Archive for December, 2014

2014 in review, Thank you All!

Posted in Uncategorized on December 31, 2014 by 80smetalman

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 9,700 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Advertisements

Great Rock Albums of 1982: The Jam- The Gift

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 29, 2014 by 80smetalman

The_Jam_-_The_Gift

I hope that everyone had a very nice Christmas and will have a Happy New Year and that Santa brought you all the music you wanted. He did bring me the new AC/DC album like I asked and I enjoyed it first listen. Being a parent or step parent in this case, I got to see my stepson open his Christmas card and discover two tickets to see Amon Amarth, Huntress and Savage Messiah in Bristol on January 18. I must thank Stone at Metalodyssey. His post alerted me to the upcoming concert and I would have missed it if I hadn’t seen it in one of his posts. Thank you Stone and I will be posting about that gig after I see it.

My stepson Teal holding his concert tickets

My stepson Teal holding his concert tickets

Now onto The Jam’s 1982 album “The Gift.” If I had been listening to The Jam back in the day and heard this album when it came out after listening to their previous albums, I would have immediately accused them of selling out. “The Gift” marks a departure from the hard, aggressive punk sound that they had been known for. I mean the opener for instance, “Happy Together” sounds more like a happy top 40 song then a traditional Jam punk anthem. However, the song does break with the precedent set by the other albums I have covered for 1982 and is not the hit single. Surprisingly enough, the big single from the album and probably their most successful song, “A Town Called Malice” is probably the closest song to The Jam of old on the entire album and probably why it’s a good song. At least they tried to keep to their traditional roots somewhat. The rest of the album, although not bad lacks that kick I liked about their previous albums. Paul Weller was trying to stretch out a little and you got to respect that but for me, it just doesn’t excite me the way the earlier Jam material did.

Track Listing:

1. Happy Together

2. Ghosts

3. Precious

4. Just Who is the Five O’Clock Hero

5. Trans Global Express

6. Running on the Spot

7. Circus

8. The Planner’s Dream Goes Wrong

9. Carnation

10. A Town Called Malice

11. The Gift

The Jam

The Jam

Paul Weller- guitar, lead vocals

Bruce Foxton- bass, backing vocals

Rick Buckler- drums

While “The Gift” would go to number one, it would also lead to the break up of the band. Bruce Foxton and Rick Buckler wanted to stick to the more punk sound while Weller wanted to branch out more. It appears that this disagreement might have shone through on the album because while it goes to new places, it does so without the angry conviction that had gotten The Jam to where they were in the first place.

Next post: Toto- IV

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

 

 

My Top 10 Christmas Songs

Posted in Heavy Metal, Humour, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 24, 2014 by 80smetalman

With Christmas rapidly approaching and the radio playing all sorts of Christmas songs from Bing Crosby to Band Aid, it got me thinking (a dangerous thing I know) about the Christmas songs I like. Normally, the ones I prefer are either metalised carols or parodies. I have 2 CDs which contain a lot of both. Now, after putting in a little thought, here are my top ten favourite Christmas songs.

10. Slade- Merry Christmas Everyone

9.  Bob Rivers and Twisted Radio- White Trash Christmas

8. Bob Rivers and Twisted Radio- Jingle Hell’s Bells

7. The Darkness- Christmas Time

6.  Bob Rivers and Twisted Radio- Frosty the Pervert

5. Bob Rivers and Twisted Radio- Walking Round in Women’s Underwear

4. The McKenzie Brothers- The Canadian Twelve Days of Christmas

3. Weird Al Yankovick- The Night Santa Went Crazy

2. Stryper- Winter Wonderland

1. Twisted Sister- Any song from the Twisted Christmas album

220px-Bob_Rivers_-_I_Am_Santa_Claus_cover

True, Bob Rivers and Twisted Radio features heavy on the list but only two songs are from the above album. Number 8, “Jingle Hell’s Bells” is both a parody and a great rocker in the form of AC/DC. Anyway, those are my top ten Christmas songs and with that, I would like to wish all on here a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holiday and Seasons Greetings.

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 1982: John Cougar- American Fool

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, television, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 22, 2014 by 80smetalman

220px-JC_American_Fool

Before anyone starts putting their hands up in a Arnold Horshak moment to tell that his name is now John Mellancamp, let me just say that as far as I’m concerned, in 1982, he was simply John Cougar. I remember watching a tv interview with him and he explained the reason behind the name change. Simply, he was advised by his agent that Mellancamp wasn’t a rock and roll name. Therefore, he took on the name Cougar in order to sound more hard rock. It was only when he achieved commercial success that he retook his real surname and then eventually dropped the Cougar all together but that story is for some time down the future.

Arnold Horshak from the TV show Welcome Back Kotter

Arnold Horshak from the TV show Welcome Back Kotter

“American Fool” was the commercial breakthrough album for John Cougar featuring the hit singles “Hurt So Good,” my second favourite song of his and the more known “Jack And Diane,” which got so much air play at the time that I got tired of hearing it. It would be at least another decade and a half before I finally could enjoy that song again.

Keeping with the trend in 1982, those two songs lead off the album but fortunately, like many of the albums covered so far from 1982, the rest of the album has more behind it. The songs on the album all have the vibe of straight forward no nonsense rock and roll that Cougar said he was trying to achieve. I have to agree, while “American Fool” isn’t a head banger, there is some good guitar hard rock to go around. In fact, I must say that after a renewed listen, I’m quite impressed with some of the guitar work on it. Sure, there’s no blood curdling solos but the guitars do enhance the feel good factor. One of those albums you listen to while driving in the car or sitting on the front step with a beer in hand, though I wouldn’t recommend it this time of year. Tracks that really impress me were “Danger List” and “Can You Take It” but needless to say, the other tracks are worth a listen as well. John Cougar livened up those summer months of that year when I was actually in the States.

Track Listing:

1. Hurt So Good

2. Jack and Diane

3. Hand to Hold On To

4. Danger List

5. Can You Take It

6. Thundering Hearts

7. China Girl

8. Close Enough

9. Weakest Moments

10. American Fool

John Cougar

John Cougar

John Cougar- lead vocals

Larry Krane- guitar, backing vocals

Mike Wanchic- guitar, backing vocals

Kenny Aronoff- drums

George ‘Chocolate’ Perry- bass

Mick Ronson- guitar, backing vocals

Robert ‘Ferd’ Frank- bass, backing vocals

Eric Rosser- keyboards

David Parman- backing vocals

I think that “American Fool” came at a perfect time when you could play straight forward rock without being catagorised into something else. I have met people a couple of years after this album who considered John Cougar to be heavy metal. No way, but it is enjoyable good rock.

Next post: The Jam- The Gift

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 1982: The Go Go’s- Vacation

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on December 17, 2014 by 80smetalman

220px-GoGos-Vacation

Owing to a heavy work schedule over the past few days and going to visit family tomorrow, I’m afraid I won’t be getting two posts out this week,  my apologies. Although I do have to share some blame because instead of getting on the computer on Monday evening, I decided to watch the recorded Eagles-Cowboys game and seeing the way the Eagles played this week, I would have been better off posting on here.

Eagles vs Cowboys

Eagles vs Cowboys

I was still not tired of listening to The Go-Go’s debut “Beauty and the Beat” album in June of 1982 when browsing the record section at the PX in Rota, Spain, I discovered that they had put out a second one. I made a mental note to get it once I returned to the States a few weeks later, although I didn’t need to because my sister had recorded several songs off of it. My reaction was that it pretty much sounded like the previous album while at the same time being rather good.

Keeping with the trend of 1982, “Vacation” begins with the hit single which is also the title track. It’s not a bad song, probably what you would expect from a single, quite lively. It’s the songs that come after it that tingle my interest a bit more. The very next track, “He’s So Strange” has a lot more substance to it and is quite a good listen. It sounds as if they are at least trying to venture forth a little and be creative. With several of the other tracks, there is a strong guitar start to the songs. At least The Go-Go’s were trying to be a little hard rock. “Girl of 100 Lists,” “Everything But Party Time” and “Beatnik Beach” are examples of this and the closer, “Worlds Away” does an excellent job in concluding the album. There is one thing I found slightly disappointing and that is the fact that there is not one memorable guitar solo from Charlotte Caffey on the album. I don’t know if that was down to her or other things. I mention this because I always believed that she was the most musically talented of the group. Still, “Vacation” was still an enjoyable album while The Go-Go’s still managed to excite my then 21 year old hormones.

Track Listing:

1. Vacation

2. He’s So Strange

3. Girl of 100 Lists

4. We Don’t Get Along

5. I Think It’s Me

6. Everything But Party Time

7. Get Up and Go

8. This Old Feeling

9. Cool Jerk

10. The Way You Dance

11. Beatnik Beach

12. Worlds Away

The Go Go's

The Go Go’s

Belinda Carlisle- lead vocals

Charlotte Caffey- lead guitar, backing vocals

Jane Weidlin- rhythm guitar, vocals

Kathy Valentine- bass, backing vocals

Gina Schock- drums, backing vocals

While The Go Go’s were able to build on the success of “Beauty and the Beat” with “Vacation” for some reason, they would go into obscurity after this album. I don’t know why because the second album is certainly likeable.

Next post: John Cougar- American Fool

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 1982: REO Speedwagon- Good Trouble

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 12, 2014 by 80smetalman

220px-Goodtrouble

Many people have said that REO Speedwagon’s follow up to the highly commercially successful “Hi Infidelity” album was a disappointment. True this album wasn’t the commercial success of its predecessor but that doesn’t make it a bad album in anyway. Quite the opposite, “Good Trouble” is, in my humble view, every bit as good as “Hi Infidelity,” possibly better. So, why didn’t it sell so well? I offer this explanation. In spite of the fact that they had two very big singles on “Hi Infidelity,” they didn’t want to have every song sound like “Keep On Loving You.” Instead, they went back to their roots which made them so good during the 70s. “Good Trouble” isn’t as hard and heavy as “Nine Lives” but reminds me a lot more of their excellent “You Can Tune a Piano But You Can’t Tuna Fish” album and that album was considered their best by many, although my fave is still “Nine Lives.”

I’m getting the impression as I revisit albums from 1982 that it seems to have been the thing to have the big single as the album opener. Every album I have covered so far has done this and the same happens with this REO classic. “Keep the Fire Burning” comes and goes and does the job its meant to do. It was a top ten single during a time when the charts actually meant something to me, well a little bit. After that, REO Speedwagon unleash hell for the rest of the way. “Sweet Time” begins like it’s going to be a ballad but then some rocking guitars kick in and the rest of the song goes totally up tempo. Then, three songs later, comes my hidden favourite track, “I’ll Follow You.” That song definitely brings me back to the glory days of REO Speedwagon. It starts hard and then Gary Richrath nails a killer solo. However, as much as I have praised Gary before the guitar altar, the track allows you to hear why Neil Doughty is such a fantastic keyboardist. Most certainly underrated among keyboard players. The other tracks are no less hard rocking. “Stillness of the Night” is a prime example on this scale as Gary shreds away big time on it. Then there is the paradox of the closer and title track. It ranks right up there with any good album closer but the track was also used as the opener when they toured on the album, versatility or what? So, ignore the charts and lack of commercial success, “Good Trouble” is a great rocker of an album.

Track Listing:

1. Keep the Fire Burning

2. Sweet Time

3. Girl With the Heart of Gold

4. Every Now and Then

5. I’ll Follow You

6. The Key

7. Back In My Heart Again

8. Let’s Be-Bop

9. Stillness of the Night

10. Good Trouble

REO Speedwagon

REO Speedwagon

Kevin Cronin- rhythm guitar, piano, lead vocals

Gary Richrath- lead guitar

Neil Doughty- keyboards

Bruce Hall- bass, lead vocal on “Let’s Be-Bop”

Alan Gratzer- drums, percussion

Maybe it was down to the lack of commercial success of “Good Trouble” their next album would be a total sell out. That’s a shame because “Good Trouble” is every bit a classic rocking album and reminds me of the time when REO Speedwagon was good and not settling for being popular.

Next post: The Go Gos- Talk Show

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 1982: Asia

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 8, 2014 by 80smetalman

Asia_-_Asia_(1982)_front_cover

When I returned from my second deployment in June of 1982, this debut album from Asia was there to greet me. It would be the first new album I would hear on my return. I did get a preview of what was to come when someone played the first single “Heat of the Moment” on the juke of a local bar (not the Driftwood) and that persuaded me to check out the rest of the album to which I was delighted to have done for this was a good album. On a totally unrelated note, this is the only album I know of that my sister and my ex wife both own, but don’t tell either of them.

For me, Asia gave the sign that the progressive rock which defined the 1970s, would carry on strong into the following decade. The opening song and previously mentioned big single signifies that Asia were a good tight band who joined together to make great music. It starts with a cool attention grabbing guitar riff before being overpowered by some sublime keyboard work. The guitars don’t totally go away but come back to begin each verse. The next couple of songs are keyboard lead but done very well and a guitar solo emerges on the track “One Step Closer” and goes on to take the song to its conclusion. A similar guitar riff starts “Time Again” but like some of the great progressive bands that went before such as Emerson, Lake and Palmer or Yes, there is some exciting intricate keyboard work laced throughout the song. However, the one song that certainly highlights the quality musicianship of the members of Asia is “Without You.” I got to hear a little of everything here with the keyboards, electric guitar and even an acoustic guitar bit, all very well done. My verdict: Asia’s self titled album reminds me of the day when musicians actually cared about the quality of the music they played.

Track Listing:

1. Heat of the Moment

2. Only Time Will Tell

3. Sole Survivor

4. One Step Closer

5. Time Again

6. Wildest Dreams

7. Without You

8. Cutting it Fine

9. Here Comes That Feeling

asia

Geoff Downes- keyboards, vocals

Steve Howe- guitars, vocals

Carl Palmer- drums, percussion

John Wetton- bass, lead vocals

Very shortly after this album, what we know as progressive rock would disintegrate into what would become synth pop. For us who grew up with progressive rock, it would become sad times and I could remember seeing many a person from my era force feeding quarter into a juke box when they spotted a song from the olden times. Asia reminds me that in 1982, those sad times weren’t upon us yet and there were still some out there who wanted to play some serious rock.

Next post: REO Speedwagon- Good Trouble

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