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Categories: AOR, Melodic Rock


Formed by former OXFORD WATCH BAND and BULL ANGUS front man Franke Previte following his move north from Florida along with guitarist Billy Elworthy, New Jersey based FRANKE AND THE KNOCKOUTS quickly established themselves as a leading club act. The band certainly had a knack for creating superlative AOR songs. Prior to BULL ANGUS, Previte had been singing since he was nine years old, played in bands like THE INTRUDERS in his teens, recorded a couple of independently released singles and via the OXFORD WATCH BAND moved on to BULL ANGUS.

Elworthy had played on MICHAEL BOLOTIN's 'Every Day Of My Life' album, issued in 1976. Leigh Foxx previously played with BENNY MARDONES and toured with SCANDAL during 1984.

The group signed to the Millennium label, recently taken over by RCA after parent company Casablanca had been bought by PolyGram. The debut, self-titled FRANKE AND THE KNOCKOUTS album featured vocalist / guitarist Charlie Dominici, bassist John Regan and drummer Claude Lettenaff and earnt the group an American top ten hit with the ballad 'Sweetheart' in 1981.

For the second album, 1982's 'Below The Belt', the group got significantly heavier. Produced by Pete Solley, drum tracks were performed by Al Wotton.

The third album, 'Makin' The Point' released in 1984, found the group switching labels to MCA Records and significant changes had taken place within the ranks in the interim. Tico Torres, a veteran of PHANTOM'S OPERA, had joined the band on drums as did guitarist Bobby Messano who already had stints with STARZ and TYCOON on his CV. Elworthy and Levinsohn appeared to have departed, although the pair did make contributions to the record, as did former CHOPPER keyboard player Kim Bullard. TYCOON frontman Norman Mershon was responsible for several co-writes. By the release of 'Makin' The Point' Torres had already hooked up with BON JOVI, his fame almost assured.

The band split shortly after the third album was issued through MCA. Charlie Dominici, went on to audition successfully as lead vocalist for DREAM THEATER in 1987. John Regan scored exposure with ACE FREHLEY.

Previte continued to write, specifically for movies (Previte co-wrote '(I've Had) The Time Of My Life' and 'Hungry Eyes' for the hugely successful 'Dirty Dancing' movie, performed by ERIC CARMEN, whilst 'We Are The People' appears in the 1989 production 'Rude Awakenings' for example). As recently as 1993 Previte was said to be collaborating on songs with Torres.

1998 Escape Music negotiated the rights to release the three FRANKE AND THE KNOCKOUTS albums on CD for the first tiue. The re-issues were expected to include previously unreleased tracks. Indeed, the albums were released in reverse order and 'Making The Point' included the original Previte demo of 'Hungry Eyes'. The song had been recorded with a band consisting of guitarists Tommy Fuller and Anthoney Krizan, bassist John DeNicola, keyboardist Jimmy Yeagor and drummer Tommy Allen.

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