Archive for September, 2011

Great Rock Albums of the 70s: Pink Floyd- Dark Side of the Moon

Posted in 1980s, Music with tags , , , , , , , , on September 28, 2011 by 80smetalman

Question: What does a metal head do when they feel like mellowing out a bit? Yes, I can already hear many metal heads screaming, “Me, mellow out, never!” But I know there are many who once in a great while like to take it down a notch. So, do you listen to Air Supply or whatever love song is in the top 10 at the moment? I say a big “HELL NO!” to that, what many of us listened to and many still do now is Pink Floyd.

Throughout the 70s, Pink Floyd put out several really good albums such as “Animals,” “Wish You Were Here” and the most popular of those, “The Wall.” I will be looking at the last one at a later date. However, it is “Dark Side of the Moon” that got me truly listening to Pink Floyd and was my official mellow out party album. I’ve known rockers the world over to put this album when having partied their hearts out and want to relax and unwind a little. The songs on this album provide the perfect atmosphere in which to do that. Also there is something to be said about the album, like many Pink Floyd albums, to be thoroughly enjoyed after puffing the magic dragon. It is probably the way one song leads straight into the next that keeps the buzz going. Even in the days before CDs when you had to pause to turn the tape over, the first track on the second side, “Money” does a great job in returning you back to the proper atmosphere.

Track Listing:

1. Speak to Me

2. Breathe

3. On the Run

4. Time

5. The Great Gig in the Sky

6. Money

7. Us and Them

8. Any Colour You Like

9. Brain Damage

10. Eclipse

Pink Floyd

David Gilmour- guitar, synthesisers, vocals

Roger Waters- bass, vocals, synthesisers, tape effects

Nick Mason- percussion, tape effects

Richard Wright- keyboards, synthesisers

One thing I need to mention is that I can include David Gilmour in that growing list of underrated guitarists. His efforts, especially on his solo on “Money” proves that he can smoke a finger board. His style helps to create the music that Pink Floyd is best loved for. So, if you ever want to relax and just go mellow for a few brief moments, then this is the album to have on your stereo.

Next Post: The Sweet- Desolation Boulevard

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Great Rock Albums of the 70s: Heart- Dreamboat Annie

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 23, 2011 by 80smetalman

Forget about power ballads such as “What About Love” and “Alone” which Heart were famous for in the 1980s, because a decade earlier, Heart were a true hard rock outfit. I freely admit as a red blooded male, it was the attractiveness of the Wilson sisters that first turned my head in their direction, they were the first true rock chicks, but when I heard this album, I was hooked by their cool hard rock sound.

“Dreamboat Annie” was the album that launched Heart into the ionosphere in rock. It served as the springboard for what would be a string of albuns and singles that would keep them at the top throughout the last half of the 1970s. Hits like “Magic Man” and “Crazy On You,” along with the ballad “Dreamboat Annie,” helped to make this album the great album it became.

Track Listing:

1. Magic Man

2. Dreamboat Annie (Fantasy Child)

3. Crazy On You

4. Soul of the Sea

5. Dreamboat Annie

6. White Lightning and Wind

7. (Love Me Like Music) I’ll Be Your Song

8. Sing Child

9. How Deep It Goes

 10. Dreamboat Annie (Reprise)


Ann Wilson- vocals

Nancy Wilson- guitar

Roger Fisher- guitar

Howard Leese- guitar, keyboards, backing vocals

Michael De Rosier- drums

Steve Fossen- bass

If you want a good nostalgic rock out, then this is a great album.

Next Post: Pink Floyd- Dark Side of the Moon

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Great Rock Albums of the 70s: Alice Cooper- Welcome to My Nightmare

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 19, 2011 by 80smetalman

Wtih the release of the new Alice Cooper album, “Welcome 2 My Nightmare,” I felt it was only appropriate for me to visit the original “Welcome to My Nightmare” album, which was released back in 1975. It also helped me to choose which of the great Alice Cooper albums to feature on here. Back in the 70s, Alice put out some classic memorable albums such as “School’s Out,” which was the first Alice Cooper album I ever heard. There was also “Billion Dollar Babies” and “Goes to Hell.” But it is this memorable classic rock album that I am visiting here.

What makes “Welcome to My Nightmare” so great? The opening title track gives you the answer. The song “Welcome to My Nightmare” is one of the best concert opening songs in history. With Alice’s vocals behind it, the song reaches out and grabs you by the throat and says, “You’re gonna listen to me.” One reason I was glad he opened with that song when I finally got to see him live in 1988. As far as the album goes, the title track sets the stage and draws the listener in to not only listening to the entire album, but loving it as well.

Track Listing:

1. Welcome to My Nightmare

2. Devil’s Food

3. The Black Widow

4. Some Folks

5. Only Women Bleed

6. Department of Youth

7. Cold Ethyl

8. Years Ago

9. Steven

10. The Awakening

11. Escape 

Another great item I really like on the album is the vocal by Vincent Price on the track “The Black Widow.” It takes a good song over the edge to make it great. Forget Michael Jackson and “Thriller,” Alice Cooper had the idea first and does it a lot better, although I could be a bit biased here.


Alice Cooper- vocals

Bob Ezrin- Synthesiser, arranger, keyboards, vocals

Vincent Price- Speical effects, vocals

Dick Wagner- guitars

Steve Hunter- guitars

Joseph Chirowski- synthesiser, vocals, keyboards, clavinet

Prkash John- bass

Tony Levin- bass

Pete “Whitey” Glan- drums

Johnny “bee” Badanjek- drums

One of my regrets when writing “Rock And Roll Children” was the book was set during the mid 80s when Alice Cooper had nearly faded into obscurity through heavy drinking. That is why he only gets a brief mention in the book. What the characters didn’t know was that Alice Cooper was a major influence on many of the great metal bands of the 80s and it was albums such as this one that made it so.

Next post: Heart- Dreamboat Annie

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Great Rock Albums of the 70s: Blue Oyster Cult- Agents of Fortune

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 15, 2011 by 80smetalman

When I first heard of the band Blue Oyster Cult, it was in the religious world where everyone there was describing them as Satanic. The name Blue Oyster Cult gives the impression that if you listen to any of their albums, you will immediately start sacrificing chickens, goats and virgins on the altar of Beelezebub. Of course, it doesn’t help when the first big single is entitled, “Don’t Fear the Reaper,” but it was that song that got me listening to them. Although Blue Oyster Cult have a number of other singles and many great albums, it is this song which the rock and metal world identify them with. Proof of this is I have a number of rock compilation albums and the song appears on at least three of them.

Although “Don’t Fear the Reaper” is the song that thrust the band and this album, “Agents of Fortune” into the spotlight, the entire album is brilliant and puts Blue Oyster Cult into the category of one of the great metal influences. Songs like “Extra Terrestrial Intelligence” and “Tattoo Vampire” also make the album great. In fact, all of the songs in my metal opinion make this album.

Track Listing:

1. This Ain’t the Summer of Love

2. True Confessions

3. Don’t Fear the Reaper

4. Extra Terrestrial Intelligence

5. The Revenge of Vera Gemini

6. Sinful Love

7. Tatto Vampire

8. Morning Final

9. Tenderloin

10. Debbie Denise 

Blue Oyster Cult:

Eric Bloom- guitar, percussion, vocals

Albert Bouchard- drums, percussion, harmonica, vocals

Donald “Buck Dharma” Roesser- guitar, synthesiser, vocals

Joe Bouchard- bass, piano, vocals

Alan Lanier- guitars, keyboards, bass, vocals

Apart from great albums such as this one, Blue Oyster Cult have always been known for being a fantastic live act. One of the major regrets of my life is not having been able to see them in concert. This is probably why I have the main characters in Rock And Roll Children lament over the fact they didn’t see them open for Rush. I only have great albums like “Agents of Fortune” as a consolation.

Next Post: Alice Cooper- Welcome to My Nightmare

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Great Rock Albums of the 70s: Nazereth- Hair of the Dog

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 12, 2011 by 80smetalman

Some may be asking themselves what some of the albums I have written about here have to do with 80s metal and my answer is that each one I have written about so far have shaped me into the metalhead I became in the 80s and I still am today. However, with this post, I am going back to my true metal roots with Nazereth’s sixth album “Hair of the Dog.” It’s true that Black Sabbath, Led Zepplin, KISS and all of the bands I have listed, along with their albums, laid the foundations of what we know and love as heavy metal, but if there is any one album I can point to and say, “This is how it was meant to be done,” it is this one.

Although, I didn’t own a copy until 1981 and that was because an old service buddy left the tape in my car and was transferred out of the unit a few days later and never reclaimed it, I remember everyone talking about this album and even wearing “Hair of the Dog” t-shirts. This was before rock t-shirts became a thing of mass production. When I did hear the album, I immediately found myself headbanging away to the first track and carrying on through the rest of the album. If it wasn’t for the ballad “Love Hurts,” my head might have come off from all of the great hard rocking tracks that comprise this album.

Track Listing:

1. Hair of the Dog

2. Miss Misery

3. Guilty

4. Changin’ Times

5. a) Beggar’s Day b) The Rose and the Heather

6. Whisky Drinking Woman

7. Love Hurts

8. Please Don’t Judas Me


Dan MacCafferty- vocals, talk box on “Hair of the Dog

Manny Charlton- guitars, synthesiser

Peter Agnew- bass

Darrell Sweet- drums

I am willing to bet that if I were to play this album to any metal head from the 1980s to the present, not one of them would call it “dated.” This album set the standard for what heavy metal should sound like.

Next post: Bue Oyster Cult, Agents of Fortune

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Great Rock Albums of the 70s: Fleetwood Mac- Rumours

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

Considered by many to be the best rock album of the 1970s, if not all time, Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours” album has all the things needed that make an album great. Good musicianship, good vocals and a wide range of songs that appeal to everyone. For the top 40 oriented, there are the tracks, “Dreams” and “Don’t Stop” and for rockers like me, we went crazy upon hearing “Go Your Own Way.” There are ballads like “Songbird” and “Oh Daddy” and there is a song with risque lyrics in “Second Hand News.” Most teenage boys (and a few girls) had many a good smile when they heard the lyrics, “Won’t you lay me down in the tall grass and let me do my stuff.” That is why practically every one I knew had a copy of this great, classic album.

Apart from the individual tracks, there are many great highlights, which make this such a great album. My personal favourite bass line of all time is present in the song, “The Chain.” I feel that John McVie’s talent on the bass has not been recognised enough. Furthermore, guitarist Lindsay Buckingham produces some great licks, especially on the track, “You Make Lovin Fun” as well as on some of the other songs. He is another underrated guitarist and I still get totally blown away by Stevie Nicks’ vocal efforts on “Gold Dust Woman.” Who care is she sounds like a sheep, the woman is a great vocalist.

Track Listing:

1. Second Hand News

2. Dreams

3. Never Going Back Again

4. Don’t Stop

5. Go Your Own Way

6. Songbird

7. The Chain

8. You Make Lovin Fun

9. I Don’t Want To Know

10. Oh Daddy

11. Gold Dust Woman

Fleetwood Mac

Lindsey Buckingham- vocals, guitars

John McVie- bass, vocals

Christine McVie- vocals, keyboards

Stevie Nicks- vocals

Mick Fleetwood- drums

Drummer Mick Fleetwood once said that “Rumours” was the most important album of all time. I don’t know about that, but I do know that it is a great album.

Next post: Nazareth- Hair of the Dog

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Great Rock Albums of the 70s: Lynyrd Skynyrd- One More From the Road

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 6, 2011 by 80smetalman

Throughout the years, there have been many great, good and not so good live albums. I’ve already mentioned one on here, Bob Dylan, “Hard Rain” and you can be sure that I will post many more in the future. However, one live album that really does it for me is this one, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “One More From the Road.” This is probably my favourite live album of all time, although it gets pretty stiff competition fom Black Sabbath’s “Live Evil” album, which I will be featuring further on in the future.

Lynyrd Skynyrd were the second (the Allman Brothers were the first) of a string of great bands which came out of the Jacksonville Florida area in the 1970s and early 80s. In their heyday between 1973 and 1977, the year of their tragic plane crash, they defined the genre that we now know today as Southern Rock. During this time, Skynyrd put out a string of classic studio albums which brought Southern rock to appreciative Northern ears like mine and established them as one of the great bands of the time. In fact, as I write this, I am asking myself why they weren’t included as one of the great metal influences, because some Southern metal bands can site Skynyrd as a big influence.

It’s not just because “One More From the Road” is live being the reason I am posting it. The fact that on the album, they take many of the great songs they had put out and improve them to an even higher plane. A classic example is the legendary song “Freebird.” The studio version from the first album was good, but on the live album there is great additions such as the piano intro by Billy Powell and the three guitars coming together for the grand finale at the very end. This is why the live version of “Freebird” is more loved than the original.

Track listing:

1. Working for the MCA

2. I Ain’t the One

3. Searching

4. Tuesday’s Gone

5. Saturday Night Special

6. Travelling Man

7. Whiskey Rock And Roller

8. Sweet Home Alabama

9. Give Me Three Steps

10. Call Me the Breeze

11. T for Texas

12. The Needle and the Spoon

13. Crossroads

14. Freebird

 Lynyrd Skynyrd

Ronnie Van Zant- vocals

Gary Rossington- guitar

Allen Collins- guitar

Steve Gaines- guitar

Leon Wilkeson- bass

Billy Powell- piano, keyboards

Artimus Pyle- drums

For me, this is a great, classic live album and it was what put me on the road to the music I would later come to know and love as heavy metal. This album alone helped put the music scene of Jacksonville Florida on the map.

Next Post: Fleetwood Mac- Rumours

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Great Rock Albums of the 70s: Black Sabbath: Sabbath Bloody Sabbath

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 2, 2011 by 80smetalman

There are many great Black Sabbath albums post “Paranoid” from the 1970s which I could talk about (ie. We Sold Our Soul For Rock and Roll), but I chose “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” because it is the only Sabbath album I own on CD. This is not to say that this isn’t a great album in its own right because it definitely is. When I put this album into the car CD player, it always makes the car journey that much more pleasant.

“Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” was the first Black Sabbath album to receive favourable reviews from the mainstream press and the subsequent tour in 1974 helped expose the band to a wider audience in the U.S. On the album, the band makes greater use of additional instruments such as synthesisers, which in no way detracts from the over all heavy sound which Sabbath are known and loved for. Additionally, keyboard legend Rick Wakeman also plays on the album. While the album has the traditional dark mood sounding lyrics, the track “Killing Yourself to Live,” written by Geezer Butler, is about his battle with binge drinking.

Track Listing:

1. Sabbath Bloody Sabbath

2. A National Acrobat

3. Fluff

4. Sabbra Cadabra

5. Killing Yourself to Live

6. Who Are You?

7. Looking for Today

8. Spiral Architect

Black Sabbath

Bill Ward- drums, percussian, timbani

Ozzy Osbourne- vocals, synthesiser

Geezer Butler- bass, synthesiser, meletron

Tony Iommi- guitar, piano, organ, synthesiser, flute

“Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” is just one of the great Sabbath albums that they put out during the 1970s and while they would go on to put out more great albums after the departure of Ozzy, it is this era in the chronicles of Black Sabbath and albums such as this one that they will forever be known for.

Next post: Lynyrd Skynyrd- One More From the Road

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