Great Metal Albums of 1983: KISS- Lick It Up

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 20, 2017 by 80smetalman

Kiss_band

Coming out of the marines in 1983, I was a much different person than when I went in four years earlier. Not only had I changed but a lot of things in the world around had changed too. Around the four month mark after becoming a civilian, while watching the TV show, “Video Rock,” a song with a vaguely sounding voice began singing a song that to me sounded rather promising. Then the programme flashed up the artist and song title and it was at this point, I learned that KISS had come out of make up and that would forever be what I would most remember 1983 for in the musical sense.

I had already warmed to KISS after hearing their previous album, “Creatures of the Night” so the song played on the video, “Lick It Up” was no surprise and I quite liked it. Therefore, KISS continued their journey back into my acknowledgement. Before that and though I never really mentioned here but have done so in other blogs, I ignored KISS during the late 1970s. Some could argue that they didn’t put out anything worthy during that time but that wasn’t it for me. I ignored them because I was going through deep religious phase back then. One of my fellow Christians stated that KISS was an anagram for Knights In Satan’s Service and I believed it. So, I avoided them on the misguided belief they were Satan worshipers. I won’t go into details here but if you want to read more about it then here it is:  https://peacefulrampage.wordpress.com/2017/01/18/my-confusion-of-religion-and-music/

I’ve heard all the talk about the unmasked 80s KISS not being the best period in their history. I won’t enter into that debate. I would be the first to admit that “Lick It Up” doesn’t quite reach the heights of classics like “Destroyer” or even “Creatures of the Night” but for me, “Lick It Up” was the right album at the right time. Plus, say what you like, but it’s better than their attempts at sounding more commercial in the early 198os.

Something I have always loved about any album is when the ‘hit’ single is not the best track on it. Although there are plenty of albums I like that are exception to this. “Lick It Up” is not the best song on the album that bears its name. There are several tracks which are better. Let’s start with my personal favourite, “Young and Wasted.” Of course the song title brought me much amusement, especially that they applied to me quite a bit during that time. However, I like the more aggressive intro this and several other songs on the album I rate higher than the title track. For “Young and Wasted,” it just seems to be done the best. On “Not for the Innocent” and “Gimme More,” I can hear the Vinnie Vincent influence on the guitar. “Dance All Over Your Face” is a really cool tune and “And on the Eighth Day” closes the album out rather well. A great majority of the songs on “Lick It Up” just seem to be in your face cool rockers. Say what you will about this album, but I quite like it.

Track Listing:

  1. Exciter
  2. Not for the Innocent
  3. Lick It Up
  4. Young and Wasted
  5. Gimme More
  6. All Hell’s Breakin’ Loose
  7. A Million to One
  8. Fist Like a Glove
  9. Dance All Over Your Face
  10. And On the Eight Day
KISS

KISS

Paul Stanley- rhythm guitar, lead vocals

Gene Simmons- bass, lead vocals

Eric Carr- drums, backing vocals

Vinnie Vincent- lead guitar, backing vocals

Vinnie Vincent would leave KISS after this album. According to which camp you belong to, he was either fired or left on his own accord. He would go onto put out a solo record which I will definitely visit when I hit 1986. As for KISS, for me, “Lick It Up” was their way completely back into my attention and they would continue to be there for a long time.

Next post: Metallica- Kill’Em All

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 Metal Albums of 1983: Tank- This Means War

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 16, 2017 by 80smetalman

220px-tank_this_means_war

Whenever a group of bands are identified with a certain area and style of music, there are those who stamp their names as standard bearers of that music but if you look down the list, there are many other bands in that group who typify that style but don’t get the recognition they probably deserve. For example, when Southern Rock was at its commercial hey day in the very early 1980s, bands like Molly Hatchet, The Outlaws, 38 Special and Blackfoot were the bands people identified with that form of rock. Not many would be able to identify Doc Holliday, Johnny Van Zant Band or Mother’s Finest to name just a few and they were just as good as the ones previously mentioned.

The same applies to the new wave of British Heavy Metal, (NWOBHM), which came out right after. Living in the US at the time, I knew and adored Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Saxon, Motorhead, Def Leppard but bands like Diamond Head, I only knew because I had seen them live. As for Tank, they came to my attention because I just happened to see one of their albums in the import section of my local record store. It wasn’t the one I’m posting about now.

To be honest, I didn’t listen to “This Means War” until I actually came to Britain and that was late 1986. A new friend who we nicknamed ‘Trendy Bastard’ because he dressed a little too much like Bon Jovi, had an extensive collection of music and one night, treated us to the album. It definitely made an impression on me because although I never bought this album, it has stuck in my mind for all these years.

All of the elements of NWOBHM are present on “This Means War.” When I listen to it, I hear influences from Motorhead and Judas Priest. The songs are fast paced but not at a real break neck speed. Still, the power and rhythm combine to make them catchy. Algy Ward’s vocals sound closer to that of Rob Halford and done competently.  Guitars are also done well, prime example being “I Won’t Ever Let You Down,” though I’m not quite ready to add Peter Brabbs and Mick Tucker to my guitar list. The best examples of what I’m talking about are the tracks, “This Means War,” “If We Go, We Go Down Fighting,” “Just Like Something From Hell” and “Echoes of a Distant Battlefield.”

Track Listing:

  1. Just Like Something From Hell
  2. Hot Lead, Cold Steel
  3. This Means War
  4. Laughing in the Face of Death
  5. (If We Go) We Go Down Fighting]
  6. I Won’t Ever Let You Down
  7. Echoes of a Distant Battlefied
Tank

Tank

Algy Ward- bass, vocals

Peter Brabbs- guitar

Mick Tucker- guitar

Mark Brabbs- drums

Was it because so many British metal bands were gaining status in the US the reason why Tank got left out? While they might not have been as spectacular as the greats who did achieve, they were still a cool band and as “This Means War” proved to me, they deserve some recognition.

Next Post: KISS- Lick it Up

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 Metal Albums of 1983: Mercyful Fate- Melissa

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 13, 2017 by 80smetalman

220px-melissa_album

My first experience of  the 1983 “Melissa” album from Danish metal band Mercyful Fate didn’t come until early 1985 when I heard the best known song from the album, “Black Funeral” on a compilation album. During that time, I constantly heard the Jesus brigade going on about how the lyrics of rock songs all have hidden Satanic messages that mess with your subconscious. Well, it is safe to say that there are no such hidden subversive lyrics in the song, “Black Funeral.” No, instead lead singer King Diamond just comes out and sings “Hail Satan.” I’ve loved that song ever since.

“Black Funeral” isn’t the only song on the Melissa album that has straight forward messages from the Dark Lord. There are lyrics in most of the songs here that grab my attention and fill me with much amusement. Take the second track, “Curse of the Pharaohs.” Those lyrics, “Don’t touch, never ever steal unless you’re in for the kill or you’ll be hit by the curse of the pharaohs” Continue to make me smile. After that is “Into the Coven” with, “Come, come into my coven and become Lucifer’s Child.” The penultimate track, “Satan’s Fall” gives two different sets of lyrics to amuse. The first is “Bring me the blood of the unborn child.” The second greatly amused my roommate at University in London and upon hearing it repeated “Satan’s still alive.” With all of these, one my think that I have upside down crosses on my front lawn and an altar in my backyard where I sacrifice chickens, goats and virgins to Satan. I don’t because like so many millions of people, song lyrics don’t effect me like that.

Satanic lyrics is only one reason to like this album. The music on “Melissa” is of top quality. Most metalheads know the unmistakable voice of King Diamond and his ability to go from a deep, low growl to his high pitched harmonies. On this album, he is probably at his best. However, what has gone less noticed is the guitar work of both Michael Denner and Hank Shermann. Not only do they hammer out some cool solos throughout the album, there is some nice little guitar breaks in the songs as well. Two more to add to the list of under appreciated guitarists. Furthermore, this is the only album that I know where the first three tracks all have catchy riffs. The opening riffs in “Evil” definitely grab your attention and when the song ends, the opening riffs to “Curse of the Pharaohs” keeps things moving. That’s not all, the medieval sounding opening lead guitar intro to “Into the Coven” is done very nicely. So, all in all, this is an album to enjoy the music while being amused by the lyrics.

Track Listing:

  1. Evil
  2. Curse of the Pharaohs
  3. Into the Coven
  4. At the Sound of the Demon Bell
  5. Black Funeral
  6. Satan’s Fall
  7. Melissa
Mercyful Fate

Mercyful Fate

King Diamond- vocals

Hank Shermann- guitar

Michael Denner- guitar

Tim “Grabber” Hansen- bass

Kim Ruzz- drums

Mercyful Fate’s “Melissa” album was my first true indoctrination into black metal and it had the effect of getting me hooked on it. For me, it was the right album at the right time.

Next post: Tank- This Means War

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 Metal Albums of 1983: Lee Aaron’s First LP

Posted in 1980s, Death, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 8, 2017 by 80smetalman

220px-lee_aaron_-_1984_-_lee_aaron_reissue

Before I launch into the debut album from one of Canada’s best heavy metal exports in the 1980s, I have to confess that my brain hasn’t been in gear this past week. I can’t believe that when I compiled my compilation album of music stars who died in 2016, that I left out Rick Parfitt from Status Quo. Therefore, to rectify this major screw up, I would add two Status Quo songs on it. One from the “1+9+8+2” album I posted about, the song being “Want the Whole World to Know.” The other, the one I consider the better of the two songs a corporate record producer would use: “Rocking All Over the World.” Rest in Peace, Rick Parfitt.

Rick Parfitt

Rick Parfitt

Status Quo

Status Quo

 

Onto the debut album from Canada’s own Lee Aaron. Now, something else that the music websites say I got wrong. It seems that this album didn’t come out in 1983. Originally it was released in 1982 and re-issued in 1984. However, I got this on cassette as part of a double album set with Lee’s next album, “Metal Queen.” Anyway, I thought for sure that it said on the cassette that the “Lee Aaron’s First LP” was copyrighted in 1983 and have had it in my noggin for over thirty years that it came out in said year. Since it’s too much trouble to go up into my attic and dig out the cassette to check, I must ask for clemency on any misrepresentation of this album.

Now that’s over, let’s move on. I remember reading an interview of Lee Aaron in 1987 where she said she laughs when she hears this, her first album. I can see where she is coming from. Back then she was brand new to the industry and rather naive and listening to the album, one can probably say that if she had more say on the album, it might have sounded different. She only wrote on four of the songs. Lee, I hope it wouldn’t have sounded too much different because this first LP really rocks!

While she might slightly blush over the lyrics of the tracks, “I Like My Rock My Hard” and “Should Have Known,” hell, I blush for her but they are still good sounding metal songs. In fact, I have to take my hat off to Rik Emmett of Triumph who produced the album. I always thought he did a good job of taking Lee under his wing because I can’t fault any of the tracks on here. Her vocals are just phenomenal and there are some good musician work to accompany those vocals. Though I can’t ascertain why Rik only played on one song, the opener, “Under Your Spell.” Stand out tracks for me are “Night Riders” and “Took My Heart Away” to begin with. Her cover of the famous Willie Dixon blues classic, “I Just Want to Make Love to You,” which has been covered by so many bands is one of the best. Before, I heard her version, it was Foghat’s version I liked but now there’s a power struggle in my brain. However, my favourite tracks on the album are definitely “Texas Outlaw,” where she doubles with Buzz Sherman and the closing track and even though it’s only on the 1984 re-issue, I’m going to include it here, “Under the Stars.” This track is recorded live and makes me regret never seeing Lee Aaron live. So, while she might laugh at this album, I really like it.

Track Listing:

  1. Under Your Spell
  2. Lonely For Your Love
  3. Night Riders
  4. Texas Outlaw
  5. I Like My Rock Hard
  6. I Just Want to Make Love to You
  7. Runnin’ From His Love
  8. Should Have Known
  9. Took My Heart Away
  10. Under the Stars

Lee Aaron

Lee Aaron- lead vocals

Rik Emmett- guitar, track 1

Dave Alpin- guitar, tracks 1 and 7

Rick Santers- guitar, tracks 2-4, 6, 8, 9

Earl Johnson- guitar, tracks 4,6,8

Frank Soda- track 5

John Albani- guitar, track 10

George Bernhardt- guitar, track 10

Buzz Sherman- co-lead vocals tracks 4 and 8, backing vocals track 8

Bill Wade- drums- tracks 1 and 7

Mark Santers- drums, tracks 2-4, 6, 8, 9

Gen Gratto- drums, track 5

Randy Infuso- drums, track 10

Gene Stout- bass, track 1 and 7

Rick Lazaroff- bass, tracks 2-4, 6, 8, 9

Peter Crolly- bass, track 5

Jack Meli- bass, track 10

Like I said, Lee Aaron might have been embarrassed about her first album but I’m sure not. It is a good rocking album even if the lyrics of some of the songs on it do sound a bit childish. Still, you can’t fault her fabulous vocals and the musicians Rik Emmett put together to make this fine album. One of these guitarists will stay with Lee but you’ll have to wait to her future albums before I sing his praises. In the meantime, enjoy this one.

Next post: Mercyful Fate- Melissa

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

Great Punk/Metal Albums of 1983: Suicidal Tendencies

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on January 5, 2017 by 80smetalman

stend

In the mid 1980s, there would be the full coming together of punk and heavy metal. They would even have a love child called thrash as many of these new bands would site influences from both. However, if there was one album that could be identified as the one who spear headed this union, it would have to be the 1983 debut album from Suicidal Tendencies. While the album is labelled hard core punk on wikapedia and by other so called experts, millions of metal heads have taken this band and this album in particular into their metal bosoms. I, for one, would be responsible for unleashing it onto unsuspecting British students in 1986. Not that they ever complained.

There are no complex reasons as to why Suicidal Tendencies is widely accepted by both the metal and punk followings. The opening song answers any questions right off the bat. It starts out as a hard core frenzy that would have people banging themselves about in a mosh pit only to slow down in order for the listener to take in Mike Muir’s genius lyric writing. In fact, it’s the lyrics on many of these songs that make this album so brilliant. So instead of rambling on about it in paragraphs, I thought I’d do something different and share.

I Shot the Devil- Opens with “I shot Regan!” After Lebanon, I wanted to do that myself. Closing lyrics: “I shot Regan and I’ll do it again and again and again.” 

Subliminal- “Mind control the easiest way, sponsored by the CIA. It’s a weapon you can not see, it’s propaganda subliminally. They’re fucking with me, subliminally.” 

Institutionalized- “My mother started screaming Mike, Mike and I said what’s wrong mom? She said what’s wrong with you? I said nothing mom, I was just thinking. She said, “No, you’re on drugs!” No, I’m okay mom, I was just thinking why don’t you get me a Pepsi? She said, “No, you’re not thinking, you’re on drugs, normal people don’t argue that way.” I said, “Mom, will you get me a Pepsi please?” All I wanted was a Pepsi and she wouldn’t give to me. All I wanted was a Pepsi, just one Pepsi and she wouldn’t give it to me.” 

I Saw Your Mommy- “I saw your mommy and your mommy’s dead. I saw her lying in a pool of red. Chewed off toes on her chopped off feet. I took a picture because I thought it looked neat. But the thing I liked seeing the best was the rodents using her hair as a nest. I saw your mommy and your mommy’s dead.” 

I Want More- “Working like a maniac give yourself a heart attack on the minimum wage.” 

Suicidal Failure- “I took all my mother’s sleeping pills, jumped off a tall bridge. I drank three kinds of poisons, drove my car off a ridge. I gave myself a bag, put a noose around my head. I overdosed on heroin but I’m still not dead. I’m a suicidal failure, I got to have some help. I’ve suicidal tendencies but I can’t kill myself.” 

In between these songs are some short, to the point punk/thrash songs that would be a favourite in any mosh pit today. Another reason why metalheads love this album is there are some metal snobs out there who think punk musicians aren’t up to standard. Yeah, I know. One can’t fault any of the musical work by the band on the album. It’s all good and why even the metal snobs love it.

Track Listing:

  1. Suicide’s an Alternative
  2. Two Sided Politics
  3. I Shot the Devil
  4. Subliminal
  5. Won’t Fall in Love Today
  6. Institutionalized
  7. Memories of Tomorrow
  8. Possessed
  9. I Saw Your Mommy
  10. Fascist Pig
  11. I Want More
  12. Suicidal Failure
Suicidal Tendencies

Suicidal Tendencies

Mike Muir- lead vocals

Grant Estes- guitar

Louiche Mayorga- bass, backing vocals

Amery Smith- drums

When I introduced the album to my new friends in the UK, they pretty much spent the rest of the year singing or quoting lyrics from “I Saw Your Mommy” and “Institutionalized.” That is the profound effect this album had on them. It had the same effect on anyone, punk or metalhead, who heard it. Suicidal Tendencies didn’t know it at the time but their debut album was a cornerstone in joining the camps of these two genres.

Next post: Lee Aaron’s First LP

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

 

Another Thought on George Michael

Posted in Concerts, Death, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on January 4, 2017 by 80smetalman

When my last post went to Facebook, a good friend brought up something I had totally forgotten about. I realise now that I should have picked a better song for George Michael. Thing was that I don’t recall seeing his performance of the Queen classic, “Somebody to Love” at the Freddie Mercury Tribute concert in 1992. On advice, I watched it on Youtube and I have to give George full marks here. His performance of that song was superb. It might have had something to do with the fact that the other members of Queen were playing with him. Brian May still does that guitar solo. So, I would have to put that song on the album.

George at Wembley in 1992

George at Wembley in 1992

I would also add Jefferson Starship’s “Girl with the Hungry Eyes, ” David Bowie- “Suffragette City” and possibly “Blue Jean” as well.

 

 

Compilation Album for 2016

Posted in 1980s, Death, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 1, 2017 by 80smetalman

Recently on Twitter, I commented that with all the great musical stars who passed on in 2016, that I wouldn’t put it past some morbid record producer to make a compilation album featuring all of them. One of my friends replied that with so many, it would have to be a box set and he’s probably right. Normally, I ‘m not a morbid person but I then thought, “Why don’t I come out with my own ideas for such an album?” Besides, if it was in the hands of some corporate record executive, their idea for the album would be totally different than mine, especially if the metal hating UK newspaper, The Sun, had anything to do with it.

In compiling such an album, I fear that had things been left to record execs, Jimmy Bain and Sandy Pearlman would have been left out totally. Jimmy would have been because he was only a bass player despite the fact that he played on all the greatest Dio albums. Sandy was simply a producer but without him, we would not have had some of the great albums delivered by both Blue Oyster Cult and The Clash. Use of semantics, the fact that Lemmy actually died in 2015, would have been used as an excuse to keep him off the album. I don’t do that because Lemmy’s death was the snowball at the top of the mountain which started the avalanche. Paul Kantner would have definitely been left out if the record producer was British but might have been included if they were American. After all, he did have a minor song writing credit on Jefferson Starship’s best known single, “Jane.”

Of course, I am tempted to exclude some too. I was never a big Prince fan. However, I didn’t hate his music. Whenever his songs came on the radio, I didn’t turn the volume up or down, nor did I change the channel. But credit where due, on the song I really like, he does shred a guitar fairly well and I remember in 1984, I fully endorsed his desire to play the role of Jimi Hendrix in a film about the guitar god.

George Michael is another problem. See, The Sun and other media have already been blubbering over how great an 80s icon he was. I can’t refute that. However, he wasn’t entirely the 1980s and the whole point of writing “Rock and Roll Children” and this blog was to rebut the belief that 80s music was entirely Wham, Michael Jackson and Boy George. We all know it wasn’t but George Michael stands as a symbol of my antagonism towards this warped view of the Golden Decade of Heavy Metal. So, I hope one can understand why I would be tempted to exclude him from my album. However, I am a better person than those at The Sun and not a corporate record executive, so I will allow one GM song onto my album. This song came out after his 1998 arrest in Los Angeles and was the springboard for a rather rude but funny joke.

Tribute Album to Musician’s Who Died in 2016

Lemmy

Lemmy

Motorhead

Motorhead

  1. Ace of Spades
  2. Killed By Death
  3. Iron Fist

175px-David-Bowie_Early

David Bowie

  1. Space Oddity
  2. Ziggy Stardust
  3. Mott the Hoople- All the Young Dudes
The Eagles

The Eagles

Glen Frey- The Eagles

Glen Frey- The Eagles

  1. Take it Easy
  2. Heartache Tonight
  3. New Kid in Town
  4. From Glenn Frey’s solo stuff:
  5. Smuggler’s Blues
  6. Sexy Girl
Jimmy Bain

Jimmy Bain

Dio

Dio

  1. Rainbow in the Dark
  2. The Last in Line
  3. Mystery
  4. Sacred Heart
  5. Sunset Superman

js

Paul Kantner- Jefferson Starship

Paul Kantner- Jefferson Starship

  1. Ride the Tiger
  2. Dance With the Dragon
  3. Stairway to Cleveland
  4. Planet Earth Rock and Roll Orchestra (Paul Kantner solo)
I never saw them but  Emerson Lake and Palmer were said to be amazing live!

I never saw them but Emerson Lake and Palmer were said to be amazing live!

  1. Lucky Man
  2. Fanfare for the Common Man
Sandy Pearlman

Sandy Pearlman

Blue Oyster Cult

Blue Oyster Cult

  1. Don’t Fear the Reaper
  2. Dancing in the Ruins
The Clash

The Clash

English Civil War

Prince

Prince

Let’s Go Crazy

George Michael

George Michael

Outside

Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen

Hallelujah

(I thought Leonard’s song would be the best closer)

True, my list would definitely be more metal oriented. That’s because most metal and rock acts would be passed over by a corporate record producer. Opinions will vary here and I know other songs would be chosen in place of the ones I have here, but if I had my choice. This is what it would be.

Happy New Year to all! Have a great 2017.

Next post: Suicidal Tendencies

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