Archive for March, 2015

Great Rock Albums of 1982: Culture Club- Kissing to Be Clever

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on March 31, 2015 by 80smetalman

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 After a great deal of consideration of whether or not to post about this album, I have decided to go ahead with it. No matter what people may think about Culture Club, it is part of our musical history. This band changed the way a lot of people thought about music. With the appearance of bands like this, it became a case of not only what a band sounded like that was important, it also mattered what they looked like.

Boy George

Boy George

Like it or not, Boy George brought a new look to music in 1982. As a heterosexual male, I was immediately turned off by the concept of a man dressing like a woman, however, I found that many ladies liked him. Furthermore, the belief among some men towards Boy George and the band was that they didn’t like him but they liked Culture Club’s music.

Track Listing:

1. White Boy

2. You Know I’m Not Crazy

3. I’ll Tumble 4 Ya

4. Take Control

5. Love Twist

6. Boy Boy (I’m the Boy)

7. I’m Afraid of Me

8. White Boys Can’t Control It

9. Do You Really Want to Hurt Me

Culture Club

Culture Club

Boy George- vocals

Michael Craig- bass

Roy Hay- guitar, keyboards, sitar

Jon Moss- drums

You have probably noticed that I have not said anything about the album. That’s because I haven’t listened to it and have no intention of doing so. If you thought I was serious about posting a Culture Club album on 80smetalman, then

APRIL FOOL!

Ha! I got you, okay maybe not.

Next post: Billy Joel- The Nylon Curtain

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: Gillan- Magic

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 30, 2015 by 80smetalman

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The 1982 “Magic” album would be the last studio album from Gillan and this probably is why they are the best British rock/metal act not to have made it big in the US. The band would disband after this album with Ian Gillan going onto to front Black Sabbath before reforming with Deep Purple. So the million dollar question is, did they go out with a bang?

One advantage for me in answering that question is that I’m still pretty much a new comer to Gillan because they didn’t make a huge impact in America. While, I have heard many of their previous albums and posted about them on here, I haven’t listened to them enough to arrange them in any sort of order to preferences. Furthermore, I try not to pay attention to chart positions and don’t give a crap if “Magic” didn’t chart as high as “Glory Road.” That makes it easier for me to judge this album on its own. I have also heard plenty of final albums from bands who disbanded after and I can say that since this is a last album from Gillan, they definitely go out on a high.

With “Magic,” Gillan try to walk a fine tightrope between hard and more synthesizer rock, which they do quite well. There are some great rockers like the opener, “What’s the Matter” and credit where due, Janick Gers lays down a mean guitar solo on “Bluesy Blue Sea.” I didn’t realise he was so capable of playing in the blues like style. Another great rocker is “Driving Me Wild.” On the synthesizer side is “Caught in a Trap” and “Devil Driver” which goes way out there on a very progressive yet creative streak. That one is definitely one to have playing while contemplating the universe. Of all the tracks, the one that brings both the guitar and synthesizer sides together to make a great song is “Living for the City.” It starts with the keyboard making one think that this is going to be in that vein when the guitar just steps in and takes over. Once again, Gers plays a great guitar solo and the keyboards don’t disappear but continue to add to the flavour. What stops it from being a fantastic song, unfortunately, is the vocals of Ian Gillan. He tries to hard to be a screaming rock singer when he doesn’t have to be. His voice is good enough without having to do that. Still, “Magic” is a great album.

Track Listing:

1. What’s the Matter

2. Bluesy Blue Sea

3. Caught in a Trap

4. Long Gone

5. Driving Me Wild

6. Demon Driver

7. Living a Lie

8. You’re So Right

9. Living For the City

10. Demon Driver (reprise)

Gillan (from this album)

Gillan 

Ian Gillan- vocals, harmonica

Janick Gers- guitar

Colin Towns- keyboards

John McCoy- bass

Mick Underwood- drums

After “Magic,” the members of Gillan would go their separate ways and move onto other things. With the person whom the band is named after, that would be left to history. It’s good that unlike so many other bands whose final album isn’t up to much, Gillan at least goes out with a bang with theirs.

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: Night Ranger- Dawn Patrol

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 25, 2015 by 80smetalman

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The debut album, “Dawn Patrol” from Night Ranger would spark off a great debate that would last for several years. Were Night Ranger a heavy metal band? My opinion on this question lies in the fact that I am visiting the album in my great rock albums section and not the great metal albums one. However, the problem back then was with mainstream radio. Many deejays were to quick to put any music with a hard power chord into the heavy metal category thus infuriating metalheads like me for a number of years. For me, the answer to the debate would be solved with Night Ranger’s 1985 album.

Another reason why I don’t class Night Ranger as metal is because the first time I heard their most well known song, “Don’t Tell Me You Love Me,” I thought it was being sung by Rick Springfield. You have to admit, the chorus is very much like Springfield and when that mind blowing guitar solo came in, I simply assumed that he managed to find a great lead guitarist to play on it. Well, I was partially right because both Jeff Watson and Brad Gillis are great guitarists.

“Dawn Patrol” is for the most part a good hard rock album but does venture across the border into  progressive rock. The mentioned big single is a great rocker in spite of my earlier comments about it being a Rick Springfield tune. Three and four years later, it was still played every Friday night at the heavy metal night at a club on the outskirts of East London. That club is a McDonald’s now but that’s not important. However, the album boasts other hard rocking jams as well. “Young Girl in Love,” “Penny” and “Play Rough” to name just three and I would be quick to put forward “At Night She Sleeps.” Then there are less hard songs like “Sing Me Away” which is keyboard dominated. Whatever category you want to put Night Ranger in, you can’t get away from the fact that these guys can really play, especially on this album.

Track Listing:

1. Don’t Tell Me You Love Me

2. Sing Me Away

3. At Night She Sleeps

4. Call My Name

5. Eddie’s Comin’ Out Tonight

6. Can’t Find Me a Thrill

7. Young Girl in Love

8. Play Rough

9. Penny

10. Night Ranger

Night Ranger

Night Ranger

Jack Blades- bass, vocals

Jeff Watson- guitar

Brad Gillis- guitar

Alan ‘Fitz’ Fitzgerald- keyboards

Kelly Keagy- drums, vocals

Night Ranger, in my view, were never heavy metal. They were a great hard rock band in the early 1980s, which their debut album clearly shows. True, they would go more commercial with later albums and turn metalheads like me off of them, but “Dawn Patrol” is more hard rock than anything and it 1982, got people like me excited.

Next post: Gillan- Magic

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: Fleetwood Mac- Mirage

Posted in 1979, 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 22, 2015 by 80smetalman

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Back in 1982, music video was still very new to many artists. MTV had only been up and running for a year and there were many households throughout the USA who did not have the channel. There would have been no way that having it on any of the base televisions would have even remotely considered. Therefore, the only music video I got to see was if I happened to catch “America’s Top Ten” and that wasn’t something I went out of my way to watch, unlike “World Championship Wrestling.” So, it was just luck of the draw that I managed to catch it on one Saturday. That week, REO Speedwagon and John Cougar had the only songs I thought of any worth in the top ten but then Casey Kasem showed the video for the new single from Fleetwood Mac, “Gypsy.” I liked the song, thought the video was okay and was glad to hear that they had put out a new album.

“Mirage” is a pretty good album, the problem for me and I suppose many people, is that after putting out an album like “Rumours” five years earlier, it would always be an extremely difficult feat to measure up to. Back in 1979, I should have seen the “Tusk” album as a sign. The problem with “Mirage”  and “Tusk” for that fact is that it lacks the variety of the all time great. While listening to “Mirage,” I patiently waited for a rocking jam like “Go Your Own Way” or a killer guitar solo from Lindsey Buckingham similar to “Don’t Stop.” Plus, I don’t think it would have been too much to ask if they allowed John McVie to pump out a killer bass line like on “The Chain.” Even an amusing little ditty like “Second Hand News” would have been cool, but none of these things are present on “Mirage.”

Enough of the negative because it is still an enjoyable album. One thing that does come over from the “Rumours” album and I’ve always loved her dearly for it, is the eccentricity of Stevie Nicks. It’s her vocals on “Gypsy” that made me check out the album in the first place. She does a similar job on “Straight Back.” That is the first track where Buckingham stops being introverted with his guitar and plays a decent solo. That combination makes it the best track on the album for me.

If it was up to me, I would have left the first four tracks of this album off and started it with “Gypsy.” From there on is where the album shines with tracks like “Hold Me” and a little bit of “Second Hand News” humour on “Empire State.” The closer, “Wish You Were Here,” is where Lindsey finally gets into full swing with the guitar making it the best song contributed by Christine McVie. That track gives an all well that ends well feel to things.

Track Listing:

1. Love in Store

2. Can’t Go Back

3. That’s Alright

4. Book of Love

5. Gypsy

6. Only Over You

7. Empire State

8. Straight Back

9. Hold Me

10. Oh Diane

11. Eyes of the World

12. Wish You Were Here

Fleetwood Mac

Fleetwood Mac

Lindsey Buckingham- guitar, vocals, keyboards

Christine McVie- keyboards, vocals

Stevie Nicks- vocals

John McVie- bass

Mick Fleetwood- drums, percussion

My advice to anyone who wants to listen to “Mirage” by Fleetwood Mac is to not think about “Rumours.” The albums don’t compare and you may feel disappointed. If you listen to it with an open mind, you will find the album very much enjoyable. It was still one of the better softer rock albums in 1982.

Next post: Night Ranger- Dawn Patrol

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

 

 

 

AJ PERO – Drummer For Twisted Sister And Adrenaline Mob Has Passed Away

Posted in Death, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on March 21, 2015 by 80smetalman

I’ve seen Twisted Sister live five times and loved his drum solos!

Metal Odyssey > Heavy Metal Music Blog

AJ Pero - publicity photo - twitter - 2015 - #777AJMO33

The legendary AJ Pero has passed away, at the young age of 55. AJ Pero was the drummer for Twisted Sister and Adrenaline Mob.

As reported on the Twisted Sister Facebook page:

The members of Twisted Sister are profoundly saddened to announce the untimely passing of our brother, AJ Pero.

The band, crew and most importantly the family of AJ Pero thank you for your thoughts and prayers at this time.

As reported on the Adrenaline Mob Facebook page:

We write this with tears in our eyes & our hearts broken to pieces.. our beloved brother AJ Pero peacefully passed away in his sleep this morning on the bus. We are in complete shock & our hearts & prayers go out to his family. It has been nothing short of an honor to have shared the stage with such a beautiful soul & legend! We love you AJ, rest…

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Great Rock Albums of 1982: Steve Winwood- Talking Back to the Night

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on March 19, 2015 by 80smetalman

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 Most of us in our lifetimes have been influenced to watch a film or buy an album because someone or some entity we trust had constantly sung its praises. I know it has happened to me. In early September of 1982, I was given 24 hours bed rest after having two of my wisdom teeth removed. The Navy doctor who performed the task said it was the toughest extraction he ever had to do, those teeth were really in there. Moving on, during that 24 hour period and drifting in and out of bouts of sleep, I had the radio as a companion. The local station outside the base, WXQR in Jacksonville, North Carolina, kept plugging the new Steve Winwood album, “Talking Back to the Night.” The one deejay did this so much that I felt compelled to listen to the album and even give it its place in history on here.

To this day, I don’t think if I would have listened to album if it hadn’t been so heavily plugged on the radio. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a decent album and Steve Winwood is a very talented musician. Like Todd Rundgren, he plays all the instruments himself except that he does use drum machines unlike Todd who actually plays the drums. Also there is the fact that there are no guitar solos on the album and Todd can also shred. But this isn’t about Todd and I shouldn’t contrast the two really. It’s just that “Talking Back to the Night” wouldn’t have been an album I normally would have listened to, it’s not hard rock enough for me. If anything, I appreciate slightly more now that I am mellowing a bit with old age. I stress a little, I have the Sepultura “Greatest Hits” CD waiting for me in the car.

Following the 1982 tradition, “Talking Back to the Night” opens with the hit single “Valerie.” It is an okay song and I remember it being played on the radio back then. It sets the stage for the rest of the album. The synthesizers dominate the entire album and while I get a little disappointed at the lack of a power chord from a guitar, the synthesizers are expertly done. You can’t take anything away from Steve in that regard. Apart from “Valerie,” the two tracks that stood out for me on the album were “Help Me Angel” and the title track. I have long ago come to the conclusion that while it’s not a rock album in the traditional sense, it’s not a total synth pop album either. I think it’s one of those albums you can play at a party where there is a wide range of musical tastes among the attendees and no one would complain.

Track Listing:

1. Valerie

2. Big Girls Walk Away

3. And I Go

4. While There’s a Candle Burning

5. Still in the Game

6. It Was Happiness

7. Help Me Angel

8. Talking Back to the Night

9. There’s a River

Steve Winwood

Steve Winwood

Steve Winwood- synthesizers, lead and backing vocals, drum machines, guitar, keyboards

Like A Flock of Seagulls, it could be said that Steve Winwood help set the stage to the descent of music into synth pop. I don’t think this was Steve’s intention here. He may have been going along with the popular music of the time but he is too talented of a musician to have played that cheaply. This album is living proof of that.

Next post: Fleetwood Mac- Mirage

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: Robert Plant- Pictures At 11

Posted in Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 16, 2015 by 80smetalman

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What is probably the biggest misconception in the world about heavy metal founding fathers, Led Zeppelin, is that most people tend to remember them more for their hard rock/heavy metal sound from the early 1970s. Many supposed Led Zeppelin officianados forget that in the middle and latter part of that decade, they were moving away from the heavy sound for a more progressive sound. There were many reasons for this which I have already stated when I visited some Led Zeppelin albums in the past. Unfortunately, some of those same people had this same misconception when Robert Plant released his first solo album in 1982, “Pictures At 11.”

This album is definitely more Led Zeppelin in the late 70s and I think that Robert wanted to continue in this vein and he does a very good job in doing so. The opening track, “Burning Down One Side” is a sure fire reminder of the Zeppelin days from the opening riff. It definitely makes a statement for the rest of the album. However, Plant does seem to venture more into new territories as well. The slower second track “Moonlight in Samosa” bears testimony to this. Things go a bit more up tempo with “Slow Dancer” and it is the first track where I was tempted to begin comparing guitarist Robbie Blunt to Plant’s former band mate. Fortunately, I was able to resist temptation and make judgement on Blunt in his own right. My verdict: he can certainly play guitar as evidenced on not only “Slow Dancer” but “Worse Than Detroit” and “Fat Lip” and no, Sum 41 would not make a cover of that last song twenty years later, not even close. Sorry, forgive my weird sense of humour. However, those last two tracks are further evidence of Plant wanting to go forward into new areas. Then, almost as some anti- climax, the closing song, “Mystery Title” reminds me of two Led Zeppelin classics, “Trample Underfoot” and “When the Levee Breaks,” not that I’m complaining.

Track Listing:

1. Burning Down One Side

2. Midnight in Samosa

3. Pledge Pin

4. Slow Dancer

5. Worse Than Detroit

6. Fat Lip

7. Like I’ve Never Been Gone

8. Mystery Title

Robert Plant

Robert Plant

Robert Plant- vocals

Robbie Blunt- guitar

Jezz Woodroffe- keyboards, synthesizers

Paul Martinez- bass

Phil Collins- drums, except tracks 4 & 7

Cozy Powell- drums on tracks 4 &7

Raphael Ravenscroft- saxophone on track 3

It was always great to see that Robert Plant had moved on after Led Zeppelin, as did Page and Jones. He managed to find some good musicians to help him on the album and got Collins and Powell to play drums which was an added bonus. “Pictures At 11” marked a triumphant return for Plant.

Next post: Steve Winwood- Talking Back to the Night

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