Archive for July, 2017

Great Rock Albums of 1984: John Parr

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, soundtracks, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 29, 2017 by 80smetalman

History has always misrepresented English rocker John Parr. For the masses, he is considered a one hit wonder, that one hit being the title track of the soundtrack for the film “St. Elmo’s Fire.” If you were to judge him on that song alone, you would have thought him to be just another 80s synth pop singer. However, I know that this wasn’t the case and most, possibly all the songs, on his 1984 self titled debut album are better. In fact, the “St Elmo’s Fire” track only appears on the UK release and not the US Atlantic records one, which was what I experienced. My conclusion here is that the album is just fine without it.

Long before there was a “St Elmo’s Fire,” (that film didn’t come out until 1985 and it will take a lot of convincing from you the masses for me to visit the soundtrack), I was already familiar with Mr Parr. The first single from the album, “Naughty Naughty” received a good amount of air play on both radio and MTV. It’s a rocker and for me, that song defines John Parr.

Fortunately, his album follows suit along with the song I just talked about. In fact the only hint of synth pop on the album is the track “Love Grammar” and I stress only a hint. Even that song has its hard rocking moments as well as a cool guitar solo from John himself. That’s another thing about him, he can shred a little too as well as sing. The rest is pretty much straight forward hard rock. (Am I using that phrase too much in my posts?) In this case, it does define the album very well. One great example of this is the track, “Treat Me Like and Animal.” Now that song is hard rock, no debate. There is a ballad right after, “She’s Gonna Love You to Death” but there are some decent guitars in the song. The album then returns to more rock ground after that with a rather cool intro on the track, “Revenge” and some cool hard guitars on it. I’m glad they did it that way and not try to use synths as was the custom of the time. The keyboards on the track are more progressive rock than anything. The rest of the album pretty much follows along the path with the possible exceptions “Heartbreaker” and the closer, “Don’t Leave YOur Mark on Me” which sound like they could have been songs for a 1980s film soundtrack. But even these on has their rocking moments. What you get here is a cool rock album from John Parr.

Track Listing:

  1. Magical
  2. Naughty Naughty
  3. Love Grammar
  4. Treat Me Like an Animal
  5. She’s Gonna Love You to Death
  6. Revenge
  7. Heartbreaker
  8. Somebody Stole My Thunder
  9. Don’t Leave Your Mark on Me

John Parr

John Parr- lead vocals, lead guitar, African sounds

Pete Solley- organ

Christopher Marra- guitar

Brad Lang- bass

Colin Farley- bass on tracks 3 and 7

Jon Cook- keyboards

Richard Cottle- keyboards tracks 3,4 and 6

Jonathon J Jeczalik- synthesizer

The Kick Horns- horns

Graham Broad- drums, percussion, African sounds

Simon Phillips- drums on tracks 3 and 7

Chuck Kirkpatrick and John Sombataro- backing vocals

So forget “St Elmo’s Fire,” I never watched the film anyway. Have a listen to this debut album from John Parr. I guarantee you’ll enjoy it much more.

Next post: Tommy Shaw- Girls With Guns

To buy Rock and Roll Children go to: https://www.amazon.com/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1501322174&sr=8-5&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Great Rock Albums of 1984: Planet P- Pink World

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 26, 2017 by 80smetalman

Tony Carey was a very busy man in 1984. In the early part of the year, he hit it big with his solo album, “Some Tough City,” which I visited a few months ago. God, has it been that long? In the later part of the year, he attempted to build on the success of his band, Planet P from 1983 with there successful “Project” album. In the latter months of 1984, Mr Carey treated us to the Planet P album, “Pink World.”

When I posted about the “Project” album, I was enlightened by a comment on the post to the fact that Planet P was only a band in the loosest of terms. The project was completely under Tony’s control with the named musicians brought in to provide necessary assistance. So now enlightened as I strive to get my facts right, I will say that I’m not really bothered by such semantics in this case. Whether Planet P are a proper band or not doesn’t matter because the result has been two really cool albums, “Pink World” being the second of those.

What was cool about MTV in 1984 was that they played videos by artists whose songs were never heard on radio. This case in point, the first single, “What I See,” which was later fused with the track “Behind the Barrier,” both songs fusing to make a rather cool concept video was what got my attention. “Pink World” is a concept album. It tells the story of a young mute boy named Artemis, who can see visions after drinking polluted water, shelters the survivors of a nuclear attack in a place called ‘The Zone.’ Fearful of the boy’s abilities, the government use him to control those living in the zone. As the album goes on, Artemis becomes less sure what to do and in the end vanishes leaving only a pink pool and a basket behind. The residents of “The Zone” realize they no longer need Artemis and leave it. There is a lot of abstract ambiguity here and Tony has always refused to give specifics.

Story or no story, this is a brilliantly crafted progressive rock album. The songs are all very well played and musically thought out and I can say that no two songs are the same. Listening to each of them is an adventure in itself. Plus, while Tony provides all the vocals, he doesn’t try to be Joe Cool Rock Singer. Since it was first presented to me as the single, “What I See” continues to be my favourite track on the album. However, there many a good songs that could rival it. I don’t even care that “A Boy Who Can’t Talk” sounds very much like Pink Floyd to the point that when I first heard the intro, I thought to myself, “Is this ‘Pigs on the Wing’?” Other standout tracks for me are “The Shepherd,” “Pink World,” “What Artie Knows” and the hardest rock sounding songs, “This Perfect Place” and “In the Zone.” But fifteen of the 26 songs could easily be included, (the other eleven are all less than 90 seconds and most of those are damn cool), so that’s pretty good.

Track Listing:

  1. Into the Woods
  2. To Live Forever
  3. Pink World
  4. What I See
  5. To Live Forever Pt. 2
  6. Power
  7. Into the Forest
  8. A Boy Who Can’t Talk
  9. The Stranger
  10. What I See Part 2
  11. The Shepherd
  12. Behind the Barrier
  13. A Pink World Coming Down
  14. Breath
  15. The Perfect Place
  16. What Artie Knows
  17. In the Zone
  18. Behind the Barrier Part 2
  19. March of the Artemites
  20. The Perfect Place Part 2
  21. A Letter From the Shelter
  22. What Artie Knows Part 2
  23. One Star Falling
  24. Baby’s at the Door
  25. Requiem
  26. A Boy Who Can’t Talk Part 2

Planet P

Tony Carey- vocals, all instruments except where noted below

Rheinhard Besser- guitar solo on tracks 4, 17 and 19

Helmut Bibi- guitar solo on tracks 6 and 12

Roderich Gold- Fairlight synthesizer

Fritz Matzka- drums on tracks 2, 17 and 23

Robert Musenbichler- lead guitar on track 23

Eddie Taylor- saxophone on track 23

“Pink World” was praised by the critics but sales of the album were modest at best. The latter is probably why Planet P didn’t make another album until 2005. However, this and the other Planet P album have gained a huge cult status since. Something Tony Carey can be quite proud of.

Next post: John Parr

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.com/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1501095764&sr=8-6&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1984: Bruce Springsteen- Born in the USA

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 22, 2017 by 80smetalman

For a good many people, the “Born in the USA” album from Bruce Springsteen was the album of the year in 1984. No one can debate how successful this album was. Any album which sell 11 million copies certainly is that. For the Top 40 brigade, it produced seven singles and like U2, Bruce Springsteen was one of those artists who both metalheads and non metalheads could listen to and not feel they were being unfaithful to their chosen genre. Needless to say, 1984 was Bruce’s year and this album was the reason why.

Now, I’m not one to rain on anyone’s parade but I am going to make my opinion known as it was the same now as it was then. Like the rest of the world, I agree that this is a fine album. It was certainly four steps up from his previous album, the rather depressing, “Nebraska,” but I don’t rate this album as high as classics like “Born to Run” and “Darkness on the Edge of Town” and only slightly higher than “The River.” Still, unlike outgoing governor Chris Christie, Bruce Springsteen has always made me feel proud that I grew up in New Jersey.

Reflecting back, I think my main problem with “Born in the USA” was the fact that all of the singles got played to death on the radio at the time. That usually happens in any artist’s home ground so New Jersey radio stations did that. However, some of the singles got tiresome after hearing them played for the 957th time. “Glory Days” and “I’m On Fire” were examples of this and probably “Dancing in the Dark” as well. They were all good songs but got old after hearing them so many times. Saying that, “Cover Me” is the big exception here. I could hear that song 9050 times and wouldn’t get tired of it.

Fortunately, the great thing about the album was the tracks that weren’t singles. They’re all brilliant! There is some good traditional Springsteen rock to be had on all five of these. I’m talking about “Darlington County,” “Working on the Highway,” “Downbound Train,” “No Surrender” and “Bobby Jean.” For me, it is these tracks that have made “Born in the USA” so enjoyable for me.

While most people have raved about the songs on here, I think what often gets overlooked is the lyrics behind many of these songs. Personally, I can identify a tiny bit with the title track. I didn’t serve in Vietnam but Bruce highlights how badly those who served over there were treated. I had been out of the service about a year and by this time, I was beginning to wonder what had been the point of my serving due to the way I was being treated. Only the Vietnam Vets had it far worse than I ever did. The real eye opener was “My Home Town.” It was about his native town, Asbury Park and what was happening while he was growing up. It does make one stand up and think of how divided the nation really was back in the 1960s. Bruce let his feelings be known when he wrote these songs.

Track Listing:

  1. Born in the USA
  2. Cover Me
  3. Darlington County
  4. Working on the Highway
  5. Downbound Train
  6. I’m On Fire
  7. No Surrender
  8. Bobby Jean
  9. I’m Goin’ Down
  10. Glory Days
  11. Dancing in the Dark
  12. My Home Town

Bruce Springsteen

Bruce Springsteen- lead vocals, guitars

Roy Bittan- piano, synthesizer, backing vocals

Clarence Clemmons- saxophone, percussion backing vocals

Danny Federici- organ, glockenspiel, piano

Gary Tallent- bass, backing vocals

Steven Van Zandt- acoustic guitar, mandolin, harmony vocals

Max Weinberg- drums, backing vocals

It is slightly amazing that in a year where heavy metal dominated, a great rock album like “Born in the USA” could do so astronomically well. It was considered by many Bruce Springsteen’s crowning achievement.

Next post: Planet P- Pink World

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.com/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1500740514&sr=8-5&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1984: Billy Satellite

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on July 19, 2017 by 80smetalman

Like Jethro Tull, Billy Satellite is the name of a band. As far as I know, there is no individual with that name. Also, like the Bangles, their debut album came and went in 1984 with little notice except for keen persons like myself who had an ear out for some good straightforward rock. Unlike the Bangles or Jethro Tull, this self titled album would be the band’s only release and they would drift off into obscurity living only in my memory.

Their album is the reason why Billy Satellite has lived in the back corners of my mind for over three decades. It is a really cool down to earth straight ahead rock album. All the elements to make the album great are there. Good vocals, some cool guitars and a sound rhythm section with a keyboard accompaniment that brings out the flavour of the mix really well. So, my question is, why didn’t people take more notice of Billy Satellite? My only suggested answer is that with all of the heavy metal that was flying about at the time, they simply got lost in the hysteria. They definitely aren’t a heavy metal band but they were a hell of a lot better than a lot of the non metal in this year.

If you want something to compare them to, then the closest would be Night Ranger but that might being doing them a disservice. They were unique enough to not need any comparison as far as this album is concerned. The first three tracks come straight at you with some of that good straight ahead rock that I have been talking about. The opener was also the highest charting single (#64). It is a good track but I like the following one, “Last Call.” That is the standout for me with all the elements of a good hard rock song present. Track #3 is a good one too before the two ballads, “Trouble” being the better of the two. Then things go back to heavy rock with the cool, “Rockin’ Down the Highway” and continue to do so for the rest of the album. “Turning Point” has a slight blues feel to it and the tempo change works well on the album. It has a good guitar solo but notes don’t reveal which guitarist is responsible. That leads nicely to “Bye Bye Baby” which borders on a ballad and a rock song. Rock returns for sure with “Standing with the Kings” and that leads to the closer which ends the album very well.

Track Listing:

  1. Satisfy Me
  2. Last Call
  3. Do Ya
  4. I Wanna Go Back
  5. Trouble
  6. Rockin’ Down the Highway
  7. Turning Point
  8. Bye Bye Baby
  9. Standing With the Kings
  10. The Lonely One

Billy Satellite

Monty Byrom- guitars, vocals, keyboards

Danny Chauncey- guitars, keyboards

Ira Walker- bass

Tom ‘Fee’ Faletti- drums

While sitting here typing this, I have come to a conclusion as to why Billy Satellite didn’t go further in 1984. It was that they were about four or five years too soon. Thinking about some of the bands in the late 80s, Danger Danger and Hurricane and Winger, these guys would have fit in well with that group. Unfortunately, they were five years too soon and although they had a cool album, it didn’t do well enough for them to continue. They would split and go their separate ways.

Next post: Bruce Springsteen- Born in the USA

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.com/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_6?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1500479463&sr=1-6&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1984: The Bangles- All Over the Place

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 16, 2017 by 80smetalman

Before Prince and other more commercial types got their claws into them, The Bangles debut album, “All Over the Place” was a solid new wave sounding album. When the video for the single, “The Hero Takes a Fall” appeared on MTV one day, I thought to myself, I like this song. It wasn’t heavy but there was just enough guitar in there for me.

“The Hero Takes a Fall” never broke the top forty charts in 1984, most likely because I liked it. What it did do was to further my intrigue into this band and I liked what I discovered. Like, I said above, “All Over the Place” is a decent album. There is a strong new wave sound but it stops a just short of being a hard rocker and in no way did it knock Girlschool off top spot as my favourite all female band.

The funny thing is that the album could have been a cool metal album if they had let loose with the guitars a bit more. One song that typifies this is “All About You.” There is a guitar bit that sounds okay but it would have sounded amazing if they had put a fuzz box in there. The same thing could have been said about “Restless” and “Tell Me.” However, there is another song that stands above even those. “Dover Beach” is where lead guitarist Vicki Peterson really gets to shred a little. I’m not going to say she’s a hidden guitar great because of one solo but it would have been nice to hear her shred a little more. She does shred a little bit on “Going Down to Liverpool” but because the song is in the early Beatles form, her guitar solo sounds like something from “A Hard Day’s Night.” Not a bad thing and the song is okay, it just doesn’t make it any real rocker.

“He’s Got a Secret” is another decent song. It’s about a man whose cheating on his partner and there is some good guitar work in it. However, it is the vocals of Susanna Hoffs which punctuate the song for me. Actually, the hardest rock song is, “Silent Treatment” and it’s good to hear the band really let loose. I think that song should have been the closer as I was never very impressed with the one that actually is.

Track Listing:

  1. The Hero Takes a Fall
  2. Live
  3. James
  4. All About You
  5. Dover Beach
  6. Tell Me
  7. Restless
  8. Going Down to Liverpool
  9. He’s Got a Secret
  10. Silent Treatment
  11. More Than Meets the Eye

The Bangles

Susannah Hoffs- rhythm guitar, vocals

Vicki Peterson- lead guitar, vocals

Michael Steele- bass

Debbi Peterson- drums, vocals

While I wasn’t the only one who took notice of the Bangles in 1984, they pretty much came and went through the year unnoticed. Unfortunately, the wrong people, as far as this metalhead is concerned, did take notice of them and would turn them into a top forty band. That is why “All Over the Place” would be the only Bangles album I would ever listen to.

Next Post: Billy Satellite

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.com/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1500195556&sr=8-8&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

Making Up For a Crap Memory

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 15, 2017 by 80smetalman

Before I went off to Download, I began the practice of posting a song from the album I was posting about. However, it seems since I returned, I have forgotten to do that. Maybe it was down to too much partying at Download. So, in order to make up for that, I’m posting songs from Honeymoon Suite, Scandal, Marillion and David Gilmour. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1984: David Gilmour- About Face

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 13, 2017 by 80smetalman

Like Lennon and McCartney after the Beatles split and Henley and Frey after the split of the Eagles, I wonder if Roger Waters and David Gilmour were entwined in some music one-upsmanship after the imagined Pink Floyd split following the last album with Waters, “The Final Cut.” Early in the year, we were treated to Roger’s album, “The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking,” which I’ve already posted about. In the months that followed, Pink Floyd guitarist, David Gilmour, released his solo album, “About Face.”

One thing I will never do is allow myself to be dragged into any debate as to which was the better album between Waters and Gilmour. Don’t even ask because even after thirty-three years, I couldn’t give an answer. I like both of them very much.

Some critic back then stated that “About Face” had a commercial feel that Pink Floyd were never bothered with. I would never call this album commercial, even if in a 2006 interview, Gilmour stated that he thought that it was too 80s. Well, maybe it was for him. In my not so humble opinion, I think that the album doesn’t go too far from the Pink Floyd formula. While I wouldn’t call the opening track typically Floyd, I do think “Until We Sleep” a cool space rock tune. I can easily listen to it while puffing the magic dragon and might have done so. However, the next two tracks are definitely Pink Floyd style tracks. The first of these, “Murder” was written in angry reaction to the senseless murder of John Lennon. On the track, Gilmour really vents that anger with a hair raising guitar solo. “Blue Light” has a funky jazz beat with the horns and this song is probably the farthest song from the traditional Pink Floyd trademark. I like it regardless.

“Out of the Blue” goes back to more familiar territory, nothing wrong with that either, but the track after, “All Lovers are Deranged” is a bit of a rocker. The lyrics were written by Who guitarist Peter Townsend and you can hear a bit of early Who in the song. It had to have been put on the album to give the listener a shock after being absorbed by the mellower track before it. “Don’t Turn You Back” starts out like a Floyd-esque song but there’s some interesting stuff going on in the middle of it with horns. If there was any track on the album that sounded commercial 80s, then it would be “Cruise.” I have always wondered why it never was released as a single. With its more easy listening style, the trendy top forty types might have liked it even if they didn’t know anything about David Gilmour or Pink Floyd. Some good organ work behind a reggae tint makes this song. Another interesting song is the instrumental that is “Let’s Get Metaphysical.” This goes from being spacey type Floyd to jazzy horns to some very good progressive sounds. The thing is that with all of this mixed together, David pulls it off. That must be a tribute to his genius. Then he ends things in what I call typical Pink Floyd fashion with “Near the End.” A long sounded space out track with some great Gilmour guitar licks. It is the best song to end with.

One thing consistent on every song is the guitar work of David Gilmour. He does let himself go more and while I always liked his guitar work with Pink Floyd, he outshines himself on “About Face.” It also helps that he put a great band together as well as some cool guest musicians to play with him.

Track Listing:

  1. Until We Sleep
  2. Murder
  3. Love On the Air
  4. Blue Light
  5. Out of the Blue
  6. All Lovers are Deranged
  7. Don’t Turn Your Back
  8. Cruise
  9. Let’s Get Metaphysical
  10. Near the End

David Gilmour

David Glimour- guitars, lead vocals, bass

Jeff Procraro- drums, percussion

Pino Palladino- bass

Ian Kewley- organ

Additional Musicians

Steve Winwood- organ on “Blue Light” and piano on “Love on the Air”

Jon Lord- synthesizer

Anne Dudley- synthesizer

Bob Ezrin- keyboards, orchestral arrangement

The Kick Horns- brass

Luis Jardim, Ray Cooper- percussion

Roy Harper, Sam Brown, Vicki Brown, Mickey Feat- vocals

The National Philharmonic Orchestra

David Gilmour popped out onto the music world of 1984 with a great solo album. Okay, it didn’t have the chart success even if Dave thought it was too 1980s. Many Pink Floyd fans do like it and so do some who weren’t. A great effort from a fine musician.

Next post: The Bangles- All Over the Place

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.com/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1499972446&sr=8-8&keywords=michael+d+lefevre