Cinderella were really asking for the hair metal label when they dressed up like a cross between the New York Dolls and a Madison Avenue transvestite on their debut album “Night Songs,” even if musically they sound nothing like Poison, Warrant, Winger, or Ratt, the truest examples of that genre moniker. Cinderella actually sounded like a toned down AC/DC with ballads, incorporating more blues than their reputation would belie. Tom Keifer strutted around like the cock-of-the-walk with his throat ripped out (before singing like he just had his throat ripped out almost caused to him literally have his throat ripped out), and the remainder of the band followed suit, riding the blues with a small infusion of glam to some truly classic albums.
If you’ve never heard “Gypsy Road,” I suggest you just stop listening to music right now. It’s the best song off “Long Cold Winter,” their career in general, and arguably of the entire genre itself. That ballsy, bluesy riff is the kind that generations should pass down when teaching their young how to properly rock (something that is sadly in major decline). “Gypsy Road” is the blues drenched pinnacle of “Long Cold Winter,” and sets the tone for what is easily their dirtiest and prettiest album at the same time. Even though 90% of power ballads seemed a tad forced due to record company execs demanding them as they bent over songwriters crying tears of sheer terror onto the pages of the contracts that so ripped them off, but “Don’t Know What You Got Till It’s Gone” is absolutely sincere. It has that towering chorus, those pleading verses, that tear-jerking refrain. It’s like Warrant’s “Heaven” or Steelheart’s “I’ll Never Let You Go” if Jani Lane or whoever Steelheart’s lead singer could write better ballads. The story behind “Long Cold Winter” is the singles are the real stand-outs but the lesser known tracks are great blues jams. “Last Mile” is a melodic clinic that showcases great chorus harmonization and should have been much bigger, and “Coming Home” is arguably the most underrated song in the history of “hair metal.” I’ve seen Cinderella live twice and believe it or not that song is the one that resonates the most.
“Long Cold Winter” stands as one of the greatest pillars of 80’s hard rock, eclipsing “Night Songs” which is good in its own right and annihilates everything else they ever did. I like “Gypsy Road” so much that I get pissed off when somebody plays “Shake Me” or “Nobody’s Fool” or any other song than “Gypsy Road” itself. Tom paid the price for his screeching, as the guy can barely talk anymore, but his balls-out approach on this album was probably worth it.