Archive for March, 2013

1980: A Golden Decade Begins

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 30, 2013 by 80smetalman

You may be already or if not you will probably soon will be sick of me constantly broadcasting my belief that the 1980’s was the golden age of heavy metal. One of my original motivations for beginning this blog was to trumpet that belief, with the intention of backing it up by portraying all the great albums, bands and other fantastic memories I have from that year. There were some down sides to that golden decade as well, especially with who the US and UK had as president and prime minister during that time, but that’s another matter.

Golden decades have to start somewhere and for me it started in 1980. My life back then was totally different. First and most important, I was serving my country and had been in less than six months when it all began. As a new marine, I was longing to be sent to Iran and go and rescue the hostages single handed. Three days before the botched rescue attempt in the April, my battalion was woken up at two in the morning and driven to the air base forty miles away and put on a plane only to be told it was a drill. Three weeks later, President Carter sent us to Key West Florida to deal with the Cuban refugee crisis. I spent the last four months on a ship sailing around the Mediterranean Sea and Indian Ocean where I got within 67 miles of the coast of Iran, but once again, wasn’t allowed to go and kill anybody.

Enough of my life for that year, what about the music? In the first months of 1980, I can say I was a total convert to Molly Hatchet, playing the “Flirtin’ With Disaster” album constantly.

220px-Molly_Hatchet_-_Flirtin'_with_Disaster

I also found myself being led down the trail of other great bands that would make their mark that year in the form of AC/DC, Judas Priest and especially Van Halen. The first two mentioned would put out albums that would fully enshrine them as all time greats and although in the case of Van Halen, some would look down on the “Women and Children First” album, (I don’t) they would still be one of the biggest names of that year.

Judas Priest

Judas Priest

AC/DC

AC/DC

Van Halen

Van Halen

I will of course be visiting all of these albums when I cover the decade opening year as well as those who were up and coming like Iron Maiden and Saxon and visiting other classic albums as well. So, I hope that you will all join me for what looks like to be a glorious ride through rock/metal history.

Next post: Foreigner- Head Games

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

 

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A Rock/Metal Poll: Who Is The Best Rhythm Guitarist of All Time?

Posted in Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 24, 2013 by 80smetalman

I have written much about guitarists during the two years I have been blogging, but it has all been about the great lead guitarists who have graced us over the years. So today, I thought it would be a grand gesture to pay homage to those unsung heroes, the rhythm guitarists. These are the ones who, while their much more noted and worshiped lead guitarists are cranking out the solos, are playing power chords in rhythm with the music that allows their compatriot to work their magic. Once in a while, they may be allowed to play the occasional solo, but often times just keep striking their chords without any adulation.

So I will not only honour these unsung heroes, I would also like to know who you, my readers, consider to be the best rhythm guitarist. I have put forward a number of candidates but by no means is this list exclusive.

Blackie Lawless- WASP

Blackie Lawless- WASP

Brad Whitford- Aerosmith

Brad Whitford- Aerosmith

Dave Mustane- Megadeth

Dave Mustane- Megadeth

James Hetfield- Metallica

James Hetfield- Metallica

Malcolm Young- AC/DC

Malcolm Young- AC/DC

Glen Frey- The Eagles

Glen Frey- The Eagles

Paul Kantner- Jefferson Starship

Paul Kantner- Jefferson Starship

Rudy Schenker- The Scorpions

Rudy Schenker- The Scorpions

Scott Ian- Anthrax

Scott Ian- Anthrax

I know there are many more out there so all you have to do is comment who your favourite or favourites are. Meanwhile, when you listen to an album from any of the great bands these guys are from, strain your ears for the efforts they are putting in.

Next post: 1980- A Golden Decade Begins

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 Metal Albums of 1979: Van Halen II

Posted in 1979, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on March 21, 2013 by 80smetalman

220px-VanHalenVanHalenII

Since I finished the tour of 1978 with their first album, I thought it was only fitting that I ended my tour of 1979 with their second one. This was definitely one of the albums that converted me to metal and some might say I’m crazy, but VHII is my all time favourite Van Halen album. It could be argued that this is because I listened to this one before I listened to their first one but still, for me, this album is Van Halen at their very best.

This album goes back to a time when they were a tight outfit and the quality of the songs on it show why. Yes, there’s the single “Dance the Night Away,” which I was told got played in a disco. (Can’t say for sure because I never went to those places.) Still, I know many a rocker, like me who really got into this song. Then there’s one of my favourite metal drinking songs, “Bottoms Up.” Great memories of trying to sing the chorus after sinking a few cold ones, okay many cold ones but you get my point. I still strain my ear when the instrumental “Spanish Fly” is played in order to appreciate the guitar work by one of the masters Eddie Van Halen. Of course, after all the other great tracks, what better way to end the album than “Beautiful Girls,” even if David Lee Roth gets shot down at the end of the song.

Track Listing:

1. You’re No Good

2. Dance the Night Away

3. Somebody Get Me a Doctor

4. Bottoms Up!

5. Outta Love Again

6. Light Up the Sky

7. Spanish Fly

8. D.O.A.

9. Women in Love

10. Beautiful Girls

Van Halen

Van Halen

David Lee Roth- vocals

Eddie Van Halen- guitars, backing vocals

Michael Anthony- bass, backing vocals

Alex Van Halen- drums

Before they would get entangled with in fighting and other things, Van Halen made some excellent music. Their second album is proof of this and for me, it was a great way to end the 7os. This concludes my tour of 1979 but stay tuned for we will now proceed to what I consider the golden decade of heavy metal and I hope you will come for the ride to see why I feel that way. But first, I thought I would take a little one post break, (see below).

Next post: A Rock/Metal Poll

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

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

 

Great Rock Albums of 1979: ZZ Top- Deguello

Posted in 1979, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 17, 2013 by 80smetalman

Once again, I realise that I missed at least one more great classic album from before 1978. I could have included several albums by ZZ Top in my “Great Rock Albums of the 70s” chapter, but the one I should have definitely visited was “Tres Hombres.” So here it is:

ZZ_Top_-_Tres_Hombres

What I love about this album is that it features two of my very favourite ZZ Top songs of all time: “La Grange” and “Jesus Just Left Chicago.” Of course the rest of this album is totally killer too, so without any further ceremony, let us proceed to their great offering from 1979, Deguello.

ZZ_Top_-_Degüello

This is the album that when I heard it in my early military days, had me playing air guitar around the barracks, not caring how silly I might have looked. Billy Gibbons shows why he should be counted among the great guitarists of the 70s on this album. It is a fantastic album. It holds many of what I consider some of the forgotten classics by this trio. Of course, I remember the opener “Thank You” and the next to last song on this album, “Cheap Sunglasses,” another great fave of mine. But in between those two are some of the very tracks I used to bop my head to, drink beer to and cruise down the road to while playing on the cassette or 8-track. (Sometimes, I did all three at once.) “She Loves My Automobile,” “I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide” and “Hi fi Mama” were great anthems for me throughout those days. Plus, the bluesy sound of “Fool For Your Stockings” is reminiscent of my favourite “Jesus Just Left Chicago.” So, what’s not to like about “Deguello?”

Track Listing:

1. Thank You

2. She Loves My Automobile

3. I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide

4. A Fool For Your Stockings

5. Manic Mechanic

6. Dust My Broom

7. Lowdown in the Street

8. Hi Fi Mama

9. Cheap Sunglasses

10. Esther Be the One

ZZ Top

ZZ Top

Billy Gibbons- guitar, vocals

Dusty Hill- bass, keyboards, vocals

Frank Beard- drums, percussion

Four years after this great album came out and I returned to civilian life in New Jersey, many of the slightly younger than me generation were all going nuts over the “Eliminator” album. Yes, it’s a great album and I will visit it, but I was rather amused at the way they thought the Top were some great new thing. For me, I always knew how gifted Gibbons, Hill and Beard were and the Deguello album proves it for me. Thanks for giving me great memories.

Next post: Van Halen II

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: Boomtown Rats- The Fine Art of Surfacing

Posted in 1979, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on March 14, 2013 by 80smetalman

220px-Boomtown_Rats_-_The_Fine_Art_Of_Surfacing_album_cover

I have two memories of the Boomtown Rats, the first is their incredible hit, “I Don’t Like Mondays,” which I am very surprised that it only reached 73 on the Billboard Charts, not that I ever paid attention to that. The other was they were featured in the opening title sequence of a programme called “Rock World,” which I used to sometimes watch on Friday nights back in 1980. This means, like so many albums I have visited in this year, I am visiting it retrospectively.

Besides the fore mentioned single, the album has a few other gems on it too. The first two tracks, “Somebody’s Looking At You” and “Diamond Smiles” are attention grabbing and built my hopes for the rest of the album. After that, however, the album seems to level off for the most part except for spikes in the graph compliments of “I Don’t Like Mondays” and “Nothing Happened Today.” Still it’s a good little album.

Like so many other new acts at that time, the mainstream American media was quick to brand the Boomtown Rats as punk and their earlier albums support the claim. However, with “The Fine Art of Surfacing,” they deviate more from that punk style and incorporate other musical styles as well and maybe that’s what makes this album more interesting.

Track Listing:

1. Somebody’s Looking At You

2. Diamond Smiles

3. Windchill Factor

4. Having My Picture Taken

5. Sleep

6. I Don’t Like Mondays

7. Nothing Happened Today

8. Keep It Up

9. Nice N Neat

10 When the Night Comes

The Boomtown Rats

The Boomtown Rats

Bob Geldolf- vocals, saxophone

Peter Briquette- bass, vocals

Gerry Cott- guitar

Johnny Fingers- keyboards, vocals

Simon Crowe – drums

Garry Roberts -guitar, vocals

You have probably already noticed that I have made no mention of Bob Geldolf, the man responsible for Live Aid. I will be the first to acknowledge that before his rise to fame, he first cut his rock and roll teeth here with the Boomtown Rats. He will get his deserved glory later on down the timeline of rock/metal history. In the meantime, here’s a cool album with one of my favourite singles of all time to remember.

R.I.P- Clive Burr

Next post: ZZ Top- Deguello

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 Metal Albums of 1979: The Scorpions- Lovedrive

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

Scorpions-album-lovedrive

I have to make a confession here, I have never, until now, listened to an album by The Scorpions pre- “Blackout.” I know, I need my head examined. In fact, I never knew of their existence until 1982 when I was stationed on Okinawa. There are some cool rock bars on that island and it was in such a place that I was first acquainted with them but that full story is for another time. What makes me feel even more foolish is that fact that I have been missing out on this great album from 1979.

“Lovedrive” is typical of why The Scorpions are probably Germany’s best musical export. Having now finally listened to it, the album totally does it for me. I love the riffs on the opening track “Loving You Sunday Morning” and other tracks like “Just Another Piece of Meat” and “Can’t Get Enough” had me going full tilt. I was also very impressed by the instrumental “Coast to Coast.” That really blew me away. Another reason why I should see a shrink is the fact that I know the ballad “Always Somewhere.” I had it on a compilation tape a long time ago but my car stereo decided it wanted the tape for lunch. Still, shame on me for not at least trying to find out what album it was on.

Track Listing:

1. Loving You Sunday Morning

2. Just Another Piece of Meat

3. Always Somewhere

4. Coast to Coast

5. Can’t Get Enough

6. Is There Anybody There

7. Lovedrive

8. Holiday

The Scorpions

The Scorpions

Klaus Meine- lead vocals

Rudy Schenker- rhythm guitar, backing vocals

Matthias Jabs- lead guitar, backing vocals

Francis Buchholz- bass, backing vocals

Herman Rarebell- drums, backing vocals

Guitar legend Michael Schenker plays lead guitar on two of these tracks as well adding another dimension to this album. What it has made me do is want to go out and buy all of their earlier stuff. If you haven’t listened to the album yet, don’t wait like I did, you’ll regret it.

Next post: The Boomtown Rats- The Fine Art of Surfacing

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 Metal Albums of 1979: Motorhead- Bomber

Posted in 1979, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on March 5, 2013 by 80smetalman

220px-Bomber

With the “Overkill” album, Motorhead knew exactly what direction their music was going to take. The proof in the pudding is clear with the “Bomber” album, released in the same year. This was another album that I listened to in retrospect, but upon hearing it, I was convinced that this was the sound that would define them. “Bomber” is one heavy speed-thrashfest from beginning to end. When I listened to the album the other night, I admit it was the first time in many years, I found myself head banging away. Unfortunately, I couldn’t crank it to the required volume as it was 3 in the morning, but I can’t safely say that it definitely did not put me to sleep.

Like “Overkill,” it is difficult to pinpoint any one track that stands out, for once again, they all do. This is in spite of the fact that there are some classic Motorhead gems on here such as “Dead Men Don’t Tell Tales,” “Sharpshooter” and “Stone Dead Forever.” Those tracks just go along with the rest of the other ones, making this one killer album. Lemmy and the boys should be dead proud.

Track Listing:

1. Dead Men Tell No Tales

2. Lawman

3. Sweet Revenge

4. Sharpshooter

5. Poison

6. Stone Dead Forever

7. All the Aces

8. Step Down

9. Talking Head

10. Bomber

Motorhead

Motorhead

Lemmy Kilmister- bass, vocals

Fast Eddie Clark- guitars, vocals on “Step Down”

Phil “Philthy Animal” Taylor- drums

With “Bomber,” Motorhead were well and truly on their way to metal dominance. This is a classic album and I wish that I had heard it back in the year it had actually come out.

Next post: The Scorpions- Lovedrive

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