Archive for October, 2013

Great Metal Albums of 1980: Motorhead- Ace of Spades

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

Ace_of_Spades

When I first started this blog, I intended it to be a trip down memory lane for old metal heads like me and a metal history lesson for younger ones. But I must admit that while I take this journey, I am learning a hell of a lot myself. Cue this album “Ace of Spades” by Motorhead. We can all be rest assured that whenever anyone mentions the name Motorhead, the obvious response is their most known song “Ace of Spades.” A few of those may know that the song was the title track for their kick ass 1980 album. What even fewer people may know was that how far ahead of their time Motorhead was in regards to heavy metal.

Why is this album so ahead of this time? The answer is quite simple: one cracking metal tune after another bombards your ear drums into submission. It’s everything that heavy metal was to become just a few short years later, it’s just that Motorhead did it first. “Ace of Spades” is loud with fast guitars, cranking solos and of course that unmistakeable voice of one Lemmy Kilmister. Every track is a celebration but the ones that stand out for me the most (other than the title track) are: “Shoot You in the Back,” “Jailbait,” “Bite the Bullet” and “The Chase is Deadlier Than the Catch.”

Track Listing:

1. Ace of Spades

2. Love Me Like a Reptile

3. Shoot You in the Back

4. Live to Win

5. Fast and Loose

6. (We Are) The Road Crew

7. Fire Fire

8. Jailbait

9. Dance

10. Bite the Bullet

11. The Chase is Deadlier Than the Catch

12. The Hammer

Motorhead

Motorhead

Lemmy Kilmister- bass, vocals

Fast Eddie Clark- guitar

Phil “Philthy Animal” Taylor- drums

It’s a hard fact that Motorhead were the early pioneers of thrash and speed metal. Their fast, aggressive style would be copied by many a band in the mid 80s. If I had a time machine I would go way back in my archives and put them in my category of “Other Great Metal Influences” or give them an honourable mention at the very least. So, I curse myself for not hearing this great album until a few years after it’s release and even more so for not fully appreciating it for many more. “Ace of Spades” song or album represents what metal would become and what it should always be.

Next post: Judas Priest- British Steel

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

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

 

Great Metal Albums of 1980: Sammy Hagar- Danger Zone

Posted in 1980s, films, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, soundtracks, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 24, 2013 by 80smetalman

220px-SammyHagarDangerZone

At first, I wasn’t sure if I should put this album into the metal category as many out there don’t classify Sammy Hagar has heavy metal. Then again, I never gave two stuffs about silly arguments over what should be categorised where. Besides, the first song I ever heard from the “Red Rocker” had the same title as the genre of music I love so much. It was on a soundtrack from a film of the very same name which I will be visiting when I get to 1981.

So onto this album “Danger Zone.” Listening to it only confirms to me that it should be called a metal album as there are some serious rocking tunes on it. “Mommy Says, Daddy Says,” “20th Century Man,” “Love or Money” and “Bad Reputation” are all great melodic metal tunes that stand the test of time. Even the bluesy “The Ice Man” where Journey singer Steve Perry provides the backing vocals is a cooker. There is some great crunching guitar sounds on this album and another Journey member in the form of Neil Schon lays down some killer solos on “Love or Money.” I get the impression that Hagar is still hungry on this album and it definitely shows in the music.

Track Listing:

1. Love or Money

2. 20th Century Man

3. Miles For Boredom

4. Mommy Says, Daddy Says

5. In The Night, (Entering the Danger Zone)

6. The Iceman

7. Bad Reputation

8. Heartbeat

9. Run For Your Life

10. Danger Zone

Sammy Hagar

Sammy Hagar

 

Sammy Hagar- vocals, guitar

Bill Church- bass

Gary Pihl- guitar, keyboards

Chuck Ruff- drums

Geoff Workman- keyboards

Guest Musicians

Steve Perry- backing vocals

Neil Schon- guitar solos on “Love or Money”

In 1980, Sammy Hagar was still making his way in the rock world. Kick ass albums like “Danger Zone” paved the way to the greatness he would eventually achieve.

Next post: Motorhead- Ace of Spades

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

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle

Great Metal Albums of 1980: Black Sabbath- Heaven And Hell

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 21, 2013 by 80smetalman

220px-Black_Sabbath_Heaven_and_Hell

Since the 1980s was the golden age of heavy metal and that golden age began with 1980, I thought what better way to pay tribute to it than to kick things off with an album by one of heavy metal’s founding fathers: Black Sabbath. The thing is however, “Heaven and Hell” isn’t just an album, it’s a iconic album destined to go down in history as one of the greatest of all time.

The main question when this masterpiece was first unleashed back in 1980 was would new lead singer Ronnie James Dio fill the void left by Ozzy Osbourne. The answer to that is a resounding “YES!” Now, I am not going to debate who’s the better of these two vocal Gods. They both have different vocal styles but at the same time, their vocals were suited to the needs of Black Sabbath. Dio’s vocals are truly amazing on this album and for Sabbath it proved to the world that there was life after Ozzy. (Although a year later Ozzy would prove there was life after Black Sabbath.) Don’t get me wrong, in no way am I suggesting that this album was all down to Dio. Definitely not! On “Heaven and Hell” Tony Iommi continues to do what he does best on the guitar providing some memorable riffs. “Children of the Sea” definitely comes to mind when I think of that. Geezer Butler and Bill Ward also as always, make the fabulous rhythm section that we all know and love. More reasons why this album is such a classic.

“Children of the Sea” is just one of the brilliant tracks I could name here. There is not a bad song on the album as each one in my mind radiates what pure metal should be. If I named each one here in this paragraph, there would be no need for me to do the track listing as all of the songs make the grade and more.

Track Listing:

1. Neon Nights

2. Children of the Sea

3. Lady Evil

4. Heaven and Hell

5. Wishing Well

6. Die Young

7. Walk Away

8. Lonely Is the Word

Black Sabbath

Black Sabbath

Ronnie James Dio- vocals

Tony Iommi- guitars

Geezer Butler- bass

Bill Ward- drums

Additional Musician

Geoff Nichols- keyboards

In my post for the 1978 “Never Say Die” album, I mentioned that Black Sabbath would headline my dream concert. There was a twist to it however and so not to repeat myself for those who have already read that post, I suggest those who haven’t have a read and hopefully, like one reader then, you will be in awe when you think about it. “Heaven and Hell” is one of the reasons why Black Sabbath would headline my dream concert. For me, it one of the cornerstones in the foundation of what we now know and love as heavy metal.

Before I go, I would like to invite all of my readers to share in remembrance with me something that has been with me for nearly three decades. See thirty years ago tomorrow, October 23, marks the tragedy which befell the US Marines in Lebanon when 241 died when a suicide bomber drove a van loaded with explosives into the building there were housed in. This occurred less than four months after I left the marines but I served in that battalion for nearly three of my four years in the service. I know I lost friends on that fateful day. Now, I don’t hate America over this, hell no, but I do think that while America mourned their deaths for a while, they were also too quick to sweep the whole affair under the carpet. It is also why I am now officially beginning work on my next book which will be about the marines in Lebanon. For those who’ve read “Rock And Roll Children,” it will be a prequel to it as the Mitch character from the book will be the main character in the new book. I hate to end this post on such a downer, especially after visiting such an iconic album but I don’t have the time right now to put it as a separate post, so do forgive me for that. To unify these two thoughts, it was a marine buddy from my platoon when I was serving in that battalion who provided me with the first listen of this great album.

Pay tribute to these brave souls

Pay tribute to these brave souls

Next post: Sammy Hagar- Danger Zone

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 One Hit Wonders of 1980

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

Well, its that time in the year I’m reminiscing about to pay tribute to some of the one hit wonders from said year. While there are always a good number of them in any given year, there are only a handful worthy enough to make the blog. In 1980, there were three such acts.

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The first one and it’s in the literal sense in 1980 was Charlie Dore for her big single “Pilot of the Airways.” When I first heard it, I thought it was another one hit wonder group from the 70s, Prelude. I still love their a cappella version of Neil Young’s “After the Gold Rush.” However, after the a cappella intro, music kicks in so I ruled out Prelude as the artist of the song. Even though the sound is more country, I found myself liking the song. Charlie does have a unique voice that goes well with the song and I have to admit that back then, most songs with a guitar solo in them were worth the listen. Still, it’s a well done to Charlie Dore for this one.

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“Media Man” by Flash in the Pan was a brilliant new wave type song. It has one of those catchy choruses that sticks in your mind after the song is finished. I can hear myself singing “clap Hands For The Media Man.” The song seems to be a warning of the dangers of mass media but done to a very likeable new wave vibe. Before I get a lot of rebuttal responses, I did notice other songs by this band when I looked it up on YouTube. However, I know nothing of any other material but would be happy to be enlightened. Besides, this song did cross the ocean because later on in the year, I saw it on a juke box in a café in Barcelona Spain.

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The first time I heard “Tired of Towing the Line” from Rocky Burnette, I thought it was Bruce Springsteen. The voice was similar and there was a saxophone in the song. Therefore, I was a bit surprised to hear that Rocky Burnette was the actual artist. Still it was this song that chipped away in the charts and always seemed to be on the radio every time I switched it on. In itself, it is a decent rock tune, so hats off to Rocky for this one.

So there you have it, three songs from people who would only grace the charts once but made what is for me, songs that would linger in my brain more than three decades later. So let’s raise a toast to the three rock one hit wonders of 1980.

Next post: Black Sabbath- Heaven and Hell

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 Soundtracks of 1980: Up The Academy

Posted in 1980s, films, Humour, Music, Rock, soundtracks, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 14, 2013 by 80smetalman

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There is many a film out there where the film itself wasn’t up to much but it had a kick ass soundtrack. One I covered already with “The Last Waltz” although the film itself was a concert and there are more out there which will appear here. One such film from 1980 was the film from Mad Magazine called “Up The Academy.” One doesn’t need a college degree to figure out that Mad Magazine made this film in an attempt to cash in on the success of their rival National Lampoon whose film “Animal House” is one of the forever classics. Unfortunately, there is no comparison between the two films, “Animal House” wins hands down.

This is not to say that “Up the Academy” is a bad film. Actually, I thought it was funny in many places. The film is about four teenage boys who are sent to military school by there parents on account of things the boys have done to bring dishonour to the family. One got his girlfriend pregnant and his father is a politician campaigning on the anti-abortion platform. One, played by a young Ralph Machio, is the son of a mafia kingpin and is not interested in the family business. Then there is the son of the Arabian Sheik and the pot smoking African American boy whose father is a TV evangelist. Without going into full details, the main characters immediately fall foul of the gung-ho commandant and there is a lot of funny moments as they try to get one over on him. For months after I saw the film, one of my marine buddies who I saw it with, (he went by Mooch,) would impersonate the commandant with “Say ageeen, say ageen.”

A scene from the film

A scene from the film

What stood out for me more than the laughs was all the great songs that were played in the film. Now classics like “One Way or Another” from Blondie and Cheap Trick’s “Surrender” lead a string of cool rock tunes. There are also contributions from Pat Benatar, Sammy Hagar, The Kinks, Dwight Twilley and a ten minute song from the legendary Lou Reed. Ok, they only played a small part of the song. As the case with many soundtracks, there is some unknown band that makes its mark. On this soundtrack, it is the band Blow-Up. Three of their songs appear on the album and I was impressed with all of them. The opener, “Kicking Up a Fuss” reminds me of The Ramones or The Dead Kennedys and the other two, while less punk are still good rock tunes as well. This is definitely a cool soundtrack.

Blondie

Blondie

Cheap Trick

Cheap Trick

PatBenatar-CrimesOfPassion

Track Listing:

1. Blow-Up- Kicking Up a Fuss

2. Iggy and the Stooges- Gimme Danger

3. Dwight Twilley Band- Trying to Find My Baby

4. Blondie- X Offender

5. Eddie and the Hot Rods- Do Anything You Wanna Do

6. The Kinks- Yes Sir, No Sir

7. Ian Hunter- We Gotta Get Out of Here

8. Lou Reed- Street Hassle

9. Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers- Roadrunner

10. The Boomtown Rats- Rat Trap

11. David Johansen- Girls

12. Blondie- One Way or Another

13. Cheeks- Coquette

14. Blow-Up- Local Hero

15. Sammy Hagar- Bad Reputation

16. Iggy Pop and James Williamson- Night Theme

17. Cheeks- Bony Moronie

18. Nick Lowe- Heart of the City

19. Pat Benatar- We Live for Love

20. The Babys- Midnight Rendezvous

21. Cheap Trick- Surrender

22. Blow- Up- Beat the Devil

So if you want a good laugh while rocking out to some great tunes then your task is simple. Watch “Up the Academy” and then listen to the soundtrack, it’s definitely worth it. But it does seem a shame that Blow-Up never seemed to make it big.

Next post: Great Rock One Hit Wonders of 1980

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/Metal Albums of 1980: Thin Lizzy- Chinatown

Posted in 1979, 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on October 10, 2013 by 80smetalman

220px-Thin_Lizzy_-_Chinatown

Let me say that I am feeling rather foolish at the moment for not including Thin Lizzy’s “Black Rose, A Rock Legend” in my tour of 1979 albums. After all, Thin Lizzy were a great influence on heavy metal as affirmed by many of the metal bands we would come to know and love in the 80s. For those who have joined recently or haven’t read it, check out my post “Other Great Metal Influences: Part 7- Thin Lizzy” for further information. Furthermore, many metal heads, especially many I have met in the UK, were all fans of Thin Lizzy.

It has been said that the 1980 album “Chinatown” didn’t measure up to their previous album which I mentioned earlier. Many have blamed this on the departure of guitarist Gary Moore, (yes his leaving was a major loss for the band) and the recognisable drug problems of Phil Lynott. However, after getting reacquainted with “Chinatown” after so many years, I don’t want to make any comparisons because for me, there is nothing wrong with this album. Ok, maybe one small thing, the opening track, “We Will Be Strong” went on a little too long but it was still a good album opening song. Then there are the two songs I have known for years, “Chinatown” and “Killer On the Loose.” Both are good rocking songs in the tradition that made Thin Lizzy famous. Other standouts include “Genocide, The Killing of the Buffalo” and “Having a Good Time.” However, I still rocked along to the rest of the album and it reminded me that Thin Lizzy, even this late in their career, were still a force to be reckoned with in the rock world. I can also see from this album why they would go on to inspire a many metal bands less than a decade later.

Track Listing:

1. We Will Be Strong

2. Chinatown

3. Sweetheart

4. Sugar Blues

5. Killer On the Loose

6. Having a Good Time

7. Genocide, The Killing of the Buffalo

8. Didn’t I

9. Hey You

Thin Lizzy

Thin Lizzy

    Phil Lynott- bass, vocals

Scott Goram- guitar, vocals

Snowy White- guitar, vocals

Brian Downey- drums, percussion

For many die hard Thin Lizzy fans, “Chinatown” might not have ranked up their with some of their other ones. However, for me, this is a damned good album and it reminds me why they were such an influence on the establishment of heavy metal. So much so, that many people in the mid 80s would class them as such.

Next post: Rainbow: The Soundtrack to Up the Academy

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

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

1980: Tragedies and Triumphs- Part 2

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Death, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 7, 2013 by 80smetalman

First of all, I owe a debt of gratitude to KramerTunes for saving me from committing a very fatal error in my first post of Tragedies and Triumphs. How stupid would I have looked if I had gone through 1980 and not mentioned the death of Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham. His death from asphyxiation caused by too much alcohol intake would shock the rock world to its foundations and resulted in the band calling it a day on the grounds they couldn’t continue without him.

John Bonham

John Bonham

Bonham would serve to be a major influence on not only drummers who were around at the time like Joey Krammer, Roger Taylor and Peter Criss, he continues to influence many a rock drummer to this very day. Drummers like Tommy Lee, Dave Lombardo and Dave Grohl all site John Bonham as their biggest influence as well. He created a legacy for rock drummers that will never die and I feel slightly sick that I won’t be going to see Led Zeppelin tribute band Whole Lotta Led when they come to Stroud this Friday night.

don-1980-Cover

 

Now the triumph. In 1980, the first of what was to be a line of great metal festivals took place at Donington Park near Derby in England on August 16 of said year. Rainbow would be the headliners for this mammoth event and supporting were the likes of Judas Priest, The Scorpions,  April Wine, Saxon and Riot. From what I’ve read and heard from people who were at the event, there were a lot of near mishaps including a pyrotechnics explosion the night before. Plus the rainfall on the previous days cause a quagmire on the actual day. Still, as can be expected, metal won the day and it turned out to be the start of a legacy that would go on for over a decade. (Although it can be argued that it still goes on under the name of Download.)

 

Shot of the first Donington

Shot of the first Donington

If you want to read more about this historic event, click this link:

http://www.ukrockfestivals.com/donington-1980.html

Many years have their own triumphs and tragedies and in 1980, the rock/metal world had more than its share. Especially as one more was yet to happen. Still, we can reflect back to the good times and raise a glass to those who left us.

R.IP. John Bonham

Next Post: Thin Lizzy- Chinatown

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