Archive for November, 2011

Great Rock Albums of the 70s: Talking Heads- 77

Posted in 1980s, Music with tags , , , , , on November 27, 2011 by 80smetalman

In the mid to late 70s, a genre of rock called punk was establishing itself on both sides of the Atlantic. In Britain, bands like The Sex Pistols and The Jam to name two were gaining a following which would later immortalise them. In the US, the punk scene was gaining notoriety at a New York club called CBGB’s where bands like The New York Dolls and the Talking Heads were delighting the audiences.

Back in those days, I viewed the punk scene with outside regard only. Like anything new and foreign in America, punk was viewed with suspicion and branded evil by the religious right. I remember a preaching denouncing punk rock stating that it encouraged violence. He said that once they heard the music, everyone would start beating one another up and then destroy the place. Being an impressionable teen, I believed this, however, I suggested that my high school American football team listen to some punk before every game to give them that killer instinct. I now know this is a myth because I played some before a street hockey game in the hopes it would make me more violent, boy was I stupid.

The album “77” from the Talking Heads never made me vi0lent either, even though the top single from the album is called “Psycho Killer.” What I like about this album is that it had a sound that I hadn’t heard before. It wasn’t full power chords, but the music has something about it that makes me look up and take notice. The amusing lyrics behind the songs give it another level and prove to me that David Byrne is an underrated genius.

Track Listing:

1. Uh Oh, Love Has Come to Town

2. New Feeling

3. Tenative Decisions

4. Happy Day

5. Who Is it?

6. No Compassion

7. The Book I Read

8. Don’t Worry About the Government

9. First Week/Last Week…Care Free

10. Psycho Killer

11. Pulled Up

Talking Heads

David Byrne- vocals, guitar

Jerry Harrison- guitar, keyboards, vocals

Chris Frantz- drums

Tina Weymouth- bass

The Talking Heads would go on to be accepted in more mainstream music in the early 80s and would eventually start experimenting in funk. But, it’s this, their debut alubm which will always have the highest place for them in my mind.

Next post: The Sex Pistols- Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols

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Great Rock Albums of the 70s: Lynyrd Skynyrd- Street Survivors

Posted in 1980s, Music with tags , , , , , , , , on November 23, 2011 by 80smetalman

I thought I was ready to move onto the next part of my tour through metal history when as luck would have it, more classic rock albums come to mind and these are ones I feel I can’t ignore. This album came to mind courtesy of my metal buddy Metalodyssey who recently posted an upcoming benefit concert performed by none other than Lynyrd Skynyrd. Then I realised that I had left out the album “Street Survivors” and felt it was only fair to visit it here.

Picture the scene, October 1977, radio was bombarding us with disco and most of the music world hadn’t gotten over the recent death of Elvis Presley two months earlier. On the evening of the 20th, I had been at work knocking doors trying to get people to subscribe to the local evening newspaper without much success. I got into my boss’s car for the drive home when he tells me that Lynyrd Skynyrd was killed in a plane crash. The tragic crash which took the lives of Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines and Cassie Gaines left a big hole in the rock world at that time and to some, it still does.

“Street Survivors” was released just three days before the plane crash and let me be one to stomp on any myth that the album only did so well becasue of the tragedy. Yes, I was more interested in hearing the album because of it, but I firmly believe that this album would have still stood out, crash or no crash. The tracks show case the unique southern boogie- rock style that the band was famous for and proved to be a show case for the newest member, the multi talented Steve Gaines.

Track Listing:

1. What’s Your Name

2. That Smell

3. One More Time

4. I Know a Little

5. You Got That Right

6. I Never Dreamed

7. Honky Tonk Night Time Man

8. Ain’t No Good Life

Lynyrd Skynyrd

Ronnie Van Zant- vocals

Steve Gaines- guitar, backing vocals, lead vocal on “Ain’t No Good Life”

Gary Rossington- guitar

Allen Collins- guitar

Billy Powell- piano

Leon Wilkeson- bass

Artimus Pyle- drums

When listening to the album, it is easy to see why “Street Survivors” is counted as one of Skynyrd’s best. Great rocking tracks like “You Got That Right” and “What’s Your Name” combined with some gutsy blues based guitar work in songs like “That Smell” and “I Know a Little” make it that way. Even more than three decades after the plane crash, the freebird continues to fly on.

Next post: Talking Heads- 77

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Great Rock Albums of the 70s: Judas Priest- Sin After Sin

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music with tags , , , , , , on November 21, 2011 by 80smetalman

Not many metal bands can take a classic folk song like “Diamonds and Rust” sung by Joan Baez and make a true metal anthem out of it. That is exactly what Judas Priest did with the song and to quote Cheryl Cole (Oh God, I can’t believe I’m doing this) made the song their own. “Sin After Sin” was the all important follow up to their previous album “Sad Wings of Destiny” and it brought them one precious step closer to the greatness they would eventually come to enjoy.

Back then, Judas Priest were still climbing the ladder to success and still hungry and like the previous album, the hunger is reflected in the music. True, to some, “Diamonds and Rust” might give this album an air of commercial respectability, the other tracks in the album such as “Sinner,” “Raw Deal” and “Dissident Agressor,” which Slayer would cover eleven years later, show a raw and hungry sound to this band. Plus, the tracks have that unique introduction that when you hear it, you know it’s a Priest song.

Track Listing:

1. Sinner

2. Diamonds and Rust

3. Starbreaker

4. The Last Rose of Summer

5. Let Us Prey/Call for the Priest

6. Raw Deal

7. Here Come the Tears

8. Dissident Aggressor

Judas Priest:

Rob Halford- vocals

Glen Tipton- guitar

KK Downing- guitar

Ian Hill- bass

Simon Phillips- drums

This is another great find back in the archives of metal past. Albums like “Sin After Sin” would not only help to pave Judas Priest’s way to greatness, it would also contribute to the flood waters which were gathering at the time and would soon overflow its banks to create what we know as heavy metal.

Next post: Lynyrd Skynyrd- Street Survivors

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Great Rock Albums of the 70s: Judas Priest- Sad Wings of Destiny

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on November 17, 2011 by 80smetalman

Many great acts, especially metal ones had to pay their dues before they finallly make it to the big time. This was especially true with the metal gods we worship to day as Judas Priest. When I worshipped these gods in concert two and a half years ago in Cardiff, Wales, Robert Halford told the audience how thrity five years ago, the band would come to Cardiff in a little white van to play at the local pubs and clubs at the time. Back in the 1970s, Judas Priest were virtually unheard of, especially outside the UK and paid their dues by playing all the back holes of Britain and opening for more popular bands of the time like Budgie. Fortunately for us, they perservered and went on to become the great metal act we all know and love.

The downside of many bands once they ascend to the big stage is that much of their earlier work goes unnoticed. Some people will buy a band’s earlier stuff upon hearing about it, but it still doesn’t get the recognition it deserves as most people seem to be focused on the new stuff. The same can be said for me in regards to Judas Priest. “British Steel” was the first Judas Priest album I ever heard and you could say the rest was history, I became a total Priest fan. It wasn’t until a few years later, however, when I heard the song “The Ripper” on a metal compilation album that I went back to the past and investigated earlier offerings such as “Sad Wings of Destiny.”

It is often said that before a heavy metal band gets discovered, their hunger is reflected in their music. This is definitely true for “Sad Wings of Destiny.” Listening to such tracks as “The Ripper,” “Deceiver” and “Genocide” show the hunger. However, the album also shows the unmistakable guitar riffs of Tipton and Downing as well as the unique vocals of Halford that would later eventually enshrine Judas Priest in the annals of metal glory.

Track Listing:

1. Victim of Changes

2. The Ripper

3. Dreamer Deceiver

4. Deceiver

5. Prelude

6. Tyrant

7. Genocide

8. Epitaph

9. Island of Domination

Judas Priest

Rob Halford- vocals

Gelen Tipton- guitars and piano

KK Downing- guitars

Ian Hill- bass

Alan Moore- drums

I recently read a quote by a fan who states that “70s Priest kicks the sh*t out of 80s Priest.” I will not get involved in that argument, especially as 80s Priest gets quite a lot of mention in “Rock And Roll Children,”  but I will admit that the 70s albums like “Sad Wings of Destiny” and the one I’ll be visiting in my next post show a raw and hungry sound that I really like. So with my teacher head on, your assignment today is go and have a listen to this great diamond in the rough of an album and you will see what I mean.

Next post: Judas Priest- Sin After Sin

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Great Rock Albums of 70s: David Bowie- The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and Spiders from Mars

Posted in Heavy Metal, Music with tags , , , , , , on November 14, 2011 by 80smetalman

I thought I was ready to move onto the next chapter of this tour through heavy metal history, but as what has been always happening to me, another great rock album from the 70s has sprouted to mind. I came upon this one while listening to my MP3 the other day which contains my two favourite Bowie songs of all time; “Space Oddity” and “Ziggy Stardust.” I know that the album “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and Spiders from Mars” only contains one of those songs, but I have decided to visit the album anyway.

The best reason for visiting the album is quite simple, for an ageing metalhead like me, it takes me back to a time of pure rock. Great tracks like the “Ziggy Stardust,” “Starman” and “Suffragette City” are true rock anthems which helped laid a foundation to the metal we know and love today. For me, this was a time when I thought David Bowie was good before he settled for being popular. Sorry, I just couldn’t get into that “Let’s Dance” stuff in the mid 80s. But Metallica should take note.

Track Listing:

1. Five Years

2. Soul Love

3. Moonage Daydream

4. Starman

5. It Ain’t Easy

6. Lady Stardust

7. Star

8. Hang On In To Yourself

9. Ziggy Stardust

10. Suffragette City

11. Rock And Roll Suicide

David Bowie- vocals, piano, accoustic guitar, harpsichord

Mick Ronson- guitars, piano, backing vocals

Trevor Bolder- bass

Mick Woodmansey- drums

The other thing David Bowie can take credit for is being a key player in the glam rock of the early 1970s. Bowie along with Alice Cooper, The Sweet and later KISS would create an image which would influence a good many metal bands a decade later. If you fancy listening to a classic rock album, then try this one.

Next Post: Judas Priest- Sad Wings of Destiny

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Great Rock Albums of the 70s: Kansas: Point of Know Return

Posted in Heavy Metal, Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 11, 2011 by 80smetalman

 Have you seen the episode of Family Guy where Brian advices Peter to walk through the streets in deep contemplation with the song “Dust in the Wind” playing in the background? Better yet, whenever you needed a walk to think things over have this song come to mind or listen to it on a MP3 or walkman? I have. “Dust in the Wind” by Kansas from the album “Point of Know Return” is one of the greatest accoustic ballads of all time. The funny thing is that it was only written when Kerry Livgren’s wife suggested he add lyrics to a piece he had written as a finger excercise and he wasn’t sure whether or not the band would like it as Kansas was not known for accoustic ballads. Needless to say, the song was written and recorded and you could say, the rest is history.

 However, “Dust in the Wind” isn’t the only good song on this album. There are some great rock tunes like “Lightning’s Hand” and song cool instrumental solos like “Paradox.” Furthermore, the title track is also a very good track. These are all reasons why this album proved to be an excellent follow up to the previous Kansas album, “Leftoverture.” The album also helped to establish Kansas as a great live act.

Track Listing:

1. Point of Know Return

2. Paradox

3. The Spider

4. Portrait (He Knew)

5. Closet Chronicles

6. Lightning’s Hand

7. Dust in the Wind

8. Sparks of the Tempest

9. Nobody’s Home

10. Hopelessly Human


Kerry Livgren- guitar, keyboards

Phild Ehart- drums

David Hope- bass

Robby Steinhardt- violin, vocals

Steve Walsh- keyboards, vocals

Rick Williams- electric and accoustic guitars

“Point of Know Return” was released in late 1977 and helped the waters of rock along its way to overflowing its banks a year later. This I have no doubt.

Great Rock Albums of the 70s: Foghat- Live

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

I had never heard of Foghat before until I saw them advertised as the headliner at the Philadelphia Spectrum one evening in June 1978. I didn’t go to the concert as I was heading across the street to Veterans Stadium to watch the Phillies play the Dodgers. Obviously, I missed what probably was a memorable concert, but the band’s name stuck in my mind. Fast forward a few months later when my cousin took out this live album and played it to me. After hearing this great live album, I can say that things changed for the better for me in a musical sense.

As I said before and will probably say many times more, there are many good album and show opening tunes out there, but there are smaller number of those which are truly great. These songs are the ones that grab you by the throat and say, “You’re going to listen to us and like it!” Two posts ago, I included “Back in the Saddle” by Aerosmith and on this album, the opening track, “Fool for the City,” is also one of those songs. Whenever I hear it, I can’t stop to quicken my step and headbang away. “Fool for the City” sets the tone for the rest of the album. There are other great tracks which carry on the good vibe of Foghat “Live” from where “Fool for the City” leaves off. Two tracks that definitely stand out are “Slow Ride” and their version of “I Just Want to Make Love to You.” Both are great party songs and I’m speaking from first hand experience here. The rest of the album supports these and it is what makes this album one of the best live albums of all time.

Track listing:

1. Fool for the City

 2. Home in My Mind

3. I Just Want To Make Love To You

4. Road Fever

 5. Honey Hush

6. Slow Ride


Dave Peverett – rhythm guitar, vocals

 Rod Price – lead guitar, slide guitar

 Craig MacGregor – bass

Roger Earl – drums

I realise that I am in great danger of calling every live album I visit, one of the greatest live albums of all time. However, for Foghat- “Live,” I can say that the shoe definitely fits on this one.

 Next Post: Kansas- Point of Know Return

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Great Rock Albums of the 70s: Aerosmith- Draw the Line

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music with tags , , , , , , , on November 3, 2011 by 80smetalman

As the blog heads towards 1978, the year the rivers of rock began to overflow their banks and form what was to become heavy metal, it is only fitting that I visit one of the albums that sped those waters along the way. “Draw the Line” by Aerosmith was one of the truly last great rock albums before the river overflowed. The only reason it wasn’t the last album for me was that pending its release in December 1977, every record store in America seemed to be advertising it for the Christmas sales. Every store I went into that year had a large display depicting the album cover in order to entice parents to buy the album for their rock loving children. If I had a time machine, I would go back and tell mine to buy it for me, although I don’t regret in the least getting the “Desire” album by Bob Dylan nor the “Spitfire” album from Jefferson Starship that Christmas.

While “Rocks” is said to be Aerosmith’s last album before the descent into their drugs hell, “Draw the Line” was the first album during that descent. Joe Perry practically admitted in an interview years later that the album was done so the band could pay their drug dealers. Nevertheless, it does not stop this album from being a great one and to me, only shows how talented these guys really are.

Track Listing:

1. Draw the Line

2. I Want to Know Why

3, Critical Mass

4. Get It Up

5. Bright Light Fright

6. Kings and Queens

7. Hand That Feeds

8. Sight For Sore Eyes

9. Milk Cow Blues

Steven Tyler- vocals

Joe Perry- lead guitar

Brad Whitford- guitar

Tom Hamilton- bass

Joey Kramer- drums, percussion

It matters not if Aerosmith were under the influence of drugs when the album was made, it is still a fantastic album. Kerrang listed it number 37 in the top 100 metal albums of all times and I can certainly understand why. I just wonder, if this album was made while the band was high on drugs and it is still this good, how good it would have been if they hadn’t been on drugs.

Next post: Foghat Live

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