Far Corporation / Division One


Division One

Far Corporation is a band created by record producer Frank Farian, who created the bands Boney M. and Milli Vanilli. The name was shortened from “Frank Farian Corporation”, which was originally put together to record a cover of the Paul Simon piece “Mother and Child Reunion” as a charity record and reached the top 10 in several European countries. That group’s lineup included members of Barclay James Harvest, Toto, Boney M and Force Majeure.

Far Corporation’s primary claim to fame is their cover of “Stairway to Heaven“. Contrary to public perception, Far Corporation was actually the first group to make the singles charts with this song as Led Zeppelin had never released it as a single. Some of the musicians Farian assembled include vocalist Robin McAuley, drummer Simon Phillips, exSaga drummer Curt Cress, and three members of Toto: vocalist Bobby Kimball, keyboardist David Paich, and guitarist Steve Lukather. Far Corporation released its first album Division One in 1985 on IMP/ATCO Records and their cover of “Stairway to Heaven” reached #8 on the UK Singles Chart. Also included on the album was a cover of Free‘s “Fire and Water” (their second single).

A second album Advantage was completed for a 1987 release, heralded by the new single “One by One”. Both this as well as the second single – a cover of Cockney Rebel‘s “Sebastian” – failed to reach the charts, and the album was eventually scrapped. Two of the lost recordings, “Make Believe” and “Big Brother”, surfaced as Bobby Kimball duets on Farian artist Jayne (Collins)’s Ambush in the Night album (1989) and Milli Vanilli‘s second album The Moment of Truth (1991). The rest was recycled along a few new recordings on the group’s second release, 1994’s Solitude on MCI-BMG. This time they were joined by former Thin Lizzy guitarist Scott Gorham. Mostly assembled in honour of Farian’s 25 years anniversary as a producer, the album failed to repeat the success of “Stairway to Heaven”.

The Analysis:

Stairway To Heaven—-Of course, many purists would consider this to be a bit of blasphemy. How dare a band attempt to cover such a monumental song…not to mention a band of this and that’s. Trust me….the end result of this recording is something that must be heard to be believed. This is given a respectful and incredible treatment. the vocal is spot on and when the bass kicks in towards the end of the song even Plant would sit back and say  WOW!!! I can’t find the words to assure you that this is true and respectful to the original…tasteful and damn dynamic!!!

You Are The Woman—-You can really tell after a few listens that this song is composed of members of Toto….this is a damn powerful song…the lyrics are full of overriding emotion and heartfelt lines…leaving you wishing that you had someone important enough in your life to write such a song about. At times, the song leaves you joyous and elated…other times you may feel defeated at your longing for such feelings…regardless, it makes you feel and that is what music is for!!!

One Of Your Lovers—-Again, this song has such a strong Toto sound that you can’t escape the resemblence…like they say..one thing leads to another. The vocal is wonderful and typical Kimball…the feel is pure 80’s style Toto. The chorus is absolute and magnificent. this is pure AOR mastery…built upon a tried and true recipe that has proven successful and really works on this track. This should have been on Toto IV…it would have meant yet another top 10 for the band.

Live Inside Your Dreams—-Synth driven from the very onset, the song slowly introduces drums and guitars to the mix and comes across as a long-lost Lou Graham song. I really do not care much for the refrain vocal…but when the chorus of voices join in the song takes on a new and fresh feel that really finds a place for me. This is driving and built on synth and drums…the result is mediocre, but the emotional quality of the song rises above the mediocrity of the voice, nice.

Johnny Don’t Go The Distance—-Beginning with a nice majestic piano that makes you think you are listening to a classic Queen song, the vocal enters and you again think of Freddie. As the song develops, you lose that masterful image, but the music is very Queen inspired. The song never really finds that magical spot with me…never quite turning into what it really could have been with added vocals and a bit more beefed up sound…but the intention is clear to me. This is still a very nice listen…and when the chorus kicks in…it is pretty damn nice!

Fire And Water—-Heavy on bass and a jaunty 70’s style rock feel from the very onset, this again really reminds me of a throw a way foreigner track. This is classic 70’s style rock that would have played very well on the radio in the summer of 1979…why this is appealing at the time of release is beyond me. This falls a bit flat for me, but you have to love the progressive sound of the song that is aided both bu real instrumentation and the studio manipulations of Farian.

If You Could See You Through My Eyes—-From the onset, this is pretty sloppy…a ballad that is weak in structure simply because the vocalist does not seem truly committed to the song. When the chorus kicks in and you have a huge mass of voices, the song takes a much more emotional lean and really works for me. Kimball seems a bit off on this song, but overall it works because of the huge sound of the chorus…the music swells and takes you over…it is the emotional quality of the instrumentation that makes this work.

No One Else Will Do—-Ugh…..this just does not work in any shape or form for me….this was just a paycheck for many of these guys and it was obvious!

Rock N’ Roll Connection—-This begins in a rather magnificent way, but rapidly turns into yet another throw away track that Toto never believed in enough to record themselves. This is so obvious that it is almost painful….this is a mixed up cross between Bad Company and Toto that leaves me only wanting more of the bands that the song tried to impersonate.

***1/2 out of 5

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