In the early 1980s, rock musician Billy Squier landed his number one hit despite its racy connotations – The Stroke.
Growing up in Boston in the 1960s and 1970s, Squier hung out at nightclubs, eventually joining Magic Terry and the Universe and The Sidewinders.
In the mid 1970s, he formed the band Piper, but left soon after, to focus on his solo career. Squier released his first solo album in 1980 titled The Tale of the Tape. The album featured the singles You Should be High and Big Beat, the latter a popular song sampled by hip hop artists in the late ’80s/early ’90s.
Squier’s second album, Don’t Say No, for Capitol Records, was released in May 1981, and its lead single was The Stroke, and the first song by Squier to make the Billboard charts.
The distinctive drum and guitar opening of the song, along with Squier’s lyrics, made this song a popular choice for rock radio stations across North America and Europe.
Produced by Reinhold Mack, who had produced Queen’s The Game, the album and single put Squier on the charts in several countries, including the UK, Canada, New Zealand, Austria and the US, where it went to 17 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number three on the Billboard Rock Singles list.
Even though Squier continued to produce albums and music, his consequent albums never led him back to the charts, but as a song for teenagers of the time period, it was a welcome addition to everyone’s playlist.