Great Rock Albums of 1984: U2- The Unforgettable Fire

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 25, 2017 by 80smetalman

Unlike the Greg Kihn Band, after their successful 1983 album, “War,” followed by a successful live album, U2 didn’t vanish into obscurity. Maybe Greg Kihn should have released a live album. That’s all hindsight anyway. What is history is the fact that U2 followed up their success with the really cool album, “The Unforgettable Fire.”

I don’t think I’ve said this in previous posts about U2 but the one thing their music definitely did was appeal to Metalhead and Duranie alike. For those who don’t know, a Duranie is someone who was into Duran Duran and similar type music. Those people listened to U2 and did not feel that they were going too weird in their music tastes while Metalheads could do the same without any feeling of selling out and going mainstream. “The Unforgettable Fire” album continues this trend for the band as both of those groups bought this album up.

Reading the history behind the making of the album, the band has said that they were trying to steer a different direction with it as they didn’t want to be labeled as another arena rock band. Let me be totally honest here, I have never heard anything different in the sound of “The Unforgettable Fire” than what they had accomplished with their previous three studio albums. What U2 had been able to do very well with all four of their albums to date was make different sounding songs without having to change their overall style. I have always believed it was a case of more of this with the fourth album.

With “The Unforgettable Fire” the hits come out straight away, probably because I heard the first single, “Pride in the Name of Love” on the radio before I bought the album. History states that the single was released first so that’s probably why. Still, it ranks up their among my favourite U2 songs of all time. The second single, “Bad” is the second single released and that stands out as well while at the same time, you know it’s a good U2 song. I could never fathom why the title track never charted in North America as it’s a really cool track as well. If anything, I would rate it above “Bad.” But if you know me by now, albums aren’t about the singles on them and there has to be some hidden gem in the album. For me, that track is “Wire.” If I had my way, that would have been released as a single. I like the little guitar lick The Edge uses at the beginning before it goes into a good rocking song. In fact, The Edge shows his guitar skills all through the song. Actually, “Indian Summer Sky” is a really good song and that’s what you need for a good album.

The other thing which definitely appealed to me back in 1984 was U2’s use of politics in their music. This continues with this album, especially as two songs are dedicated to the late Martin Luther King Jr, one of them being the first single. “Bad” was about heroin addiction and the idea for the title track came when the band was visiting the war museum in Hiroshima, Japan. Put these things in with the music on the album and it’s no wonder why I liked it so much.

Track Listing:

  1. A Sort of Homecoming
  2. Pride in the Name of Love
  3. Wire
  4. The Unforgettable Fire
  5. Promenade
  6. 4th of July
  7. Bad
  8. Indian Summer Sky
  9. Elvis Presley and America
  10. MLK

U2

Bono- lead vocals,

The Edge- guitars, keyboards, backing vocals

Adam Clayton- bass

Larry Mullen Jr- drums

New feature: Seeing what has been done on other blogs and now that I know that I don’t have to pay WordPress ridiculous amounts of money for the privilege, with every album post, I will include a track from said album. Typical me, last on the bandwagon. In this case, since I have sung the praises of the track “Wire,” it will be featured here.

Heavy metal was going strong in 1984, so was U2. This album is clear evidence of that fact.

Next post: Steve Perry- Street Talk

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 1984: Greg Kihn Band- Kihntagious

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Rock with tags , , , , , , , , on May 21, 2017 by 80smetalman

One of the biggest questions I have about 1984 is why did the Greg Kihn Band fade into oblivion in this year? The band was riding high on the wave of their very successful 1983 album, “Kihnspiracy,” which, in spite of the album having the ballad hit single “Jeopardy” on it, was a good rocking album. MTV seemed to like them as the video for the first single from the 1984 album, “Kihntagious,” “Reunited,” got a lot of play. I still think that it is a pretty good song. So I ask why did this band fade away so rapidly?

Could the answer be with “Kihntagious?” The already mentioned single leads off the album and gives it a promising start. Then comes the misleading “Rock,” the second single. This was released as a dance track and though there’s some good individual spots of musicianship on it, (Greg Douglass does some good lead guitar work on it), the dance vibe does sort of kills it for me. However, that is simply the weakest track on the album. “Stand Together” takes me back to their first album. It’s a good rocking track. “Confrontation Music” has a strong reggae vibe which I like quite a bit. Plus, Douglass probably plays his best guitar solo on this one. “Work, Work, Work” is a rocking closer that works on different levels.

Track Listing:

  1. Reunited
  2. Rock
  3. Make Up
  4. Stand Together
  5. Confrontation Music
  6. One Thing About Love
  7. Worst That Could Happen
  8. Trouble With the Girl
  9. Cheri Baby
  10. Hard Times
  11. Work, Work, Work

Greg Kihn Band

Greg Kihn- vocals, rhythm guitar

Greg Douglass- lead, slide guitars, backing vocals

Larry Lynch- drums, vocals

Steve Wright- bass, backing vocals

Gary Phillips- keyboards

Listening to “Kihntagious,” I can’t still fathom as to why the Greg Kihn Band slipped into obscurity after. I mean, this isn’t a bad album by any stretch of the imagination. I guess the answer is somewhere out there.

Next post: U2- The Unforgettable Fire

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. Chris Cornell

Posted in Death, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on May 18, 2017 by 80smetalman

Chris Cornell

I have just discovered via Facebook that former Audioslave and Soundgarden  singer Chris Cornell has passed away. He was 52. His death has been called sudden as he was down to play some gigs later on in the year.

Forget about 2017 sucking as much as 2016, it’s beginning to suck more.

Rest in Peace Chris Cornell.

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1984: Jefferson Starship- Nuclear Furniture

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 17, 2017 by 80smetalman

For me in 1984, Jefferson Starship, being my favourite band in the world since 1977, would come to a cross roads with me in the form of the album “Nuclear Furniture.” As previously stated enough times that you’re all sick of reading it, my musical tastes were getting much heavier. With “Nuclear Furniture,” the band began to shy away from the hard rock of their previous three albums. However, I wasn’t going to demote them straight away and there was enough good material on the album to keep them at my number one.

First let us start out with the weak. The first single from the album, “No Way Out” while miles better than the vast majority of synth pop coming out at the time, it lacked the power chords I was now craving. Craig Chaquico does save the song with one of his decent guitar solos. Then again, he does it with many of the songs, even the ones where it’s not essential. The other songs that might fall into the same category as “No Way Out” have something else that makes them great, with the possible exception of  “Magician.” I was getting more and more politically aware in 1984 and seeking out music that reflected my beliefs. There are some great songs that do this. Two of them are about nuclear destruction, “Champion,” one of my favourites and “Showdown.” Grace Slick’s vocals make the latter song sound that much better. Again, lyrically, “Assassin” is a great song. It might have been better placed in the late 90s as it could be applied to school shootings. The song is about a stranger in the neighbourhood who turns out to be a killer. “Live and Let Live” speaks to me personally, not politically and without going into great personal detail, took a load of withheld anger from me. With the track, “Connection,” the song clearly trumpets my theory of what would happen if Jesus and Mohammed had actually met each other. While these songs might not be hard rockers, the lyrics really make you think.

Now for the rockers, “Shining in the Moonlight” is a straight ahead one of those bringing back memories of those previous three albums, “Freedom at Point Zero,” “Modern Times” and “Winds of Change.” The other two are not only cool rockers in my book but also have political lyrics I like. “Rose Goes to Yale” is a short but powerful rocker that makes a great point while rocking out to it. However, my favourite track on the album has to be “Laying It on the Line.” A great intro and even though it is a little synthed in places, I don’t mind. A cool guitar solo and to my knowledge, it is the only song anywhere to mention what had happened to my marine buddies in Lebanon some seven months earlier.

“Got US boys on foreign soil,

“Spillin’ their blood to keep the peace.” 

Track Listing:

  1. Laying It On the Line
  2. No Way Out
  3. Sorry Me, Sorry You
  4. Live and Let Live
  5. Connection
  6. Rose Goes to Yale
  7. Magician
  8. Assassin
  9. Shining in the Moonlight
  10. Showdown
  11. Champion

Jefferson Starship

Mickey Thomas- vocals

Grace Slick- vocals

Craig Chaquico- lead guitar, backing vocals

Paul Kantner- rhythm guitar, vocals, banjo

Pete Sears- bass, keyboards

David Freiberg- keyboards, vocals

Donny Baldwin- drums, percussion, backing vocals

Paul Kantner- Jefferson Starship

In spite of “Nuclear Furniture” being a decent album, Jefferson Starship would cease to be my favourite band in 1984. This was because that Paul Kantner would leave the band shortly after the album’s release. Not only that, he would take the Jefferson moniker with him after a lawsuit. Like I said when I posted about Kantner’s death last year, it was always his songs on the albums I preferred the most. After he left, the band would morph into Starship and I definitely didn’t like what I heard on their next album. I want to like Jefferson Starship as I always have remembered them.

Next post: Greg Kihn Band- Khintagious

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 1984: Tony Carey- Some Tough City

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 14, 2017 by 80smetalman

Tony Carey was another great artist considered a one hit wonder by the MTV generation of the mid 1980s. In the spring and early summer of 1984, his biggest single, “A Fine Fine Day,” tore up the charts and eventually made it to number six or seven. It got tons of airplay on both radio and MTV. However, what these robots failed to understand that Tony had been rocking our world for many years before this. They didn’t know about his stint with the great Rainbow or even known that the year before, he had success with his band Planet P. Fortunately, I did and that information led me to procure his 1984 album, “Some Tough City.”

If I had been among the ignorant, the second single released from the album might have put me off buying the album. “The First Day of Summer” wasn’t bad, although there are much better tracks on “Some Tough City,” it’s just in the video for the song, he tries too hard to act like Joe Cool Rock Singer and that was a bit off putting. Now don’t get me wrong, Tony Carey has a good voice but he’s an even better musician as demonstrated on the album where he plays all the instruments. I know I have beaten the word ‘underrated’ to death on 80sMetalman but the term definitely applies to Tony.

“A Fine Fine Day” is not typical of the album. It’s a great song and it won my 1984 award for best non metal song of the year but it’s more progressive rock and Tony definitely demonstrates his keyboard skills on it. Most of the rest of the album has more of a hard rock edge to it, even “The First Day of Summer.” However, some of the more rockier songs like, “Eddie Goes Underground” and “A Lonely Life” really cook on here. A real paradox on the album is “Reach Out,” where it starts out like it’s going to be some 80s synth pop song and then really explodes into a rocker. The big surprise on it is the fact that Tony hammers out a decent guitar solo on it. He does the same, actually his guitar work is even better on the more progressive rock sounding “Tinseltown.” Let’s face it, Tony Carey is a brilliant all round musician and his talent has been ignored for far too long.

Track Listing:

  1. A Fine Fine Day
  2. A Lonely Life
  3. Eddie Goes Underground
  4. The First Day of Summer
  5. Reach Out
  6. Tinseltown
  7. Hungry
  8. I Can’t Stop the World
  9. Some Tough City
  10. She Can Bring Me Love

Tony Carey- vocals, keyboards, guitars, bass

Now my mind is going off to strange worlds from posting about “Some Tough City” by Tony Carey. I wonder if he and Ronnie James Dio ever hooked up again after Rainbow. That would have been mind blowing. It wouldn’t have been possible in 1984 because Tony was riding a huge wave of success as a result of the album and its top ten single. As for Ronnie, that will be all explained in a future post.

Jefferson Starship- Nuclear Furniture

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Black Emerald to Release an Album

Posted in Concerts, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on May 12, 2017 by 80smetalman

Going back to 2013, when I posted about my trip to the Bloodstock Festival in that year, I wrote about a band I saw in the New Blood Tent by the name of Black Emerald. In that post, I stated that I was so impressed by this band, that my next post was going to be why I thought they should be signed and that I did. Well, it seems that someone out there must have taken notice of me, (delusions of grandeur on my part) because I have been informed that Black Emerald will be releasing their first album in the summer!

Black Emerald at Bloodstock 2013

I don’t know further details about their debut album but I’m sure Sarah, who brought me the news and has been following me since I first put forward my arguments as to why they should be signed will keep me posted. However, if you would like a sample, I have a Youtube video from the band here:

Watch, listen and enjoy and together we can all eagerly await the release of Black Emerald’s debut album.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1984: Queen- The Works

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 10, 2017 by 80smetalman

Here is a perfect example of why I never buy or not buy an album on account of one song. When the first single from Queen’s album, “The Works,” came on the radio, my response was “What the hell?” I thought “Radio Ga Ga” was several steps down from what I had loved about Queen throughout my teenage years of the 1970s. The conclusion I was starting to draw was that they were departing from the harder rock music I enjoyed and were selling out to the synth pop of the 1980s. Fortunately, I didn’t let one bad song close my mind so I didn’t miss the rest of this cool album.

I have always had this sneaking feeling that Queen knew exactly what they were doing. “The Works” might open with the mentioned single which might alienate some of their hardcore fans, therefore, they followed up “Radio Ga Ga” with the hard rocking second track, “Tear It Up.” After the first ten seconds of rocking out to that song, you are completely thinking, “Radio Who?” Then if the hard rock of “Tear It Up” isn’t enough to grab you, Queen hit you with a very Queen sounding “It’s a Hard Life.” This song is Queen as they have always been as it follows the script of all the great classics. “Man on the Prowl” is a very likable rockabilly song in the vein of the famous, “Crazy Little Thing Called Love.” I love the little piano bit at the end. “Machines (Back to Humans) is a very progressive sounding tune. While there are elements of hard rock, there are some very quirky sounding keyboard sounds on the song, some of them sounding like a robot. Plus there is the famous harmonizing from the band. This is my favourite track on the album because Queen do hear what they have always done best. Incorporate several different musical genres into one song. On my first listen and the many subsequent listens after, by the time my favourite track was at its conclusion, I had totally forgotten “Radio Ga Ga” was even on the album.

Some may argue that “I Want to Break Free” is on the line of that first single. I have to slap down such fools. True, there is a little disco back beat to it but May’s guitar is definitely present, especially when he does that solo. Yes, some people might have discoed down to it but I just listen to it. Saying that, it’s not the best track on the album, there are so many better ones. The next one in fact, “Keep Passing the Open Windows.” This is on the lines of my favourite track, but not quite to the same level. “Keep Passing the Open Windows” is my third favourite track. There’s some good Queen elements on here as well. BTW, “Tear It Up” is my second favourite. “Hammer to Fall” is a good rock out and it follows on very nicely. I do like May’s guitar solo on it. “The Works” ends on a interesting note. It’s a ballad type song, “Is This the World We Created.” It’s almost an anti- climax to the album but the band makes it work and end the album on a good note.

Track Listing:

  1. Radio Ga Ga
  2. Tear It Up
  3. It’s a Hard Life
  4. Man on the Prowl
  5. Machines (Back to Humans)
  6. I Want to Break Free
  7. Keep Passing the Open Windows
  8. Hammer to Fall
  9. Is This the World We Created

Queen

Freddie Mercury- lead and backing vocals, piano

Brian May- guitar, backing vocals

John Deacon- bass, rhythm guitar, keyboards, backing vocals

Roger Taylor- drums, keyboards, backing vocals

Thank God, I never let one song on an album influence my decision to purchase it. If that was the case, I would have completely missed out this great album from Queen.

Next post: Tony Carey- Some Tough City

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