Mr. Mister spawned from lead singer Richard Page's former group, "Pages", more a regional band than a nationally known act. But Page himself was, at different times, offered the positions of lead singer of the bands Toto and Chicago, but he turned both down to focus on Mr. Mister. The first album was not a hit, but garnered enough attention to allow for a follow-up. The band, including Page on vocals and bass, Steve Fariss on guitars, Steve George on keyboards and supporting vocals and Pat Mastelotto on drums, wrote their own music, and created a unique, very melodic sound at just the right time in the mid-80's. The strong harmonies and guitar work on "Kyrie", as well as the unique subject matter, gained it a lot of attention. Kýrie, eléison is Greek for "Lord, Have Mercy"...the song is basically a prayer. This is often an area that would delegate a song to the religious charts, but the song was so strong, it shot to number one on the Billboard charts.
"Broken Wings" was inspired by a book of the same name. It features truly beautiful, haunting keyboards, and perfectly accompanying lyrics. The production across the album is top rate, especially for the time. This one stayed at number one for two straight weeks.
"Is It Love" hit number eight, and was featured in the closing credits of the movie "Stakeout". It has a great mixture of guitar work and keyboards. The vocal performance by Page is fantastic all around. The stigma of the 80's is the music being synth-heavy, but they are well-paired with guitars on this album.
Other standouts that were not released as singles include "Uniform of Youth", an anthem for the younger generation; "Black/White", an odd kind of take on the changes that happen throughout a relationship; and "My Own Hands", about taking control of your life. The music throughout blends well together as a single work, this definitely a well-put together album, not just a collection of unassociated songs.
The instinct might be to call them a one-hit wonder, but in reality this whole album is a great listen. They strike a certain chord with this album, it's a shame they couldn't follow up on it. Their next album did poorly, and a fourth album sat on the shelf before receiving a limited release on an independent label. If you enjoy the three hits, it just might be worth getting the whole album, it certainly adds context to the songs you know, and the songs you don't know contain some hidden gems that deserve some attention.