Great Rock Albums of 1982: Night Ranger- Dawn Patrol

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 25, 2015 by 80smetalman

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The debut album, “Dawn Patrol” from Night Ranger would spark off a great debate that would last for several years. Were Night Ranger a heavy metal band? My opinion on this question lies in the fact that I am visiting the album in my great rock albums section and not the great metal albums one. However, the problem back then was with mainstream radio. Many deejays were to quick to put any music with a hard power chord into the heavy metal category thus infuriating metalheads like me for a number of years. For me, the answer to the debate would be solved with Night Ranger’s 1985 album.

Another reason why I don’t class Night Ranger as metal is because the first time I heard their most well known song, “Don’t Tell Me You Love Me,” I thought it was being sung by Rick Springfield. You have to admit, the chorus is very much like Springfield and when that mind blowing guitar solo came in, I simply assumed that he managed to find a great lead guitarist to play on it. Well, I was partially right because both Jeff Watson and Brad Gillis are great guitarists.

“Dawn Patrol” is for the most part a good hard rock album but does venture across the border into  progressive rock. The mentioned big single is a great rocker in spite of my earlier comments about it being a Rick Springfield tune. Three and four years later, it was still played every Friday night at the heavy metal night at a club on the outskirts of East London. That club is a McDonald’s now but that’s not important. However, the album boasts other hard rocking jams as well. “Young Girl in Love,” “Penny” and “Play Rough” to name just three and I would be quick to put forward “At Night She Sleeps.” Then there are less hard songs like “Sing Me Away” which is keyboard dominated. Whatever category you want to put Night Ranger in, you can’t get away from the fact that these guys can really play, especially on this album.

Track Listing:

1. Don’t Tell Me You Love Me

2. Sing Me Away

3. At Night She Sleeps

4. Call My Name

5. Eddie’s Comin’ Out Tonight

6. Can’t Find Me a Thrill

7. Young Girl in Love

8. Play Rough

9. Penny

10. Night Ranger

Night Ranger

Night Ranger

Jack Blades- bass, vocals

Jeff Watson- guitar

Brad Gillis- guitar

Alan ‘Fitz’ Fitzgerald- keyboards

Kelly Keagy- drums, vocals

Night Ranger, in my view, were never heavy metal. They were a great hard rock band in the early 1980s, which their debut album clearly shows. True, they would go more commercial with later albums and turn metalheads like me off of them, but “Dawn Patrol” is more hard rock than anything and it 1982, got people like me excited.

Next post: Gillan- Magic

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: Fleetwood Mac- Mirage

Posted in Uncategorized, 1980s, Music, 1979, Rock with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 22, 2015 by 80smetalman

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Back in 1982, music video was still very new to many artists. MTV had only been up and running for a year and there were many households throughout the USA who did not have the channel. There would have been no way that having it on any of the base televisions would have even remotely considered. Therefore, the only music video I got to see was if I happened to catch “America’s Top Ten” and that wasn’t something I went out of my way to watch, unlike “World Championship Wrestling.” So, it was just luck of the draw that I managed to catch it on one Saturday. That week, REO Speedwagon and John Cougar had the only songs I thought of any worth in the top ten but then Casey Kasem showed the video for the new single from Fleetwood Mac, “Gypsy.” I liked the song, thought the video was okay and was glad to hear that they had put out a new album.

“Mirage” is a pretty good album, the problem for me and I suppose many people, is that after putting out an album like “Rumours” five years earlier, it would always be an extremely difficult feat to measure up to. Back in 1979, I should have seen the “Tusk” album as a sign. The problem with “Mirage”  and “Tusk” for that fact is that it lacks the variety of the all time great. While listening to “Mirage,” I patiently waited for a rocking jam like “Go Your Own Way” or a killer guitar solo from Lindsey Buckingham similar to “Don’t Stop.” Plus, I don’t think it would have been too much to ask if they allowed John McVie to pump out a killer bass line like on “The Chain.” Even an amusing little ditty like “Second Hand News” would have been cool, but none of these things are present on “Mirage.”

Enough of the negative because it is still an enjoyable album. One thing that does come over from the “Rumours” album and I’ve always loved her dearly for it, is the eccentricity of Stevie Nicks. It’s her vocals on “Gypsy” that made me check out the album in the first place. She does a similar job on “Straight Back.” That is the first track where Buckingham stops being introverted with his guitar and plays a decent solo. That combination makes it the best track on the album for me.

If it was up to me, I would have left the first four tracks of this album off and started it with “Gypsy.” From there on is where the album shines with tracks like “Hold Me” and a little bit of “Second Hand News” humour on “Empire State.” The closer, “Wish You Were Here,” is where Lindsey finally gets into full swing with the guitar making it the best song contributed by Christine McVie. That track gives an all well that ends well feel to things.

Track Listing:

1. Love in Store

2. Can’t Go Back

3. That’s Alright

4. Book of Love

5. Gypsy

6. Only Over You

7. Empire State

8. Straight Back

9. Hold Me

10. Oh Diane

11. Eyes of the World

12. Wish You Were Here

Fleetwood Mac

Fleetwood Mac

Lindsey Buckingham- guitar, vocals, keyboards

Christine McVie- keyboards, vocals

Stevie Nicks- vocals

John McVie- bass

Mick Fleetwood- drums, percussion

My advice to anyone who wants to listen to “Mirage” by Fleetwood Mac is to not think about “Rumours.” The albums don’t compare and you may feel disappointed. If you listen to it with an open mind, you will find the album very much enjoyable. It was still one of the better softer rock albums in 1982.

Next post: Night Ranger- Dawn Patrol

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

 

 

 

AJ PERO – Drummer For Twisted Sister And Adrenaline Mob Has Passed Away

Posted in Death, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on March 21, 2015 by 80smetalman

80smetalman:

I’ve seen Twisted Sister live five times and loved his drum solos!

Originally posted on Metal Odyssey > Heavy Metal Music Blog:

AJ Pero - publicity photo - twitter - 2015 - #777AJMO33

The legendary AJ Pero has passed away, at the young age of 55. AJ Pero was the drummer for Twisted Sister and Adrenaline Mob.

As reported on the Twisted Sister Facebook page:

The members of Twisted Sister are profoundly saddened to announce the untimely passing of our brother, AJ Pero.

The band, crew and most importantly the family of AJ Pero thank you for your thoughts and prayers at this time.

As reported on the Adrenaline Mob Facebook page:

We write this with tears in our eyes & our hearts broken to pieces.. our beloved brother AJ Pero peacefully passed away in his sleep this morning on the bus. We are in complete shock & our hearts & prayers go out to his family. It has been nothing short of an honor to have shared the stage with such a beautiful soul & legend! We love you AJ, rest…

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Great Rock Albums of 1982: Steve Winwood- Talking Back to the Night

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on March 19, 2015 by 80smetalman

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 Most of us in our lifetimes have been influenced to watch a film or buy an album because someone or some entity we trust had constantly sung its praises. I know it has happened to me. In early September of 1982, I was given 24 hours bed rest after having two of my wisdom teeth removed. The Navy doctor who performed the task said it was the toughest extraction he ever had to do, those teeth were really in there. Moving on, during that 24 hour period and drifting in and out of bouts of sleep, I had the radio as a companion. The local station outside the base, WXQR in Jacksonville, North Carolina, kept plugging the new Steve Winwood album, “Talking Back to the Night.” The one deejay did this so much that I felt compelled to listen to the album and even give it its place in history on here.

To this day, I don’t think if I would have listened to album if it hadn’t been so heavily plugged on the radio. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a decent album and Steve Winwood is a very talented musician. Like Todd Rundgren, he plays all the instruments himself except that he does use drum machines unlike Todd who actually plays the drums. Also there is the fact that there are no guitar solos on the album and Todd can also shred. But this isn’t about Todd and I shouldn’t contrast the two really. It’s just that “Talking Back to the Night” wouldn’t have been an album I normally would have listened to, it’s not hard rock enough for me. If anything, I appreciate slightly more now that I am mellowing a bit with old age. I stress a little, I have the Sepultura “Greatest Hits” CD waiting for me in the car.

Following the 1982 tradition, “Talking Back to the Night” opens with the hit single “Valerie.” It is an okay song and I remember it being played on the radio back then. It sets the stage for the rest of the album. The synthesizers dominate the entire album and while I get a little disappointed at the lack of a power chord from a guitar, the synthesizers are expertly done. You can’t take anything away from Steve in that regard. Apart from “Valerie,” the two tracks that stood out for me on the album were “Help Me Angel” and the title track. I have long ago come to the conclusion that while it’s not a rock album in the traditional sense, it’s not a total synth pop album either. I think it’s one of those albums you can play at a party where there is a wide range of musical tastes among the attendees and no one would complain.

Track Listing:

1. Valerie

2. Big Girls Walk Away

3. And I Go

4. While There’s a Candle Burning

5. Still in the Game

6. It Was Happiness

7. Help Me Angel

8. Talking Back to the Night

9. There’s a River

Steve Winwood

Steve Winwood

Steve Winwood- synthesizers, lead and backing vocals, drum machines, guitar, keyboards

Like A Flock of Seagulls, it could be said that Steve Winwood help set the stage to the descent of music into synth pop. I don’t think this was Steve’s intention here. He may have been going along with the popular music of the time but he is too talented of a musician to have played that cheaply. This album is living proof of that.

Next post: Fleetwood Mac- Mirage

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: Robert Plant- Pictures At 11

Posted in Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 16, 2015 by 80smetalman

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What is probably the biggest misconception in the world about heavy metal founding fathers, Led Zeppelin, is that most people tend to remember them more for their hard rock/heavy metal sound from the early 1970s. Many supposed Led Zeppelin officianados forget that in the middle and latter part of that decade, they were moving away from the heavy sound for a more progressive sound. There were many reasons for this which I have already stated when I visited some Led Zeppelin albums in the past. Unfortunately, some of those same people had this same misconception when Robert Plant released his first solo album in 1982, “Pictures At 11.”

This album is definitely more Led Zeppelin in the late 70s and I think that Robert wanted to continue in this vein and he does a very good job in doing so. The opening track, “Burning Down One Side” is a sure fire reminder of the Zeppelin days from the opening riff. It definitely makes a statement for the rest of the album. However, Plant does seem to venture more into new territories as well. The slower second track “Moonlight in Samosa” bears testimony to this. Things go a bit more up tempo with “Slow Dancer” and it is the first track where I was tempted to begin comparing guitarist Robbie Blunt to Plant’s former band mate. Fortunately, I was able to resist temptation and make judgement on Blunt in his own right. My verdict: he can certainly play guitar as evidenced on not only “Slow Dancer” but “Worse Than Detroit” and “Fat Lip” and no, Sum 41 would not make a cover of that last song twenty years later, not even close. Sorry, forgive my weird sense of humour. However, those last two tracks are further evidence of Plant wanting to go forward into new areas. Then, almost as some anti- climax, the closing song, “Mystery Title” reminds me of two Led Zeppelin classics, “Trample Underfoot” and “When the Levee Breaks,” not that I’m complaining.

Track Listing:

1. Burning Down One Side

2. Midnight in Samosa

3. Pledge Pin

4. Slow Dancer

5. Worse Than Detroit

6. Fat Lip

7. Like I’ve Never Been Gone

8. Mystery Title

Robert Plant

Robert Plant

Robert Plant- vocals

Robbie Blunt- guitar

Jezz Woodroffe- keyboards, synthesizers

Paul Martinez- bass

Phil Collins- drums, except tracks 4 & 7

Cozy Powell- drums on tracks 4 &7

Raphael Ravenscroft- saxophone on track 3

It was always great to see that Robert Plant had moved on after Led Zeppelin, as did Page and Jones. He managed to find some good musicians to help him on the album and got Collins and Powell to play drums which was an added bonus. “Pictures At 11″ marked a triumphant return for Plant.

Next post: Steve Winwood- Talking Back to the Night

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: Survivor- Eye of the Tiger

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

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A joke that made the rounds back in the early 80s was that Survivor was the band that Sylvester Stallone discovered. Rumour had it that the actor liked this band so much that he insisted they played on the soundtrack for “Rocky III.” The extent of the truth in that theory is rather fuzzy in my recollection but Survivor’s contribution to the soundtrack to the film led to them having one of the best known singles in 1982 and opened the eyes of many to the album of the same name.

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The album “Eye of the Tiger” proves that Survivor were just too good to be a one hit wonder. There are just too many good songs on this album. Keeping with the 1982 tradition, the album opens with the big single, which has one of the most memorable intros in rock history. Like it or not, the opening to the title track is one that you can’t get out of your head. Now for the rest of the album, which tries to be progressive hard rock throughout. The second track and third track are a bit more keyboard oriented but I still like “Hesitation Dance.” Then things rock out more with “The One That Really Matters.” It has a crunching guitar intro and the song goes more hard rock. Next comes, “I’m Not That Man Anymore” and that gets my vote for best guitar solo on the album. Trust me, that solo cooks! “Children of the Night” is the ballad on the album and it’s not bad.  The penultimate track is also their second biggest single, “American Heartbeat.” It didn’t get to number one like the title track but had to settle for number seventeen. I thought that was fair enough because it’s not as good. The closer is a bit of a funny one. “Silver Girl” starts sort of hard but then goes very progressive, almost space rock in the middle to come back in harder at the end. Even after all these years, I can’t really say how effective that is. Still, I can’t agree with whatever critic stated that the rest of the album didn’t live up to the title cut. There are some good tracks on this album, if you can get Rocky out of your head.

Track Listing:

1. Eye of the Tiger

2. Feels Like Love

3. Hesitation Dance

4. The One That Really Matters

5. I’m Not That Man Anymore

6. Children of the Night

7. Ever Since the World Began

8. American Heartbeat

9. Silver Girl

Survivor

Survivor

Dave Bickler- lead vocals

Frankie Sullivan- lead, rhythm, acoustic guitars, backing vocals

Jim Peterik- keyboards, rhythm guitars, backing vocals

Stephen Ellis- bass

Marc Droubay- drums

Even if Sly Stallone did sort of discover Survivor, who cares? After all, he did the music world a favour by doing so. This album is proof of that.

Next post: Robert Plant- Pictures at 11

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: Utopia- Swing To The Right

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

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Back in 1982 or there about, I remember reading a review on a Utopia album, not sure if it was this one or their next one, where the reviewer stated that Todd Rundgren was being pulled down by the rest of the band. I never agreed with that statement because I have always thought that Powell, Sulton and Wilcox were all talented musicians and song writers in their own right. For me, this was purely the case with their 1980 album “Adventures in Utopia,” although that is their best album.

Let me say straightaway that “Swing to the Right” is not quite as good as the 1980 classic but it’s not that bad. They do venture away from the more hard/progressive rock sound of the classic and adopt a more new wave approach. For the most part it works and even before U2 made it popular in 1983, the album is full of political lyrics aimed at corporations, religion and war mongers. My impression was that it’s a dig at the Regan administration which embraced all of the things that Utopia were having a go at. It is also the reason why Bearsville Records were reluctant to release the album at first.

The opening title track is the most progressive rock like song on the album and it boasts an excellent guitar solo from Rundgren. “Lysistrata” is also a good track and the swing to the more new wave sound definitely begins here. “Junk Rock” goes even more new wave and is a dig at synth pop which was rapidly gaining a foothold in the early 80s. “Shinola” does go back to a more progressive sound and Rundgren’s vocals remind me of some of his 1970s solo albums. The next few tracks are all what I have already spoken about, lyrics about political issues played to a new wave sound. For the most part, I like it and the standout track from these is “Last Dollar On Earth.” The closer, “One World” goes a little ways back to the more known Utopia sound and that ends the album rather nicely.

Track Listing:

1. Swing to the Right

2. Lysistrata

3. The Up

4. Junk Rock

5. Shinola

6. For the Love of Money

7. Last Dollar On Earth

8. Farenheit 451

9. Only Human

10. One World

Utopia

Utopia

Todd Rundgren- guitar, vocals

Roger Powell- keyboards, synthesizer, vocals

Kasmir Sulton- bass, vocals, keyboards

John ‘Willie’ Wilcox- drums

Todd Rundgren deserves to be in the Rock Hall of Fame both as an artist and a producer. It’s an act a sacrilege that he isn’t. The argument that his playing with Utopia demeans his talents is totally rejected by me and many others. It could be said that he should be there a third time with Utopia because they have made some good albums over the years. “Swing to the Right” is one of them.

Next post: Survivor- Eye of the Tiger

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

 

 

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