In a decade fueled by party anthems and power ballads,
Poison found a high amount of popularity, with only Bon Jovi and Def Leppard outselling them. While the
group had a long string of hits, they soon became just as renowned for their stage show, and continued to be a major attraction
over the course of their first three albums. Although their success was rather short-lived, one cannot deny the major effect
that Poison had on the music industry during their career.
Formerly known as Paris, Poison was formed in 1984 by singer
Bret Michaels, bassist Bobby Dall, and drummer Rikki Rockett. After traveling from Harrisburg, PA, to
Los Angeles, CA, the band added guitarist C.C. Deville to their lineup. The group was signed to Enigma Records
in 1986, where they released their first album, Look What the Cat Dragged In. The record, spawning the Top Ten hits
"I Want Action," "Talk Dirty to Me," and "I Won't Forget You," was a surprise success, selling two-million
copies within a year following its release.
While the band was already quite popular by the end of 1987, 1988's Open
Up & Say...Ahhh! was their commercial breakthrough, due to the massive hits "Fallen Angel," "Nothin' But
a Good Time," and "Every Rose Has Its Thorn." After a prosperous tour with David Lee Roth, the group returned
to the studio to record Flesh and Blood in 1990. The album, which included the upbeat "Unskinny Bop" and the
sentimental "Something to Believe In," was another major success. The dynamic tour supporting the record brought on
the release of Swallow This Live, a double-disc set which included live versions of their biggest hits, along with
four new studio tracks. The band was secretly falling apart, as an infamous appearance on MTV showed Deville
perform nearly half of "Talk Dirty to Me" with his guitar unplugged. The band broke into a brawl backstage after the
Shortly after the release of Swallow This Live, Poison fired
Deville due to his increasing addiction to drugs and alcohol. His replacement, Richie Kotzen, made his commercial
debut with the band on the 1993 Native Tongue album, which, despite some strong reviews and a hit single, "Stand,"
was a commercial disappointment. Kotzen was fired during the subsequent tour, and Blues Saraceno became Poison's
third guitarist. The band recorded their fifth studio album, Crack a Smile, for release in 1996, but the record was
shelved and replaced with the Greatest Hits: 1986-1996 disc. Toward the end of 1996, Saraceno left and Deville
returned to the band, which eventually resulted in a successful reunion tour in the summer of 1999; the Crack a Smile
sessions were finally released the following spring, soon followed by the mostly live Power to the People. Another
tour was cut short by an accident that left Dall with serious back surgery and at least a six-month break from the
band. By the time he got back into shape, the band stepped into the studio and recorded Hollyweird, which was released
in the summer of 2002. The following tour was promoted as a nostalgia experience and was funded by VH1.
~ Barry Weber, All Music Guide