When did Billy Squier’s The Stroke come back in style?

Back in my formative years (aka the 80’s), I devoured music videos on Much Music (Canada’s MTV) and Musique Plus (French Canadian Much Music). 1983-86 were like the Gold Rush. Whenever you tuned in, you’d get to hear amazing tracks destined to be classics. Or one hit wonders headed for quick obscurity. And from time to time, the VJs would dig up an obscure track, and you’d be left wondering where that came from.

Billy Squier’s The Stroke was one of those for me. A critical look at the music industry laid down in sexual double entendres, it had a catchy chorus and some nice guitar riffs. Now, I know that Wikipedia says he sold 4 million copies of that album. But I never met anyone who had bought one, or even knew who he was, so his appeal must have been regional. (the album was also 3-4 years old by that time) Apart from the 4-5 times I caught that video, I never heard the song on radio or anywhere else. In fact, I’m pretty damn sure I never heard that song again for close to 30 years, especially after his career was torpedoed by the disastrous video for Rock Me Tonight.

But in the last 6 months, I keep hearing the song in hockey arenas, and even on TV. What’s going on? Is there a secret Billy Squier revival going on and I missed the memo? I imagine him suddenly getting royalty checks again, and going “WTF?”

Jean-Frederic Vachon
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