They were not the greatest band in the world by any means, and as short-lived as their career was in music, they had a huge influence on me and my writing. I simply loved their music.
Their biggest hit was their debut song "Sweetheart" off their debut album called, "Franke and The Knockouts". The song peaked at number 10 on the U.S. Billboard charts in 1981. It was followed up quickly by their second release off the same album, "You're My Girl", which peaked at #27.
I knew the songs, but never bought the album / CD until after I bought their second album, "Below The Belt", a 1982 release. (It was recommended by a friend). I enjoyed each and everyone of the tracks on that album. Their third charted song came from that album called, "Without You (Not Another Lonely Night)". It reached as high as 24 on Billboard's Top 100.
Their third album was released in 1984 called, "Makin' The Point". They released the song "Outrageous" but it did not hit in Billboard's Top 100, even though I thought it was a pretty good album.
In 1999, they would release their fourth album, a collection of their best songs called, "The Sweetheart Collection".
The band was made up of Franke Previte, lead vocalist, co songwriter (and founder). He was with the band from 1980 to 1986.
Leigh Foxx was on bass, and was with the band from 1980 to 1986.
Billy Elworthy was on lead and rhythm guitars, as well as a co-songwriter. He was with the band from 1980 to 1984.
Claude LeHenaff was the drummer from 1980 to 1982.
Blake Levinsohn was the keyboardist and was with the band from 1980 to 1982.
Tommy Ayers was keyboardist and back-up vocals from 1981 to 1986. He was a session musician on the bands debut album, and officially joined the band after the release of the album.
Tico Torres was the drummer from 1982 to 1984.
Bobby Messano was on lead and rhythm guitars, and back-up vocals from 1984 to 1986.
There were other session players that include: Charlie Dominici, who supplied back-up vocals on their debut album. Dominici would go on to front the band, "Dream Theater."
Al Wotten was a session musician (drummer) on their second album, "Below The Belt".
John DeNicola played bass on several demos, including a bonus track on their third album, "Makin' The Point". He also co-wrote the songs, "Hungry Eyes" (sung by Eric Carmen and released in 1987) and "(I've Had) The Time Of My Life" (featured in the 1987 film, "Dirty Dancing") with Franke Previte, the original versions of which were recorded during his (DeNicola) tenure with the band but went unreleased, until they both later appeared on "The Sweetheart Collection".
I was fortunate enough to go see them once in concert. Had a great time. It would have been nice if they could have had better success as I always thought they were awesome. They still made a lasting impression on me that I still carry with me today.
The group disbanded in 1986.
I still have all of their songs / albums / cassettes / CD's. I continue listening to them on a somewhat fairly regular basis. It takes me back to my Navy days in Norfolk, Virginia. Fond memories of a time that I wish would have never ended. Friends and girls that I cherish, and nights that last forever. Everything about my time in the Navy comes back alive when I listen to Franke and The Knockouts. Even a few memories from when I was in / and came back home from Fort Dix when I was enlisted in the Army Reserve.