Archive for January, 2013

Great Rock One Hit Wonders of 1979

Posted in 1979, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on January 31, 2013 by 80smetalman

Like I did with 1978, I thought I would take a moment to talk about the a few of the one hit wonders of 1979. Those who were famous for that one song but even the album that it appeared on didn’t warrant its own spot here on 80smetalman’s blog. Although there is an exception to the rule in the post, so without any further procrastination, here we go!.

Amii Stewart

Amii Stewart

You’re all probably thinking that I lost the plot here. I know that Amii Stewart’s 1979 hit “Knock On Wood” was a disco song. However, I have decided to include it because throughout the whole disco era of the late 1970s, this was the only disco song I almost, sort of, kind of liked. It did have a catchy bass line which is why I never immediately reached for the volume knob to turn it down when it came on the radio. Funny thing was that when I was in the service on liberty in Toulon, France in 1982, she played a disco there and this was the song used to advertise her appearance.

Patrick Hernandez

Patrick Hernandez

Keeping in the French theme, the second one hit wonder of 1979 tribute goes to French singer Patrick Hernandez for his hit “Born to Be Alive.” Like “Knock on Wood,” this song wasn’t a hard rocking song but unlike it, it wasn’t disco either. I just thought and so did many others at the time, that it was a good fun song that didn’t take itself seriously. I also liked the guitar bit in the musical interlude between the verses. Ten years ago, I saw him being interviewed on television and he fully acknowledges the fact that he was a one hit wonder and he seemed quite proud of that accomplishment.

The Boomtown Rats

The Boomtown Rats

I’ll be the first person to say that the Boomtown Rats are not one hit wonders. The only reason I included them here is because their song “Don’t Like Mondays” wins my favourite song of 1979 award and is up there in the all time list. Back in 2000, I used to follow a metal band around the pubs of Bristol, England and although many of their originals were quite good, I liked the fact that they did an excellent cover of “Don’t Like Mondays.” Saying that, I will give the Boomtown Rats the respect they deserve and visit their 1979 album in the very near future.

There could have been more hits in that year but these are the ones I knew the most. I can point to the three months I was on Parris Island, South Carolina where I was starved musically as the reason why. Still two of the songs here are still worth a good listen and if I’m in the right mood, I can listen to “Knock On Wood” as well.

Next Post: Saxon

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1979: Jefferson Starship- Freedom At Point Zero

Posted in 1979, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on January 24, 2013 by 80smetalman

FreedomAtPointZero

This is one of my favourite albums of all time and definitely my favourite album from Jefferson Starship. Back then they were my favourite band and with this album, Jefferson Starship was progressing in the same way my personal music tastes were progressing. They had abandoned their more mellow progressive sound of the mid to late 70s and took on a much harder, rockier sound and I loved it, still do. Not everyone agreed with the change at the time, Rolling Stone stated that Jefferson Starship had become just another heavy metal band. My reaction to such a claim would have been the same as rhythm guitarist Paul Kantner’s reaction but I won’t tell you what that was til I get to their next album.

Some less informed persons have claimed that the reason why this was their best album was all down to the absence of Grace Slick. I can’t say that I agree with that either. I put the success of “Freedom At Point Zero” down to two other factors: a) Lead guitarist Craig Chaquico is given much more liberty to show what he can do with his guitar on the album and b) Paul Kantner does more of the song writing on it. If you are scratching your head over the last one, listen to the title track and the track “Lightning Rose” and you should see what I mean.

Craig Chaquico

Craig Chaquico

After the departures of lead singers Grace Slick and Marty Balin from the band, Jefferson Starship did leave their mellow out approach behind and took up a more heavier sound. There is their big single “Jane” which starts the album off with a rocky vibe that sticks with you. Other tracks like “Things to Come,” “The Girl With the Hungry Eyes” (that title has always amused me) and “Rock Music” are good rocking sounds that bear the banner for this album. Even the more laid back songs like “Fading Lady Light” don’t totally abandon this and the one thing I can say that despite the harder sound, their creativity from those earlier years still is evident. This is why it’s my favourite Jefferson Starship album.

Track Listing:

1. Jane

2. Lightening Rose

3. Things to Come

4. Awakening

5. Girl With the Hungry Eyes

6. Just the Same

7. Rock Music

8. Fading Lady Light

9. Freedom at Point Zero

js

Pete Sears- bass, keyboards

Ansley Dunbar- drums

David Freiberg- bass, keyboards, vocals

Paul Kantner- rhythm guitar, vocals

Craig Chaquico- lead guitar, vocals

Mickey Thomas- vocals

“Freedom At Point Zero” is considered the best album by Jefferson Starship in the opinion of myself and many others. They made a major transformation to the world of hard rock and did so with some impressive ease, although I always knew they had it in them. I thought there would be no better way of ending the great rock albums of 79 tour than this. I will be going into the great metal albums of that year after a one stop detour. However, I will pass on the advice that Jefferson Starship give in one of their songs: “Rock and roll is good time music, listen to it.”

Next post: Rock One Hit Wonders of 1979

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

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

 

Great Rock Albums of 1979: The Rose- Soundtrack

Posted in 1979, films, Music, Rock, soundtracks, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on January 18, 2013 by 80smetalman

Therose

This 1979 film starring Bette Midler is a great film about a female rock star in the late sixties. Many have said that the film was based on Janis Joplin and that’s not a bad thing. After all, Janis was the primitive archetype of what the modern rock chick is today. It is also the reason why I enjoyed the film so much when I first saw it. It was a real experience when Bette Midler, in character, rushed onto the stage during one of the concert scenes and shouted to the audience, “Hey you mother fuckers!” It was also the first time I heard the terms sex, drugs and rock and roll used together. From then on, its been that for me all the way.

Janis Joplin

Janis Joplin

Not only was it a cool film, but the soundtrack is very good. There are some real good rocking tracks on it like “Sold My Soul to Rock and Roll” and “Keep On Rockin,” the latter co-written by Sammy Hagar. It also reminded me that if done right, a horn section can go very well with some straight ahead rock and roll. Of course, there is the more tender moments like the song the bears the title of the film and soundtrack, obviously made for the top 40 singles charts at the time. And although this sounds morbid, I do like the song “Let Me Call You Sweetheart” where the character dies in the film while singing it on stage. Nonetheless, this soundtrack for me rivals the soundtrack to “The Warriors” for best film soundtrack for the year.

Track Listing:

1. Who’s Side Are You On

2. Midnight in Memphis

3. Concert Monologue

4. When A Man Loves A Woman

5. Sold My Soul to Rock and Roll

6. Keep on Rockin’

7. Love Me With A Feeling

8. Camellia

9. Homecoming Monologue

10. Stay With Me

11. Let Me Call You Sweetheart

12. The Rose

Bette Midler as The Rose

Bette Midler as The Rose

Bette Midler- Lead Vocals

Danny Weis- guitar

Steve Hunter- guitar

Mark Leonard- bass

Robbie Buchanan- keyboards

Pentti “Whitey” Glan- drums

Norton Buffalo- harmonica and trombone, background vocals

Jerry Jumonville- saxophone

Mark Underwood- trumpet

Billy Champlin- background vocals

Donny Gerrard- background vocals

Visiting this soundtrack makes me want to see the film again, I haven’t seen it in about twenty years so I’m about due. This is a great film with a great soundtrack and you should like both.

Next post: Jefferson Starship- Freedom At Point Zero

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in 1979, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on January 14, 2013 by 80smetalman

If it wasn’t for mikeldadano bringing this album to light, I would have left it out of my tour of the great rock albums of 1979. Full marks to him.

mikeladano.com

SAM_1921

RAINBOW – Down To Earth (1979, 2011 Universal deluxe edition)

I was a little surprised (in a good way) that Down To Earth by Rainbow was given the deluxe treatment.  I really only expected the Dio albums to be re-released in such grand fashion, but here we are with the sole Graham Bonnet offering.  (To date, the debut album Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow has yet to be issued in deluxe form.)

The brand new liner notes reveal that Cozy Powell was not happy with the commercialization of Rainbow’s sound, and that’s why he quit the band. Indeed, Down To Earth sounds like a very different band from that who recorded Long Live Rock ‘N’ Roll. (And in fact only Cozy and Ritchie Blackmore remain from that album.)

Having said that, Down To Earth is a damn near perfect confection of Blackmore’s sublime riffing and commercial rock. Yes, many of these songs…

View original post 580 more words

Great Rock Albums of 1979: Led Zeppelin- In Through the Outdoor

Posted in 1979, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on January 13, 2013 by 80smetalman

Led_Zeppelin_-_In_Through_the_Out_Door_alt

If a metalhead who had been one since the 1980s or later was to listen to “In Through the Outdoor” by Led Zeppelin, they would have serious doubts about the band being one of the founding fathers of heavy metal. This album is a far cry from their earlier and much heavier material. There are no songs with that heavy rocking sound such as “Whole Lotta Love,” “Communication Breakdown,” “Rock and Roll” and my personal favourite, “Black Dog.” Two reasons are cited for this: i) After the death of Robert Plant’s son in 1977, he no longer was in the mood to sing, “It’s been a long time since I rocked and rolled.” I can’t in any way blame him for that. ii) Led Zeppelin stated that they were looking to achieve some sort of musical integrity. 

Saying all of that, this is still a great album containing the high quality work one would have expected from Led Zeppelin. There is a little bit of humour to the album in my mind with songs like “Fool in the Rain” and “Hot Dog.” The other tracks carry a more defined sound and the ten minute plus long “Carouselambra” is a classic trademark of the talented people that Led Zeppelin were. One minor note, if I was in any way producing the album, I would have put the excellent track, “All of My Love” at the very end. This would have been a great way to end the album and when I listen to it in its full, after hearing the aforementioned track, I don’t really want to listen to the concluding track, “I’m Gonna Crawl” and that’s not fair to it. 

Track Listing:

1. In the Evening

2. South Bend Suarez

3. Fool in the Rain

4. Hot Dog

5. Carouselambra

6. All of My Love

7. I’m Gonna Crawl

Led Zeppelin

Led Zeppelin

Robert Plant- vocals

Jimmy Page- guitars

John Paul Jones- bass, keyboards

John Bonham- drums

This would be the last studio album made before the tragic death of drummer John Bonham in 1980 and for most people would spell the end of the band. Like so many, I associate “In Through the Outdoor” as their last hurrah but it is still a great one to finish off with and to me, they definitely achieve their musical integrity. 

Next post: Soundtrack- The Rose

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Great Rock Albums of 1979: Little River Band- First Under the Wire

Posted in 1979, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on January 10, 2013 by 80smetalman

220px-FirstUnderTheWire

This has always been my impression of the Little River Band and this album. It was the album you play on your car cassette deck, (remember they didn’t have CD’s back in 1979) on you way home from a good night out. You have a lady in the car with you, could be your girlfriend or maybe you got lucky with that girl at the end of the bar, no matter. Anyway, you put this album on because it’s a good mood enhancer. The soft rock tones won’t scare the lady off but it has enough of a hard edge to let you know that you’re not selling out and going to buy an Air Supply album next time you’re at the stores.

One of the ironic things about “First Under the Wire” is that one of the hardest tracks on the album, “Lonesome Loser” is probably one of their most successful singles. I won’t go as far as to say that it’s a headbanger, but there are some pretty impressive guitar licks in the song. This is the other thing about the Little River Band, although they are classed as soft rock, there are some impressive guitar solos in a good number of songs. This is true with the other hard(ish) song, “Hard Life.” The rest of the album has that late night mellow out feel with a little bit of a jazzy rock vibe. The other single, “Cool Change” is an example and is a good song if you ever find yourself out to sea in a small boat.

Track Listing:

1. Lonesome Loser

2. The Rumour

3. By My Side

4. Cool Change

5. It’s Not a Wonder

6. Hard Life (prelude)

7. Hard Life

8. Middle Man

9. Man on the Run

10. Mistress of Mine

Little River Band

Little River Band

Glenn Shorrock- vocals

David Briggs- lead guitar

Greaham Goble- guitar

Beeb Birtles- guitar

Barry Sullivan- bass

Derek Pellici- drums

Mal Logan- keyboards

So if you want something to either mellow out to or to get your partner in the mood, then album might just do the trick. It is a soft rock album but there are moments of hardness to it. An enjoyable album.

Next post: Led Zepplin- In Through the Out Door

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

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

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1979: Journey- Evolution

Posted in 1979, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on January 7, 2013 by 80smetalman

220px-Journey_Evolution

It has been said and I won’t debate it, that the hit single from this album, “Lovin’ , Touchin’, Squeezin'” is one of the soppiest love songs of all time. Maybe so, but trust me on this, back in late 1979 and early 80, if you wanted to get a girl out on the dance floor on a couples skate, then this was the song that would do it. Yes, this song was big with a lot of females at the time, my then disco loving little sister included. (She saw the error of her ways about a year later.) Saying that, it wasn’t a bad song and I did like it. The correction I would have made to it was when the song was fading out at the end with the “Na na na na na’s,” I would have increased the volume of the lead guitar that was playing in the background.

As I always said, one song does not an album make. There are a lot of good tracks on here as I remembered when I refamiliarised myself with it the other night. It took me back to the memories of my old friend from New Jersey who played the track “City of the Angels” half to death. That is also a very good song and shows that the “Evolution” album is not a one track wonder. The songs after “City of the Angels” are some good blues based hard rock tunes with some good all around musicianship, especially the guitar talents of Schon,  to go with the unique vocals of Steve Perry.

Track Listing:

1. Majestic

2. Too Late

3. Lovin’ Touchin’ Squeezin’

4. City of the Angels

5. When You’re Alone (It ain’t easy)

6. Sweet and Simple

7. Lovin’ You is Easy

8. Just the Same Way

9. Do You Recall

10. Daydream

11. Lady Luck

Journey

Journey

Steve Perry- lead vocals

Neil Schon- guitars, vocals

Greg Rollie- keyboards, vocals

Steve Smith- drums, vocals

Ross Valory- bass, vocals

Some would say that this was the last good rock album before Journey would make the descent into sounding commercial. I’m not sure about that one but it will be interesting to see as we continue the journey through time. In the mean time, enjoy this great classic album from a class rock band.

Next post: Little River Band- First Under the Wire

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

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