue and Gun N Roses were the biggest bands on the planet, with no one else coming close to matching them for debauchery and depravity, hard-living and even harder anthems. Or was there? Ratt may not have sold as many records as some of their contemporaries on the LA glam metal scene, but this was a band that lived faster and rocked harder than anyone. Prepare to play it loud as we count down the 10 best Ratt songs of all time.
10. Luv Sick
No one could claim with any degree of sincerity that the 1999 album “Ratt” is a faultless album, or even a good one for that matter. But dig around a little, and you’ll still find a few hidden gems, including the very enjoyable Luv Sick. Warren DeMartini gives us a tour de force, handling all the guitar work single-handed and adding a bluesy funk that’s hard to resist. Factor in a huge chorus and some very fine vocals from Stephen Pearcy, and it’s, if not vintage Ratt, then as close to it as they’d got in years.
9. Can’t Wait on Love
Named by 2 Loud 2 Old Music as one of the best Ratt songs of all time, Can’t Wait on Love is a high energy number with a catchy chorus, a huge hook, and an immense guitar solo. The lyrics are about as subtle as a sledgehammer, but if you can handle a bit of sleaze with your metal, it’s a great tune.
Dance is quintessential Ratt. From the simple chorus that demands you sing along to the massive harmonies, the sublime riffs to Pearcy’s pitch-perfect delivery, it’s all here, and it all warrants a repeat listen. The sales may have been disappointing, as they were for the accompanying album, Dancing Undercover, but contrary to what some people claimed at the time, Ratt still had it. If nothing else, Dance proves that.
7. Nobody Rides for Free
Taken from the 1991 album Ratt & Roll 81-91, Nobody Rides for Free marks a departure from the band’s usual sound, but not an unwelcome one. There’s an economy and a simplicity that adds a slightly threatening touch. It’s not an attack, it’s an unraveling. This is a song that conjures to mind the aftermath, not the event. It’s a different Ratt to the one we’re used to, but this is a blissful song.
6. You’re In Love
The second single from the band’s sophomore album is a giant, guitar-fueled anthem that kicks off with a huge, meaty riff before continuing to play it loud and proud for the next 3:12 minutes. It didn’t do much in the charts, but this was the song that got Ratt noticed in Europe, leading to a huge explosion of sales for Invasion of Your Privacy. If you worship at the altar of hard rock, you’re going to want to listen.
5. Body Talk
Body Talk is bassist Juan Croucier’s baby. He was the one who wrote it and who turned a riff DeMartini had created years ago but which no one could develop into a song into one of the most memorable opening sequences of any Ratt track. The incredible thing is how quickly he did it, writing the vocal melodies, the lyrics, and the chord progression in just one day. The performance is just as impressive as the creation, with some standout vocals from Pearcy and an incredibly cool double-time fadeout off-beat snare fill from Bobby Blotzer.
4. You Think You’re Tough
You Think You’re Tough was most people’s introduction to Ratt. As introductions go, it wasn’t a bad one. It might lack some of the spit and polish of some of their later work, but as ultimateclassicrock.com notes, it was a powerful calling card that very few bands that followed in their footsteps could ever hope to match.
3. Wanted Man
The opening track of 1984’s Out of the Cellar is a killer. From Stephen Pearcy’s terrifying opening shriek to his closing one, it’s 3:41 minutes of headbanging, foot-stomping rock. As the follow-up to Ratt’s biggest chart hit, Round and Round, it had a lot to live up to. It didn’t match up to its predecessor’s sales record, but it’s still a hugely enjoyable piece of metal.
2. Round and Round
Ratt were never a singles band. They sold enough albums to keep their record label happy, but they rarely managed to make much of an impression on the charts. In fact, they only graced the Top 40 on two occasions. The first time was with Round and Round. Round and Round was a gamechanger, both for the band and metal. As pastormattsblog.com writes, this was the song that helped solidify the genre as more than a flash in the pan after the earlier success of Quiet Riot and Def Leppard. It was also the song that pushed Ratt into the mainstream and made them stars. After Round and Round, nothing would ever be quite the same for the band again.
1. Lay It Down
The first single from the band’s sophomore album, Invasion of Your Privacy, opens with one of Warren DeMartini’s most memorable riffs. It doesn’t put a foot wrong from there. The way Robbin’s Crosby’s backing vocals cut through the arrangement is sublime. The huge chorus is epic in every sense of the word. Blotzer even manages to make a boring bass drum sound exciting. It may have been the last song from the band to dent the top 40, but Invasion of Your Privacy still managed to certify2x Platinum, selling more than 2 million copies in the US alone. A lot of the reason for that rests with Lay It Down.