Archive for January, 2016

R.I.P. Paul Kantner

Posted in Death, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 29, 2016 by 80smetalman
Paul Kantner- Jefferson Starship

Paul Kantner- Jefferson Starship

Now I am convinced the apocalypse is upon us. Not even a week since the death of Dio bassist, Jimmy Bain, another rock legend departs our world. Yesterday, it was rhythm guitarist Paul Kantner of Jefferson Airplane/Starship, who passed away from a heart attack, aged 74. Paul Kantner was one of the major reasons I was such a big Jefferson Starship fan throughout the 1970s and early 1980s. It was only after he departed the band in 1984, they ceased to be my favourite band.

Paul was not only one of the best rhythm guitarists in rock, (he was nominated for the Hugo Science Fiction Award for his efforts on Blows Against the Empire), he was also a damn good song writer. Whenever I got a new Jefferson Starship album, it was his songs that I usually liked the most on that album. His songs always tended to be more hard rock, especially during their days of mellow out rock in the late 70s. Unfortunately, many of the songs he wrote weren’t the ‘big’ singles so I doubt if they will release an album with just his songs. So what I am going to do in tribute to this great musician is to listen to all the songs he wrote or had a major hand in writing for the band and list them here if you should want to do the same.

Dragon_Fly_(Jefferson_Starship_album_-_cover_art)

From Dragonfly

  1. Ride the Tiger
  2. Caroline

redoc

From Red Octopus

  1. I Want to See Another World
  2. There Will Be Love

is

From Spitfire

  1. Dance With the Dragon
  2. St Charles
  3. Song to the Sun: Part I- Ozymandias, Part II- Don’t Let it Rain

jsearth

From Earth

  1. All Night Long

FreedomAtPointZero

From Freedom at Point Zero

  1. Lightning Rose
  2. Things to Come
  3. Girl With the Hungry Eyes
  4. Freedom at Point Zero

untitled (4)

From Modern Times

  1. Wild Eyes
  2. Modern Times
  3. Stairway to Cleveland

WindsOfChange_Jefferson_Starship

From Winds of Change

  1. Out of Control
  2. I Came Back From the Jaws of the Dragon

Nuclear_Furniture

From Nuclear Furniture

  1. Connection
  2. Rose Goes to Yale
  3. Champion

Jefferson Starship did not release an album in 1983 but Paul Kantner did put out a solo album that year, which I liked. That will be the next post.

R.I.P. Paul

Great Metal Albums of 1983: Dio- Holy Diver

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 29, 2016 by 80smetalman

dio
Like with David Bowie’s and Motorhead’s 1983 albums, I was hoping to write about the debut album from Dio, in 1983, under much happier circumstances. With the passing of Dio bassist, Jimmy Bain, I feel that it should be a fitting tribute to him that I post about this iconic album now.

Jimmy Bain

Jimmy Bain

What can I say about “Holy Diver” that hasn’t already said? Probably nothing, therefore, I am going to speak about it straight from the heart and yes the pun is intended. From my first listen, I admit it wasn’t til early 1984 when I got that opportunity, til now, I was and still am completely blown away by it. No wonder it’s my fourth favourite album of all time.

Why is this album so good? Let’s start with the opener, “Stand Up and Shout.” That is one of the best album and concert opening songs of all time. A great opener will grab you by the throat and make you listen to the entire album. It’s no wonder, Dio opened with this song three of the five times I’ve seen them live.

You are the driver
you own the road
you are the fire — go on, explode

Then comes my favourite Dio song of all time, the title track. If I were running a ‘Headbanging for Beginners’ course, “Holy Diver” would be the first song I would use. This unique but catchy riff is just plain phenomenal. I still remember at the local nightspot in London for heavy metal, scores of metalheads all in a huddle headbanging away to it. The song is so easy to do that with. Not only that, there are Ronnie James Dio’s lyrics, (he was top of his game here), and Vivian Campbell just nails the guitar solo. For me, it’s always been truly an amazing song.

Between the velvet lies

There’s a truth as hard as steel

A vision never dies

Life’s a never ending wheel.

Following the title cut are two more excellent songs in the form of “Gypsy” and “Caught in the Middle.” With both songs, we see some heavy chords being struck while in sync with more of Ronnie’s lyrics.

Take a look at yourself, you might see someone you don’t know

If you haven’t already figured it out, the above lyrics were from “Caught in the Middle.” After that is what many claim to be the best non single or song that should have been released as one on the album. Anyone who has any experience of Dio will know “Don’t Talk to Strangers.” Its eerie intro followed by lyrics that can be of sound advice before exploding into pure heavy metal mania with Campbell’s solo probably being the best one on the album. There’s something for everyone to like here. It is most likely the reason why Dio has played this song all five times I’ve seen them live.

Having originally procured “Holy Diver” on cassette, I should go on about side two. However, the age of CD’s and MP3 downloads has made me stop dividing albums into sides. “Straight Through the Heart” is a very powerful rocker and maintains the standard the album sets but after that is my choice for best hidden gem on it, “Invisible.” Don’t ask me to explain why or how but I just love that song. I think it’s the way like “Don’t Talk to Strangers,” it starts melodically before hitting you over the head with more power chords. Those chords may not be quite as in your face as the other song but it does the job.

If your surface stays unbroken, then you’re a lucky man

Cause it never, never, never has for me

In the palace of the virgin lies the chalice of your soul

And it’s likely you will find the answer there.

Again, Ronnie’s lyrics are amazing, especially matched with his truly one of a kind voice. Following “Invisible” is the more known “Rainbow in the Dark,” which maybe was Dio’s most successful single. Hell, I remember in 1984, a Budweiser advert being played to this tune. This is the one song where keyboards play a major role but still, they don’t detract from the power of the song.

Now onto the closer, “Shame on the Night.” If I have to pick a least favourite track, it would have to be this one. Don’t get me wrong, it is no way a bad track, I just don’t rate it quite as high as the other eight but what it does do is close the album very nicely, I guess that’s what Ronnie had in mind with it. That is yet another reason why I think “Holy Diver” is so fantastic.

Track Listing:

  1. Stand Up and Shout
  2. Holy Diver
  3. Gypsy
  4. Caught in the Middle
  5. Don’t Talk To Strangers
  6. Straight Through the Heart
  7. Invisible
  8. Rainbow in the Dark
  9. Shame on the Night
Dio

Dio

Ronnie James Dio- vocals, keyboards

Vivian Campbell- guitar

Jimmy Bain- bass

Vinnie Appice- drums

I don’t give a flying fart as to how cliched this statement sounds but I know in my heart that Jimmy has now joined Ronnie and they are jamming away together in a better place. Probably their former Rainbow band mate, Cozy Powell has joined them and if they had any sense, they would invite Jon Lord to do the honours on the keyboards. However, I can’t think of any guitarist who has played along side of these guys who has departed from our world. Therefore, I would suggest they take Criss Oliva from Savatage as his guitar work would fit Ronnie’s vocals perfectly. Who knows, maybe they would make an album as great as “Holy Diver.”

Next post: Billy Idol

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

R.I.P. Jimmy Bain

Posted in Death, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 24, 2016 by 80smetalman
Jimmy Bain

Jimmy Bain

What is going on with 2016? January isn’t over and another great rocker is taken from us. This time it is Rainbow/Dio bassist Jimmy Bain. Details of his death haven’t been released but he was 68. Jimmy played with Rainbow from 1975-77 but he was best known for his time with Dio, especially on their first five albums. Less known is that he co-wrote with Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy on some of his solo albums.

Dio

Dio

Okay, some may say that Jimmy Bain wasn’t the legend that some of the others who have recently passed but for me, he was a part of the band that made my 1980s. Therefore, I too will be listening to some Dio and early Rainbow over the next few days and it’s probably a given which album I’ll be posting about next.

R.I.P. Jimmy Bain

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1983: Supertramp- Famous Last Words

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 21, 2016 by 80smetalman

220px-Supertramp_-_Famous_Last_Words

Released at the end of 1982, “Famous Last Words” by Supertramp came to my attention in the first few weeks of 1983. I happened to see the video for the biggest single off the album, “It’s Raining Again,” while at a disco in Tokyo. When I say saw the video, I mean literally. While the video was played on the club’s television screen, the music being played definitely wasn’t Supertramp. It would be a month later when I returned to Okinawa, I would finally get to hear the song matched up to the video.

As I reflect back to those early months of 1983 and some of the albums I have posted about so far, I am beginning to think that this year wasn’t a very good one for some of the established superstars of rock. It seemed that like David Bowie and Todd Rundgren, Supertramp also decided to go for a more commercial sound. In their case, “Famous Last Words” was an attempt to build on the success of their previous studio album, “Breakfast in America.” However, I don’t think this album measures up to their previous classic.

supbia

Let’s not be too negative about “Famous Last Words,” there are some bright spots on it. First, take the big single for instance. Sure, it reeks of commercialdom but there is enough of Supertramp’s presence on it to know that it is theirs. Still, there are better songs on it, like the very jazz sounding “My Kind of Lady.” The sax solo on that song does blow me away. “Crazy” and “Put On Your Brown Shoes” are also decent tunes. I do like the honky tonk piano in the latter and Ann and Nancy Wilson from Heart perform backing vocals on it but my personal favourite on this album has to be “Bonnie.” To me that song is Supertramp from their glory days back in the 1970s. I’m talking stuff like my favourite Supertramp album, “Crime of the Century.”

cotc

Track Listing:

  1. Crazy
  2. Put On Your Brown Shoes
  3. It’s Raining Again
  4. Bonnie
  5. Know Who You Are
  6. My Kind of Lady
  7. C’est Le Bon
  8. Waiting So Long
  9. Don’t Leave Me Now
Supertramp

Supertramp

Rick Davies- keyboards, lead and backing vocals, harmonica, melodica solo on “Its Raining Again”

John Helliwell- saxophone, keyboards

Roger Hodgeson- guitar, lead and backing vocals

Bob Seibenberg- drums

Dougie Thompson- bass

“Famous Last Words” may not be as good as some of Supertramp’s more classic albums but it is enjoyable nonetheless. Maybe like so many artists back then, they were trying too hard for commercial success. It could also be why Roger Hodgeson would go solo after this album.

Next post: Billy Idol- White Wedding

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

 

 

R.I.P. Glenn Frey

Posted in 1980s, Death, films, Music, Rock, television, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 19, 2016 by 80smetalman
Glenn Frey

Glenn Frey

Another week in January 2016 and another rock legend has departed this world. This time it was The Eagles legendary singer, song writer and guitarist, Glenn Frey, who yesterday, succumbed after complications arising from rheumatoid arthritis. (The fact that it wasn’t cancer this time is of no consolation to me here.)

Glenn’s music career last for more than four decades. Throughout the 1970s, he made many a great record with The Eagles and wrote or co-wrote some of their classic hits, such as “Take It Easy,” Tequila Sunrise,” “New Kid in Town” and “Heartache Tonight.” In the 1980s, after the break up of the band, he went on to have a successful solo career with several more hits, which for me, the biggest one has to be “Smuggler’s Blues.” Frey even did some acting appearing in the 80s crime drama “Miami Vice” and in the 1990s, had a small role in the Tom Cruise film, “Jerry McGuire.” Still, it was his contribution to music that he will be remembered best for.

The Eagles

The Eagles

I have already been asked on Facebook if I will be visiting a Glenn Frey or an Eagles album in tribute to Glenn. I would love to but I don’t want to go out of sequence with things here on 80smetalman. The problem is that by 1983, The Eagles had been broken up for three years and Glenn Frey did not release a solo album in that year. So, this is what I’m going to do. I will be posting links to the Frey/Eagles albums I’ve visited over the years below. Read them all and remember just what a great influence to music both Glenn Frey and The Eagles were.

nofunaloud

https://80smetalman.wordpress.com/2015/05/10/great-rock-albums-of-1982-glenn-frey-no-fun-aloud/

220px-The_Eagles_-_Eagles_Live

https://80smetalman.wordpress.com/2013/07/10/great-rock-albums-of-1980-the-eagles-live/

The_Eagles_The_Long_Run

https://80smetalman.wordpress.com/2012/09/06/great-rock-albums-of-1979-the-eagles-the-long-run/

eagleshotelcal

https://80smetalman.wordpress.com/2011/08/19/great-rock-albums-of-the-70s-the-eagles-hotel-california/

Read, enjoy, listen to some Eagles records and some Glenn Frey solo material and pause a moment to reflect on what another tragic loss to rock his passing has been.

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1983: U2- War

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 17, 2016 by 80smetalman

220px-U2_War_album_cover

My original intention was to post U2’s breakthrough album “War” in succession with Todd Rundgren and Bryan Adams. However, with the death of David Bowie, I felt the need to abandon that intention in order to pay proper homage to a true rock icon. The idea for my original intention came about because back in 1983, there was a chance to see Todd Rundgren, U2 and Bryan Adams together. They were playing a concert in Charlotte, North Carolina and the local radio station in Jacksonville, where I was stationed, was running a bus to it. I would have loved to have gone but unfortunately, the Marine Corps stuck me on duty that day so I couldn’t. It’s no wonder why I didn’t re-enlist.

Like I said a second again, u2’s third album, “War” was the album where they finally got the attention they deserved in the US. In 1983 and I’ve probably said this before, commercial radio didn’t totally suck, so when the monster hits, “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and “New Year’s Day,” blew me away when they got played, I naturally had to get a hold of the album. Especially, having heard their first two albums, “Boy” and “October.” U2 was one of those bands where I could tell the johnny come lately’s that I was listening to them before they got famous.

What I have always liked about War is that, at least in my ears, it’s not much different to their first two albums. They didn’t have to change to get accepted, (something they would forget in the years to follow.) U2 brought a different sound to the table which many people liked when they got to hear it. The fascinating thing about “War” is that the album has been enjoyed by both metalheads and Duranies (people who worshiped Duran Duran) alike. In fact, they have often been labelled ‘punk’ mainly because there was no other category in which to put them.

So many great things have been said about the “War” album, I would just be repeating them and even now, I find it difficult to find my own words. I know I just really like this album. The two singles already mentioned are my joint second favourite U2 songs of all time, “I Will Follow” takes the top slot. However, I was more than slightly disappointed when they didn’t play the third single from the album, “Two Hearts Beat as One” when I finally got to see them live in 1985. While all of the songs are good, I would have to pick “Surrender” as my favourite of the lesser known songs on “War.”

Track Listing:

  1. Sunday Bloody Sunday
  2. Seconds
  3. New Year’s Day
  4. Like a Song
  5. Drowning Man
  6. The Refugee
  7. Two Hearts Beat as One
  8. Red Light
  9. Surrender
  10. 40
U2

U2

Bono- lead vocals, additional guitar

The Edge- guitars, piano, backing vocals, lead vocal on “Seconds”

Adam Clayton- bass

Larry Mullen Jr- drums

In 1983, U2 finally broke into the big time with a fantastic album “War.” This album was a milestone for the band and fans like me in so many ways. In fact, often times I think that the band should go back and listen to this album and remember what got them to where they are.

Next post: Supertramp- Famous Last Words

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 1983: David Bowie- Let’s Dance

Posted in 1980s, Death, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 13, 2016 by 80smetalman

David-bowie-lets-dance (1)

So far, the new year isn’t starting off very well for rock and metal. Two weeks ago, we lose Lemmy to cancer and then two days ago, cancer claims David Bowie. Right now is a time for tragedy and great morning.

One observation I have made goes back to that metal hating newspaper, The Sun. At Lemmy’s passing, the paper devoted pages 14 and 15 to talk about his life and contribution to music. However, yesterday’s Sun put David Bowie on the front cover and dedicated about eight pages, at least, to him. Now, I know the argument that Bowie was more well known than Lemmy and sold more records and had many more Top 40 hits. But still, the difference in the amount of coverage by the paper is way out of proportion.

When I began to assemble my list for albums of 1983, I was in two minds on whether or not to include Bowie’s 1983 “Let’s Dance” album. For me, it’s not his best album. It’s a long way down from classics like “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and Spiders From Mars,” an album I visited many eons ago. However, being an open minded person and having mellowed a little with old age, I thought it fair that I give it another listen. My opinion of “Let’s Dance” has improved but only a little bit. To me, it still sounds too 80s mainstream pop.

220px-ZiggyStardust

Here’s the good news. When I first heard the title cut all those years ago, I was put off by the domineering bass in the song. I thought he was trying to go for a dance record with it. Hearing it again, I realise now that “Let’s Dance” has a real killer guitar solo. Naturally, I had to look up to discover who played this great solo and very much to my surprise, I have learned that the guitar virtuoso was none other than guitar great Stevie Ray Vaughan. Better yet, not only does he shine on the title cut but his talents explode all over this album. So, I ask myself, “How could have I missed out this great guitar work over thirty years ago?” My only answer is that the mainstream 8os sound put me off so much, that I missed the great guitar solos.

Stevie Ray Vaughan

Stevie Ray Vaughan

Another point to make is that there is absolutely nothing wrong with Bowie’s vocals anywhere on the album. When you listen to each song, you know without a shadow of a doubt that it’s the Starman singing. His unique voice was as good as ever. This leads me to alter my original verdict on “Let’s Dance” to state that Bowie’s vocals and Vaughan’s guitar work save the album. Like with many albums, I did find a lesser known good track on this one. That track is “Cat People (Putting Out Fire)” and that even takes the top spot from the former fave, “Modern Love.”

Track Listing:

  1. Modern Love
  2. China Girl
  3. Let’s Dance
  4. Without You
  5. Ricochet
  6. Criminal World
  7. Cat People (Putting Out Fire)
  8. Shake It
David Bowie

David Bowie

David Bowie- vocals

Carmine Rojas- bass

Omar Hakim, Tony Thompson- drums

Nile Rodgers- guitar, horn arrangements

Stevie Ray Vaughan- lead guitar

Rob Sabino- keyboards

Mac Gallehon- trumpet

Robert Aaron, Lenny Pickett, Stan Harrison- tenor saxophone, flute

Steve Elson- baritone saxophone, flute

Sammy Figueroa- percussion

Frank Simms, George Simms, David Spinner- backing vocals

175px-David-Bowie_Early

R.I.P. David Bowie

While “Let’s Dance” is better than what I remember from over thirty years ago, after I listened to it, I did listen to “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and Spiders From Mars” again. That album is more my style. Whichever album you from David Bowie you prefer, you can’t the fault the contribution this great singer made to music for over forty years.

Next Post: U2- War  (Unless someone else who put out an album in 1983 dies)

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