April 13, 1981 – Billy Squier: Don’t Say No is released.
# allmusic 4.5/5

Don’t Say No is the second album by Billy Squier, released on April 13, 1981. It stayed on the Billboard 200 Top Albums chart for 111 weeks, reaching #5. It includes the hits “In the Dark”, “Lonely Is the Night”, “My Kinda Lover” and “The Stroke”.

Before becoming a solo superstar, Billy Squier had done time in Piper, a Cheap Trick-like 1970s band that split the difference between hard rock and power pop. Some of that sensibility still informs his second solo album and mainstream breakthrough, Don’t Say No. While the gargantuan guitar riffs and drum beats are clearly indebted to Led Zeppelin, and Squier’s vocal style finds a middle ground between Robert Plant and Freddie Mercury, all the excess of Zeppelin and Queen is mercilessly sliced away, leaving lean, concise pop hooks that drive the record’s turbo-charged heavy-rock attack.

The energy level almost never lets up, as Squier and his band careen from one breathlessly infectious-yet-diamond-hard track to the next. “Nobody Knows,” one of the only down-tempo moments, reveals a Beatles influence that underscores Squier’s pop roots. But it’s the sledgehammer groove of “The Stroke” and the AOR nirvana of “In the Dark” that made this album a centerpiece of rock radio in the era when what we now regard as “classic rock” was drawing its last breath, just before giving way to New Wave.

Eduardo Rivadavia
After turning some heads with his debut, Billy Squier truly arrived with 1981’s Don’t Say No, which kicks off in spectacular fashion with the triple opening salvo of “In the Dark,” “The Stroke,” and “My Kinda Lover” — all of which become staples at rock radio. The album is a near-perfect example of early-’80s melodic hard rock, while less enduring (but hardly inferior) rockers such as “You Know What I Like” and “Lonely Is the Night” keep up the intensity. And Squier also finds time for the occasional ballad, like the disarmingly gentle “Nobody Knows.” Completists may want to review his mid-’90s double-disc anthology, but as far as studio albums are concerned, Don’t Say No is undoubtedly his best.

All songs written and composed by Billy Squier.
Side one
1. “In the Dark” – 4:09
2. “The Stroke” – 3:38
3. “My Kinda Lover” – 3:32
4. “You Know What I Like” – 2:56
5. “Too Daze Gone” – 4:05
Side two
1. “Lonely Is the Night” – 4:42
2. “Whadda You Want from Me” – 3:43
3. “Nobody Knows” – 4:20
4. “I Need You” – 3:52
5. “Don’t Say No” – 3:20
CD Bonus tracks (30th Anniversary Edition)
“My Kinda Lover” (Live 2009)
“The Stroke” (Live 2009)