Archive for September, 2013

Great Rock Albums of 1980: Aerosmith- Greatest Hits

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


Some newer Aerosmith fans may be wondering why Aerosmith needed to put out a Greatest Hits album way back in 1980 seeing that they have been going now for four decades. So, let’s travel back in history to that year. In 1980, Aerosmith were a completely different story. My joke about them going from musicians dabbling in drugs to druggies dabbling in music no longer applied because they weren’t even dabbling in music! Drugs, in fighting and departures were plaguing this band something chronic. As a result, this album was put out as some last hurrah for them because many people were writing them off as finished.

Finished or not, this album brought back the songs and memories that made them the great icons they were throughout the 1970s. I won’t list any songs individually here as it wouldn’t be fair to the ones I didn’t but this is one greatest hits album I am absolutely proud to own. Some of their best songs from their classic albums are all included here and I’m sure there is plenty of room for debate for other great Aerosmith songs to have been included as well. Me personally, I would have included the title cut from “Toys in the Attic” and for my own amusement “Big Ten Inch (Record)” as well. So here’s a look back to some of the great Aerosmith albums that made this compilation possible.







Track Listing:

1. Dream On

2. Same Old Song And Dance

3. Sweet Emotion

4. Walk This Way

5. Last Child

6. Back In the Saddle

7. Draw the Line

8. Kings and Queens

9. Come Together

10. Remember, Walking in the Sand



Steve Tyler- vocals, harmonica

Joe Perry- lead guitar

Brad Whitford- rhythm guitar

Tom Hamilton- bass

Joey Kramer- drums

I bet those who wrote Aerosmith off thirty three years ago are feeling foolish now because after a few more years of turmoil, they would be back and back to stay. Still for those who are new to the earlier material and are looking for a listen, then this album would be a great place to start.

Next post: REO Speedwagon- A Decade in Rock and Roll

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Great Punk Albums of 1980: Dead Kennedys- Fresh Fruit for Rotten Vegetables

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 26, 2013 by 80smetalman


As I have stipulated in many posts thus far, back in 1980 and before, the term punk was brandished around fairly liberally in regards to bands who brought a unique sound to the music world. However, there are very few of theses acts which I would actually call punk, Talking Heads being one of the exceptions. My idea of punk was always in the form of the Sex Pistols, The Jam, The Ramones and the band whose album I’m visiting now, The Dead Kennedys. For me, Punk has always been the loud aggressive hardcore sound that the forementioned bands provided.

I have to confess, I didn’t listen to the Dead Kennedys much back in the day. I knew and loved their more notable songs, including two from this album “Fresh Fruit for Rotten Vegetables,” “Let’s Lynch the Landlord” (something I wanted to do to two of mine) and “Holiday in Cambodia” but I never listened to their albums in real earnest. My interest in listening to the Dead Kennedys again came about 8 years ago when I listened to some political speeches by former lead singer Jello Biafra. Side note: His speech on school shootings gave me lots of inspiration for my new book “He Was Weird.” And of course, when I get to 1986and 87, I will be writing posts on the criminal charges brought against him on the Dead Kennedys’ “Frankenchrist” album. Still, that’s down the line so let’s look more closely at their debut album.

Like I said, I already knew the songs “Holiday in Cambodia” and “Let’s Lynch the Landlord” and hearing them in recent times, I love them even more. However, two songs does not an album make. The rest of this album is just as hardcore and kickass. You can name any track on the album and I would give it my thumbs up but the standouts for me are: “Forward to Death,” “Kill The Poor,” “California Uber Allies” and “Chemical Warfare.” I also really love the cover of Elvis’s “Viva Las Vegas.” For me, this is what punk should be; loud, powerful and to the point. The combined total of the fourteen songs is just over thirty-three minutes.

Track Listing:

1. Kill the Poor

2. Forward to Death

3. When Ya Get Drafted

4. Let’s Lynch the Landlord

5. Drug Me

6. Your Emotions

7. Chemical Warfare

8. California Uber Allies

9. I Kill Children

10. Stealing People’s Mail

11. Funland At the Beach

12. Ill in the Head

13. Holiday in Cambodia

14. Viva Las Vegas

Dead Kennedys

Dead Kennedys

Jello Biafra- lead vocals

East Bay Ray- lead guitar

Klaus Flouride- bass, backing vocals

Ted- drums

6025- rhythm guitar on Ill in the Head

I slam danced my way for the entire thirty three minutes of this album. Thank God there wasn’t a stage for me to dive off of. But this is the effect “Fresh Fruit for Rotten Vegetables” has on me as is the case with most hardcore punk. By 1980, punk was moving away from the UK and re-establishing itself on the West Coast of the US. This album is prove that it had done so successfully.

Next post: Aerosmith- Greatest Hits

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Great Rock Albums of 1980: Talking Heads- Remain In Light

Posted in 1980s, Humour, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on September 23, 2013 by 80smetalman



The Talking Heads were yet another band who were branded punk because of their unique sound that didn’t fit into any neat pigeon hole. Of course, of all the bands that I’ve said this about, they were probably the one band that might actually fit the title. While they weren’t in the same mould as The Sex Pistols, they were born of the New York Punk scene at CBGB’s in the mid 70s. So in that case, they can definitely be considered punk. I became convinced of this when I heard their debut album “77.” This album was totally different and “Psycho Killer” is definitely in my top fifty favourite songs of all time. Even in the early 80s, that album was considered by many to be “way out there.”

Roll on their 1980 album “Remain In Light.” It’s very difficult to for a band to match and album that you consider to be outstanding so I won’t make comparisons to “77,” especially as this album was a change in direction from their traditional punk sound to a more funky direction. I hear some reggae influence in the opening tracks, “Born Under the Punches” and “Crosseyed and Painless.” They are good songs and what really makes them for me is the humourous approach that David Byrne takes to not just these two songs but for the entire album. It is definitely evident in the album’s big single, “Once in a Lifetime.” However, it is this sense of humour that makes me listen more to the lyrics and gets me thinking. Then there are some interesting musical effects, especially in the closer “The Overload” and “Houses In Motion” is very effective too. I get the impression that the band had a rather good time in making this album.

Track Listing:

1. Born Under the Punches

2. Crosseyed and Painless

3. The Great Curve

4. Once in a Lifetime

5. Houses in Motion

6. Seen and Not Seen

7. Listening Wind

8. The Overload

Talking Heads

Talking Heads

David Byrne- guitar, lead vocals, keyboards, percussion

Jerry Harrison- guitar, keyboards, backing vocals

Tina Weymouth- bass, keyboards, percussion, backing vocals

Chris Frantz- drums, percussion, keyboards, backing vocals

“Remain in Light” would go on to be considered one of the best albums of 1980, if not the entire decade by many critics. I don’t debate it. This album provided people with something different at a time when there was mainly hard rock and disco. Fortunately the latter was dying a death. “Remain in Light” highlights the abilities of four very talented musicians and even after all these years, I consider it to be way out there and I like that.

Next post: The Dead Kennedys- Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to

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

Great Rock Albums of 1980: George Thorogood and the Destroyers- More George Thorogood and the Destroyers

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 19, 2013 by 80smetalman


The 1980s also saw the rise of a great blues guitarist and yet another great American rock act not to crack the UK, George Thorogood. Throughout the 80’s he, along with his band The Destroyers, would rock with some brilliant songs and albums played in his very unique style. What I didn’t realise until now that my all time favourite Thorogood jam “House Rent Blues” also known as “One Bourbon, One Scotch and One Beer” was on his debut album in 1977. I was always under the impression it was much later. But in 1980, he put out this album “More George Thorogood and the Destroyers which also rocked.

This album radiates cool blues rock with some great guitar efforts from the man himself. Every song has a cool enough guitar solo and quite a few of them are also accompanied with the saxophone efforts of Hank Carter. The opening song, “I’m Wanted,” kicks things off in style and even when there is a slower moment with the third song, “One Way Ticket,” it kicks back up two gears with “Bottom of the Sea.” “Night Time” and “Tip In Baby” keep the pace and when the album belts out another slower blues track with “Goodbye Baby,” it goes back to finish on a faster pace with “Restless” being an adequate closer. The whole album is what you would expect from George and company.

Track Listing:

1. I’m Wanted

2. Kids From Philly

3. One Way Ticket

4. Bottom of the Sea

5. Night Time

6. Tip In Baby

7. Goodbye Baby

8. House of Blue Lights

9. Just Can’t Make It

10. Restless

George Thorogood

      George Thorogood

George Thorogood- guitar, vocals

Billy Blough- bass

Jeff Simon- drums

Hank Carter- saxophone

George Thorogood seems to have been forgotten in recent years but believe me, in the early and mid 80s, many in America knew his name. He put out some great albums including this one and for me, his music will always continue on.

Next post: Talking Heads- Remain in Light

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Great Rock Albums of 1980: Bob Dylan- Saved

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on September 16, 2013 by 80smetalman


“Saved” was Bob Dylan’s second album after his conversion to Born Again Christianity and like his previous album “Slow Train Coming,” he uses his music to express his beliefs. I never had a problem with this but then I used to listen to Stryper and Merciful Fate in conjunction with each other calling it my heaven and hell moments. Unfortunately, a lot of people did as I remember reading letters to rock magazines stating that Dylan should keep his religious beliefs out of his music. Then again, I sometimes wonder how people could say that in the first place because I found that Dylan seemed to mumble a lot through these songs so you couldn’t always tell whether or not he was singing about Jesus.

Many of the songs on here have a perky, uplifting gospel rock feel to it. It didn’t convert me but I did like many of the songs irrespective of the subject sung about. The title track “Saved” is definitely the stand out for me on this album. “Covenant Woman” is also rather a strong track. The rest of the album is more of a relaxed sound and it’s got me thinking about Pink Floyd now because I would use this album to mellow out like I do with Floyd and the content on the album would not stop me from puffing the magic dragon.

Track Listing:

1. A Satisfied Mind

2. Saved

3. Covenant Woman

4. What Can I Do For You

5. Solid Rock

6. Pressing On

7. In The Garden

8. Saving Grace

9. Are You Ready

Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan- vocals, guitar, harmonica

Tim Drummond- bass

John Keltner- drums

Spooner Oldham- keyboards

Fred Tackett- guitar

Terry Young- keyboards, backing vocals

Carolyn Dennis- backing vocals

Regina Havis- backing vocals

Clydie King- backing vocals

Monalisa Young- backing vocals

Whether you are religious or not, this is still an album worth listening to, something to mellow out with. Bob Dylan’s future albums would steer away from religion but that’s another story. However, I remain convinced that it was these two Dylan albums that paved the way for Christian rock and that if it wasn’t for Dylan, than we might not have had Stryper.

Next post: George Thorogood and the Destroyers- More George Thorogood and the Destroyers

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Tragedies and Triumphs in 1980

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

Yes, I know it should be the other way around but I always like to start with the bad and end with the good, I think most people are inclined to do the same. Therefore, I will start with the tragedy. Unless you’ve been living on Pluto, you would have known of the tragic death of AC/DC singer Bon Scott.

Bon Scott

Bon Scott

It was in 1980 when Bon Scott lost his battle with acute alcohol poisoning. To many AC/DC fans, his death couldn’t have come at a worse time as the band was just reaching the zenith of their popularity. Many doomsayers predicted that it would spell the end of the band, thank God they were proved wrong. In fact, that proof would come that very same year and I will be going there in a future post. But even after thirty-three years, the memory of Bon Scott carries on. His contribution to his band and to music as a whole will carry on forever.

Now for the triumph:

Paul Kantner- Jefferson Starship

Paul Kantner- Jefferson Starship

We nearly lost another famous rocker in 1980 as well when Jefferson Starship rhythm guitarist and founding member Paul Kantner suffered a cerebral brain haemorrhage. At first, things weren’t looking too well and doctors thought that he would need an operation as at thirty-nine, most people don’t survive a haemorrhage without one. Triumphantly, for Kantner and for rock, he would later go on to joke that is stay in hospital was more a vacation as he never needed the operation.

Some of you are itching to tell me of one other tragedy that occurred in 1980 and the reason why I am not mentioning it on this post is because that tragedy shook the entire world so much, that I feel it needs its own post. It also happened at the end of the year so I thought it would be a fitting remembrance to finish my tour of 1980 with it.

Next post: Bob Dylan- Saved

R.I.P. Bon Scott

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Great Rock Albums of 1980: Pat Travers- Crash And Burn

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on September 10, 2013 by 80smetalman


Back in this year, I used to belong to one of those mail order record clubs. You know, you join by buying six albums for a penny and then you have to buy a certain amount of albums in two years. I think RCA ran the one I belonged to. They had an album of the month and if you didn’t say that you didn’t want that album in time, they would send it to you. I always got my no response in time, especially after my friend who didn’t and got sent an album by KC and the Sunshine Band. I bought a number of albums this way: Alice Cooper- “From the Inside,” Van Halen II, ZZ Top- “Eliminator” and I know for a fact that the very last album I purchased this way was Black Sabbath- “Live Evil.” Whenever, I would go through the booklet of albums to buy, this album “Crash and Burn” by Pat Travers was always in it. I never bought it, even after listening to his great previous live album, “Live! Go For What You Know.” Having finally heard this album, I regret never buying it all those years ago.

Pat Travers is responsible for rekindling my love for blues based guitar rock. I love the slow but hard riffs accompanied by a long guitar solo in the middle. His talents shine on the fore mentioned live album and they continue to do so on his 1980 effort, “Crash And Burn.” Saying that, you might be fooled by the opening title track as it’s more of a progressive rock song. However, the second track, “(Your Love) Can’t Be Right) goes back to the style Mr Travers has been best known for. Then comes the very famous “Snortin Whiskey” and you know that all is well. This is probably the most mind blowing song he’s done, at least in my limited experience of Pat. A great hard rocker with a just as amazing guitar solo. It bears all the trademarks associated with this great musician. The pace is then set for the rest of the album after that but I do love his take on the Bob Marley written “Is This Love” which is done with total pinache. The album goes well all the way down to its exciting closer, “Material Eyes” and sends the album out on a very definite high.

Pat Travers

Pat Travers

Track Listing:
1. Crash And Burn
2. (Your Love) Can’t Be Right
3. Snortin Whiskey
4. Born Under a Bad Sign
5. Is This Love
6. The Big Event
7. Love Will Make You Strong
8. Material Eyes

Pat Travers- lead vocals, lead and rhythm guitars, keyboards
Pat Thrall- lead and rhythm guitars, backing vocals
Peter Mars Cowling- bass
Tommy Aldridge- drums/percussion
Additional Musicians
Dawn Shahan- backing vocals
Michael Shrieve- percussion
First of all, I apologise for the lack of photos on this post. I don’t know what the problem is here but it’s not letting me do so at the moment. If I can sort it, then I will add them. Still, you don’t need photos to know what a great rocking album “Crash and Burn” is. I bet that Pat Travers hasn’t gotten anywhere near a nomination for the Rock Hall of Fame, sad.

Next post: 1980- Tragedy and Triumph

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Great Rock Albums of 1980: Journey- Departure

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 7, 2013 by 80smetalman


No amusing story behind this album but one of slight regret. In August of this year, my battalion was getting ready to ship out to the Mediterranean. My one friend got chosen to go on the advance party to meet the ship at Norfolk, Virginia while the bulk of us got boarded at Moorhead City, North Carolina. When I got on the ship there, my friend told me that he saw Journey in concert in Norfolk and how great it was. Needless to say, I was wishing that I had also been chosen for the advance party.

Journey were near the zenith of their popularity by this time and “Departure” was yet another in a string of great albums they had put out. “Any Way You Want It” is the best song known song from the album and it is a rocker as far as singles go. For me, it was definitely a step up from “Lovin’ Touchin’ Squeezin.” The rest of the album just continues the groove. “Walks Like a Lady” is a good follow on from “Any Way You Want It” There are some other good rockers on here like “I’m Crying” and the closer “Homemade Love.” They also go almost experimental progressive in the sense of “Little Girl” which I heard on an alternative version of this album on You Tube and somewhat in the same direction with “Someday Soon” although Neil Schon hammers out  a brilliant guitar solo towards the end of that one.

I will take a moment to say that thinking retrospectively, Steve Perry was probably the best male vocalist around at the time. He could belt out a rocker and then sing a more ballad like song and still sound convincing. He didn’t and still doesn’t get the recognition he deserves for his vocal talents.

Track Listing:

1. Any Way You Want It

2. Walk Like a Lady

3. Someday Soon

4. People and Places

5. Precious Time

6. Where Were You

7. I’m Crying

8. Line of Fire

9. Departure

10. Little Girl

11. Stay Awhile

12. Homemade Love



Steve Perry- lead vocals

Neil Schon- guitars, backing vocals

Greg Rollie- keyboards, harmonica, backing vocals

Ross Valory- bass, backing vocals

Steve Smith- drums, percussion

Stroud Record Fair

Stroud Record Fair


Before I end with reinforcing how good the “Departure” album is, I thought I would take a moment to tell you about going to the Stroud Record Fair today. My work with adults with autism was the reason I was there today (my job has its perks) because the gentleman I was looking after likes to collect vinyl albums from artists from the fifties; i.e. Elvis, Buddy Holly, Eddie Cochran, Fats Domino etc. So while he was fishing through those albums, I had a look around myself and saw some cool things like a Thin Lizzy Box Set, loads of Dead Kennedys albums on vinyl and there was a Hanoi Rocks CD that caught my eye too. It was a shame that I only had company money on me. My service user, Jonathan, ended up buying albums by Billy Fury, The Drifters and Little Richard. I didn’t see this Journey album there either and that’s a shame.

Next post: Pat Travers- Crash and Burn

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Great Rock Albums of 1980: Dire Straits- Communique

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on September 5, 2013 by 80smetalman


I first came by this album back in 1980 in what for me was rather unusual fashion. In December of said year, I was on liberty in Naples, Italy often referred to by American sailors and marines as the grease pit of the Mediterranean. Not to offend any Italians who may be reading this but it’s not the cleanest city I’ve been to and if you want to see your life flash before your eyes, then take a taxi. I only saw one traffic light in the whole of the city. Well, two marine buddies and I were letting our hair down in the city, (it was our first port call after leaving the Persian Gulf) so we went a bit wild. We began partying with this Englishman who had just bought this album and one owner of one of the bars we went to let him play it and I must say that through my drunken haze, I rather liked it.

Thirty three years later and sober, I still like it, probably even more. Mark Knopfler’s guitar work grabs you on the very first track, “Once Upon a Time in the West” and holds you there. The next four tracks bring you more bluesy guitar work and it reminds me a little of the Grateful Dead or Little Feat. All good tracks and just as you think you’re settling in for more of the same, the sixth track, “Angels of Mercy” changes the tempo and gets you back into it again. A very strong track and I’m pretty sure they played it when I saw them live in 1985. Then you get more of that same blues guitar from Knopfler and co in the next to the last song, “Single Handed Sailor” where the guitar work is reminiscent of the classic “Sultans of Swing.” When it’s all over, you end with a feeling that you’ve just heard an album by a very good band.

Track Listing:

1. Once Upon a Time in the West

2. News

3. Where Do You Think You’re Going

4. Comminque

5. Lady Writer

6. Angel of Mercy

7. Portobello Belle

8. Single Handed Sailor

9. Follow Me Home

Dire Straits

Dire Straits

Mark Knopfler- lead guitar, vocals

David Knopfler- rhythm guitar, vocals

John Illsley- bass, vocals

Pick Withers- drums

B. Bear- keyboards

“Communique” to me is a very underrated album, which is why I’m slightly surprised to discover that it got to number 11 in the U.S. charts and much higher in others. For hearing blues based guitar, this album is one of the best, a great gem.

Next post: Journey- Departure

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Great Rock Albums of 1980: Heart- Bebe le Strange

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on September 1, 2013 by 80smetalman

220px-BebelestrangeHeart rocked the world throughout the 1970’s with a string of hard rock albums that brought them great fame. Some of those albums have been visited in earlier posts and I stand by my claim that Ann and Nancy Wilson were the first modern rock chicks. On the flip side, many have said that their 1980 album wasn’t as good as any of their predecessors. True, by this time Heart were engulfed in internal strife and guitarist Roger Fisher left the band some months earlier. However, none of that was reflected on this album in any way in my view.

The title track sets the album in the right direction from the outset incorporating everything one knew and loved about Heart. The bluesy “Down On Me” is definitely a likeable track and as always, Nancy gets to show off her guitar talent on the acoustic instrumental, “Silver Wheels.” “Break” and “Rockin’ Heaven Down” are true rock songs even if the former song does kind of end abruptly. This leads fine to the second single “Even It Up” whose rhythm reminds a little of the classic Heart anthem, “Magic Man.” Then you get some more rocking from the next three tracks before the album ends on the ballad, “Sweet Darlin.” So I ask myself after just having had a 38 minute rock out, “What is there not to like about “Bebe le Strange?” I sure can’t find anything.

Track Listing:

1. Bebe le Strange

2. Down On Me

3. Silver Wheels

4. Break

5. Rockin Heaven Down

6. Even It Up

7. Strange Night

8. Raised On You

9. Pilot

10. Sweet Darlin



Ann Wilson- vocals

Nancy Wilson- guitar, vocals, piano, mellotron

Howard Leese- guitar, keyboards synthesisers, backing vocals

Mike DeRosier- drums, percussion

Steve Fossen- bass

It was a great way to wake up on a Sunday morning! Hearing this album again after so many years gave me such a good rock out this morning and I’ve been feeling the groove throughout the whole day. So what if Heart made this album during their infighting. It proves that once you get down to business, you can still achieve great things. “Bebe le Strange” is an underrated album by Heart and it is definitely worth a listen again.

Next post: Dire Straits- Communique

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