Great Rock Albums of 1982: A Flock of Seagulls

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on February 25, 2015 by 80smetalman

220px-DebutSeagulls

I first heard of A Flock of Seagulls on the radio when it was advertised they would be opening for Cheap Trick at an advertised concert. While, I thought nothing much about it at the time, I wondered after hearing their debut self titled album and comparing it to the albums I’ve heard from Cheap Trick, if this would have made a good combination for a concert. As we already know, Cheap Trick are known for  for their hard rock sound but A Flock of Seagulls had a much more progressive sound and were considered very new wave at the time. It only leaves me wondering how a concert like this would have gone down.

Some have argued that A Flock of Seagulls were the springboard that made it possible for progressive rock to descend into synth pop. Their sound is very keyboard oriented but it sounds nothing like the music which would come out a year or two later. Of course, synth pop was already making a name for itself in the UK but I can’t put that branding on this band.

Their first offering to my ears was their biggest song, “I Ran (So Far Away.) I did and still do like the way the keyboards are used in the song. It has a relaxing, reassuring feel to the song and you can appreciate that the band are capable musicians. The rest of the album also generates this same mood but the songs that stick out most for me are “Modern Love is Automatic,” “Space Age Love Song” and the instrumental “DNA.” In my view, this is a great album to lay back, mellow out and just appreciate.

Track Listing:

1. Modern Love is Automatic

2. Messages

3. I Ran (So Far Away)

4. Space Age Love Song

5. You Can Run

6. Telecommunication

7. Standing in the Doorway

8. Don’t Ask Me

9. DNA

10. Tokyo

11. Man Made

A Flock of Seagulls- Also this haircut would also be a trademark for the band

A Flock of Seagulls- Also this haircut would also be a trademark for the band

Mike Score- lead vocals, keyboards, rhythm guitar

Paul Reynolds- lead and rhythm guitar, backing vocals

Frank Maudsley- bass, backing vocals

Ali Score- drums, percussion

In 1982, A Flock of Seagulls heralded an age of new wave into music. Their melodic, progressive sound was truly original and yet enjoyed by many.

Next post: Men At Work- Business As Usual

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1982: Cheap Trick- One on One

Posted in 1980s, Humour, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 22, 2015 by 80smetalman

220px-Cheap_Trick_One_on_One

For many people in 1982, it was assumed that Cheap Trick had descended from the height of their popularity. True, their songs weren’t getting so much airplay on radio in those days but they were still selling records and were still a big concert draw. It was only on account of military obligations I didn’t see them that year. Nonetheless, what could be said about them was that their album “One on One” was a good one. I’ll be the first to say that it’s not quite as spectacular as classics like “Dream Police” or “At Budokhan,” but being not quite as spectacular doesn’t mean that it wasn’t a great album, it was.

“One On One,” for me, comes in three acts. Act 1 consists of the first three tracks, all of which more of a pop rock sound. Well, as pop as Cheap Trick could get. Two of those tracks, “I Want You” and “If You Want My Love” were released as singles and I remember the latter being played on MTV when my household finally got the channel a year later. Those songs may have been recorded for radio but they still have the Cheap Trick sound that we all love them for.

Act 2 is my favourite part of the album because they go even more hard rock here. The fourth track, “Oo La La La” makes the transition a very enjoyable one. Especially as my favourite song on the album, “Looking Out for Number One” follows right after. Following that, Cheap Trick show that they could still combine hard rock with humourous innuendo in the song, “She’s Tight.” However, Act 3 is the weakest part of the album in my view. They go a bit more 80s mainstream synthesizer rock with these songs and while they are still good songs, Act 3 isn’t as good as the second act. Although they also show their sense of humour with “I Want Be Man,” which sounds like it’s about wanting to be transgender. Fortunately, they take things out very well with the rocking closer, “Four Letter Words” and with everything, “One on One” goes on to become a very good album.

Track Listing:

1. I Want You

2. One on One

3. If You Want My Love

4. Ooh La La La

5. Looking Out for Number One

6. She’s Tight

7. Time is Runnin’

8. Saturday at Midnight

9. Love’s Got a Hold On Me

10. I Want Be Man

11. Four Letter Words

Cheap Trick

Cheap Trick

Robin Zander- lead vocals, rhythm guitar, keyboards

Rick Nielsen- lead guitar, vocals

Jon Brant- bass, backing vocals

Bun E Carlos- drums, percussion

The moral of the story with Cheap Trick and “One on One” is never write off a band just because their songs aren’t getting played on AM radio anymore. Cheap Trick still put out some fine albums in the 80s and “One on One” is certainly one of those.

Next post: A Flock of Seagulls

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

 

 

 

Bruce Dickinson Diagnosed With Cancer

Posted in Heavy Metal, Illness, Music, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on February 20, 2015 by 80smetalman

Bruce Dickinson, vocalist from Iron Maiden, has been diagnosed with cancer.

While having a routine checkup in December, the heavy metal frontman, 56, learned that he had developed cancerous tumors on the back of his tongue, according to a statement on the Iron Maiden fan page.

Bruce Dickinson of the legendary heavy metal band Iron Maiden performs on stage in 1983.PETER STILL/REDFERNSBruce Dickinson of the legendary heavy metal band Iron Maiden performs on stage in 1983.

The performer finished seven weeks of chemotherapy and radiology treatment Wednesday.

The announcement says that doctors expect the artist to make a complete recovery, although it will take several months for Dickinson to get back on his feet.

“Bruce is doing very well considering the circumstances and the whole team is very positive,” thereleased statement explains.

Iron Maiden completed their most recent tour in the UK in July 2014

Let us all wish Bruce a full and speedy recovery.

Great Punk Albums of 1982: Dead Kennedys- Plastic Surgery Disasters

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 18, 2015 by 80smetalman

220px-Dead_Kennedys_-_Plastic_Surgery_Disasters_cover

Since I have said that in the early 1980s, punk had relocated from Great Britain to the West Coast of the USA, I thought it best to put forward evidence of this fact. I first learned this fact in 1982 when I read an article about it in Playboy Magazine. Hey, I was 20, in the marines and I was on a ship and it had been a couple of weeks since the last port call. With the boredom of ship life, you can start doing anything to keep your mind active like actually reading the articles in such magazines. One particular issue ran an article on how punk had done the above and was alive and well on the West Coast.

If I can point to anyone band that convinced me of that fact, it would have to be the Dead Kennedys. For me, this band was the essence of punk in the 1980s although it would be a couple more years until I heard their 1982 offering, “Plastic Surgery Disasters.” This album simply screams punk and what is even better, it is nearly thirty minutes longer than their EP from 1981, “In God We Trust Inc.” “Plastic Surgery Disasters” is loud, brash and in your face, just what I want from a punk album. While, I didn’t fully appreciate it back then, many of the songs have strong social and political commentary. Even the ones that don’t ring of reality. I think most of us can identify with the lyrics in “Trust Your Mechanic,” especially if you have ever been ripped off by one. The chorus in “Bleed For Me” is still ringing in my ears and I found “Winnebago Warrior” amusing. Political commentary really hits home with a dash of common sense in “Riot,” with the lyrics:

“Tomorrow we’ll be homeless but we’re having fun tonight.”

One thing this album highlights for me is the guitar talents of East Bay Ray. True, he doesn’t do any Van Halen solos, not even close. Buy he has a playing style that does sound unique or at the very least, ahead of its time. The songs where this is most present are “Government Flu,” “Buzzbomb” and “Dead End” but he shines throughout the rest of the album as well. If you never experienced early 80s American punk, then this album or the Dead Kennedys’ debut album, “Fresh Fruit for Rotten Vegetables” is definitely the best place to start.

Track Listing:

1. Government Flu

2. Terminal Preppie

3. Trust Your Mechanic

4. Well Paid Scientist

5. Buzzbomb

6. Forest Fire

7. Halloween

8. Winnebago Warrior

9. Riot

10. Bleed For Me

11. I Am the Owl

12. Dead End

13. Moon Over Marin

Dead Kennedys

Dead Kennedys

Jello Biafra- vocals

East Bay Ray- guitars

Klaus Floride- bass, clarinet, backing vocals

D.H. Peligro- drums

In 1983, there would be some bands who would become more political with their lyrics. Some of those would even try to call themselves punk. However, they wouldn’t come close to doing it the way that the Dead Kennedys did it with albums like “Plastic Surgery Disasters.”

Next post: Cheap Trick- One on One

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1982: The Clash- Combat Rock

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 15, 2015 by 80smetalman

220px-The_Clash_-_Combat_Rock

Before I launch into the most successful album from The Clash, I must also add my two penneth about AC/DC at the grammys last week. I have enjoyed reading some of the accounts of their performance on the show from some of my fellow bloggers and to all I say, “Well done!” However, I have also read Britain’s leading tabloid newspaper, The Sun’s account of the grammys. They mentioned Kanye West, Madonna and even Lady GaGa with lost of glossy pictures. I had a skim read through it and there was no mention of AC/DC’s performance nor were there any pictures. This adds further proof the my supposition that The Sun newspaper is anti heavy metal.

Here's a piccy of AC/DC at the grammys

Here’s a piccy of AC/DC at the grammys

Now a quick recap on history of the time. By the early 1980s, punk had relocated from Britain to the west coast of the US. Many of the famous punk bands from the late 1970s had either disbanded or as in the case of The Jam, gone for a more mainstream sound. Read my visit of “The Gift” for further insight. Saying that, The Clash failed to pick up the memo on this because the 1982 album “Combat Rock” is not a total abandonment from the punk sound that made The Clash who they were. I’ll be the first to say that they probably weren’t as angry as they were when they put out “London Calling” there is a lot to say that they weren’t ready for the Top 40 either.

“Combat Rock” starts out as brash as any of The Clash’s earlier albums with a great opener, “Know Your Rights” and a great follow on with “Car Jamming.” Then there is my all time favourite Clash song, “Should I Stay or Should I Go,” which carries aggressive guitar chords that would impress most metalheads. Just thinking about it makes me want to seek out the nearest mosh pit. The next single “Rock the Casbah” comes next. What is great about this song is that while it still has that aggressive Clash style, the lyrics are politically satirical that some might not expect. Furthermore, a piano is added and that too doesn’t take away from the hard punk rock sound. After the next track, “Red Angel Dragnet,” “Combat Rock” seems to slide a bit with its hard rock aggression. What there is, however, is some more politics and satire, which makes me think that The Clash weren’t angry anymore, just a bit more skeptical and wanted to take the piss out of everything. “Inoculated City” goes back to the more angrier days but for me, “Combat Rock” lets itself down with an almost ballad like closer, “Death Is a Star.” Sure, that might work on a progressive rock album but to me it was rather unnecessary. Take that track away and you can see why this album was The Clash’s most successful album.

Track Listing:

1. Know Your Rights

2. Car Jamming

3. Should I Stay or Should I Go

4. Rock The Casbah

5. Red Angel Dragnet

6. Straight to Hell

7. Overpowered by Funk

8. Atom Tan

9. Sean Flynn

10. Ghetto Defendant

11. Inoculated City

12. Death is a Star

The Clash

The Clash

Joe Strummer- lead vocals, guitar, harmonica

Mick Jones-  guitar, vocals

Paul Simonon- bass, vocals

Topper Headon- drums, piano

What “Combat Rock” proved to me was that punk hadn’t completely left England in 1982. The Clash were able to put out a top album without totally forgetting where they came from.

Next post: Dead Kennedys- Plastic Surgery Disasters

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1982: Michael Stanley Band- MSB

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 12, 2015 by 80smetalman

220px-This_is_the_cover_of_the_album_MSB_by_the_Michael_Stanley_Band

Here’s yet another band brought to my attention during my time in the marines. Even though the Michael Stanley band had been going since the early 1970s, they had never come to my attention. It’s probably the combination of not gaining attention in the Northeast USA and the fact they didn’t have any songs played on AM radio being the reason why. Thankfully, one of my marine buddies was into them and being 1982, it was the album “MSB” I got to hear first from them.

My first reaction upon hearing this album was to say it was straight ahead rock and roll but that would be so unfair to it. Besides, I don’t want to brandish that label around too much because there are bands out there where the label fits. Instead, “MSB” is a widely versatile album yet at the same time, the Michael Stanley Band remain true to their rock roots. Take for instance the very first song, “In Between the Lines.” The sax in the song in the song provides a jazz element sort of like the old 1979 hit “Cool Change” by the Little River Band but only much rockier. The very next track, “If You Love Me,” has a definite gospel- soul feel to it but at the same time highlights the skilled musicianship behind this band. Then come some straight forward rockers, most notably the song, “When I’m Holding You Tight,” which gets my vote for best guitar solo on the album. Things slow down a bit with the next two tracks but “Spanish Nights” is a superb ballad. The album goes back to and goes out on some very good rock tunes, most notably “Love Hurts” and “Hang Tough.” In the end, I find myself being eternally grateful that I got to hear this album then and appreciate it even more when I listen to it now.

Track Listing:

1. In Between the Lines

2. If You Love Me

3. Night by Night

4. When I Hold You Tight

5. Spanish Nights

6. One of Those Dreams

7. Love Hurts

8. Hang Tough

9. Just a Little Bit Longer

10. Take This Time

Michael Stanley Band

Michael Stanley Band

Michael Stanley- guitar, vocals

Tommy Dobeck- drums

Bob Pelander- keyboards

Greg Markasky- lead guitar

Kevin Raleigh- keyboards, vocals

Michael Gismondi- bass

Rick Bell- saxophone

I am expecting some responses along the lines of “I’ve never heard of these guys” or no response at all due to the fact of not ever having heard of them. So, the teacher in me is going to set you a little homework. The “MSB” album is easily available on Youtube. Have a listen to this album and you will see what you have been missing all of these years.

Next post: The Clash- Combat Rock

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1982: Rush- Signals

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 9, 2015 by 80smetalman

220px-Rush_Signals

Rush’s 1982 album “Signals” is almost another album in that year that escaped my attention. Fortunately, there was somebody in my platoon who was a huge Rush fan so thanks to him, I got to listen to this album. My first reaction to “Signals” was that it wasn’t as hard rock as some of the songs on their previous “Moving Pictures” album but it was an enjoyable album nonetheless.

In the eyes of many, “Signals” marked the beginning of Rush’s turn towards more synthesizer oriented music. While I won’t dispute that belief, I can say that some of the old Rush is still present in some of the songs. You just have to listen carefully. Alex Leifson’s guitar is definitely there underneath the keyboards of Geddy Lee.  Together, they make a definite statement for progressive rock not long before it gave way to more synth pop later in the 80s were quality musicianship wouldn’t count for much. What is good is that every song on this album follows along in this formula although I can say that Liefson does hammer out great guitar solos on tracks 2, 3 and 4. That’s probably why those songs stand out for me even though it was “Subdivisions” and “New World Man” that got the most radio airplay at the time. Those two songs probably deserved it anyway. If I were to compare this album to anything, it would be the second side of the “Moving Pictures” album and that’s definitely a good thing.

Track Listing:

1. Subdivisions

2. The Analogue Kid

3. Chemistry

4. Digital Man

5. The Weapon

6. New World Man

7. Losing It

8. Countdown

Rush

Rush

Geddy Lee- vocals, bass, keyboards, Moog Taurus pedals

Alex Liefson- guitars, Moog Taurus pedals

Neil Peart- drums, percussion

Whether or not you liked Rush or thought they sold out during what was now commonly called, “their synthesizer period,” you can’t fault this album. “Signals” in my mind, will always be considered a great progressive rock album.

Next post: Michael Stanley Band- MSB

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 577 other followers