The Very Best of Dokken

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Dokken was one of the finest bands to come out of the Los Angeles hair metal scene of the '80s, and The Very Best of Dokken proves it. Don Dokken was a terrific singer, and guitarist George Lynch's splashy fretwork was a superb fit. (Bass guitarist Jeff Pilson and drummer Mick Brown were important factors in the group's songwriting as well.) Perhaps it's no surprise that tensions were high between Don Dokken and Lynch, continuing a long tradition pioneered by the Rolling Stones' Mick Jagger and Keith Richards and Deep Purple's Ian Gillan and Ritchie Blackmore. By 1999, Lynch had left the band and been replaced by Winger alumnus Reb Beach. The Very Best of Dokken is a great 16-song compilation arranged in chronological order; it's essential listening for anyone interested in Reagan-era hard rock and heavy metal. Dokken's '80s studio albums were occasionally uneven, so this collection, which also includes decent liner notes, is the best place for the uninitiated to start. Highlights include "Breaking the Chains," "Into the Fire," "Just Got Lucky," "Alone Again" (one of the finest power ballads ever), "In My Dreams," "Dream Warriors," and "Burning Like a Flame." Other notable tracks include the fiery instrumental "Mr. Scary"; "Walk Away," the sole studio cut on Dokken's 1988 live album, Beast from the East; "Mirror Mirror," from Don Dokken's 1990 solo album, Up from the Ashes; and the anti-drug "Too High to Fly," from the somewhat underrated yet aptly titled 1995 reunion album, Dysfunctional.

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