Great Rock Albums of 1983: Billy Idol

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on February 4, 2016 by 80smetalman

bi

I didn’t think I was ever going to post about this album. Twice it was up for next post but other things beyond my control meant that I needed to post about other albums. At least because of the delay, no one either picked up on my mistake or was too diplomatic to bust my chops over it. When I first announced that the 1983 album from “Billy Idol” was going to be visited, I put the album down as “White Wedding.” Ah, duh, I should have known better. The album is actually self titled with “White Wedding” being the song Billy is best known for. My mistake now takes away any right of mine to bust those who call Boston’s classic self titled album, “More Than a Feeling.” Okay, I now will stop feeling dumb.

“White Wedding” was the song that got my attention. When I first heard the song in May of 1983, I thought this song was really cool. There was that catchy riff with the guitar that made the song for me. Unfortunately, I can’t recreate it in print but those who’ve heard the song will know what I am talking about. I also liked this punk image, which was something the Marine Corps really hated and with less than two months to go in my enlistment, it was one way I could stick the finger up at them.

The already mentioned song turned my head to Idol but I have to say that I was and still am rather impressed with the debut album. “Hot in the City” is the other single and its not bad but I much prefer “White Wedding,” although both songs show that he does have a rather unique voice. Oh yes and I apologise for going off track for a moment but the version of this album I am speaking about is the 1983 re-issue and not the 1982 version. The reason why is so I can include the additional track on the album, which was released as a single later that year, “Dancing With Myself.” I do like that song too.

“Billy Idol” is a good hard rock album and it’s no surprise that, with his image, so many people branded it punk. I don’t give a flying fart (I’m going to use that expression a lot now because it impressed mikeledano) if it is punk, it’s a good album. Other tracks that definitely impressed me are “Dead on Arrival” and “Hole in the Wall” and “Nobody’s Business” is pretty good too.

Track Listing

  1. Come On, Come On
  2. White Wedding
  3. Hot in the City
  4. Dead on Arrival
  5. Nobody’s Business
  6. Love Calling
  7. Hole in the Wall
  8. Shooting Stars
  9. It’s So Cruel
  10. Congo Man
  11. Dancing With Myself
Billy Idol

Billy Idol

Billy Idol- vocals, guitar

Steve Stevens- guitar

Phil Feit- bass

Steve Missal- drums

In 1983, Billy Idol gave me the different thing I was looking for because with only a few weeks left in the service, I was looking forward to becoming an individual again. This album helped provide that for me.

Next post: Thomas Dolby- The Golden Age of the Wireless

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 1983: Paul Kantner- Planet Earth Rock and Roll Orchestra

Posted in 1980s, Books, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 1, 2016 by 80smetalman

PERRO_Paul_Kantner_album

It figures that my weird mind would notice that Paul Kantner’s very recent passing would occur right when I was going through the music history of 1983, the year his solo album was released. I was going to visit his album “Planet Earth Rock and Roll Orchestra” further along down the road as it didn’t come to light until near the end of said year. Actually, I remember the opening title cut getting some airplay on radio back then. Mind you commercial radio didn’t completely suck in 1983. Like I said last post, I always preferred the songs Kantner penned on Jefferson Starship albums, so it was a no brainer that I would get this one.

What I never knew was that this album was written to be a soundtrack for Paul’s second novel “The Empire Blows Back,” which was a sequel to his first “Blows Against the Empire.” Listening to the album again, I can see how it fits. “Planet Earth Rock And Roll Orchestra” or PERRO for short is a mixture of hard, progressive and space rock and it’s nicely done. Many of the musicians who appear on the album were current or former members of Jefferson Starship and Jefferson Airplane. Grace Slick does lead vocals on two songs and backing on many of the others. Furthermore, Craig Chaquico works his guitar magic as does Pete Sears with the keyboards, just like all three of them do on Jefferson Starship albums.

The album starts out in a fine hard rock form with the first three songs. The title cut opens things very well and I’m very impressed with track 2, “(She is a) Telepath.” “Circle of Fire” was originally meant for the “Winds of Change” but it fits very well here. The next few tracks go very spacey and I think that possibly when these tracks are listened to, maybe one should partake of the same substances they would if listening to a Pink Floyd album. “The Mountain Song” combines both hard and space rock and to me has the typical trademark of a Kantner song. I have since learned that Paul co wrote it with Jerry Garcia so that may explain a lot. Then , out of the blue comes the very amusing track, “Declaration of Independence.” Sung by Paul and Grace’s daughter China Wing Kantner, the song is almost country with Paul playing along on the banjo, a very amusing song to say the least. China, who was only 12 at the time, provides the perfect vocals for it sounding like a little girl. The last two songs end things very well, especially the closer, “Let’s Go.” I remember once when listening to the track “I Came Back from the Jaws of the Dragon” off Starship’s “Winds of Change” album, my ex wife commented that it sounded like Godspell. Yes, Paul had a thing for harmonies in that style on many of the songs but on “Let’s Go,” it concludes the album in masterful form.

Track Listing:

  1. Planet Earth Rock And Roll Orchestra
  2. (She Is a) Telepath
  3. Circle of Fire
  4. Mount Shasta
  5. Lilith’s Song
  6. Transubstantiation
  7. The Mountain Song
  8. Declaration of Independence
  9. Underground (The Laboratories)
  10. The Sky’s No Limit
  11. Let’s Go
Paul Kantner- Jefferson Starship

Paul Kantner- Jefferson Starship

Paul Kantner- vocals, guitar, banjo, harmonica, synthesizers, lead guitar on “Underground”

Grace Slick- vocals, piano on “The Mountain Song” and “The Sky is No Limit”

Jack Casady- bass

Chiam Wing Kantner- vocals on “Declaration of Independence” and “The Sky Is No Limit”

Alexander Kantner- vocals on “Underground”

Craig Chaquico- lead guitar

Pete Sears- piano

Aynsley Dunbar- drums

Scott Matthews- guitar, harmonica, synthesizers, pedal steel guitar and Linn drums

Ron Nagle- piano and vocals on Transubstantiation

Ronnie Montrose- lead guitar on (She is a) Telepath

Flo & Eddie- vocals

Mickey Thomas- vocals on Circle of Fire

David Freiberg- synthesizers and vocals on Circle of Fire

The problem with “Planet Earth Rock and Roll Orchestra” was that it wasn’t mainstream enough. That’s why it go only limited airplay on radio. Even if it didn’t I believe that I would have eventually discovered it and bought it anyway. This is a cool album and I think it would be only fitting to honour Paul Kantner by listening to it.

Next post: (Hopefully) Billy Idol

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

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

R.I.P. Paul Kantner

Posted in Death, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 29, 2016 by 80smetalman
Paul Kantner- Jefferson Starship

Paul Kantner- Jefferson Starship

Now I am convinced the apocalypse is upon us. Not even a week since the death of Dio bassist, Jimmy Bain, another rock legend departs our world. Yesterday, it was rhythm guitarist Paul Kantner of Jefferson Airplane/Starship, who passed away from a heart attack, aged 74. Paul Kantner was one of the major reasons I was such a big Jefferson Starship fan throughout the 1970s and early 1980s. It was only after he departed the band in 1984, they ceased to be my favourite band.

Paul was not only one of the best rhythm guitarists in rock, (he was nominated for the Hugo Science Fiction Award for his efforts on Blows Against the Empire), he was also a damn good song writer. Whenever I got a new Jefferson Starship album, it was his songs that I usually liked the most on that album. His songs always tended to be more hard rock, especially during their days of mellow out rock in the late 70s. Unfortunately, many of the songs he wrote weren’t the ‘big’ singles so I doubt if they will release an album with just his songs. So what I am going to do in tribute to this great musician is to listen to all the songs he wrote or had a major hand in writing for the band and list them here if you should want to do the same.

Dragon_Fly_(Jefferson_Starship_album_-_cover_art)

From Dragonfly

  1. Ride the Tiger
  2. Caroline

redoc

From Red Octopus

  1. I Want to See Another World
  2. There Will Be Love

is

From Spitfire

  1. Dance With the Dragon
  2. St Charles
  3. Song to the Sun: Part I- Ozymandias, Part II- Don’t Let it Rain

jsearth

From Earth

  1. All Night Long

FreedomAtPointZero

From Freedom at Point Zero

  1. Lightning Rose
  2. Things to Come
  3. Girl With the Hungry Eyes
  4. Freedom at Point Zero

untitled (4)

From Modern Times

  1. Wild Eyes
  2. Modern Times
  3. Stairway to Cleveland

WindsOfChange_Jefferson_Starship

From Winds of Change

  1. Out of Control
  2. I Came Back From the Jaws of the Dragon

Nuclear_Furniture

From Nuclear Furniture

  1. Connection
  2. Rose Goes to Yale
  3. Champion

Jefferson Starship did not release an album in 1983 but Paul Kantner did put out a solo album that year, which I liked. That will be the next post.

R.I.P. Paul

Great Metal Albums of 1983: Dio- Holy Diver

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 29, 2016 by 80smetalman

dio
Like with David Bowie’s and Motorhead’s 1983 albums, I was hoping to write about the debut album from Dio, in 1983, under much happier circumstances. With the passing of Dio bassist, Jimmy Bain, I feel that it should be a fitting tribute to him that I post about this iconic album now.

Jimmy Bain

Jimmy Bain

What can I say about “Holy Diver” that hasn’t already said? Probably nothing, therefore, I am going to speak about it straight from the heart and yes the pun is intended. From my first listen, I admit it wasn’t til early 1984 when I got that opportunity, til now, I was and still am completely blown away by it. No wonder it’s my fourth favourite album of all time.

Why is this album so good? Let’s start with the opener, “Stand Up and Shout.” That is one of the best album and concert opening songs of all time. A great opener will grab you by the throat and make you listen to the entire album. It’s no wonder, Dio opened with this song three of the five times I’ve seen them live.

You are the driver
you own the road
you are the fire — go on, explode

Then comes my favourite Dio song of all time, the title track. If I were running a ‘Headbanging for Beginners’ course, “Holy Diver” would be the first song I would use. This unique but catchy riff is just plain phenomenal. I still remember at the local nightspot in London for heavy metal, scores of metalheads all in a huddle headbanging away to it. The song is so easy to do that with. Not only that, there are Ronnie James Dio’s lyrics, (he was top of his game here), and Vivian Campbell just nails the guitar solo. For me, it’s always been truly an amazing song.

Between the velvet lies

There’s a truth as hard as steel

A vision never dies

Life’s a never ending wheel.

Following the title cut are two more excellent songs in the form of “Gypsy” and “Caught in the Middle.” With both songs, we see some heavy chords being struck while in sync with more of Ronnie’s lyrics.

Take a look at yourself, you might see someone you don’t know

If you haven’t already figured it out, the above lyrics were from “Caught in the Middle.” After that is what many claim to be the best non single or song that should have been released as one on the album. Anyone who has any experience of Dio will know “Don’t Talk to Strangers.” Its eerie intro followed by lyrics that can be of sound advice before exploding into pure heavy metal mania with Campbell’s solo probably being the best one on the album. There’s something for everyone to like here. It is most likely the reason why Dio has played this song all five times I’ve seen them live.

Having originally procured “Holy Diver” on cassette, I should go on about side two. However, the age of CD’s and MP3 downloads has made me stop dividing albums into sides. “Straight Through the Heart” is a very powerful rocker and maintains the standard the album sets but after that is my choice for best hidden gem on it, “Invisible.” Don’t ask me to explain why or how but I just love that song. I think it’s the way like “Don’t Talk to Strangers,” it starts melodically before hitting you over the head with more power chords. Those chords may not be quite as in your face as the other song but it does the job.

If your surface stays unbroken, then you’re a lucky man

Cause it never, never, never has for me

In the palace of the virgin lies the chalice of your soul

And it’s likely you will find the answer there.

Again, Ronnie’s lyrics are amazing, especially matched with his truly one of a kind voice. Following “Invisible” is the more known “Rainbow in the Dark,” which maybe was Dio’s most successful single. Hell, I remember in 1984, a Budweiser advert being played to this tune. This is the one song where keyboards play a major role but still, they don’t detract from the power of the song.

Now onto the closer, “Shame on the Night.” If I have to pick a least favourite track, it would have to be this one. Don’t get me wrong, it is no way a bad track, I just don’t rate it quite as high as the other eight but what it does do is close the album very nicely, I guess that’s what Ronnie had in mind with it. That is yet another reason why I think “Holy Diver” is so fantastic.

Track Listing:

  1. Stand Up and Shout
  2. Holy Diver
  3. Gypsy
  4. Caught in the Middle
  5. Don’t Talk To Strangers
  6. Straight Through the Heart
  7. Invisible
  8. Rainbow in the Dark
  9. Shame on the Night
Dio

Dio

Ronnie James Dio- vocals, keyboards

Vivian Campbell- guitar

Jimmy Bain- bass

Vinnie Appice- drums

I don’t give a flying fart as to how cliched this statement sounds but I know in my heart that Jimmy has now joined Ronnie and they are jamming away together in a better place. Probably their former Rainbow band mate, Cozy Powell has joined them and if they had any sense, they would invite Jon Lord to do the honours on the keyboards. However, I can’t think of any guitarist who has played along side of these guys who has departed from our world. Therefore, I would suggest they take Criss Oliva from Savatage as his guitar work would fit Ronnie’s vocals perfectly. Who knows, maybe they would make an album as great as “Holy Diver.”

Next post: Billy Idol

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

R.I.P. Jimmy Bain

Posted in Death, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 24, 2016 by 80smetalman
Jimmy Bain

Jimmy Bain

What is going on with 2016? January isn’t over and another great rocker is taken from us. This time it is Rainbow/Dio bassist Jimmy Bain. Details of his death haven’t been released but he was 68. Jimmy played with Rainbow from 1975-77 but he was best known for his time with Dio, especially on their first five albums. Less known is that he co-wrote with Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy on some of his solo albums.

Dio

Dio

Okay, some may say that Jimmy Bain wasn’t the legend that some of the others who have recently passed but for me, he was a part of the band that made my 1980s. Therefore, I too will be listening to some Dio and early Rainbow over the next few days and it’s probably a given which album I’ll be posting about next.

R.I.P. Jimmy Bain

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1983: Supertramp- Famous Last Words

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 21, 2016 by 80smetalman

220px-Supertramp_-_Famous_Last_Words

Released at the end of 1982, “Famous Last Words” by Supertramp came to my attention in the first few weeks of 1983. I happened to see the video for the biggest single off the album, “It’s Raining Again,” while at a disco in Tokyo. When I say saw the video, I mean literally. While the video was played on the club’s television screen, the music being played definitely wasn’t Supertramp. It would be a month later when I returned to Okinawa, I would finally get to hear the song matched up to the video.

As I reflect back to those early months of 1983 and some of the albums I have posted about so far, I am beginning to think that this year wasn’t a very good one for some of the established superstars of rock. It seemed that like David Bowie and Todd Rundgren, Supertramp also decided to go for a more commercial sound. In their case, “Famous Last Words” was an attempt to build on the success of their previous studio album, “Breakfast in America.” However, I don’t think this album measures up to their previous classic.

supbia

Let’s not be too negative about “Famous Last Words,” there are some bright spots on it. First, take the big single for instance. Sure, it reeks of commercialdom but there is enough of Supertramp’s presence on it to know that it is theirs. Still, there are better songs on it, like the very jazz sounding “My Kind of Lady.” The sax solo on that song does blow me away. “Crazy” and “Put On Your Brown Shoes” are also decent tunes. I do like the honky tonk piano in the latter and Ann and Nancy Wilson from Heart perform backing vocals on it but my personal favourite on this album has to be “Bonnie.” To me that song is Supertramp from their glory days back in the 1970s. I’m talking stuff like my favourite Supertramp album, “Crime of the Century.”

cotc

Track Listing:

  1. Crazy
  2. Put On Your Brown Shoes
  3. It’s Raining Again
  4. Bonnie
  5. Know Who You Are
  6. My Kind of Lady
  7. C’est Le Bon
  8. Waiting So Long
  9. Don’t Leave Me Now
Supertramp

Supertramp

Rick Davies- keyboards, lead and backing vocals, harmonica, melodica solo on “Its Raining Again”

John Helliwell- saxophone, keyboards

Roger Hodgeson- guitar, lead and backing vocals

Bob Seibenberg- drums

Dougie Thompson- bass

“Famous Last Words” may not be as good as some of Supertramp’s more classic albums but it is enjoyable nonetheless. Maybe like so many artists back then, they were trying too hard for commercial success. It could also be why Roger Hodgeson would go solo after this album.

Next post: Billy Idol- White Wedding

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

 

 

R.I.P. Glenn Frey

Posted in 1980s, Death, films, Music, Rock, television, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 19, 2016 by 80smetalman
Glenn Frey

Glenn Frey

Another week in January 2016 and another rock legend has departed this world. This time it was The Eagles legendary singer, song writer and guitarist, Glenn Frey, who yesterday, succumbed after complications arising from rheumatoid arthritis. (The fact that it wasn’t cancer this time is of no consolation to me here.)

Glenn’s music career last for more than four decades. Throughout the 1970s, he made many a great record with The Eagles and wrote or co-wrote some of their classic hits, such as “Take It Easy,” Tequila Sunrise,” “New Kid in Town” and “Heartache Tonight.” In the 1980s, after the break up of the band, he went on to have a successful solo career with several more hits, which for me, the biggest one has to be “Smuggler’s Blues.” Frey even did some acting appearing in the 80s crime drama “Miami Vice” and in the 1990s, had a small role in the Tom Cruise film, “Jerry McGuire.” Still, it was his contribution to music that he will be remembered best for.

The Eagles

The Eagles

I have already been asked on Facebook if I will be visiting a Glenn Frey or an Eagles album in tribute to Glenn. I would love to but I don’t want to go out of sequence with things here on 80smetalman. The problem is that by 1983, The Eagles had been broken up for three years and Glenn Frey did not release a solo album in that year. So, this is what I’m going to do. I will be posting links to the Frey/Eagles albums I’ve visited over the years below. Read them all and remember just what a great influence to music both Glenn Frey and The Eagles were.

nofunaloud

https://80smetalman.wordpress.com/2015/05/10/great-rock-albums-of-1982-glenn-frey-no-fun-aloud/

220px-The_Eagles_-_Eagles_Live

https://80smetalman.wordpress.com/2013/07/10/great-rock-albums-of-1980-the-eagles-live/

The_Eagles_The_Long_Run

https://80smetalman.wordpress.com/2012/09/06/great-rock-albums-of-1979-the-eagles-the-long-run/

eagleshotelcal

https://80smetalman.wordpress.com/2011/08/19/great-rock-albums-of-the-70s-the-eagles-hotel-california/

Read, enjoy, listen to some Eagles records and some Glenn Frey solo material and pause a moment to reflect on what another tragic loss to rock his passing has been.

 

 

 

 

 

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