Oriental Beat

Oriental Beat
  • Album Info
  • 1982
  • Johanna Kustannus

1. Motorvatin
2. Don’t Follow Me
3. Visitor
4. Teenangels Outsiders
5. Sweet Home Suburbia
6. M.C. Baby
7. No Lar Or Order
8. Oriental Beat
9. Devil Woman
10. Lighting Bar Blues
11. Fallen Star

2013 Japanese remastered edition:
12. Devil Woman (original version)
13. Do The Duck
14. Hometown Breakdown (demo)
15. Willing To Cross The Ocean (demo)

Oriental Beat is the second studio album by the Finnish glam punk band Hanoi Rocks, recorded in London and released in 1982. Oriental Beat also opened markets in the UK and Japan, where Hanoi eventually became very popular.

Recordings for Oriental Beat (then with the working-title, Second Attempt for Suicide) started in late 1981, at the Advision-studio in London. The album was produced, recorded and mixed by Peter Wooliscroft who had worked with Frank Zappa for example. This album also marked the first time McCoy was not the sole songwriter, with Monroe being the second songwriter on the songs “Motorvatin'” and “Teenangels Outsiders”. Many of the lyrics deal with typical rock n’ roll topics like breaking the law (“No Law or Order) and teenage rebellion (“Teenangels Outsiders”). The album features backing vocals by Katrina Leskanich, the lead singer of Katrina and the Waves. There’s also a legend that originally Nasty Suicide sang the song “Devil Woman”, but when asked about it Suicide replied: “you know too much”.

The previous album, Bangkok Shocks, Saigon Shakes, Hanoi Rocks, was only released in Finland and Sweden, but this album opened the doors to an international career. British music magazine Kerrang! released their first article about Hanoi Rocks, when they reviewed Oriental Beat. Kerrang! since covered Hanoi Rocks career in the 80’s extensively.

The band’s drummer Gyp Casino—who can famously be heard missing a beat during the song “Motorvatin'”—was fired from the band shortly after the album’s release and tour, due to his increasing heroin addiction and for being too critical of his own playing.

The artwork features the band covered in paint behind a glass panel with blue and red paint-pressed hand marks on it. The artwork was originally supposed to feature guitarist, Andy McCoy’s girlfriend’s naked breasts painted blue and red with the legend “Hanoi Roxx” written across it. This was changed due to Castle Records view that some record shops may refuse to stock the album due to the graphic nature of the cover. The record company was also worried that potential customers may get confused by the alternate spelling of the band’s name. The original cover was used as the album’s back-cover.

Even though Oriental Beat is considered a Hanoi-classic, many of the band members have called the album a failure. Michael Monroehas called the album great, but blamed the producer, Pete Wooliscroft, of ruining the album’s sound by all-around bad producing and mixing. Wooliscroft had mixed the album while Hanoi Rocks was on tour, and didn’t know what Hanoi Rocks was about, so he went with a completely different style on the mixing. Sami Yaffa had called the album “a piece of shit” in an 1985 interview. Even with these comments, the album was voted the 91st best rock album, in the “100 Greatest Rock Albums” poll by the Finnish radio station Radio Rock. Oriental Beat beat-out such albums like Kiss’ Lick It Up and The Doors’ Morrison Hotel.