1983- Triumphs and Tragedies

The Alamo

The Alamo

The only tragedy I remember from 1983 actually happened the year before. Due to my military service, I didn’t find out about it until 83 when I read about all the fallout from it. I’m talking about when Ozzy Osbourne pissed on the Alamo. He claims he was drunk as a skunk, (I’ve never seen a drunk skunk so I have nothing to compare it to.) Ozzy also said he didn’t know it was such a national shrine, well it is in Texas. The result of his action got him banned from the city of San Antonio for ten years, although that was lifted a few years later when he made a large donation to the Alamo charity.

Ozzy Osbourne

Ozzy Osbourne

Ozzy was already getting himself a reputation outside the heavy metal world for the wrong reasons. His infamous biting the head off a bat was making its rounds. Of course, the religious element in America embellished things further. There were rumours he blew up goats on stage and at one show, he supposedly threw a puppy into the crowd and said he wouldn’t sing anymore until the audience killed the puppy. While this was all untrue hype, it didn’t help Ozzy when he actually did something for real. So for Ozzy and somewhat in the metal world, this was a bit of a tragedy because it overshadowed the two albums he released in the year. I’ll be covering those soon enough.

Now for the triumphs. It seems that 1983 was a cool year for festivals. I got to go to two of them. The first one, I mentioned when I posted about the Nantucket and Doc Holliday albums a few months ago. Those two bands topped the bill at the Mayfair Festival at Jacksonville, North Carolina. The other five bands remain pretty much unheard of with the bottom three being cover bands. So, I thought I’d include them in this little piece of history. They were Skeet Kelly, Roxy, Avalanche- who did a great cover of Sammy Hagar’s “Heavy Metal,” Peer Pressure- who did a reasonably decent cover of John Cougar’s “Hurt So Good” and Eraxle- who closed their set with a fantastic cover of Van Halen’s “Ice Cream Man.” I consumed loads of alcohol and there were some interesting events between the bands like a wet t-shirt and a men’s ugly legs competition. A fine day from what I remember.

Nantucket

Nantucket

Military commitments kept me from attending this festival but my sister went. I tried to pick her brains but she didn’t remember much. In the June, Journey headlined in Philadelphia and with them were John Cougar, Sammy Hagar, The Tubes and Bryan Adams. From what she can remember, my sister says that Journey sounded great and had a fantastic light show. John Cougar and Bryan Adams were both very good as was Sammy Hagar despite his red spandex. Unfortunately, The Tubes weren’t up to the rest of those who played that day. If this line up played in more cities than Philly, I would love to hear your account of the day.

Journey Live

Journey Live

It didn’t matter that I was in the military for this one, I couldn’t have gone to the US Festival because it was 3000 miles away in California. The US Festival was a three day festival where the first day consisted of new wave bands, the second day’s line up was heavy metal and the third day’s was a rock line up. From what I heard, all three days were fantastic although I do recall an interview with a local sheriff saying that he was going to try to ban such events following the festival. I didn’t think about it then, but that was the first salvo fired at music in the 1980s. I think the best thing to do is just to let you look at the line up for the three days and I’m sure you will be just as awestruck as I was.

Us Festival Showbill

Us Festival Showbill

I did get to the final festival in 1983. This was my first Donington Festival as I happened to be in England at the time. From my memory, I can recall that Diamond Head were all right and Dio were very good. I didn’t twig on who the lead singer was until they played “Heaven and Hell” but that was okay. They were brilliant. Then came Twisted Sister. I can still remember Dee Snider’s quip: “We’re not Culture Club or any of those gay boys or Duran Duran nor any of those other wimps. We’re Twisted Sister and we play heavy metal rock and roll!” Of course I knew there must of been something about them when they were introduced as Twisted Fuckin’ Sister. Their music was great too.

For me, ZZ Top took the concert. They played a magnificent combination of old and new material during their time on stage. Of course it helped that they played my two favourite ZZ Top tunes, “Jesus Just Left Chicago” and “La Grange.” They also played quite a few songs off their new “Eliminator” album so they basically rocked. The big let down after ZZ Top was Meatloaf. I was not impressed, he just sounded terrible that day. Worse, my friend’s English girlfriend didn’t realize that they ran a special train after the concert so out of fear of getting stuck, we left early and missed headliners, Whitesnake. I remain gutted but overall, Donington 1983 was a kick ass day and proved that Great Britain could rock.

donfest83

 

That was 1983 in a nutshell. The only real tragedy was Ozzy pissing on a national shrine but all the great concert festivals more than compensated for it. Just posting about it has me psyched for Bloodstock in two weeks. It was no wonder I was super excited when I got out of the marines that year.

Next post: Great Soundtracks

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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10 Responses to “1983- Triumphs and Tragedies”

  1. Rebecca Says:

    Nicely done article…..brought back some good memories from the 80’s (best decade ever)!

    Like

  2. I think I was at that Donnington, I will have to check with John the keeper of all metal knowledge.

    Like

  3. ZZ Top … man, I’d love to see them. I’ve watched footage of them on YouTube from during the 80s and it’s quite something- they were in great form (though I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything to suggest they’ve ever been anything less than great live!)

    Like

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