The 1985 Stay Hard album was a rushed affair, recorded primarily to help get Raven off their old label (Neat Records). Almost all the songs were rejected material that didn’t make the cut for earlier records. (Hard Ride, the lone exception, was originally released on Rock Until You Drop (1981). On Stay Hard it gets updated and sounds much better, in my opinion.) Despite the circumstances, Stay Hard is a solid outing by these British legends. It’s not as heavy and ambitious as its predecessors, but the songs are catchy and the riffs get your head banging. In fact, “On and On” would turn out to be Raven’s most commercially successful song, getting made into an MTV video. The true “classic Raven” tracks on Stay Hard, however, are the headbangers: “Get it Right”, “Stay Hard,” and “Extract the Action.” The haunting ballad “Pray for the Sun” is not your typical Raven song, but it features John Gallagher’s effects-laden bass providing the main riff for the verses. Over time it has become my favorite track off Stay Hard.
If you’re looking to buy your first Raven CD, I recommend Life’s a Bitch or All For One. But if you like those and dig Raven like I do, then pick up Stay Hard. It’s essentially an album of “unreleased” tracks that were released for business purposes. Very cool album to own for the Raven fan.