John Sykes can be characterized as the guitarist-guarantee to make a band reborn. His technical mastery, fluid musicality and amazing ability to combine heavy riffing with melodic solos characterized all the albums he participated in. Unfortunately he has never been rooted to a band for good, with the result to become a kind of session musician, although this wasn't his intension when he joined each new group. His first break has been when he joined the NWOBHM legend Tygers of Pan Tang in 1981. Later he was hired by Thin Lizzy to create the masterpiece "Thunder and Lightning". Following he joined forces with Whitesnake with result to release one of their most successful albums "1987" (he had originally joined the band right after the release of "Slide it In" and for that purpose, Geffen Records released a re-recorded version of the album with flashy soloing from the new guitarist). In Late 80's he formed the band Blue Murder releasing three albums of lyrical hard rock. After the dismissal of Blue Murder, Sykes released four solo albums, with "Please Don't Leave Me", being a really good one. He appeared in many albums of famous musicians with his latest contribution being this to Hughes/Turner Project this year. Sykes seemed to have a golden touch, as in whatever band he joined, the group released magnificent works. Plus he was prone to compose amazing sentimental ballads that wrote their own history in our music (just remember Whitesnake's "Is this Love?"). Here we present four albums to which he played and we perceive as monumental and characteristic of his whole work and career. Wish we could hear from him more often, as we miss him a lot. Be good John!  



This has been the second and according to our opinion best release of the British band. It is no coincidence that all NWOBHM fans include this album to the best ones of the genre. The new vocalist Jon Deverill and new guitarist John Sykes, created with the rest of band an explosive combination, that Chris Tsangarides used in the best possible way in order to produce an excellent in technical and musical terms album. All the record is full of classic "diamonds", and makes it hard for us to distinguish a couple of songs to propose. What should one remember first? The opening storm "Gangland", "Take It", the heartbreaking ballad "Mirror", the melodic "The Story So Far", or "Don't stop By," where Sykes takes the first great solo of his career? Even the cover of the album is mystical. We strongly recommend you to try and acquire this album as soon as possible if you don't have it already. NWOBHM wouldn't ever be the same without this gem on its crown.



It might be worthless to write anything about this legendary group that imposed the double harmony solos (along with Wishbone Ash of course). Lyrical hard rock and amazing lyrics from one of the most expressive and sentimental singers of all time. However the beginning of the 80's has been a rather bad period for Thin Lizzy. Phil was in a bad condition and their latest work hasn't been successful enough. Then Phil made the magic move and hired John Sykes, who brought a wind of change to the band. Influenced by NWOBHM the new guitarist helped the band out of the deadlock and led it to more "metalic" paths. The result? The heaviest and one of the best albums in Lizzy's career, flooded with fantastic melodies and virtuoso solos, that tied in the best possible way with Phil's warm voice. "Thunder and Lightning" take their real essence in the opening track of the album, and the story goes: "This is the One", "The Holy War", "Baby Please Don't Go" (hymn), "Bad Habits", "Heart Attack", just to mention a few of the amazing tracks of the album. We are talking about an album that will make your neck move...unless you are dead! It's a shame that there was no continuity, as this has been Lizzy's last studio album.



This is the album that make Whitesnake's career take a big boost in commercial terms. It is quite difficult to distinguish a best album from Whitesnake's works, as they have released monumental albums. One can only have a favourite album and I have to say that 1987 is my favourite album from Whitesnake's works. And again Sykes made his magic to occur here. The mostly hard rockin' blues band of the past turned into a dangerous more straight hard rock direction with high speeds and songs-like-thunder. Songs like "Bad Boys", "Straight for the Heart", You're Gonna Break My Heart Again" are trademarks of Sykes technotropy. But here are two of the most heartbreaking ballads that stamped Sykes' career: "Looking for Love" (which to be honest reminds a new/different version of Deep Purple's "Mistreated") and "Is This Love", that helped the band to sell millions of copies of the album. Even the anthem "Here I Go Again" sounds fresh and different in Sykes' hands. For sure one of Whitesnake's most complete works and evidence that commercialised music can be qualitative at the same time!



After leaving Thin Lizzy, John Sykes formed his own band along with drummer Carmine Appice and bassist Tony Franklin. Famous Bob Rock undertook the production and we are pleased to have one more little gem for hard rock music. Sykes contributed elements from all his previous bands, the experience of a decade and his guitar style and produced a complete album with numerous highlights: "Riot", "Jelly Roll", "Blue Murder", "Billy" and the ballad "Out of Love" that continued the tradition of heart-rending ballads that Sykes used to produce. We suggest you start looking for this album, especially if you are into the hard rock sound, and for sure if you like Sykes' way of playing.

by Alex Savatianos