Archive for October, 2012

Great Rock Albums of 1979: Jethro Tull- Stormwatch

Posted in 1979, 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on October 28, 2012 by 80smetalman

The longer this journey continues down the road of rock/metal history through the eyes of 80smetalman, the more people will hear me refer to the 1980s as the golden age of heavy metal, which they were. However, the journey hasn’t arrived at the 80s yet so while we are still in the 70s, I will refer to that decade as the golden age of progressive rock. There were many, many great artists who defined prog rock and made it the phenomenon it was in the 1970s. It seems that musicians were given more license to be creative and this resulted in some fantastic songs and albums that demonstrated some great musicianship and true artistic genius and Jethro Tull were one of these.

I was about to go out on a limb here and say that “Stormwatch” was the last great progressive rock album of the 1970s, then I realised that I still have to visit Supertramp’s “Breakfast In America” album so there might be a bone of contention here. However, when I listen to “Stormwatch” I am immediately reminded of the ancient days of great progressive rock. The track which defines those days the best is the instrumental “Warm Sporran.” This song shows off the musicianship that brought Jethro Tull into the spotlight of prog rock throughout the 70s. All of the other tracks are just as well defined   and I forgot how much I really liked the song “Something’s on the Move.”

Track Listing:

1. North Sea Oil

2. Orion

3. Home

4. Dark Ages

5. Warm Sporran

6. Something’s on the Move

7. Old Ghosts

8. Dug Ringhill

9. Flying Dutchman

10. Elegy

Jethro Tull

Ian Anderson- vocals, flute, acoustic guitar, bass

Martin Barre- guitars, mandolin

Barriemore Barlow- drums, percussion

John Evan- piano, organ

David Palmer- synthesisers, orchestra arrangements

John Glascock- bass

In the late 1970s, prog rock gave way to punk (although some say disco, but I say no). One of the reasons cited is that many listeners grew tired of twenty minute long songs where every musician gets to showcase their talents. I can slightly agree with that sentiment although I still like the occasional long jam. On “Stormwatch” there are no twenty minuters, the longest songs are nine and seven minutes and the others are between three and four. Maybe this was why this album is so good, it caters for both tastes here in regards to song length but in no way does the quality of the musicianship detract from it and makes it a great progressive album.

Next post: Gillian- Mr Universe

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Great Albums of 1979: Blondie- Eat to the Beat

Posted in 1978, 1979, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 26, 2012 by 80smetalman

There’s no denying it, it is a fact that 1979 was the year for Blondie. They began the year with their 1978 release “Parallel Lines” which included the number 1 hit single “Heart of Glass.” One of the few songs to successfully make the rock-disco crossover that year. Debbie Harry became a common fixture on the walls of many teenage boys, including mine. Then they ended the year with “Eat to the Beat,” also a good album. Along with “Get the Knack” and “The Long Run” by the Eagles, this was also one of the albums that first greeted me when I came home on leave from that no contact with the outside world three month period I call boot camp.




Debbie Harry






I won’t go into a compare/contrast with “Parallel Lines” the way I did with Fleetwood Mac’s “Tusk” album. “Eat to the Beat” took Blondie into a more new wave direction. The hard rock sound is still there but it seems more melodic this time around. There are some very good tracks like the singles, “Dreaming” and “Atomic” and I really like “Accidents Never Happen.” It is a good album on its own and kept Blondie at the top of the rock music hill for 1979 and early 1980.

Track Listing:

1. Dreaming

2. The Hardest Part

3. Union City Blues

4. Shayla

5. Eat to the Beat

6. Accidents Never Happen

7. Die Young, Stay Pretty

8. Slow Motion

9. Atomic

10. Sound Asleep

11. Victor

12. Living in the Real World


Deborah Harry- vocals

Chris Stein- lead guitar

Jimmy Destri- keyboards, backing vocals

Nigel Harrison- bass

Frank Infante- guitar, backing vocals

Clem Burke- drums

“Eat to the Beat” was the second of two great albums from Blondie and the reason why 1979 was their year. Many boys like me first listened to them because they liked the lead singer, but stayed with them because of the music. It was something great to come home from boot camp to.

Next post: Jethro Tull- Stormwarning

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Great Rock Albums of 1979: Fleetwood Mac- Tusk

Posted in 1979, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on October 21, 2012 by 80smetalman

After more than two years since Fleetwood Mac had made what many called the album of the 70s’ “Rumours,” the follow up album “Tusk” was released. Because “Rumours” was such a big album, many listeners were expecting another blockbuster album. Being one of those people, I was at first rather disappointed when I first heard “Tusk.” The album lacked the  great rock outs such as “Go Your Own Way” and “The Chain,” which is still my favourite bass line of all time, that were on the “Rumours” album. “Tusk” presented itself as a more mellower easy listening album.

It took me a couple of listens, but eventually “Tusk” began to grow on me. There are quite a few good songs on it like “Not That Funny” and “Think About Me” and while it might not be an album I would listen to on the way to a metal concert, it is one that I would listen to coming home late at night from one. The softer rock on this album is still of a good quality.

Track Listing:

1. Over and Over

2. The Ledge

3. Think About Me

4. Save Me a Place

5. Sarah

6. What Makes You Think You’re the One

7. Storms

8. That’s All For Everyone

9. Not That Funny

10. Sisters of the Moon

11. Angel

12. That’s Enough For Me

13. Brown Eyes

14. Never Make Me Cry

15. I Know I’m Not Wrong

16. Honey Hi

17. Beautiful Child

18. Walk a Thin Line

19. Tusk

20. Never Forget

Fleetwood Mac

Stevie Nicks- vocals, keyboards

Lindsey Buckingham- guitars, vocals, piano, harmonica

Christine McVie- piano, keyboards, accordion, vocals

John McVie- bass

Mick Fleetwood- drums, percussion

While its not as magnificent as the highly recognised “Rumours” album, “Tusk” is still a good album nonetheless. You may not bang your head away to any of the songs, but it’s a good listen when you need to wind down or other related activities. This album was one of the most expensive albums to make at the time and it is believed that because Fleetwood Mac were at the height of their popularity, the ego factor got involved in making this album. I don’t know about all that, although I wouldn’t be surprised if it was true.

Next post: Blondie- Eat to the Beat

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Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

Great Rock Albums of 1979: The Police- Regatta De Blanc

Posted in 1979, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on October 17, 2012 by 80smetalman

I was first introduced to The Police when a marine buddy suggested I listen to the song “Message in a Bottle” from this album. I won’t go as far as to say I was hooked or converted but I did like the song enough to check out the rest of the album. What I found was a sound that I thought was different at the time and for me it worked. The marines had opened my eyes to many forms of music and although I already knew the musical path I wanted to take, I found myself liking this new sound called reggae, thanks to Bob Marley. Therefore, when the reggae-rock fusion from The Police reached my ears, I liked it.

“Regatta De Blanc” has not one but two number one singles on it, for those who think that’s important. The track “Walking on the Moon” also reached that plateau although I feel it’s not as good as “Message in a Bottle.” What I like about this album is how the tracks seem to alternate between a rock and a reggae sound. There is a definite reggae influence in the two hit singles but a more rockier feel in songs such as “Its All Right For You,” “Contact” and “Ne Time This Time.” With my old man’s head on, I theorize that The Police were still looking for which direction they wanted to go with this album. My belief is this album should have been the direction they eventually went. 

Track Listing:

1. Message in a Bottle

2. Regatta De Blanc

3. Its All Right For You

4. Bring on the Night

5. Deathwish

6. Walking on the Moon

7. On Any Other Day

8. The Bed’s Too Big Without You

9. Contact

10. Does Everyone Stare

11. No Time This Time

The Police

Sting- bass, lead and backing vocals

Andy Summers- guitar, piano

Stewart Copeland- drums, guitar on verses and chorus of “Its All Right for You”, lead vocals on “On Any Other Day”

A few years after this album, in my mind and the minds of many others, The Police would eventually sell out and become another top forty band. However, this album reminds me of another time and it’s these memories that I will always keep. 

Next post: Fleetwood Mac- Tusk

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Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London 



Great Rock Albums of 1979: Bob Dylan- At Budokan

Posted in 1978, 1979, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on October 10, 2012 by 80smetalman

Cheap Trick weren’t the only ones who put out a live album from Budokan in 1979, Bob Dylan did too. Like Cheap Trick, this was taken from concerts recorded there in 1978 and released early in the following year. On the album, Dylan plays some of the long time classics as well as some of the tracks from the albums that were more recent around that time. For someone who didn’t have have every Bob Dylan album around then and wanted a good mix of Dylan material, this live recording provides all of this. Classics such as “Mr Tambourine Man” and “Like a Rolling Stone” feature heavily here and others like “Shelter From the Storm” also get a good play, although I still prefer the version of that song from “Hard Rain.”

When “At Budokan” was released, Dylan had some harsh reviews from critics and Dylan purists alike. Critics, like Rolling Stone said the album was slick and sterile while some purists accused him of selling out. This album was not a sell out for me. See, if Dylan wanted to sell out back in 1979, he would have put a disco beat in all of his songs. That would have been a sell out! To me, like I said above, this is a good and sometimes alternative listen to some classic Dylan tunes and there is nothing I dislike about it.

Track Listing:

1. Mr Tambourine Man

2. Shelter From the Storm

3. Love Minus Zero No Limit

4. The Ballad of a Thin Man

5. Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right

6. Maggie’s Farm

7. One More Cup of Coffee

8. Like a Rolling Stone

9. I Shall Be Released

10. Is Your Love In Vain

11. Going Going Gone

12. Blowin’ Like the Wind

13. Just Like a Woman

14. Oh Sister

15. All Along the Watchtower

16. A Simple Twist of Fate

17. I Want You

18. All I Really Wanna Do

19. Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door

20. It’s All Right Ma, I’m Only Bleeding

21. Forever Young

22. The Times They Are a Changin’

Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan- rhythm guitar, vocals, harmonica

Billy Cross-  lead guitar

Steve Douglas- saxophone, flute, recorder

Debi Dye- backing vocals

Bobby Hall- percussion

Jo Ann Harris- backing vocals

David Mansfield- pedal steel, violin, mandolin, dobro, guitar

Alan Pasqua- keyboards

Ed Rash- tambourine

Steven Soles- acoustic rhythm guitar, backing vocals

Helena Springs- backing vocals

Rob Stoner- bass, backing vocals

Ian Wallace- drums

This album would be the last before Bob Dylan’s conversion to Christianity but that’s a story for further down the road in 1979. For me, this album is a great way to reminisce over many of the great classics of Bob Dylan.

Next Post: The Police- Regatta De Blanc

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Great Rock Albums of 1979: Hawkwind- PXR5

Posted in 1979, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on October 5, 2012 by 80smetalman

I had never heard of Hawkwind back in 1979. They came to my attention a few years later from an old friend who was a few years older and listened to them quite a lot through the 70’s and as far as I know continues to do so. When he treated me to some of their material from the early and mid 70’s, I have to admit I was rather impressed. At the time, I made many comparisons to Pink Floyd in the sense that I thought they were one of those groups you listen to when you want to sit in a secluded room while puffing the magic dragon and contemplating the meaning of the universe. I would later discover that none other than Lemmy from Motorhead fame was a former Hawkwind member and that only made me want to check them out more. I got that opportunity when I first got to England. Not one but two of the friends I made in that first year were hardcore fans and treated me to more of their music.

Confession time, “PXR5” is one of those albums I had to rely on YouTube for before I could write about it here. In fact, it was the first time I heard the album in its full glory. I remembered the great tracks “PXR5” and “Robot” and vaguely remember “Uncle Sam’s on Mars” mainly due to the amusing title. Now I can say that the rest of the album is just as good. I hear a hard rock edge to it which I like, especially with the opening track “Death Trap,” which it doesn’t loose. In short, I really like this album.

Track Listing:

1. Death Trap

2. Jack of Shadows

3. Uncle Sam’s on Mars

4. Infinity

5. Life Form

6. Robot

7. High Rise

8. PXR5


Robert Calvert- vocals

David Brock- guitar, keyboards, vocals

Adrian Shaw- bass

Simon House- violin, keyboards

Simon King- drums

What I love about Hawkwind is that fact that it’s hard to put them into a nice fitting category. Wikipedia tries to by referring to this album as “space rock” and while I won’t debate that, I wouldn’t be so quick as to label them. Hawkwind have a unique sound that incorporates a bit of hard rock, progressive rock and some others. That probably makes it perfect listening for when you are in outer space.

Next post: Bob Dylan- Live at Budokan

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Great Rock Albums on 1979: REO Speedwagon- Nine Lives

Posted in 1979, 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 2, 2012 by 80smetalman

Nowadays, when REO Speedwagon is mentioned, the first thing that pops into most people’s heads are love rock ballads such as “Can’t Fight This Feeling” and “Keep On Loving You.” Yes, unfortunately REO Speedwagon is an example of what happened to a lot of great bands who managed to get a song in the top ten back in the early 80s. After that, they try to make all their songs sound like that hit single and abandoned the hard rock that got them there in the first place. They weren’t the only band this happened to either.

“Nine Lives” was the first ever album by REO Speedwagon I listened to and my total reaction to it was “This album really rocks!” From the heavy riffs of the opening track “Heavy On Your Love” through to the crunching guitars of “Only the Strong Survive” and the great hard rock musicianship that made “Easy Money” and their own rocking spin on the classic Beach Boys hit “Rock and Roll Music,” that finally culminates in the pure heavy finale of “Back On the Road Again,” I can say this album is a true rocker. The music is a far cry from some of their later stuff. It’s even heavier that their 1978 smash “You Can Tune a Piano, But You Can’t Tuna Fish.” Even the album cover suggests heavy metal. If they didn’t do it in 1979, some heavy metal band in the 80s would have definitely used a cover photo like this on their album. I will go on a limb and speculate that maybe Motley Crue got some of their image ideas from this.

Track Listing:

1. Heavy On Your Love

2. Drop It (An Old Disguise)

3. Only the Strong Survive

4. Easy Money

5. Rock and Roll Music

6. Take Me

7. I Need You Tonight

8. Meet Me On the Mountain

9. Back On the Road Again

REO Speedwagon

Kevin Cronin- lead vocals, rhythm guitar, acoustic guitar

Gary Richrath- lead guitar, B52 guitar

Neil Doughty- keyboards

Bruce Hall- bass, backing vocals, lead vocal on “Back On the Road Again”

Alan Gratzer- drums, percussion, backing vocals

For those who are only familiar with REO Speedwagon’s more pop oriented 80’s sound, then you must go back and listen to “Nine Lives.” The hard rock sound on this album will leave you asking yourself, “Is this the same band?” For this album is a true hard rocking classic and yes I will mention again what an underrated guitarist Gary Richrath has been. For he totally smashes it here!

Next Post: Hawkwind- PXR5

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Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London