469. Sightseeing at Night – Fireworks



Back in the mid-70’s three friends had moved to Nashville and had hopes of making music individually. One day a friend invited them to sing a jungle for a producer friend that needed some vocalist. That was the first night they had sung together as a group. The producer, Chris Christian, liked what he heard and invited them sing background vocals for a mainstream artists making his first Christian album. That artist was BJ Thomas. Christian would also ask them sing on an album for a little 16 year old singer/songwriter named Amy Grant.

Later they would be asked to form a group to help Myrrh replace the recently departed Second Chapter of Acts.

Fireworks was born.

After a good pop rock self-titled debut and an utterly fantastic and more progressive follow-up the band would record their last album under the moniker “Fireworks” with “Sightseeing at Night.” The following album was released under the name “Marty McCall and Fireworks” as is considered more of a solo project than band album.

SAN was released on the mainstream label MCA with distribution through a growing Sparrow Distribution. The opening track “I’ve Got News For You” had the heaviest guitars the band ever used and would set the tone for the rest of the album. Future Petra drummer Louie Weaver would add a much beefier drum sound then previously explored and McCall’s vocals carried more of an edge than the first two albums.

There is a bit of Toto and Foreigner here with a corporate rock with a jazz influence that did not quite fit a Christian Music market built around more safe pallets like Amy Grant or more intensely fringe bands like Resurrection Band. Fireworks was somewhere in between and never could quite ind the right audience; too heavy for the Church, not heavy enough for the fringe. But this did not take away from the fact that they made very quality albums worthy of consideration.

  1. Brian
    October 15, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    I’VE GOT NEWS FOR YOU and HONORABLE MAN amongst a full slate of quality material. One of the problems of early CCM is that there would only be one really good song on the album and the rest would fall back into the creamy sedated style of Christian music. This is one of the first COMPLETELY SOLID CCM albums to ever come out (although Jerusalem’s Warrior did this in better way).
    Marty McCall has surely made his mark in CCM history.

  2. tim
    December 22, 2010 at 3:21 am

    Agreed. This is a classic album and highly underrated.

  3. Jon
    March 10, 2011 at 3:57 am

    I would label this one an AYSO. One of top 10 favorite albums of all time, in any genre. I saw Fireworks twice, once opening for Servant during their “World Of Sand” tour, which was the first CCM concert I ever went to, and I saw them again at Agape festival in 1983. They were very good live, too. I agree that this album and the band in general were sadly, very underrated.

  4. Don
    April 8, 2011 at 10:37 pm

    Should have been around 468, not at 469 – what were you thinking?

  5. adam
    June 13, 2011 at 9:11 pm

    Loved, LOVED this album!

  6. spuwho
    October 18, 2014 at 1:40 am

    Not a knock to the album at all, it was also a contractual fulfillment album. Chris Christian was out at MCA Songbird as was most of his artists.Fireworks still had 1 left in their MCA arrangement. The “raw” sound heard here was mostly a result of the incredibly low budget they were given to fulfill the deal. I agree that Marty’s voice had gotten much more fuller and complete, but it was as close to “live in a studio” as you could get. These guys were given complete control as MCA had little or no interest. Its no wonder Marty said in the liner notes, “the album I have always wanted to make”, no doubt as there were no A&R people over his shoulder pushing a trend. I just wish EMI CMG Sparrow would get access to the Fireworks masters from UMG (MCA) and Warner/Curb (Word/Myrrh) and get the digital releases out there. Fireworks didn’t sell a lot of product, but they toured heavily in their lifetime. There are people out there who remember their concerts. And don’t email Chris Christian, I already did years ago. He doesn’t have access.

  7. williemaysfield
    December 23, 2016 at 2:00 pm

    Became a Christian in 1982 at the age of 16. I still have “shatter the darkness”and “up” on vinyl, SSAN, and The live album on cassette. Listened to this band a lot and always was spiritually encouraged. Favorites were ” the world” “listen” and “missionary mary”.

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