Flashback: Poison's 1988 Hair Metal Opera 'Fallen Angel' - Rolling Stone
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Flashback: Poison’s 1988 Hair-Metal Opera ‘Fallen Angel’

In this female version of “Welcome to the Jungle,” a young woman discovers the dark side of L.A. life

Mötley Crüe, Poison, and Def Leppard announced tour dates for their 2020 summer tour at a press conference yesterday in Los Angeles. “I’m just telling you that it is going to be not just ‘The Stadium Tour,’ it is the party of the summer,” Poison frontman Bret Michael said. “If [the other bands] cut half their set, there’s still nothing but hits.”

One song likely to be in Poison’s set list is “Fallen Angel” from their 1988 LP Open Up and Say … Ahh!. The single reached Number 12 on the Hot 100 that year and MTV put the video into heavy rotation, but it hasn’t had much of an afterlife. You still hear “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” and “Nothin’ but a Good Time,” but “Fallen Angel” is largely relegated to the SiriusXM channel Hair Nation and the occasional Eighties metal marathon on MTV Classic.

It’s a shame because “Fallen Angel” is really the Citizen Kane of Poison videos. It stars 19-year-old actress-singer Susie Hatton, who was dating Michaels at the time, as a suburbanite that leaves her family to find fame and fortune in Los Angeles. She gets work from a sleazy guy at a modeling agency (played by veteran Western actor Anthony James) but seemingly has to date him in return and endure his horrific behavior. At the end, she kicks him in the balls and escapes on the back of a motorcycle driven by Bret Michaels. But just as she leaves, another wide-eyed young woman exits a bus and the tragic cycle begins anew. (For the record, Guns N’ Roses did the whole “innocent youth from Middle America arrives in Los Angeles via bus and gets eaten alive” thing much better a year earlier in their “Welcome to the Jungle” video.)

Hatton went on to release an album, Body and Soul, that Michaels produced in 1991. Had it come out a year or two earlier, the record may have had a chance. But the slick, Poison-like album dropped right as groups like Nirvana and Pearl Jam were taking over the industry and it sunk without a trace.

Hatton was married to longtime Eagles touring drummer Scott F. Crago from 1993 and 2001 and had a guest spot on Baywatch in 2000, but has had a pretty low profile over the past two decades. Maybe she can come out and join Poison next summer for a song or two and the “Fallen Angel” can rise again.

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