Archive for March, 2016

Great? Rock Albums of 1983: Chris DeBurgh- The Getaway

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on March 31, 2016 by 80smetalman

The_Getaway

Don’t bother scrolling down to see if I’ve written “April Fool” at the bottom of the post, I am seriously posting about this album because I actually bought it in 1983. There is a cautionary moral to my tale. Throughout my entire record buying life, I had one record buying rule: Never buy an entire album on account of one song. This rule has probably saved me lots of money over the years  but one time, in 1983, I broke my rule and the result was Chris DeBurgh, “The Getaway.”

In May of that year, Chris’s best known hit, “Don’t Pay the Ferryman” got a considerable amount of airplay on the radio and I liked it. I liked the rather rock sounding lead guitar breaks between the verses along with fantasy quest sounding lyrics. Plus I liked eerie introduction to the song, the keyboards and acoustic guitar got my attention straight away. My point, “Don’t Pay the Ferryman” is a decent rock song. Now, I could blame it on my lack of living space whilst still in the marines as normally, I would have bought the song on 45. (Remember those?) However, I didn’t want to risk the record breaking while packed with all my stuff for that final trip home, so I bought “The Getaway” on cassette.

In tradition of the time, “Don’t Pay the Ferryman” opens the album. The joke here is that I could have stopped the tape there but I didn’t. Sometimes, I think that maybe I should have. After the big hit, the next three songs are totally mellow out love song ballad type things. None of them really grabs my interest. Then things speed up for the next two songs. Both “The Getaway” and “Ship to Shore” are not ballads but still not rock. They are both trendy pop songs and though I’ve heard worse, nothing to get excited about. Then after another ballad, things take a slightly interesting turn.

“The Borderline” is a ballad but the lyrics are quite interesting. The song is about two lovers who live in neighbouring countries who are about to go to war. Since the nations of Europe fought like cats and dogs from the fall of the Roman Empire until World War 2, this situation probably happened a lot. Another nice surprise is as the song nears the end, you are treated to a rather decent guitar solo. The credits don’t say who plays it but hats of to whoever it was. After “Where Peaceful Waters Flow,” which sounds like it has a choir harmonizing on it, comes the closer in three parts. The beginning called “Revolution” sets the song up for its glorious middle where that guitarist gets to shine again on “Light a Fire.” This part is the rockingest on the album and maybe a metal band should cover just those two minutes. Then in typical fashion on the album, “Liberty” is another ballad to end the song, except I have come to like the keyboard exit that ends the album in a eerie manner similar to how the album started. So, with “The Getaway,” we have a good beginning and a half decent end to the album. It’s just the in between that lets it down.

Track Listing:

  1. Don’t Pay the Ferryman
  2. The Island
  3. Crying and Laughing
  4. I’m Counting on You
  5. The Getaway
  6. Ship to Shore
  7. All the Love I Have Inside
  8. The Borderline
  9. Where Peaceful Waters Flow
  10. Revolution
  11. Light a Fire
  12. Liberty
Chris DeBurgh

Chris DeBurgh

Chris DeBurgh- vocals, guitar, piano

Rupert Hine- synthesizers, percussion, backing vocals

Jim Giblin- bass

Steve Negus- drums

Phil Palmer- guitars

Dave Caddick- piano on I’m Counting on You

Tim Wynveen- guitars

Anthony Thistlewaite- saxophone

Steven W Tayler- woodwinds, saxophone

Nigel Warren-Green- cello

Anthony Head, Sue Wilkinson, Diane Davison, Miriam Stockley- backing vocals

I have come to this conclusion, I theorize that Chris DeBurgh had the potential to be a great rock singer. Instead, he sang ballads and other mellow out songs. “The Getaway” is evidence of both. Still don’t do what I did and buy this album on account of a really good opening song.

Next post: Modern English- After the Snow

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

 

 

1983- When I Got Out of the Marines

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 27, 2016 by 80smetalman

usmc

Throughout several posts, I have stated that my experiences while serving in the US Marines played a big part in shaping me into the metalhead I am today. My experiences, which included a radio station that played some really cool hard rock, WXQR in Jacksonville, North Carolina, opened my musical mind to a wide range of musical tastes and styles. Before the marines, I had to be content with an old AM radio and glean music other people were listening to. I knew I loved the really hard rock but never actually stepped boldly forward into that world. The marines gave the opportunity to do that and it is why I am putting my release from active duty in 1983 as a moment in music history. At least it was for me.

Let’s start with the final days leading up to the day I got out. D-Day minus five was the last time I got a military haircut. I remember that because I wouldn’t cut my hair again for 17 months! It’s also why I gave the barber a generous tip. Minus four was a bit of a drag as it was Sunday and they put me on duty as ‘Duty NCO.’ D-Day minus three was the first day I began checking out. All that means is that I had to go to various places around the base and sign out with them. I was able to break the back on that on the first day and got many of the more minor places like the Red Cross signed out as well as my field gear turned in. I was also able to close my bank account with the local bank on base. More of the same with minus two although I was able to get confirmation that I would have proof of my contributions to the Veteran’s Educational Assistance Program. That was important because I was set to go to college in September. I completely finished checking out on minus one, the big relief being I had the all clear from my physical. Okay, not a huge worry. I also confirmed my flight for the next day. However, a slight paranoia gripped me so out of fear of some higher rank coming into my room and doing an inspection, I completely cleaned it. Fortunately, my fears were for nil.

Now onto the night before I got out. My company was on primary air alert and therefore combined to base but because I was now considered ‘non-deployable,’ I was allowed out for one last night in town. After a good pig out at an all you can eat for $5 chicken restaurant, I went to my old stomping ground, the Driftwood for one last time.

The Driftwood- June 29, 1983 would be the last time I would see this place.

The Driftwood- June 29, 1983 would be the last time I would see this place.

My ego would like to think that they held this event just for me as it was my last night but in reality, I know it wasn’t. That night at the Driftwood, they were having a ladies’ pudding wrestling tournament. Needless to say, I made sure I had front seats for the event. There were only three matches, the last one was the male manager against two ladies and opening match ended with one lady getting pinned rather quickly. For me, the main event was the middle match. Angie, who I spoke about when I posted about Joan Jett, (she could really move to “I Love Rock and Roll.”) vs another equally attractive lady named Theresa. The match had no winner but I didn’t care, I just liked watching them roll around in the pudding for fifteen minutes. For me, there wasn’t a better way to celebrate my last night in the service.

Not actual action from that night.

Not actual action from that night.

On D-Day, I woke up very excited. I put on my dress uniform and completed the final formalities, including getting paid and having my lieutenant tell me what a patriotic young man I was and I said it was a pleasure to serve. After saying good-bye to many of my comrades, I caught the shuttle to the airport and caught the plane. I first had to fly to Charlotte and had an hour and a half layover. Thankfully, a guy from my company who had re-enlisted and was going to his new assignment and another from a different company in my battalion also caught that short flight. So while we were all awaiting our connecting flights, we had a few drinks at the airport bar.

The flight from Charlotte to Philadelphia didn’t seem as long as I had feared and once I picked up my baggage, my mother and brother were waiting for me. My mother immediately noticed my mistake to wear the shirt I had worn the night before as I had a chocolate pudding stain on it. She wasn’t too impressed when I told her how it got there. We drove home and the rest you could say was history. One of the first things I did was to unpack my cassettes. My sister was rather impressed with my ammo cans which held so many of them. She told me about a TV show called “Video Rock” and since we didn’t have MTV yet, that would become a regular viewing feature for me for the next few months.

The famous ammo cans

The famous ammo cans

When I got out, I thought I had the world at my feet. One thing I knew that I was a hell of a lot more knowledgeable in music than four years prior. Musically, I had found myself and knew that I was going to be a metalhead and I have the marines, though they wouldn’t be too impressed to hear it, to thank for that.

Next post: Chris DeBurgh- The Getaway

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: INXS- Shabooh Shoobah

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 25, 2016 by 80smetalman

220px-Shaboohshoobah

Before I proceed into the post about my first experience of Australian new wave band INXS, I thought I would be like some of my fellow bloggers and mention a good bargain I picked up on an album. Last Saturday, I was in my local Morrison’s supermarket when I happened past the CD section. Normally, I might only take a sweeping glance at their CD display as most of it is chart stuff. However, something interesting caught my eye. There on the shelf was the classic Bruce Springsteen, “Born to Run” album for just £3 ($4.50). Since my previous cassette copy of this album fell victim to my car stereo in 1990, I naturally had to pick it up. Now, let’s go into the post.

bsbtr

My first experience of INXS came a couple of months after I left the marines in 1983 and came by the way of the single “Don’t Change.” It wasn’t metal, it wasn’t Southern Rock nor could I put it into any sort of category but new wave, all I know that I liked the song. I liked the hard guitar sound in the background and though I thought they could have been a bit more dominant, it still worked. The keyboards were played smartly and complimented the song very well. However, having been burnt not long before this, I hesitated in buying the album “Shabooh Shoobah” right away. It was via a working companion that I was finally treated to it.

“Shabooh SHoobah” illustrates exactly where I was musically at this time in 1983. While my full conversion to heavy metal had already taken place, I wasn’t completely repulsed by what was being played on the radio at the time. When I listened to the album, I found it quite to my liking. While I wouldn’t exactly call it hard rock and there are no blistering guitar solos, there is sufficient guitar on it. Furthermore, I like Michael Hutchence’s vocals. He has that sinister sounding voice that gives a dark sounding tone to many of the songs. Track two, “Look at You” is prime evidence of this. Even with some of the more upbeat sounding songs like “Don’t Change” his voice doesn’t make the song some kind of happy pop song. Some more good examples are “Spy of Love,” “Here Comes” and “Golden Playpen.” I must also point out the saxophone playing of Kirk Pengilly on the album. I am always a bit skeptical when a band employs horns in rock but I have to say, Pengilly’s abilities are more than sufficient to pull it off here.

Track Listing:

  1. The One Thing
  2. To Look At You
  3. Spy of Love
  4. Soul Mistake
  5. Here Comes
  6. Black and White
  7. Golden Playpen
  8. Jan’s Song
  9. Old World New World
  10. Don’t Change
INXS

INXS

Garry Gary Beers- bass

Andrew Farriss- guitar, keyboards

John Farriss- drums, percussion

Tim Farriss- guitar

Michael Hutchence- vocals

Kirk Pengilly- guitar, saxophone, vocals

It has been questioned why a song by INXS, (not from this album), appears on the soundtrack to “Rock Star,” a film about a heavy metal band. Being in possession of said soundtrack, I don’t think that song is out of place on it. As the album “Shabooh Shoobah” shows, they had the potential to go in any direction. There is just enough of a rock vibe on this album to satisfy me along with some new wave creativity. On the downside, I can’t help thinking with their next album, they kind of went in the wrong direction.

Next post: The Night Before I Got Out of the Marines

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: The Police- Synchronicity

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on March 22, 2016 by 80smetalman

220px-Police-album-synchronicity

When I returned home from the marines on the last day of June of said year, the album “Synchronicity” by the Police was the one I came home to. It seemed every time I turned on the radio, the song, “Every Breath You Take” was playing and if I left the radio on for any amount of time, rest assured, it would be played again. While that song may have been a big hit, (number one on both sides of the Atlantic) it wasn’t one to me. In fact, when I heard it, I began to pine for such Police classics as “Roxanne,” “Message in a Bottle” and my all time favourite Police jam, “Don’t Stand Too Close to Me.”

Fortunately, one song does not an album make. I will be posting about a reverse situation in the very near future but enough of that for now. The great thing about Police albums is that it was guaranteed there would be at least one song that I really love. In the case of “Synchronicity,” it is “Synchronicity II.” That is a really catchy up-beat jam and recently, I have began to wonder how it would sound if metalized. Plus, the lyrics, “Another working day has ended, another Russia has to face,” has always amused me. “Synchronicity II” definitely ranks up there with the classics previously mentioned.

In addition to the two tracks already named, the album had several other radio friendly hits, “King of Pain” and “Wrapped Around Your Finger” being the most prominent. In spite of this, with “Synchronicity,” The Police pretty much remain true to their reggae based roots. “O My God” is the best example of this and “Murder By Numbers” another one. The latter did get some air play as well. At the same time, I did have a good laugh when listening to “Mother,” a very amusing song with Andy Summers doing the lead vocals. Furthermore, the great musicianship still remains on this album. Now, some people have been quick to assume that with all the radio hits on “Synchronicity,” The Police sold out on the album. I was, at first, ready to assume that on account of “King of Pain” and “Every Breath You Take.” However, those might be radio hits but the album itself is everything The Police were known for.

Track Listing:

  1. Synchronicity
  2. Walking in Your Footsteps
  3. O My God
  4. Mother
  5. Miss Gradenko
  6. Synchronicity II
  7. Every Breath You Take
  8. King of Pain
  9. Wrapped Around Your Finger
  10. Tea in the Sahara
  11. Murder By Numbers
The Police

The Police

Sting- bass, lead and backing vocals, oboe, saxophone

Andy Summers- guitar, keyboards, lead vocal on “Mother”

Stewart Copeland- drums, percussion, xylophone, co-lead vocals on “Miss Gradenko”

“Synchronicity” would be the last album The Police would record together. The band would split after the tour. Apparently, Sting’s ego became bigger than the rest of the band. Joking aside, from what I heard, Sting and Stewart Copeland just couldn’t stand one another. In any case, it could definitely be said that they went out on a high.

Next Post: INXS- Shabooh Shoobah

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: Peter Gabriel- Security

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

Security_-_Peter_Gabriel

To be perfectly honest, Peter Gabriel pretty much escaped my listening ears throughout most of the 1980s. The reason was that by 1983, I was a full fledged metalhead and he was too soft for me. Sure, I heard some of his stuff compliments of radio, including, “Shock the Monkey,” the big hit from this album, “Security” and his 1980 hit, “Games Without Frontiers” continues to be my favourite song of his. It wasn’t until 1990, when my then wife, asked for his “Greatest Hits” album for Christmas, that I really started listening to him and that is the reason why I am posting about the “Security” album now.

This album is further proof that I might be mellowing with age a bit. I stress, a bit, just play a Slayer album and that will reinforce it. “Security” is a good progressive rock/new wave album. Note: I only call it new wave because to ignorant American record executives, anything that didn’t sound mainstream was branded such in 1983. Anyway, “Security” opens very mysteriously with “The Rhythm of the Heat,” where a subtle keyboard intro grabs your attention and fortunately, the song is strong enough to keep it. I especially like what they do with the drums at the end of the song. Those heavy drums appear again in the third track, “I Have the Touch” and are done just as nicely. Sandwiched between those two songs is the rather interesting “San Jacinto.” Listening to it, especially with the repeated lyric, “Hold the Line,” I ask myself if this song is about the battle in 1836 that gave Texas its independence from Mexico. I wonder because I’ve just finished watching the series of “Texas Rising.” Still, it’s probably the hardest song on the album, I do hear guitars on it.

Things seem to slow down after “Shock the Monkey.” The remaining songs aren’t as catchy as their predecessors but still worth listening to. “Lay Your Hands on Me” has some good moments with the chorus and what becomes the trademark heavy drums. The two combine to close out the song very memorably.

One label you can not give to this album is synth pop. Sure, keyboards dominate the album but they’re done very well. Peter Gabriel shows that he is a true talent with the songs on it, both as a singer and as a writer, leaving me to agree with several people who claim that the true talent went when he left Genesis. Having been given the “And Then There Were Three” album in 1983, I would be inclined to agree.

Track Listing:

  1. The Rhythm of the Heat
  2. San Jacinto
  3. I Have the Touch
  4. The Family and the Fishing Net
  5. Shock the Monkey
  6. Lay Your Hands on Me
  7. Wallflower
  8. Kiss of Life
Peter Gabriel

Peter Gabriel

Peter Gabriel- vocals, electric piano, programming

Tony Levin- bass, stick

David Rhodes- guitar

Jerry Marotta- drums, percussion

Larry Fast- synthesizers

I won’t say that I’m fully converted to Peter Gabriel, but I do like this album. With what was to pass as mainstream in the golden decade, I am glad to discover that there were some artists who played true progressive rock without selling out, unlike Gabriel’s previous band.

Next post: The Police- Synchronicity

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: Berlin- Pleasure Victim

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

220px-Berlin_pleasure

Everybody forget all about the 1986 single, “Take My Breath Away” for a moment, well actually, you can forget about it all together for all I care. Three years earlier, the artists behind that single didn’t sound very much like that. In 1983, when new wave was mentioned, Berlin was the second name that came to mind after Missing Persons. They too, incorporated everything I associated about the new wave genre back then.

Berlin came to my attention in said year when I heard their first single, “Sex, (I’m A)” on the radio. It was the lyrics to the song that caught my ear. Hearing “I’m a bitch, I’m a slave, I’m a Goddess, I’m a little girl when we make love together” amused me very much. Note: I know the above isn’t in the correct order of the song but all those lyrics appear in it. Still it’s a cool song. The rest of the album, “Pleasure Victim,” follows in what I call the new wave vein. While keyboards and synthesizers dominate the songs, they are used very well and not played in the dumb choppy way that synth pop bands would later use. There is a hint of guitar in them as well, especially in the hardest song, “Masquerade,” which is my number one on the album. “The Metro” is also a good tune, probably because I remember it as their second single from the album. Though, I’m not impressed with the last two songs on “Pleasure Victim,” the other songs are good enough to carry the album. Listening to it again after so many years, I remember why I liked the new wave sound in 1983.

Let’s talk about ladies for a moment. In this case, it’s Berlin’s lead singer Terri Nunn. She has a great voice, as good as any of the female singers around at the time. Both her and Dale Bozzio were every bit as good as the one female singer who got most of the accolades throughout the mid 1980s. Fifty 80smetalman points if you can guess who I’m referring to here. Anyway, Terri Nunn didn’t get the respect she deserved back then both as a singer and as a beautiful woman. I don’t remember seeing any Terri Nunn posters around at the time. Thinking about her and Dale Bozzio, there is little to choose from in physical beauty or vocal ability.

Terri Nunn

Terri Nunn

Track Listing:

  1. Tell My Why
  2. Pleasure Victim
  3. Sex (I’m A)
  4. Masquerade
  5. The Metro
  6. World of Smiles
  7. Torture
Berlin

Berlin

Terri Nunn- vocals

Chris Ruiz-Velasco- guitar

David Diamond- synthesizers, backing vocals, guitar

John Crawford- bass, co-lead vocals on “Sex (I’m A),” synthesizer

Daniel Van Patten- drums, percussion

Reflecting back to 1983, I think the year was a reckoning for the two bands I will forever associate with new wave. A year later, Missing Persons would continue to go in the new wave direction and their album would commercially flop, though I still intend to visit it. For Berlin, they would essentially become a top forty band but that’s further down the road. For now, “Pleasure Victim” was a cool new wave album that was different to all that was around at the time.

Some personal notes here: Another thing that softened the blow of not being able to see Hell’s Bells this weekend is the fact that my Bloodstock tickets came this week. I’ll be going for all three days, so look out come August! The other was that I got a ‘like’ on Twitter from none other than David Gilmour of Pink Floyd fame for my post reporting the passing of Keith Emerson. To me, that’s a huge honour.

Next post: Peter Gabriel

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

 

Rest in Peace- Keith Emerson

Posted in Death, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on March 12, 2016 by 80smetalman
Keith Emerson

Keith Emerson

Apologies for opening my big mouth or actually typing fingers. When mikeledano posted about the death of Beatles producer George Martin, I commented that I hoped that March wasn’t going to be a repeat of January when we had so many rock legends taken from us. Well, it looks like March is going to follow January because just days after Martin’s passing, I was very saddened to read about the passing of 1970s progressive rock legend, Keith Emerson. According to internet reports, Keith died, aged 71, from a self inflicted gunshot wound at his home in California.

Keith Emerson was one third of the great progressive rock band, Emerson, Lake and Palmer. For many of us who lived in the 70s, they were the chosen gods of progressive rock. Great hits like, “Fanfare for the Common Man” and “Lucky Man” are still fondly remembered. Keith played keyboards and many would agree with me that he was a true wizard at his chosen instrument. Just listen to “Fanfare for the Common Man” and you’ll see what I mean. In the 80s, he reunited with Greg Lake and with drummer Cozy Powell, formed ELP. I’ll definitely be visiting those albums.

I never saw them but  Emerson Lake and Palmer were said to be amazing live!

I never saw them but Emerson Lake and Palmer were said to be amazing live!

Tributes are already pouring in for Keith, including those by both former band mates. Thus, it only leaves me to say Rest in Peace, Keith and thank you for your great skills and contribution to music over the years.