Archive for May, 2011

Other Great Metal Influences, Part 5 Queen

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 30, 2011 by 80smetalman

        Wayne: I think we’ll go with a little Bohemian Rhapsody gentelmen.

        Garth: Good call.

 

Yes, “Bohemian Rhapsody” is one of the greatest rock songs of all time, always finishing in the top ten in any given rock countdown list and on many occasions, reaching number one. In the 70s, Queen were a dominant force in rock music combining a hard rock sound with operatic style vocals and harmonising. The string of successful albums and singles throughout the era bear testimony to their brilliance.

There is little I can say that hasn’t already been said about this band. I can only reflect on my own memories as a teenager in the late 1970s hearing their now classic songs, “Killer Queen,” “Somebody to Love” and my personal favourite, “We Are the Champions.” Of course, there are many other songs I can name here as well. I couldn’t help not liking their music, even though back then I was suspicious of Freddie Mercury’s sexual orientation. This was during my days as a staunch born again Christian. However, the singer did little to disguise it with his wild stage outfits. I still have memories of the candy striped hot pants.

Apart from Mercury, one thing I have to point out is guitarist Brian May. Not so much in Britain, but definitely in America, he is a very underrated guitarist. His riffs were groundbreaking and can be heard in the playing of many metal guitarists he has come to influence since.

Freddie Mercury- vocals, piano

Brian May- guitars

John Deacon – bass

Roger Taylor- drums

Like many of the act mentioned before, Queen were also know as a great live act. Unfortunately for me, I never had the pleasure of seeing them live. Back then, I never could afford such things and I thought it wasn’t what Jesus wanted. But that’s another story. Although I never saw a live Queen concert, I did own their album “Live Killers” which gave me an insight to what they would have been like in concert. It made more regretful of not having seen them.

Although many might not want to admit it, Queen was a major influence on the metal of the 80s and beyond and their presence can still be felt today.

Next post: T-Rex

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

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle

 

 

Other Great Metal Influences, Part 4 Rush

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 27, 2011 by 80smetalman

Whenever you ask any old rocker to name a great Canadian rock act, they won’t say Bryan Adams, they’ll tell you that it is Rush. For over thirty years this great band has stayed together and put out a string of albums over the years that have satisfied their audiences. While they may not quite have had the chart success of Aerosmith, they haven’t had all the negative experiences either, but have been consistently solid for nearly four decades.

Rush released their first album in 1974 and while it was several years later before I actually listened to it, I can see why it helped to put Rush on the music map. It features their unique blend of rock with the guitar work of Alex Lifeson and the mistakable vocals of Geddy Lee and the hard working drumming of Neil Peart. I use this album as a counter by non metal people who say that metal musicians can only play three chords.

Geddy Lee- vocals, bass, keyboards

Alex Lifeson- guitars

Neil Peart- drums, percussion

Throught the late 70s, Rush would begin to enjoy mainstream success. Albums such as “Farewell to Kings” and “2112” would establish them as one of the major rock acts. They can also be given credit for getting record labels in America to finally look north of the border and see the other acts that Canada has come to produce.

 

           

 

                                                                             

In 1981, Rush put out the ablum “Moving Pictures” which would be arguably their best. Songs like “Tom Sawyer” and “Limelight” have been favourites with many Rush fans and even a few non Rush fans. Unfortunately, as was the case back in the 1980s, the album also branded Rush a heavy metal band by some ignorant American deejays who wanted to put music into categories. As a result of not wanting to be stereotyped, the Rush sound became more synthesised in the 80s, the album “Grace Under Pressure” being the point. However, Rush managed to put out synthesised albums without being accused of “selling out” by metalheads who still bought and enjoyed these albums.

One thing that can always be said of Rush over the near past four decades is that they have always been a great live act. I have never had the fortune of seeing this great band live, but everyone I have spoken to who has seen them, can confirm this. They continue to play with an energy which masks their years and their light displays of the 80s and 90s have been described as mind blowing.

Rush is another one of those great bands from the 70s which metal acts in the 80s site as an influence. However, bands from the 90s and the 00s can probably also site them as well because Rush have been and continue to be a great influence to metal.

Next post: Queen

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

It is also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle.

 

 

 

 

Other Great Metal Influences, Part 3 Aerosmith

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 24, 2011 by 80smetalman

Of all the rock bands that existed throughout the 70s and 80s, there has been no one to match the effect Aerosmtith have had. If you were to read their story without knowing them, you would be convinced that it was a totoal work of fiction. Aerosmith are the ultimate rock and roll story of fame to bust to fame again.

Aerosmith first appeared on the rock scene in 1973, with the hit “Dream On” which is still popular enough for them to play as an encore in their kick ass live shows. Throughout the mid to late 70s, they had a string of albums that established them as one of the top rock bands of the decade. For me, it was hearing the “Toys in the Attic” album which first turned me onto them and taught me that Aerosmith were for real.

Unfortuately, like a lot of great artists, Aerosmith fell into the trappings of stardom and slipped into the minefield of sex, drugs and rock and roll. By the band’s own admission, by the late 70s, they were making records to pay their drug dealers. This led to their rapid decline in the very late 70s and early 80s. Of course during that time, was the infamous bottle incident where Aeromith said they would never come back to Philadelphia again.

During the period in the early to mid 80s where Aerosmith were almost banished to the realms of obscurity, they had a couple of line up changes which didn’t help them either. However, in 1986, things got better for the band. First, the original line up reformed.

Steve Tyler- vocals

Joe Perry- lead guitar

Brad Whitman- guitar

Tom Hamilton- bass

Joey Kramer- drums

While the album “Done With Mirrors” did okay, it wasn’t a best seller. However, it did introduce a new generation of metal heads to this classic band. It was on this tour, where I had the pleasure of seeing them live. Even though they hadn’t quite forgiven Philadelphia for the bottle incident, they still played a killer show. However, their big break back to the big time came from a totally unexpected source, when they were asked by rap artists Run DMC to join them in recording a copy of the Aerosmith classic, “Walk This Way.” Since then, Aerosmith have been unstoppable in their quest for world domination and stand alone on the plateau of great artists.

Many heavy metal acts since the 80s have sited these guys as one of their influences and acts still do. Aerosmith’s contribution to rock and heavy metal has been beyond all comparison.

 Next post: Rush

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

Other Great Metal Influences, Part 2: Alice Cooper

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 21, 2011 by 80smetalman

If any one person could be sited as a major influence of 80s metal, it would have to be Alice Cooper. Like KISS, Alice set the standard for the 70s glam rock scene in the early 70s. Throughout the early and mid seventies, he had a string of albums including “School’s Out,” “Billion Dollar Babies,” “Welcome to My Nightmare,” “The Alice Cooper Show” and “Goes to Hell.” Some say that his rockability declined in the late 70s, but he still had a few top 40 hits ie. “You and Me.” In 1978, he put out the album which got this then religiously indoctrinated 17 year old fully into his music, “From the Inside.”

The album was based on his experiences in a sanitarium and many regard it as among his best works. He nearly faded into obscurity in the early 80s and this was mainly down to his drinking. But a few die hards, like me who continued to listen to his albums kept his memory going and welcomed his triumphant return in 1986. His 1987 album “Raise Your Fist and Yell” propelled him back to his place among the greatest.

However, the one thing that Alice Cooper will always be famous for is his wild stage shows. While KISS was the first band to enthrall crowds with their use of pyrotechnics, Alice Cooper’s concerts were and still are very theatrical. People will still go to his shows in the hopes to see either the mock hanging act or the guillotine act as well as other theatrics. Having been to an Alice Cooper concert myself, I can personally say that it is a spectacle to behold.

After all these years, Alice C0oper continues to put out great albums and tour with seemingly no let up in his energy. Alice Cooper has been going strong for forty years now and many of the acts which are years his junior have him to thank for the influence he has had on metal. My one regret in Rock And Roll Children was setting the story during the time frame when he wasn’t in the limelight.

Next post: Aerosmith

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

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle.com

Other Great Metal Influence, Part 1 KISS

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 17, 2011 by 80smetalman

I could spend months naming the great acts from the 70s who influenced metal in the 80s, although I won’t, however, if I could name one act which had been one of the biggest, it would be KISS. Formed in 1973, KISS were one of the early glam rock acts along with Alice Cooper, David Bowie, and the Sweet. However, KISS sold more records than these three acts combined. While the other glam acts wore makeup, KISS took it to another level and it has stood as a standard for more than 30 years.

Paul Stanley-guitar

Gene Simmons- bass

Ace Frehley- guitar

Peter Criss- drums

Throughout the 1970s, KISS would sell millions of records and recruit millions more fans into the KISS Army. Hard rock albums like “Destroyer,” “Alive I and II,” “Love Gun” and “Hotter Than Hell” were all considered greats of the decade. These albums produced such great songs like “Love Gun,” “Rock And Roll All Night,” “Detroit Rock City,” “Cold Gin” and of course “Beth” which, like “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” by Poison in the 1990s, was the song many teenage rockers like me played to their girlfriends in the hope it would get them laid. But, it wasn’t just studio albums which set KISS at the top of the hill. KISS revolutionized concerts as we know it, being the first to use on stage pyrotechnics. I remember KISS concerts always selling out in record time.

As popular as the were in the 70s, KISS  were also the subject of much contraversy. Like Black Sabbath, KISS were also accused by the religious right in America of being Satan worshippers. This was made worse when some preacher claimed that the band’s name was an anogram for Knights In Satan’s Service. While there was never any evidence to support this supposition, it became something that would always continue to be a thorn in the side of KISS.

In an interview in 1980, Gene Simmons stated that KISS were a band where all four members covered for one another and that they were all superstars and not one member stood out from the rest. This began to change in the 1980s with the departure of Peter Criss and Ace Frehley and KISS went from a band of equals to, as quoted by a former member (I believe it was Vinnie Vincent), to Paul and Gene’s band.

In 1983, KISS  came out of make up and some say that their music suffered as a result. I don’t think this is the case and I will look at the KISS albums of the 80s in future postings. It is why KISS gets a lot of mention in “Rock And Roll Children.” But if you were to ask the metal bands of the 80s who was their biggest influence, many would say KISS, whether it be the hard rocking sound, stage shows or make up.

Nex post: Alice Cooper

To buy Rock And Roll Children, visit www.gtrategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Founding Fathers of Metal- Part 5, Free/Bad Company

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 13, 2011 by 80smetalman

Originally, I was going to end the Founding Fathers of Metal segment with Deep Purple, however, after listening to one of my many compilation albums, the song “All Right Now” by Free made me think otherwise. Free came from the same era as Deep Purple, Black Sabbath and Led Zepplin and established themselves as one of the great bands of that time and the mentioned single can still be heard on juke boxes and compilation albums forty years later.

After Free broke up, Paul Rodgers carried the rock spirit of Free to Bad Company producing a series of albums and great singles like “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love,” “Bad Company,” “Shooting Star,” “Feel Like Making Love” and “Rock and Roll Fantasy.” Throughout the 70s, Bad Company were one of the premier rock bands and were an influence on many of the great metal bands of the 80s.

Boz Burrell- bass

Paul Rodgers- vocals

Simon Kirke- drums

Mick Ralphs- drums

It is no wonder that Bad Company’s hit single “Rock And Roll Fantasy” was in the top 20 in 1979 when the metal dam began to burst. However, I will explore that more in the future. For now, let’s just appreciate both Free and Bad Company as founding fathers of metal.

Next post will start the segment of other great acts of the 70s who were a major influence on 80s metal beginning with KISS.

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

 

Founding Fathers of Metal Part 4, Deep Purple

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 9, 2011 by 80smetalman

I won’t begin by saying that I’m again preaching to the heavy metal choir, although I am, but another great band from the early 70s that can be listed as a metal founding father is Deep Purple. Formed in the late 1960s, Deep Purple went on to establish themselves as one of the top rock bands of the early 70s along with Black Sabbath and Led Zepplin. However, unlike the two mentioned, Deep Purple went through many line up changes. It is considered by many officianados that the most success Deep Purple line up was:

Ritchie Blackmore- guitar

Ian Gillian- vocals

Roger Glover- bass

Jon Lord- keyboards

Ian Paice- drums

Whenever Deep Purple are mentioned, the first song the great majority of people think of is “Smoke On the Water.” Yes, that song will go down as one of the all time classics, especially as it appears on at least 3 of my compilation albums. However, Deep Purple have many other great hits which could also be counted as classics. Hits like “Black Knight” and “Highway Star,” which have made it to compilation albums as well and other great songs like “Hush,” “Burn” and my personal all time favourite, “Woman From Tokyo.” But, when I saw them play live in 1985, I was completely blown away by the vocal ability of Ian Gillian on the song “A Child inTime” and that now also ranks among my Deep Purple favourites.

It came as no surprise to most people that when Deep Purple reformed in 1984, it was with the above line up. While the album “Perfect Strangers” was thought by many not to rank among their greatest from a decade earlier and fanned the argument that they only reformed for the megabucks, it did re-establish them as one of the all time greats in heavy metal. Having seen them live on that particular tour, not only was I blown away by Ian Gillian’s vocal ability as well as the musicianship of  the others, they had a breathtaking light show and I regret that I didn’t do it enough justice in my account of that concert in “Rock And Roll Children.” That is why Deep Purple can rightfully take their place as one of metal’s founding fathers.

I know I said last post that this would be the last of the “Founding Fathers of Metal” posts, but last week, I came to the realisation that Free/Bad Company needs to be included as well and will feature in the next post.

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