Almost Hits: April Wine, “I Like To Rock” (1979)

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Much bigger in their native Canada than in the States, mainstream rockers April Wine still made some hay south of the 49th Parallel, especially with the mushy slow dance power ballad “Just Between You And Me” back in 1981.

Led by Myles Goodwyn, they first got my attention a couple of years earlier with the album Harder…Faster. Having added a third guitarist by this time, April Wine was primed to take on America with an axe-filled arena rock sound that became all the rage by the late 70s, and they showed us Yanks what they could do with a three-guitar attack with a built-to-rock tune they literally declared that intention right in the title.

“I Like to Rock” peaked at #86 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1979 and was album rock radio staple for a short time. Goodwyn wrote and sang the song, coming at the end of an era where all hard rock songs were still at least somewhat blues-based.

It’s not a song that’s known for artistic value: the lyrics were thin and the melody is riff-based. But so what? It’s meant to be good, hook-filled driving grove fun, which is what good rock was always meant to be. Moreover, they layer those riffs three deep, and the bass even adds a forth layer. There are sharp little tempo changes, such as the ascending chord climb in the middle of the verses and drum/guitar rat-a-tat in the intro. Soaring, shouting harmonies that popped up at peak moments anticipated the hair bands that were coming just a few years later.

The best part, though was saved for the end.

The Beatles’ “Day Tripper” riff is introduced, then the Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction” riff is laid on top of that, then the riff introduced at the beginning of the tune adds the final layer, and it all fits together as a single piece. You can see what they did there, using two basic building blocks of rock to create something new.

Most music is derivative anyway, and by being clever with that fact, “I Like To Rock” became a mild hit from long ago that I never forgot. And who doesn’t like to rock, anyhow?

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S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is an SQL demon for a Fortune 100 company by day, music opinion-maker at night. His musings are strewn out across the interwebs on,, a football discussion board and some inchoate customer reviews of records from the late 1990s on Amazon under a pseudonym that will never be revealed. E-mail him at svaaron@somethingelsereviews .com or follow him on Twitter at
S. Victor Aaron

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