35 Years Ago: Ted Nugent Releases ‘State of Shock’
While many of classic rock’s greatest artists were simply trying to get out of the ‘70s alive, Ted Nugent was absolutely thriving: packing arenas coast to coast and moving millions of records. He tried to keep the hot streak going by slipping one final album into stores before the end of the decade, delivering ‘State of Shock’ in May of ’79.
Unfortunately, in a direct if unintended reflection of its “electrifying” cover image, the album (Ted’s fifth proper solo effort, not counting his long association with the Amboy Dukes) offered decidedly mixed and unfamiliar results for long-serving Ted-heads.
It certainly opened in scorching fashion, thanks to galvanizing first single, ‘Paralyzed,’ which bore all of the familiar Gonzo trademarks and slithery slide guitars to boot. Not to be outdone, ensuing tracks such as the slow-boiling title cut, the provocative ‘Bite Down Hard,’ and the particularly vicious ‘Snake Charmer’ kept the high voltage rock and roll coming.
Unfortunately, additional rockers such as ‘Take It or Leave It,’ ‘It Don’t Matter’ and ‘Satisfied’ lacked that distinctly manic Nugent energy — an issue that exposed their dull, seemingly thrown-together lyrics. There was also an unusually straight-faced ballad, ‘Alone’ ( which truth be told, was a great showcase for singer Charlie Huhn) and an ill-fitting, oddly reminiscent of Cheap Trick paranoid pop-rocker, ‘I Want to Tell You.’
In other words, the electrical charge promised by ‘State of Shock’ was, at best, delivered via alternating, not direct current, if you catch our metaphor. This inconsistency was eventually reflected in the album’s rather brief passage through the U.S. Top 20, and disappointing sales — although to be fair, it “just” went gold, where all of its recent predecessors had gone platinum.
Nevertheless, Nugent and and his band — bassist Walt Monaghan and drummer Cliff Davies — carried on gamely promoting ‘State of Shock,’ both on the road and in the media, throughout 1979 and well into 1980. This trek including stopping by ABC’s short-lived ‘Fridays’ live comedy show for this sizzling rendition of ‘Paralyzed.’
Watch Ted Nugent Perform ‘Paralyzed’
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Sadly, the ’80s wouldn’t treat Ted Nugent nearly as well as the ’70s did; but at least we can all agree that his legacy from the second half of that decade alone would be cause for incredible pride for most any artist. And as we’ve stated many times, to this very day there’s few things better to spend your money on than a ticket to one of Uncle Ted’s still-incendiary live shows.