Chapter 3 – The First Love Affair Album

Love Affair Cover Art
Cover art from Love Affair’s first album.

In the spring of 1979, producer Peter Schekeryk and his wife Melanie (whose hits included “Lay Down (Candles In The Rain)” and “Brand New Key” – both produced by Schekeryk) came to Cleveland on business and caught the Love Affair live experience. They were smitten. By now the band had more than enough songs for a first album, so when the band did some pre-production in Cleveland in the summer of ’79, they chose to hire Schekeryk and book Studio Center in Miami, Florida. And although that studio was primarily known for its disco hits, the choice was a good one. In September of that year sessions began. Engineer Gary Vandy was a guitarist and he wanted to record a rock band. Between Peter and Gary, the two decided to hit a bullseye with this band.

“The first thing they did was eliminate most of the keyboard parts from the songs,” Richard explains. “They wanted a guitar album. And then Peter raised the keys of the songs, so that they’d be in my upper register and that gave us the sound they were looking for.”

Wes and John
Wes Coolbaugh and John Zdravecky

Although the band had enough material to do an all original album, producer Schekeryk was intent on bringing a few other good songs he thought the band could master. One song was “Seventeen (You’re A Star),” which the band had to rework completely and manager Neuber and Richard wrote additional lyrics for. A second song, “Touch Me” (not The Doors song) was an easier task. Melanie had two other songs she wanted the band to cut as well. The Stones’ “Under My Thumb” was given a thumbs up by the band and its recording never made the album. Melanie’s other idea was to do The Supremes’ “You Can’t Hurry Love.” Although the band protested, a version was cut anyway, but was also left off the album. “We just couldn’t see how it would work with guys singing it, but she was obviously right because Phil Collins had such a big hit with it some years later,” Richard muses today.

Rich Spina
Rich Spina at the keyboards.

That wasn’t the end of the tweaking of what was to become the band’s first hit record though. In early 1980, when Love Affair was in the process of signing with Radio Records, the label wanted to re-mix the album. Once again, “Mama Sez” was given an altered arrangement and an edit. The final result was a rocking and infectious pop single, certainly worthy of material by bands the Cleveland quintet held in high esteem – such as The Sweet, Queen and the like.

By June of 1980, Love Affair was a recording act. Their debut album was being released on Radio Records (distributed by Atlantic Records) and “Mama Sez” was released as the first single. Things would never be the same…

Wayne and Mike
Wayne Cukras and Mike Hudak.