Savatage release Streets: A Rock Opera
Streets: A Rock Opera (often simply shortened to Streets) is a concept album by Savatage, dealing with the rise and fall of the musician DT Jesus.
It was originally released in October 1991 on Atlantic Records. The album took almost a year to record, with pre-production beginning in October 1990. This would be the last Savatage album founder Jon Oliva would perform lead vocals on until the 2001 release of Poets and Madmen although he would remain active with the band as a composer and keyboard player.
The story features a fallen rock star called DT Jesus (DT is short for either De-Tox or Down-Town), who has hit hard times. He is a drug dealer as the story begins. DT Jesus is just another lowlife on the streets of New York City. Streets explains the story behind DT Jesus and his rise to fame again and his second fall.
The concept of Streets is based on a book written by Paul O'Neill many years prior to his involvement with the band. Streets was never meant to be an autobiography. In fact, it was written in 1979 as a Broadway play and stored in a drawer at Paul O'Neill's home until Criss Oliva found it and suggested it be Savatage's next album. It is considered coincidental that the life of lead vocalist Jon Oliva mirrored that of the main character DT Jesus at the time. Songs like "Jesus Saves" and "Ghost in the Ruins" were "rocked up", said O'Neill, while many others, including "Believe", "Heal My Soul" (which is based on a traditional Welsh lullaby, "Suo Gân"), and "A Little Too Far", all appear in the same version intended for their Broadway performances. Other tracks like "Streets" and "Strange Reality" were written expressly for the rock opera. "Heal My Soul" was re-recorded by Savatage's off-shoot musical project, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, on a 2007 Wal-Mart CD sampler. "Believe" was covered by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra on their 2009 album Night Castle.
Had the title track of their previous album not been completed in time, Savatage would have liked to call the record Gutter Ballet, as the original play written by O'Neill was called Gutter Ballet. But the inclusion of the song on their previous record meant this was not going to happen. Instead, the band wanted to call the album Ghost in the Ruins. O'Neill said that "Streets was OK too", but Jon Oliva disliked the fact that A Rock Opera was tagged onto the title. Oliva has said he has only introduced any performance of the album simply as "Streets". Eventually, an album entitled Ghost in the Ruins was released in 1995 as a tribute to Criss Oliva.
During their 2007 tour, Jon Oliva's new project, Jon Oliva's Pain performed some of the album, in album running order, as a special surprise to audiences. Oliva himself noted on stage that some of the songs performed had never been performed live to an audience before.