Platinum Blonde, so-named for its members' teased, tinted hairstyles, capitalized successfully on the emerging promotional medium of music videos and shared "teen idol" status in Canada with Corey Hart in the mid-1980s. The critic Greg Quill described Platinum Blonde during this period as "a pretty, energetic band that seemed to have a grip on teenage fantasies [and] on melodic rock with a thoughtful, realistic edge" (Toronto Star, 8 Jun 1988). The band's subsequent move to a tougher image and darker, heavier style of rock did not sustain its early popularity.
The band's first album, Standing in the Dark (1983, Col PCC-80090, incorporated an earlier EP, Platinum Blonde, Col CEP-80084). The title song, as well as "Doesn't Really Matter," and "Not in Love," were all popular singles in 1984 that helped sell more than 300,000 copies of the album in Canada. A second album, Alien Shores (Col PCC-80105), included "Crying over You" (the band's biggest hit), "Situation Critical," and "Someday Somewhere," all released in 1985. "Crying over You" received a Gemini award for best music video. The title song from the group's third album, Contact, (Epic FE-40949) was popular in 1987, as were the singles "Fire" "If You Go This Time," and "Connect Me" in 1988. Canadian sales of Alien Shores achieved quadruple platinum sales, and Contact sold more than 400,000 copies.
Chris Steffler left the group in 1988 and was replaced by Tony Thompson. Platinum Blonde toured Canada and in the US in 1984 and 1985 but made only sporadic appearances 1987-9. Group members returned briefly in 1990 as The Blondes with the album Yeah, Yeah, Yeah (Justin JEC-0002), however with marginal album sales, the group disbanded in 1991.
Kenny MacLean (b Glasgow, Scotland, 1956; d Toronto, 24 Nov 2008) moved on to a successful solo career and recorded Don't Look Back (Justin JEC-0001), for which he won a SOCAN award; the title song and "Rescue Me" were popular in 1990. He also released Clear (1995) and Completely (2008).
Niester, Alan. "Fame overtakes Platinum Blonde," Toronto Globe and Mail, 1 Aug 1984
Hazan, David. "Platinum Blonde," Canadian Musician, vol 6, Nov-Dec 1984
Littlejohn, Maureen A. "My life as a Blonde," The Music Scene, 349, May/Jun 1986
Davis, Ted. "Platinum Blonde: musicians behind the makeup," Canadian Musician, vol 9, Oct 1987