White Lion

During an era when MTV was flooded with big mullets, squealing guitar solos and fist-pumping power ballads, White Lion joined the hard rock, hair metal party with their hit album 'Pride' and classic 1980s anthems 'Wait' and 'When the Children Cry'. Front man Mike Tramp had originally grown up in Denmark listening to his mother's Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison and Bob Dylan records and made his name as a national pop starlet with the group Mabel who competed in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1978. Moving to New York to pursue his rock and roll dreams, he befriended talented Staten Island guitarist Vito Bratta and the pair built a sound based on Van Halen, Black Sabbath and Rainbow and set their sights on rock stardom with debut album 'Fight to Survive' in 1985. With their classic line-up of Tramp on vocals and guitar, Bratta on guitar, James LoMenzo on bass and Greg D'Angelo on drums, White Lion went on to reach number two in the US charts with the single 'When the Children Cry', a slow acoustic anti-war lament which was starkly different to the flamboyant hedonism of their peers, and their 1987 album 'Pride' steadily achieved double platinum sales. They toured with KISS, Motley Crew, Aerosmith, AC/DC and other big names of the era, and their combination of heavy guitar growl, soaring melody and heart-on-sleeve songwriting sent their third album 'Big Game' into the US top 20 in 1989. But, with trends changing and the band feeling burned out, they split amicably in 1991 after a gig in Boston. Despite his reputation as one of the great rock guitarists of the decade, Bratta left the music industry completely to care for his ill father while Tramp formed hard rock outfit Freak of Nature, returning with a new White Lion line-up in 1999. This line-up folded in 2013, when he began to tour Europe as a solo artist, mainly playing acoustically.

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