Archive for April, 2013

Great Rock Albums of 1980: The Beatles- Rarities

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on April 28, 2013 by 80smetalman

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You are all now totally convinced that I have completely lost the plot. A Beatles album in 1980? They had broken up ten years prior to this. I will be the first to admit that this “Rarities” album released in 1980 was yet another attempt to milk more money out of The Beatles name off the many fans who followed and still follow them now but that didn’t stop me from buying this album. I admit, I have always been a big fan of The Beatles and while I question why some of the tracks on this album are considered rarities, there are others on it that made me decide that I had to buy it.

“Love Me Do,” “Help” and “Penny Lane” are all well known Beatles classics to me and I do not consider them to be rare. They are all good songs nonetheless and only added to my desire for this album. The case is also true to one of my all time favourites “I Am The Walrus,” a song that continues to amuse me some four decades later. “Sie Liebt Dich,” which is the all time classic “She Loves You” sung in German is for me a definite rarity and also my first piece of evidence that music can be enjoyable in whatever language it is sung in. “Across the Universe” would have been another one where I debated it being called rare. However, the version on this album is different to the one I heard on The Blue Album. The song begins the sound effect of a flock of birds flying off and the chorus is accompanied by a children’s choir and is very well done. I still get a kick out of the next to last track “You Know My Name Look Up the Number” where there is a vocal part by one of them using a woman’s voice. It reminds me of Monty Python.

Out of all the tracks mentioned, there is one track that stands alone. “Helter Skelter” is the track that makes this album for me, even if the the version on this album omits that famous rant from Ringo, “I got blisters on my fingers!” As most people agree, The Beatles influenced many genres of rock music and the song “Helter Skelter” is my evidence that they even had an influence on heavy metal. Two metal bands I can think of off the top of my head, Motley Crue and Vow Wow, have recorded covers of this Beatles classic as well as Pat Benatar in her more hard rocking days.  I probably would have bought this album for this song alone.

Track Listing:

1. Love Me Do

2. Misery

3. There’s a Place

4. Sie Leibt Dich

5. And I Love Her

6. Help

7. I’m Only Sleeping

8. I Am the Walrus

9. Penny Lane

10. Helter Skelter

11. Don’t Pass Me By

12. The Inner Light

13. Across the Universe

14. You Know My Name Look Up the Number

15. Sgt. Pepper’s Inner Groove

The Fab Four

The Fab Four

John Lennon- guitar, vocals

Paul McCartney- bass, piano, vocals

George Harrison- guitar, vocals

Ringo Starr- drums, vocals

Back in the 90’s, I was at a 60’s theme party where the self appointed deejay was playing a bunch of one hit wonders who nobody remembered and as a result the dance floor was empty. I suggested putting this album on and once I did, the dance floor filled right up. This is proof that everybody knows The Beatles even if some of their songs are considered rarities. On a personal note, if I were producing this album, I would have included the songs “Octopus’s Garden” and “The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill” but that’s just me. The Beatles influenced a lot of rock music, even heavy metal. So when you put on your next metal album, think of them.

Next post: Billy Joel- Glass Houses

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 1980: Queen- The Game

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on April 25, 2013 by 80smetalman

220px-Queen_The_Game This album first came to my attention back in 1980 when the single “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” was played on a juke box in a bar whose name I can’t remember. At first, I thought it was an Elvis Presley song and I wasn’t the only one. That whole song radiated The King, especially Brian May’s guitar solo. When I discovered it was actually Queen, I was even more impressed and liked the song that much more.

Of course, most people not in metal, those who worship the Top 40 charts especially, identify “The Game” with the number one hit single from the album, “Another One Bites the Dust.” That song crossed over into previously uncharted territory for Queen because it also reached number one in the soul charts. I remember many of my African American comrades in arms listening to it extensively and found it a little amusing one day when one such comrade said to another, “These are a bunch of white boys.” However, I doubt that many of them actually bought this album. What I always liked about that song is that it showed what a brilliant bassist John Deacon was.

My record buying philosophy has always been not to buy an album on account of one or two songs. The three prominent singles from the album: the two I already mentioned plus “Play the Game” are not indicative of this album. “Play the Game” is a decent opener but the second track, “Dragon Attack” is a total rocker as is the fourth track “I Need Your Loving Tonight,” which after many years of not listening to it, is now firmly entrenched in my brain like it had been back then. The last five tracks are all classic Queen and that includes my favourite track on the album, “Don’t Try Suicide.”

Track Listing:

1. Play The Game

2. Dragon Attack

3. Another One Bites the Dust

 4. I Need Your Loving Tonight

5. Crazy Little Thing Called Love

6. Rock It

7. Don’t Try Suicide

8. Sail Away Sweet Sister

9. Come On

10. Save Me

Queen

Queen

Freddie Mercury- vocals, synthesiser

Brian May- guitars, vocals, piano, synthesiser

Roger Taylor- drums, percussion, vocals, piano, rhythm guitar

John Deacon- bass, vocals, guitar, synthesiser

“The Game” has been considered more of a pop album and with some of the singles from it, there is scope for that argument. However, I’m not going to argue it here, For me, “The Game” still radiates some classic Queen and is a brilliant album.

Next post: The Beatles- Rarities

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 1980: Alice Cooper- Flush the Fashion

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 22, 2013 by 80smetalman

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Back in 1980, this was the one album I was always intending to buy but never got around to actually doing so. It was there on the music counter of my PX for a number of months so I ask myself now, “Why did I never buy it?” The funny thing is that I have no answer to that question especially as “Flush the Fashion” was the follow up to my all time favourite Alice Cooper album “From the Inside.” Maybe the reason is that except for it being at the PX, I don’t remember anyone outside mentioning the album at all and therefore didn’t take the chance. Having now finally listened to it, I can say that I regret that decision somewhat.

The early 1980s were dark days for Alice. He was heavily into drink and drugs and this was one of the albums he doesn’t even remember recording. His career had been on the wane before that as many of his albums, except for “From the Inside,” lacked that punch that was so in your face with his earlier albums. Saying that, he did have some Top 40 success during the late 70s.

“Flush the Fashion” was Alice Cooper’s attempt to go more new wave. Like The Ramones, all of the songs, with exception of “Pain,” are all well under the four minute mark and quite a few of those are less than three. But I must say, when I listened to the album, I do say that I liked it. “Clones” is a fantastic song and some others like “Model Citizen,” “Talk Talk” and “Aspirin Damage” are all very good songs. Unlike the more progressive sound from his previous album, this one has a more straight forward hard rock feel to it and it works on many levels. Still it’s not quite as good as that previous album or any of his more classic material.

Track Listing:

1. Talk Talk

2. Clones

3. Pain

4. Leather Boots

5. Aspirin Damage

6. Nuclear Infected

7. Grim Facts

8. Model Citizen

9. Dance Yourself to Death

10. Headlines

Alice Cooper

Alice Cooper

Alice Cooper- lead vocals

Davey Johnstone- guitar

Fred Mandel- keyboards, guitar

Dennis Conway- drums

John Cooker Lopresti- bass

Howard Kaylan- backing vocals

Mark Volman- backing vocals

Keith Allison- backing vocals

Joe Pizzulo- backing vocals

Ricky Tierney- backing vocals

For Alice, “Flush the Fashion” was the beginning of a steep descent into near oblivion, which would only end a few more years down the line. I agree that he wasn’t at the top of his game when he recorded it but when you listen to it, you can definitely imagine how good his albums were when he was at the top of his game.

Next post: Queen- The Game

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 1980: The Ramones- End of the Century

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on April 18, 2013 by 80smetalman

Ramones_-_End_of_the_Century_cover

Throughout the 70’s there were a number of “family groups” who made the airwaves. We had the likes of The Jackson Five, The Osmonds and the De Franco family all of whom graced the pop charts in that decade. However, none of those mentioned, in my humble opinion, ever came close to matching The Ramones. Except for the Sex Pistols, The Ramones were the first punk band (at least that’s what they were labelled as back then) that I listened to. I have always dug their one, two, three go playing style with songs that totally stomp you into the ground in less than three minutes and it was their 1980 album, “End of the Century” that did it.

When I listened to the album again, I had the same reaction that I had when I first listened to it thirty plus years ago. I thought the first three tracks were all right but nothing to get terribly excited over and then “Chinese Rock” just came out and totally kicked my ass. Just like old times, I found myself wanting to slam dance around the living room. The rest of the album just kind of followed suit after that. “Let’s Go” and “I Can’t Make It On Time” were also stand outs as well but this album just happens to feature my all time favourite Ramones tune, “Rock And Roll High School.” I still love how they add the 50’s style harmonizing with the hard fast sound they’re known for. A great song because for the past three decades I continue to sing those lyrics:

“I just want to get some kicks

 “I just want to get some chicks.”

Track Listing:

1. Do You Remember Rock And Roll Radio

2. I’m Affected

3. Danny Says

4. Chinese Rock

5. The Return of Jack and Judy

6. Let’s Go

7. Baby, I Love You

8. I Can’t Make It On Time

9. This Ain’t Havana

10. Rock And Roll High School

11. All the Way

12. High Risk Insurance

The Ramones

The Ramones

Joey Ramone- lead vocals

Johnny Ramone- lead guitar

Dee Dee Ramone- bass, backing vocals

Marky Ramone- drums

It can be argued that The Ramones were the early pioneers of speed metal. After all, not many bands, then or now have albums that contain twelve tracks but have a total length of less than 35 minutes. These guys were ahead of their time and many bands easily cite them as an influence. With an album like “End of the Century,” it’s easy to see why.

Next post: Alice Cooper- Flush the Fashion

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 1980: Rush- Permanent Waves

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 14, 2013 by 80smetalman

220px-Rush_Permanent_Waves Living proof that my mind is going in my old age. Two posts ago, I stated that no other band with the possible exception of Kansas could equal Styx in the fusion of progressive and hard rock. There is another who should never be left out when talking about this category and I’m posting about them right now. Throughout the mid to late seventies, Rush have brought their unique blend of progressive and hard rock to the ears of many with great success. Some of the albums I have visited in the past like “2112” and “Farewell to Kings” bear witness to this. Rush are truly one of the all time greats.

The 1980 album “Permanent Waves” is no different. Back then, I knew and loved the song “Free Will”  but it was later before I really came to appreciate this album. That happened in 1986 when I used to frequent a night spot in London called Oscar’s (it’s a McDonald’s now) on their Friday night heavy metal nights. “Spirit of the Radio” was often played and it always got me out onto the floor, headbanging away to it and into many a floor pile up during the guitar solo. FFI, on what I mean, you’ll have to read “Rock And Roll Children.”

“Permanent Waves” is not a heavy metal album as it has a definite progressive sound to it. “Jacob’s Ladder” begins with what I would call an intriguing guitar intro but as a complete song, can definitely stand on it’s own. Then there’s the leaning to the harder side “Entre Nous,” which is another good song. The final song, which is in the tradition of previous albums, is broken into different parts and has the keyboard sound that I have always identified with Rush and not to leave it out, “Different Strings” is a good song too.

Track Listing:

1. Spirit of the Radio

2. Free Will

3. Jacob’s Ladder

4. Entre Nous

5. Different Strings

6. Natural Science

I. Tidal Pools

II. Hyperspace

III. Permanent Waves

Rush

Rush

Geddy Lee: vocals, bass, synthesisers

Alex Lifeson- guitars, taurus pedals

Neil Peart- drums, bells, chimes, percussion

Rush have always been the ultimate rebuttal to the silly proposition that Canada is the land of shitty music. They have shown is for nearly four decades now that it’s simply not the case. “Permanent Waves” is just one of their many albums to demonstrate what a great act they are and the sooner they are inducted into the Rock Hall of Fame, the better.

Next post: The Ramones- End of the Century

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 1980: Pink Floyd- The Wall

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on April 11, 2013 by 80smetalman

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For many people, this was the album of 1980. It was one of those albums I got to listen to extensively without ever having to buy it because everyone I knew had it. Of course, in the realms of top 40 singles, the album is best known for the number one single, “Another Brick In the Wall Part 2.” That single crossed a huge section of listeners as I remember both country music lovers and soul music lovers all listening to the song. Even my then disco loving little sister liked it and an ex girl friend said this was their school’s rallying song when her school walked out of class in protest. I can’t remember what they were protesting about.

As anyone who wasn’t blinkered by the singles charts could tell you, that song didn’t define the album. There were some other great songs on it and for me these included, “Mother,” “Goodbye Blue Sky” and “Comfortably Numb.” “The Wall” continued Pink Floyd’s tendency to want to listen to them when you needed to lay back and mellow out, especially after you have been puffing the magic dragon. That is what defines this album the most. For me and many others I knew, it was THE party album of 1980. This album was listened to over and over again to while consuming many beers and other substances and in that year, there was no other album where I could enjoy so much while catching a buzz.

It wasn’t just the fact that “The Wall” carried on the Pink Floyd tradition of making music conducive to the party atmosphere. Like some of their earlier albums, I was very much amused by the some of the talking parts between and during the songs. I still smile when I hear “Look mummy, there’s any airplane in the sky” before “Goodbye Blue Sky” and of course the teacher at the end of “Another Brick in the Wall Part 2” who bellows, “If you don’t eat your meat, you can have any pudding. How can you have any pudding if you don’t eat your meat?” Back then, there was an X- rated version to that as well.

Track Listing:

1. In the Flesh?

2. The Thin Ice

3. Another Brick in the Wall Part 1

4. The Happiest Days of Our Lives

5. Another Brick in the Wall Part 2

6. Mother

7. Goodbye Blue Sky

8. Empty Spaces

9. Young Lust

10. One of My Turns

11. Don’t Leave Me Now

12. Another Brick in the Wall Part 3

13. Goodbye Cruel World

14. Hey You

15. Is Anybody Out There

16. Nobody Home

17. Vera

18. Bring the Boys Back Home

19. Comfortably Numb

20. The Show Must Go On

21. In the Flesh

22. Run Like Hell

23. Waiting for the Worms

24. Stop

25. The Trial

26. Outside the Wall

Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd

Dave Gilmour- guitars, vocals, clavinet, sound effects

Roger Waters- vocals, bass, synthesisers, sound effects

Nick Mason- drums, percussion

Richard Wright- organ, piano, electric piano, bass pedals

If you want to either mellow out at the weekend or take a trip back in history, you can kill two birds with one stone with this iconic album from Pink Floyd. This is an ultimate party album, not just for 1980 but for all time.

Next Post: Rush- Permanent Waves

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 1980: Styx- Cornerstone

Posted in 1979, 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 8, 2013 by 80smetalman

Styx_-_Cornerstone

Like I did with 1978 and 79, I am starting off 1980 with albums that were released in the previous year but didn’t come to my attention until the year I’m posting about. “Head Games” by Foreigner was one and so was “Cornerstone” by Styx. The album first came to my attention in the February courtesy of what is probably their best known single, “Babe.” During that month, it seemed every time I would return to base via the back gate, that song was blasting out of the juke box in the bar across the street. I know for a fact that the bar in question was called The Zodiac because the bar next door to it, Dale’s, had mostly country music on their box, although they did serve a delicious bowl of chilli. As a result, I got to hear the song quite a bit and while on the subject, I promise that I won’t link every album between 1980 and 83 with my military experiences.

No band, with the possible exception of Kansas, was able to equal Styx in the art of fusing progressive rock and hard rock. Their previous two albums, “The Grand Illusion” and “Pieces of Eight” plus much of their earlier records bare witness to this. “Cornerstone” is more a lurch to the progressive side of their sound. Most of the album seems to follow the flow of the march behind “Babe” and their other single “Why Me” with the progressive sound. The one track that tends to be more harder rock is “Borrowed Time.” This is not to say that it’s not a good album, in no way is it bad and the guitar solo by Tommy Shaw on “First Time” reminded me of that great times of the previous albums.

Track Listing:

1. Lights

2. Why Me

3. Babe

4. Never Say Never

5. Boat on a River

6. Borrowed Time

7. First Time

8. Eddie

9. Love in the Midnight

Styx

Styx

Dennis DeYoung- keyboards, vocals, accordion

Chuck Panozzo- bass, vocals

John Panozzo- drums, percussion, vocals

Tommy Shaw- guitars, vocals, mandolin

James Young- guitars, vocals

When the album came out, many hard rockers were disappointed by “Cornerstone” for it’s more progressive sound. Some  rock historians say that this album began their slide into commericaldom. I don’t think so and I’ll argue the case in 1981. For me, it’s still a good album with a well known song that brings back memories. I wonder if The Zodiac is still there.

Next post: Pink Floyd- The Wall

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

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