Great Rock Albums of 1981: Gillan- Future Shock


After listening to the 1981 “Future Shock” album by Gillan, I even more regret that I never listened to them back in the day. Furthermore, this album cements my belief that Gillan were the best British act not to make it big in America. Once again, I have to thank YouTube for providing with an opportunity to listen to a great album I would have otherwise missed.

Maybe it’s me but “Future Shock” seems noticeably heavier that its predecessor, “Glory Road.” I mean the first four tracks on this album really rock. While the keyboards are definitely there, they play a more subordinate role in those songs but still make them sound great along with the guitar playing of Bernie Torme. But it’s the track “Sacre Bleu” where Torme’s talents really shine through. Then there’s the cover of “New Orleans,” which is very nicely done. After “Bite the Bullet,” which again has a cool guitar solo compliments of Torme, the album slows down with the cool power ballad, “If I Sing Softly.” I’ve only heard this song twice but I’m already ranking up there with some of the other great power ballads.

At first listen, I thought the album went more progressive with the last two songs but after the second listen, I am now of the opinion that I thought wrong the first time around. While the piano work Colin Towns is brilliant on the closer “For Your Dreams,” it’s still a rocker. Of course with all the great musicianship from the members of this band, it doesn’t make anyone forget whose name is on the marquee. Through his magnificent vocals, Ian Gillan lets you know that he is the singer and further proves why he gets my vote as the greatest voice in rock and metal.

Track Listing:

1. Future Shock

2. Night Ride Out of Phoenix

3. (The Ballad Of) The Lucitania Express

4. No Laughing in Heaven

5. Sacre Bleu

6. New Orleans

7. Bite the Bullet

8. If I Sing Softly

9. Don’t Want the Truth

10. For Your Dreams



Ian Gillan- vocals

Bernie Torme- guitars

Colin Town- keyboards

John McCoy- bass

Mick Underwood- drums

So, we have another great album fronted by a great vocalist and a fine band behind him. It makes me wonder why I never heard any Gillan back in 1981. I can’t really blame it being in the service either. But as they say, better late than never. Just to whet your appetites a bit, further along in the tour of 1981, I will be revealing who I consider to be the best American artist not to have cracked Great Britain.

Next post: An Unexpected Surprise

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

7 Responses to “Great Rock Albums of 1981: Gillan- Future Shock”

  1. I love all those early 80’s Gillan LP’s. Very underrated I think.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree with Mr. 1537.

    Sacre Bleu is such a great song and title! I think Colin Towns was the hidden talent in the band.


    • Colin Towns wasn’t given the credit he deserves here and I agree about Sacre Bleu.


      • I don’t know if you read Gillan’s book. The old Ian Gillan band used to give Colin Towns a really hard time. Gillan came into the studio one day and the band were laughing at him. Towns said, “I wrote a song, and it’s about you, and it’s called Fighting Man.” The Gillan band were like, “We don’t want to play that nonsense, we’re into progressive music.” Ian Gillan flat out fired the band and said, “Colin and I are going forward. I’m a rock musician. Enough with your jazz fusion nonsense!” True story.


      • Wow, that is an interesting story. I have to read Gillan’s book, it sounds good. Thanks for enlightening me.


      • It was a great book. Probably out of print now (of course) but there were two printings — one from 93 when he reunited with Purple, and one from 96 when Morse joined, with updated chapters.


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