1983 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Core '80s Band Members:
- Tom Keifer (born Carl Thomas Keifer on January 26, 1961 in Springfield, Pennsylvania) - Lead vocals, guitar, primary songwriter, keyboards, harmonica
- Eric Brittingham (born May 8, 1960 in Salisbury, Maryland) - Bass guitar, backing vocals
- Jeff LaBar (born Jeffrey Philip LaBar on March 18, 1963 in Darby, Pennsylvania) - Lead guitar
- Fred Coury (born October 20, 1967, in Johnson City, New York) - Drums
Though the band actually produced only two full-length records during the '80s, hair metal
band Cinderella burst onto the late-'80s hard rock scene as a seminal, chart-topping pop metal act before switching to a more rootsy style later on. Along with fellow East Coast transplants like Bon Jovi
, the Philadelphia-based Cinderella was lumped in with Sunset Strip glam metal
pioneers like Motley Crue
even if the group's music didn't always perfectly match that sound. Ultimately, Cinderella's big-time popularity didn't last deep into the '90s, but this is undoubtedly one of the major MTV
-fueled hard rock acts of the late '80s.
Frontman Keifer had harbored a love for blues rock
music throughout his teen years, and the seeds of Cinderella were planted when he met Brittingham in 1980 as both continued to play music within the Philadelphia scene. Upon the band's formation (including two musicians who would go on to play in a separate pop metal band from Philadelphia - Britny Fox), it struggled to make a name in East Coast bars and clubs. In 1985, however, the group caught a break when Jon Bon Jovi was impressed enough with a live show to recommend Cinderella to his record company, Mercury. With LaBar and a rotation of drummers, the band soon began work on its debut major-label record.
'Night Songs' & Instant Stardom:
Interestingly enough, Cinderella's 1986 debut, Night Songs
, was released during the summer of 1986, at about the same time benefactor Bon Jovi's breakthrough LP, Slippery When Wet
, came out. However, because of the perfect-storm combination of MTV exposure and the American public's appetite for pop metal, both records found plenty of room to flourish during the calendar year that followed. With strong guitar-oriented singles "Shake Me," "Nobody's Fool"
and "Somebody Save Me,"
Cinderella registered a Top 5 album showing and staked a claim as one of hair metal's most successful acts of the year.
Keifer Returns to His Roots:
Following a successful 1987 touring run, the quartet's now-firm lineup returned to the studio and promptly produced a somewhat stripped-down sophomore LP in Long Cold Winter
. Keifer's songwriting introduced elements of roots rock
and blues rock but not so much to alienate fans of the group's previously well-received, somewhat edgy glam metal sound. In fact, some listeners probably didn't quite realize how much blues they were actually getting in tunes like "Gypsy Road"
and "Coming Home."
After all, the requisite power ballad
("Don't Know What You Got Till It's Gone"
) was certainly there, skillfully appeasing the pop metal masses.
'90s Decline & MTV Snubbing:
Cinderella returned with its third full-length album in 1990, a record called Heartbreak Station
that performed well enough to attain platinum status that year. At this point, the grunge
movement had not yet surfaced widely enough to curb pop metal success, and therefore this album had only a slightly reduced impact compared to the group's late-'80s heyday. However, the combination of Keifer's vocal cord problems and a drastically changing pop music landscape all but doomed Cinderella's 1994 fourth LP, ironically titled Still Climbing
. By this juncture, MTV had all but abandoned glam metal and classic rock
, leaving the band's increasingly blues-oriented sound effectively stranded.
Reunion & Ongoing Career:
Following former label Mercury's release of a compilation album in 1997, the peak lineup of Cinderella reunited to tour the U.S. in 1998. Finding that an eager audience still remained, the band stayed active into the new millennium even if a new album was delayed by label litigation battles and more vocal issues for Keifer. Although the long-awaited fifth Cinderella studio album has yet to materialize, Keifer himself released his bluesy debut solo effort, The Way Life Goes, in April 2013. Meanwhile, Cinderella continues to perform, especially during summer tours with other flashback rock acts.