Johnny Lima is one of those talents that you don’t get very often. He’s one of those talents that is totally lost in the depths of all the music out there. He is one of those talents that make you scratch your head wondering why in the hell hasn’t this guy ever received a break. This guy should be living the life of a Def Leppard, Bon Jovi or Tesla, but for some reason or another he isn’t. That’s ok because his fans know his talent and he totally appreciates his fans.
My story about Johnny started in 1996 when I came across his debut album and was totally blown away by what I heard. I was managing a record store at the time and I honestly played it to death in my store. People were constantly asking who was playing. That goes to show you that if music, other than the formulated stuff that you are force fed on the radio, is played, then people will like it. I was so impressed with this CD that I had to write this guy and tell him. Now this was before email and snail mail was the way to go. A week or 2 went by and the phone rings at my store and the guy on the other end asked for me saying he was Johnny Lima. Now how cool is that? This guy appreciated what I had to say to him about his album that he took the time to give me a call personally and thank me. That phone call started a friendship that is now over 20 years old.
Here we are after all these years and I have decided to do a ranking of Johnny’s work and hopefully find him a few more fans in the process. Johnny has always asked me to be honest with him with any feedback that I had and I will continue that honesty with this discography review. If you have been a long time fan or just reading about Johnny for the first time, I hope that you find this informative enough to have found something new that you haven’t heard before.
Coming in at #1 is 2014’s, “My Revolution”. Like I said before, Johnny’s self titled album came out in 1996 and that has been my favorite since then. He has released some outstanding albums over the years, but none of them came close to my love for the debut. My Revolution took me by surprise because of that. I never thought he would ever top that 1st album, but he did. You have the rockers like the TITLE TRACK & “Tell Me Lies”. Some of his best ballads with “I Can’t Love You Anymore” & “Maybe You’re Right, Maybe It’s Wrong”. Then you have the best tongue in cheek songs he has ever written in “Fill You Up” & “Happily Ever After You”. This is seriously 15 tracks of pure perfection. A lot of my favorite Lima songs come from this album.
#2. The debut self titled album (1996). Until recently, this was a very sought after album among collectors and thanks to Melodic Rock Records, it was reissued in 2017 along with the Made In California CD. I played this CD so much back in the day. Not only in my store, but also outside of work. I would make sure everybody I knew would hear about how great this album was. Yes, there is a Bon Jovi comparison, but honestly that fades away fast when you realize that this blows away anything the Bon Jovi has done. This is pure melodic rock bliss. There isn’t a bad song on this disc. The ballads “Here For You” & “Fly Angel” will tug at the heart strings. “Crazy” is one of the best songs ever to dedicate to a person to tell them how crazy in love you are with them. “Reckless Heart” & “Something’s Gotta Change” are a few of the highlighted rocker songs.
#3. Made In California (2003): Johnny’s 3rd album is another outstanding slice of melodic madness with even more melodies that he is known for by this point. It starts off with the guitar driven title track with a little keyboards mixed in for that extra pleasure. Some of my favorite Lima songs are the ones that have that tongue in cheek humor and he doesn’t disappoint with “Another Girl”. Johnny is also known to write some of the best ballads ever. I bet if I made a top 20 ballads list, 5 of them would be from him. There’s a few of those killer ballads here, “We’ve Got Tonight” & “Something About You”. My absolute favorite track is “Welcome To My Paradise“. I love how he brings it down after the guitar solo. Another highlight is “Best Night Of My Life”. Oh and we can’t forget the killer cover of The Beatles “Help”. As stated with the self titled debut, this was recently reissued by Melodic Rock Records. If you haven’t gotten that set yet, I would highly recommend it before it’s no longer available.
#4. Shine On (1999): Johnny’s 2nd album was finally released 3 long years after his first. Was it worth the wait? Of course it was. It was a little more poppier than his debut, but it was still Johnny Lima. Shine On starts off with the very melodic “Leavin’ In The Morning” and goes right into what I think should’ve been the lead off track, “My Country ‘Tis Of Thee”. I hate to compare Johnny to Bon Jovi, but this is the most sounding Bon Jovi track Lima has done and it freaking rocks with the outstanding backing vocals, guitars & keyboards. “Memory Lane” & “In Someone Else’s Arms” are some more killer Lima ballads. Remember those humorous songs that Johnny does that I love so much? Well “Sweet Sixteen” is another one of those songs and he doesn’t let you down with this one either. Other highlights include “Star”, “Girl Next Door” & “Wild, Young, Crazy In Love”.
#5. Livin’ Out Loud (2009): I know a lot of people absolutely love this album. I like it, but I don’t “love” it. After My Revolution came out and I looked back on this album, I could then see the direction he was going with his career as this is a more straight ahead rock album. Hence the title Livin’ Out Loud. My biggest disappointment with this album was the lack of ballads. I know, I know…it’s called Livin’ Out Loud and an album with that title probably shouldn’t have any ballads, but at least 1 good rock ballad would’ve been a great addition. The rocker “Hate To Love You” is my go to track on this album. Other highlights include, “Caught In The Middle”, “Somebody To Love” & “Still Waiting For You”.
Johnny released 2 other albums over the years. Version 1.2 (2005), which he went back into the studio and reworked songs from his debut along with a few extras. In 2015, he released the all acoustic album, Unplug N Play which included one of my favorite Lima songs, “Nothing’s Worth Losing You”. Both should definitely be in your collection of Johnny Lima CDs.
The music world hasn’t heard any new music in the last few years and that’s kind of scary. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that he starts getting the itch again and releases another masterpiece. Hopefully in the vain of My Revolution. I’m sure if the fans keep bothering him about it, then he will make it happen.
You can visit Johnny’s OFFICIAL SITE to order some of the above CDs. You will not be disappointed!