At a time when the charts were ruled by pop-metal acts, Dokken were a major attraction throughout the 1980s. With vocalist Don Dokken's captivating stage presence and guitarist George Lynch's high-energy style, the band combined rockers such as "Kiss of Death" and power ballads such as "Alone Again" in order to create a number of best-selling albums.
Dokken's roots date back to the late '70s, when Lynch, along with drummer Mick Brown, teamed up with Don Dokken to form the Boyz. In 1981, Don moved to Germany and was signed to Carerre Records. The band, now simply known as Dokken, recorded and released its first studio album, Breaking the Chains, in 1983. While the record failed to achieve a decent chart position in the United States, the group was immensely popular in Europe.
Dokken were signed to Elektra Records, and Jeff Pilson became their first official bassist. In 1984, the band released Tooth and Nail, which featured the hit songs "Into the Fire," "Just Got Lucky," and "Alone Again." With heavy MTV and radio airplay, Dokken found themselves topping the charts worldwide, and Tooth and Nail eventually sold over a million copies in the U.S. alone. Following a tour with the Scorpions, the group recorded Under Lock and Key in 1985, which had similar success due to the hits "In My Dreams" and "It's Not Love." In 1987, Dokken released Back for the Attack, which featured "Dream Warriors," a track they had written as the subtitle for the third Nightmare on Elm Street film. The coinciding music video, which included scenes of the band interacting with the movie's characters, was their most popular ever, and Back for the Attack became Dokken's third record to reach platinum status. Their subsequent tour resulted in a live compilation, Beast from the East, which was released shortly before the band broke up in 1988 due to Don Dokken's and Lynch's creative differences.
Dokken, Don pursued a solo career with Up from the Ashes, and Lynch formed the Lynch Mob, releasing an album in 1990; both releases failed to chart. The band reunited in 1992, signing with Columbia Records and releasing 1995's Dysfunctional, which was met with harsh reviews and poor sales. Tensions once again seemed to hover around Dokken as they recorded the live acoustic release One Live Night for the CMC label. In 1997, the band released Shadowlife, which was met with a similar response to their past two recordings. In 1998, Lynch left a second time to reunite the Lynch Mob, and was replaced with Winger guitarist Reb Beach for 1999's Erase the Slate. This was followed in 2000 by another concert record, Live from the Sun, which captured the Beach lineup at Anaheim's Sun Theater. Beach left the group and was replaced by John Norum, and the group recorded Long Way Home for release in the spring of 2002.
Warlock guitarist Jonathan Levin and ex-Ted Nugent and Yngwie Malmsteen bassist Barry Sparks joined the band, resulting in the release of Hell to Pay the following year. Dokken returned to the studio in 2008 for the well-received Lightning Strikes Again, which proved to be their highest charting outing in years. Due to a scheduling conflict, 2012's Broken Bones was the first Dokken release to not feature drummer and co-founder Mick Brown -- session drummer Jimmy DeGrasso filled in -- but he returned for Return to the East: Live 2016, a concert album that was released in 2018 and also included George Lynch and Jeff Pilson.