Dokken — The Elektra Albums 1983-1987 (BMG)

Don Dokken and George Lynch — Together On Stage! 

So trails the poster for one of 2023’s most unlikely collaborations as Dokken and Lynch Mob hit the road again.

Another run of low key US shows, featuring a much-heralded encore performance, will see Don Dokken and George Lynch side by side one more time.

Yet as warring band mates, the famously feisty duo couldn’t bear to be in the same studio together…let alone on the same stage.

And once Lynch was finally done with Dokken (the band and the man) — following the release of 1987’s Back For The Attack — it seemed there was no turning back.

That the pair had come so far was remarkable enough.

But it seems the destructive fire burning inside alpha males Dokken and Lynch was the same spark that produced a peerless canon of prime 80s rock.

And an unashamedly combative relationship appeared to fuel the rich creativity underpinning the four standout records collected here.

Sure, Dokken could have done more had the band’s main men chosen compromise ahead of conflict.

But theirs wasn’t the sound of concession.

And the ultimate Dream Warriors never sounded better than they did with Dokken and Lynch at loggerheads.

Dokken Tooth And Nail It On Album Number Two

If Dokken’s reworked and remixed debut Breaking The Chains — the album was available in Europe two years prior to its US release — failed to capture the imagination of fans Stateside then tracks like Live To Rock (Rock To Live) and Nightrider did, at least, scream potential.

And there was just enough quality to persuade Elektra to give the band a second chance.

Redemption arrived in the shape of 1984’s feisty follow-up Tooth And Nail — an entirely apt title given that Dokken and Lynch were already at each other’s throats and unable to work in the same room together.

Those strained labour conditions led to original producer Tom Werman handing over the reins to Roy Thomas Baker but the unlikely result was a sparkling example of genre-defining mid 80s commercial rock.

Into The Fire, Just Got Lucky and Alone Again all muscled into the US rock charts on the back of smart marketing and watchable videos — the combination of Lynch’s soaring solos and some seriously smooth vocal harmonies pacing a record many believe was Dokken’s best.

Even the gamble of introducing the album with a 95-second instrumental paid off: almost Without Warning the flamboyant Lynch looked capable of giving Eddie Van Halen a run for his money.

Def Dokken?

Widely described as a US take on Def Leppard’s Pyromania, 1985’s unbreakable Under Lock And Key was masterfully helmed by production duo Neil Kernon and Michael Wagener. 

Sonically superior to Tooth And Nail, the band’s third long player perfectly showcased Lynch’s impressively light touch as the dextrous six-stringer accelerated towards true guitar hero status.

But how did Dokken feel about his sidekick’s seemingly unstoppable rise? 

As long as Under Lock And Key maintained its relentless push towards platinum status it seemed the best of enemies were prepared to grin and bear it.

Two years later and Dokken were back.

Spread across two discs to complete this definitive 5xLP set, Back For The Attack still stands toe to toe with 1987’s most coveted releases — Hysteria, Appetite.., Whitesnake’s ’87 et al — as an example of technology and talent combining to create something truly special.

And perhaps Don Dokken realised his band’s ‘classic’ line-up had finally run its course against a backdrop of bad blood, brilliant songwriting and the odd Billboard hit.

Two years later Dokken broke the chain…allowing Lynch to walk and closing the book on his band’s greatest chapter.

Fast forward to 2023 and the best of frenemies are back on stage. But stick to this feelgood box set if you want to remember the good times.

Read Rushonrock’s exclusive interview with Don Dokken here.