In 1986, the Philadelphia quartet Cinderella debuted with their album Night Songs. The following year, they achieved their Top 40 singles debut with “Nobody’s Fool,” a dramatic power ballad from the album, which peaked at No. 13.
In 1988, the group’s most successful album was released, Long Cold Winter, which brought 3 songs to the Top 40, beginning with their highest charting hit, which reached No. 12, “Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone).” The single featured an electric guitar solo from Jeff LaBar, who passed away July 14 at age 58. Both sides of the next single were guitar driven, with the A side “The Last Mile,” capturing the energy of AC/DC and its bluesy flip side, the album’s title song “Long Cold Winter,” sounding Led Zeppelin inspired.
Flip side: Long Cold Winter
A side: The Last Mile
Top 100 debut: 1972
Peak position: No. 36
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The final Top 40 single for the band from the album was “Coming Home,” featuring acoustic guitars. “Gypsy Road” was also released as a single from the album, but landed a bit below the Top 40.
Cinderella appeared in the Top 40 for a final time in 1991 with a song from their late 1990 album Heartbreak Station called “Shelter Me,” with an expanded sound, including female background vocals and a saxophone solo from guest Jay Davidson. Little Richard was included in the fun video for the single.
The surviving members of Cinderella posted the message, “Heavy hearts cannot begin to describe the feeling of losing our brother Jeff. The bond between us over decades of creating music and touring the world is something that we as a band uniquely shared. Those memories with Jeff will be forever alive in our hearts. It’s unimaginable that one of our band brothers has left us. We’re sending his wife Debinique, his son Sebastian, family, and friends our deepest condolences. Jeff’s memory and music will be with us forever.”
In 2014, LaBar released his solo album One for the Road which included his tribute to Jimmy Page called “Ode to Page.” A tour followed its release, with Zach Ballard on drums, who told Goldmine, “In addition to playing songs from Jeff’s solo album, we played Cinderella’s ‘Nobody’s Fool’ and ‘Gypsy Road’ at the end of the shows. It was truly a blast and never a dull moment with Jeff. He was hilarious and we laughed a lot. We shared a love for a lot of the same old school drummers. He was a good dude and I’m honored that I got the chance to play with him. I am so saddened by my buddy Jeff’s passing. Prayers for Sebastian, Debinique and his family. R.I.P. my friend and cheesy biscuits forever.”
Jeff LaBar photo courtesy of Amanda Cagan, ABC PR