Archive for February, 2012

Great Rock Albums of 1978: Meatloaf- Bat Out of Hell

Posted in 1978, Heavy Metal, Music with tags , , , , , , on February 27, 2012 by 80smetalman

This is probably the most commercially successful rock album of 1978, if not one of the most of all time. It is the album that will always be looked upon as Meatloaf’s greatest musical achievement. It has been argued that the album was successful on account of it’s timing, that it filled a gap in the rock market while disco was still in its hey day. I don’t know about that nor would I agree with it if I did. I put the success of “Bat Out of Hell” down to the masterful production and great musicianship that appears on it. The result is seven good songs that withstood the test of time.

I know that I am probably being biased when I say this, but I put the success of this album down to the fact that it was produced by Todd Rundgren. Rundgren saw something in the album which some record companies didn’t and insisted in producing it. The result was in the listening and it is most likely why in a 1989 interview, Jim Steinman referred to Todd Rundgren as “the only genius he ever workded with.” One thing that he did which was a major contributor was to line up good musicians, which included members of his part time band Utopia.

Singing the praised of the producer and the musicians in no way means that I am in any way taking anything from the artist who appears on the album. Meatloaf has a very versatile voice, one of the most versatile in rock. I can picture him barking away to a thrash metal song and then slowing down to a love ballad the very next. Possibly an argument that they should have put “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad” right after the title track to demonstrate my point. Of course, I have to add my all time favourite part on the album, the baseball commentary on the song “Paradise By the Dashboard Light.”

Track Listing:

1. Bat Out of Hell

2. You Took The Words Out of My Mouth

3. Heaven Can Wait

4. All Revved Up With No Place To Go

5. Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad

6. Paradise By the Dashboard Light

7. For Crying Out Loud

Many years ago, I happened to catch a glimpse of “Pop Idol” (I don’t watch that rubbish, honest) and Simon Cowell denied a good singer a shot at the next round becuase he was overweight. Cowell justified this by saying it might work for Pavarotti, but not in the pop world. The comment set my mind racing straight away. If it had been 1978, Simon Cowell would have rejected Meatloaf on the same grounds and we would have been denied this great rock album.

Next post: Rush- Hemispheres

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Great Rock Albums of 1978: Joe Walsh- But Seriously Folks

Posted in 1978, Heavy Metal, Music with tags , , , , , , , , on February 23, 2012 by 80smetalman

Back in 1978, I only had a small AM clock radio that only had a range as for as I could throw a baseball. Therefore, I had to encounter a lot of disco tunes and other top 40 rubbish in order to hear the occasional good song. Then one night I heard the killer riffs from an electric guitar. Stunned, I had to turn up the volume of that clock radio and what I heard blew me away, the song “Life’s Been Good” by Joe Walsh.

“But Seriously Folks” was the first solo album from Joe Walsh since he had joined the Eagles two years earlier when they put out the famous “Hotel California.” This solo album was considered more melodic than Walsh’s previous album but it is still a good rock album as it carries many of the traditional guitar licks he was known for.

Track Listing:

1. Over and Over

2. Second Hand Store

3. Indian Summer

4. At the Station

5. Tomorrow

6. Inner Tube

7. Theme from Boat Weirdoes

8. Life’s Been Good

This album was a welcome relief from the onlsaught of disco in the summer of 78. However, it is still probably one of the best albums by Joe Walsh and still a good listen these days.

Next post: Meatloaf- Bat Out of Hell

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Great Rock Albums of 1978: The Cars

Posted in 1978, Music with tags , , , , , on February 19, 2012 by 80smetalman

Originally, I wasn’t going to visit this album until I reached the end of 1978 because I didn’t know of it until early 1979. It was sort of the same thing that happened to me in January 1978 with the “Out of the Blue” album by ELO. The first weekend in 1979, I was driving home from hockey practice (street hockey) and the song “My Best Friend’s Girl” came on the radio. That became my first official song I liked for the year. So you may be asking why am I visiting this album now and there are still a lot of great 1978 albums left to see. Well the honest answer is, “I don’t know.” I just felt the urge to visit this album here and now.

Like in the case of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and Patty Smith, some ill informed numpties branded The Cars a punk band. I remember back in the year, many disco lovers simply shrugged it off as such and The Cars were probably easy targets for the narrow minded. Their look was something I would definitely call unique for 1978 as was the sound on the album. It was definitely something I had never heard before, but what I did know was that I liked it. Ric Ocasek has a vocal that is truly unique and at the same time familiar. Definitely his talents are underrated.

Track Listing:

1. Good Times Roll

2. My Best Friends Girl

3. Just What I Needed

4. I’m In Touch With Your World

5. Don’t Cha Stop

6. You’re All I Got Tonight

7. Bye Bye Love

8. Moving In Stereo

9. All Mixed Up

The Cars

Ric Ocasek- rhythm guitar, lead vocals

Elliot Easton- lead guitar, backing vocals

Benjamin Orr- bass, lead vocals

Greg Hawkes- keyboards, saxophone, percussion, backing vocals

David Robinson- drums, electric percussion, backing vocals

As I continued writing this post, I remembered my incentive for posting this album now. A few days ago, I listened to their classic hit “Just What I Needed” on the car’s CD player. Hearing that made me want to visit the album. Another song on the CD is also behind the next post. The debut album from The Cars established them as a serious act in the rock world. This is the first and arguably the best of many cool records from this memorable band.

Next post: Joe Walsh: But Seriously, Folks

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Great Rock Albums of 1978: REO Speedwagon- You Can Tune a Piano But You Can’t Tuna Fish

Posted in 1978, Heavy Metal, Music with tags , , , , , , , on February 14, 2012 by 80smetalman

Forget about the ballads form the 1980s because back in the 70’s REO Speedwagon were a true hard rock outfit. Their seventh album, “You Can Tune a Piano, But You Can’t Tuna Fish” is a prime example of this. This album exudes rock all the way through with some great rocking tunes like “Roll With the Changes.” In this song, Gary Richrath shows exactly why I included him as one of the great guitarists of the 70s and his talents are still under appreciated today. I dare any true rocker to listen to this song and not say that they had a rocking vibe throughout.

In my last post, I stated that “How You Gonna See Me Now” was the first true power ballad. If that’s the case, then “Time for Me to Fly” would be the second. The problem was that I didn’t hear the song until 1980. Like your traditional ballad, it starts with the accoustic intro and builds up before exploding with heavy chords and reinforced by a killer solo from Richrath. Another triumph that makes this album so cool.

Track Listing:

1. Roll With the Changes

2. Time for Me to Fly

3. Runnin’ Blind

4. Blaze Your Own Trail, Again

5. Sing to Me

6. Lucky For You

7. Do You Know Where Your Woman Is Tonight

8. The Unidentified Flying Tuna Trot

9. Say You Love Me or Say Goodnight

REO Speedwagon

Kevin Cronin- vocals, rhythm guitar

Gary Richrath- lead guitar

Bruce Hall- bass

Neil Doughty- keyboards

Alan Gratzer- drums

Before they found the billboard singles charts, REO Speedwagon was a true hard rocking band. This classic album proves this.

Next post: The Cars

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Great Rock Albums of 1978: Alice Cooper- From the Inside

Posted in 1978, Heavy Metal, Music with tags , , , , , , on February 10, 2012 by 80smetalman

If I could call any album from 1978, my favourite for that year, it would have to be this one. “From the Inside” by the legendary Alice Cooper was one of the first albums that I can say that had me rocking to the rafters. Me and this album went through a lot of things together and I can identify with many of the songs on it personally. It got me through my military days, although I was more fortunate than the topic in the song “Jackknife Johnny.” Living among the gambling scene of Atlantic City, I could definitely identify with “Wish I Was Born in Beverly Hills” and for the three years between my discharge from the military and going to England, I really did feel I was on the inside looking out.  “From the Inside” and I rode many miles together and no one could have done it better than Alice Cooper.

It’s not uncommon knowledge that Alice Cooper got the inspiration for the album when he was admitted to a sanitarium for his alcoholism. Every song is based on people he knew there, so insanity is the running theme of the entire album. However, Alice being the genius that he is, was able to put those feelings down to some good music and make it all come alive. I know he had great help from Elton John’s song writer Bernie Taupin and I give him the credit he deserves here, but it was Alice who performed and lived these songs.

Track Listing:

1. From the Inside

2. Wish I was Born in Beverly Hills

3. The Quiet Room

4. Nurse Rosetta

5. Millie and Billie

6. Serious

7. How You Gonna See Me Now

8. For Veronica’s Sake

9. Jackknife Johnny

10. Inmates (We’re All Crazy)


When I first introduced 1978, I said that in that year, the gods of rock were busy at their anvils forging a genre called heavy metal. I still believe this to be the case and I further believe that when they were doing this, they had a copy of this album on their home entertainment centres to give them their inspiration. One song they would have definitely taken note of from this album was the single “How You Gonna See Me Now.” This was the first true power ballad in the very sense of the word. The other tracks make this a true rocking bang your head album, great with a few beers.

Next post: REO Speedwagon- You Can Tune a Piano But You Can’t Tuna Fish

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Great Rock Albums of 1978: Wings- London Town

Posted in Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music with tags , , , , , , on February 7, 2012 by 80smetalman

Once again, I am forced to include another album I left out in the last chapter of great rock albums of the 1970s. This time it’s the “Band on the Run” album from Wings. This is particularly surprising for me because the title track to this album was my favourite song throughout most of 1974. Furthermore, I like the song “Jet” almost as much. So I can’t explain why such a classic album was missed, so here it is now. “Band on the Run” is a classic rock album in the true sense of the word.

First, let me clarify something I mentioned in a previous post, “1978: The Year the Rivers of Rock Began to Overflow.” I said that Paul McCartney and Wings were going disco that year. Not quite, the 1978 Wings album “London Town” is not a disco album, that applies to the next album they put out, which I won’t be visiting when I cover 1979. Saying that, “London Town” is not quite as good as “Band on the Run” although some may disagree with me.

In spite of that, there are some good moments on “London Town.” Many will remember the pop single “With a Little Luck,” an average song that is somehow improved on by the talents of McCartney. However, it is the track, “I’ve Had Enough” that makes the album for me. I remember watching a clip of this song on the old “Midnight Special” show in the 70s and found myself moving my head the way they were. You could say it was the first song I head banged to.

Track Listing:

1. London Town

2. Cafe on the Left Bank

3. I’m Carrying

4. Backwards Traveller

5. Cuff Link

6. Children Children

7. Girlfriend

8. I’ve Had Enough

9. With A Little Luck

10. Famous Groupies

11. Deliver Your Children

12. Name and Address

13. Don’t Let It Bring You Down

14. Morse Moose and the Grey Goose


Paul McCartney- bass, vocals, guitar, drums, percussion, flageolet, keyboards, violim

Linda McCartney- keyboards, vocals

Denny Laine- guitar, bass, vocals, flageolet

Jimmy McCulloch- guitar

Joe English- drums

Comapred to “Band on the Run,” it’s not the greatest Wings album, but “London Town” is still a good listen.

Next post: Alice Cooper- From the Inside

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Great Rock Albums of 1978: Bob Dylan- Street Legal

Posted in Music, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on February 3, 2012 by 80smetalman

I am convinced that Bob Dylan took note of going electric on “Hard Rain” and used it in the making of “Street Legal.” This album marked a major departure for Dylan as he used a complete rock style band and included female backing singers. For some, including many critics in the American press, this was too much and many slammed him for it. Some even accused Bob Dylan of selling out. However, I definitely don’t agree with that. Back in 1978, there was disco and there are no disco sounding tracks on “Street Legal.” If anyone went disco that year, it would have been the Rolling Stones with “Some Girls.”

All I know was when I heard the album back then, I liked it. I believed it was a natural progression from “Hard Rain” and his rocking performance in “The Last Waltz.” Furthermore, I did read some good reviews in some good music magazines and others I talked to liked the album as well. Since, I have concluded that critics of this album were stuck in the mind of seeing Bob Dylan standing alone by the microphone, playing an accoustic guitar and singing through his nose. This was a bold change in direction and I think it was good.

Track Listing:

1. Changing of the Guards

2. New Pony

3. No Time to Think

4. Baby, Stop Crying

5. Is Your Love in Vain?

6. Senor (Tales of Yankee Power)

7. True Love Tends to Forget

8. We Better Talk This Over

9. Where Are You Tonight (Journey Through Dark Heat)



First, Bob Dylan will never don denim and leather and totally rock out, but “Street Legal” shows a different side to him. His willingness to pick up an electric guitar and incorporate it in his songs shows that he could adapt. This album is a good cross for die hard Dylan fans who also love a little rock.

Next post: Wings- London Town

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