Archive for October, 2018

Great Metal Albums of 1985: AC/DC- Fly On the Wall

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 28, 2018 by 80smetalman

Most of you have probably guessed that the reason why I am writing about AC/DC’s 1985 “Fly on the Wall” album is because tribute band Hell’s Bells came to town. I know I’m being predictable but who cares? Seeing Hell’s Bells gives me great motivation when writing about AC/DC albums, especially when the band didn’t play any songs off this album. Saying that, they may do so next time they come because this time, they played a song from the “74 Jailbreak” album which I posted about last time. They played “Jailbreak” as well as many other great songs. The great thing is that Hell’s Bells always mix up their selection of songs so you don’t get the same ones all the time. Yes, they played many of the classics, “Back in Black,” “You Shook Me All Night Long,” “Highway to Hell,” “TNT” and “Whole Lotta Rosie” but they played others as well. “Thunderstruck,” “Shoot to Thrill” “Let There Be Rock” and “Hell Ain’t a Bad Place to Be” were played to the crowd in Stroud. The only unfortunate moment was that the band had brought two canons in order to play “For Those About to Rock, We Salute You” but the venue wouldn’t allow it. Anyway, this was probably Hell’s Bells’ best performance and I have to say I was quite impressed with support act, Foo Fighters tribute band, Fighters Foo. If you remember, last time they played under the name Pity the Foo but the lead singer announced that they had to change the name for political reasons. It was a great evening and what I found most amusing was that the venue was packed while the trendy pub nearby having their Halloween party was dead. I guess Hell’s Bells were the bigger draw.

Fighters Foo

A better shot of them. BTW, I have come into modern times with an up to date mobile phone.

Obviously, I got closer to the stage for Hell’s Bells

Hell’s Bells in action

AC/DC will go on forever. I thought it was great that the band brought this boy up on stage.

It has been said in many circles that “Fly On the Wall” was probably AC/DC’s worst album. For many years, I thought it true about “Flick of the Switch” but recently, after listening to both, I have come to the conclusion that someone must have put acid in my drink back in 1983 because I don’t find that the case any more. Still, I don’t know if I would now call “Fly on the Wall” their worst album because I thought it was okay, just okay back then and even today, it has its moments. Sure, there are tracks on the album which I would agree sound a bit of a dirge, a term I’ve heard other bloggers use to describe the album but there are still some good tracks on the album and those are the ones I’ll focus on.

The title track starts things off on the album and the sound of the fly buzzing around in the background during it makes no difference to the song for me. It doesn’t make it sound amusing nor does it detract from it. It’s just a decent song. The next track is the best one on the album. “Shake Your Foundations” takes me back to the glory days of the “Back in Black” era. AC/DC put everything that made them who they are into this song and it shows. “Danger” comes a real close second and although lead singer Brian Johnson has been criticized for mumbling on “Fly on the Wall,” his vocals come through quite clear and well on this track. “Sink the Pink” is also a very good track and I have to include “Stand Up” among the best tracks here. What you get with “Fly on the Wall” is half a great album and half filler tracks but even the filler tracks aren’t that bad so overall, it’s a good album.

When Johnson settles down and enunciates, he sounds really good. However, it is Angus Young who shines the most on the album with some blistering guitar solos. His best one is on “Stand Up.” Back then, all eyes were on new drummer Simon Wright who replaced Phil Rudd. I have always thought that he did a credible job here and when I saw them live on this tour. They were phenomenal that night and I probably didn’t do their concert full justice when I wrote about it in “Rock and Roll Children.”

Track Listing:

  1. Fly On the Wall
  2. Shake Your Foundations
  3. First Blood
  4. Danger
  5. Sink the Pink
  6. Playing With Girls
  7. Stand Up
  8. Hell or High Water
  9. Back in Business
  10. Send for the Man

Brian Johnson- lead vocals

Angus Young- lead guitar

Malcolm Young- rhythm guitar and backing vocals

Cliff Williams- bass, backing vocals

Simon Wright- drums

Not only did “Fly on the Wall” receive mixed reviews at best from the critics and fans, they would also run into difficulties in another way in 1985 when a mass murderer claims he was influenced by their song “Night Prowler” to commit his crimes. This led the religious zealots in America to go after the band and call them Satanic. In spite of that, AC/DC continue to remain in the hearts of many millions of fans to this day.

Next post: Slayer- Hell Awaits

To download Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://fkidshelves.ml/print/free-download-rock-and-roll-children-by-michael-d-lefevre-pdf.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Great Rock Albums of 1985: Van Zant

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 25, 2018 by 80smetalman

If there was ever proof that in 1985, the phrase ‘sold out’ was banded about quite liberally, even by me, it was with this 1985 from Van Zant. The name has always been familiar in Southern Rock terms and in this case, it was a simple re-branding of the Johnny Van Zant band. The band even had all its original members. So, why did I accuse them of selling out? The answer was that with this self titled album, Van Zant, like Molly Hatchet and Blackfoot a year earlier had moved away from the traditional Southern Rock boogie sound to a more keyboards, progressive AOR sound. However, my mis-branding of this band was short lived because after a few listens, I realized that I was wrong to ever accuse them of selling out.

One major proof I was wrong was that this album contains one of my favourite songs of 1985 and it’s definitely up there in the all time list. “I’m a Fighter” was not an abandonment from Van Zant’s more hard rocking Southern sound. In fact, it’s rare that a single released from an album in the mid 1980s sound less AOR than the rest of the album but this song absolutely kicks ass! From its unique acoustic guitar intro, to the hard rocking guitars and the blow away guitar solo, all led by the steady vocals of Johnny Van Zant who does the family name proud on every track of the album.

Once one gets over the fact that keyboards are used on the album, the rest of the album is quite good. In fact, the keyboards are used quite well. Sure, they are more prominent in tracks such as “She’s Out With a Gun” and “You’ve Got to Believe in Love” but they are still good songs and the latter does have a killer guitar solo. In fact, I think that Robbie Gay and Erik Lundgren may be the most underrated guitar duo of all time. Tracks such as the opener “Midnight Sensation,” the single I’ve already mentioned, “Two Strangers in Love” and “2+2” are all good to decent rockers. “Two Strangers in Love” is my vote for the hidden gem on the album, especially the way the guitar solo takes the song out at the end.

Thinking back to that time, maybe the reason why it took me a couple of listens to get into this album maybe be down to the four remaining tracks. While not bad, they don’t reach the mark set by the first six songs. The possible exception being “Does a Fool Ever Learn,” which is about a woman who’s with an abusive man but won’t leave him. Full marks to the band for bringing this issue to light in the song. Also while not as spectacular as the first six, “Heart to the Flame” does have a catchy vibe to it and but it took me a couple of listens to notice. However, all’s well that ends well and now I regard this album as one of my tops for 1985.

Track Listing:

  1. Midnight Sensation
  2. She’s Out With a Gun
  3. I’m a Fighter
  4. You’ve Got to Believe in Love
  5. Two Strangers in Love
  6. 2+2
  7. Heart to the Flame
  8. Does a Fool Ever Learn
  9. Right on Time
  10. Lonely Girls

                         Van Zant 

Johnny Van Zant- vocals

Robbie Morris- drums

Danny Clausman- bass

Robbie Gay- guitar, backing vocals

Erik Lundgren- guitar, backing vocals

Additional musicians:

Richard Head- synclavier

Brian Heathrington- keyboards, synthesizer

Steve McCray- keyboards, synthesizer

Thinking about it, the self titled album from the re-branded Van Zant wasn’t the top of my favourite album of 1985 list but it was definitely on it. I would call this the most underrated album of said year because it is a blinder. The problem was with people’s attitudes in 1985. Anything with heavy guitars was considered heavy metal while many metalheads considered anything with a keyboard too mainstream. This can be the only reason this album didn’t fare so well.

Next post: AC/DC- Fly on the Wall

Those who’ve known me for some time might have already guessed why I’m posting this album next.

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1609763556?pf_rd_p=855cdcfd-05d9-474f-b84d-8286a3530ba1&pf_rd_r=THG6RHH8RZVA8V406BZ7

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1985: Pat Benatar- Tropico

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 21, 2018 by 80smetalman

Some of the same accusations I hurled at Starship on their “Knee Deep in the Hoopla” album were also hurled at Pat Benatar when her “Tropico” album came out. Those accusations were that she had abandoned her hard rock roots and sold out and became a top 40 artist. Like I said last post, the label ‘sold out’ was banded about quite a lot back in 1985 against many artists both fairly and unfairly. The question here is: Did it apply to Pat Benatar?

Honestly, at first, I was in agreement that she had. Then again, I was one of those who banded the phrase about quite liberally. After all, I had grown up and rocked out to her first four hard rocking albums. Then to hear the softer, more keyboard oriented “Tropico” album, I was rather disappointed. Like so many, I expected Pat to go rocking on forever. But was this album a sell out? Returning to it over the years with a much more informed and open mind, my answer is an emphatic “NO!”

First of all, while this album is certainly much softer than its predecessors, it is in no way 80s top 40 synth pop. If anything, Pat goes more progressive rock here with the keyboards tastefully done. Full marks should be given to Charlie Giordano here, he does a masterful job on the keys throughout the album. While there are no real power chords on the album, Neil Giraldo still works his guitar magic on the album. Most of the guitars sound acoustic and the even the electric guitars are toned down but Neil still lets you know he hasn’t gone away. My only lamentation was that there isn’t any of his great guitar solos on it and that in my opinion, causes the album to suffer a little. However, what is omnipresent throughout is the unmistakable voice of Pat. Yes, “Tropic” may not be as musically fierce as her other offerings but her voice still shines on each and every track. Then again, she could sing any form of music and make it sound great.

As for the songs, I didn’t want to admit it back then but I have always kind of liked the first single, “We Belong.” It’s is anthem type song that although not a rocker, is still cool. However, I still can’t take to the second single, “Ooh Ooh Song.” Then there’s the hidden gem on the album. That honour goes to “The Outlaw Blues.” That song is the closest Pat comes to her previous material but it’s not a rocker. Just a good song. “Love in the Ice Age” and “Suburban King”  are good songs too.

Track Listing:

  1. Diamond Field
  2. We Belong
  3. Painted Desert
  4. Temporary Heroes
  5. Love in the Ice Age
  6. Ooh Ooh Song
  7. The Outlaw Blues
  8. Suburban King
  9. A Crazy World Like This
  10. Takin’ It Back

Pat Benatar

Pat Benatar- vocals

Neil Giraldo- guitars, harmonica, percussion

Charlie Giordano- keyboards, percussion

Donnie Nossov- bass, backing vocals

Myron Grombacker- drums, percussion

A long time ago, I took back all the things I said about Pat Benatar selling out on the the “Tropico” album. Yes, it’s different and I still prefer her earlier hard rock albums but this one is still good.

Next post: Van Zant

To download Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://fkidshelves.ml/print/free-download-rock-and-roll-children-by-michael-d-lefevre-pdf.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great???? Rock Albums of 1985: Starship- Knee Deep in the Hoopla

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 17, 2018 by 80smetalman

Originally, I wasn’t going to post about this album. When I first heard tracks from the newly named Starship, (formerly Jefferson Starship) I thought, “OMG, how the mighty have fallen.” You see, from 1976-84, Jefferson Starship was my favourite band. Their albums during those years charted my own personal musical journey. The early albums from the mid to late 1970s, “Red Octopus,” “Spitfire” and “Earth” were much more progressive and considered by many to be mellow out rock. I never disagreed with this. However, there were even occasions on those albums, especially “Spitfire,” where they demonstrated they could rock out. That thought followed me into 1979 and then the early 80s where their albums, “Freedom At Point Zero,” “Modern Times” and “Winds of Change” were much more hard rock and I fully embraced the new sound as my own musical tastes were going harder.

Looking back to the past, some might argue that the 1984 “Nuclear Furniture” album was a sign of things to come with the Starship. It went back away from the total hard rock sound of the previous three albums but not as progressive as their 1970s ones. It had a more emerging 80s synth pop sound on some of the songs but not enough for me not to like it. Besides, the lyrics of many of the songs were more politically aware, something else I was getting into, so that album was okay. However, it was at this time rhythm guitarist and founding member Paul Kantner left the band and that would change the total dynamics of the band, starting with a law suit over the Jefferson moniker. If you remember when I posted about Paul’s passing, I stated that it was usually the songs he penned I liked the most on the albums.

In 1985, Starship appeared with the “Knee Deep in the Hoopla” album. I was curious and then I heard the first single, “We Built This City” on the radio and that was it. The lyrics might sing, “We built this city on rock and roll” but to me, a more accurate line would have been, “We built this city on top 40.” That song, established Starship as a top forty band with that song soaring in the charts. The second single, “Sarah,” was little better. The only thing that redeems it is Craig Chaquico hammers out a tidy guitar solo on it. But for the most part, I came to the conclusion in 1985 that Starship had sold out! Now, that label got banded about quite a lot back then and we can debate the semantics of it forever but what I did know was that I did not like their new sound.

Examining “Knee Deep in the Hoopla” further, it continues to be a top forty oriented synth pop album. Definitely not for me in 1985 and though I might have mellowed with age, it still doesn’t do it for me. The only songs which capture any interest for me are three of the middle ones, “Rock Myself to Sleep,” “Desperate Hearts” and “Private Room.” Kevin DuBrow from Quiet Riot fame sings backing vocals on “Rock Myself to Sleep” and that is the best song on the album for me. “Private Room isn’t too far behind but the rest of the album, with the possible exception of “Hearts of the World (Will Understand), doesn’t do it for me, even with Craig’s guitar solos.

What really angered me at the time and still does now is the reduction of Pete Sears to bass only. On those three early progressive albums, Pete shows his wizardry with the keyboards. I even equated him to the likes of Keith Emerson and Rick Wakeman back in the late 1970s. For further clarification, listen to the tracks, “Love Too Good” off the “Earth” album and “Sandalphon” from “Red Octopus” and I think you’ll be convinced. So, why in the hell did they relegate him to bass. Peter Wolf who plays keys on the album doesn’t hold a candle to Pete.

Track Listing:

  1. We Built This City
  2. Sarah
  3. Tomorrow Doesn’t Matter Tonight
  4. Rock Myself to Sleep
  5. Desperate Heart
  6. Private Room
  7. Before I Go
  8. Hearts of the World (Will Understand)
  9. Love Rusts

Starship

Mickey Thomas- lead vocals

Grace Slick- lead vocals

Craig Chaquico- guitar

Pete Sears- bass

Donny Baldwin- drums

Additional Musicians

Peter Wolf- keyboards

Les Garland- DJ voice on “We Built This City”

Kevin Dubrow- backing vocals on “Rock Myself to Sleep”

Another occurrence which annoyed the shit out of me back then was when I heard a Starship concert broadcast on the radio. During the concert, they played their classic hit “Find Your Way Back” from the “Modern Times” album. That song possesses the band’s greatest guitar intro of all times. However, when they played it at this concert, that great intro was all synthed out. For me, that was the final nail in the coffin and while I will always have great memories of Jefferson Starship, Starship can be left on the shelf.

Next post: Pat Benatar- Tropico

To download Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://fkidshelves.ml/print/free-download-rock-and-roll-children-by-michael-d-lefevre-pdf.html

 

 

 

Book Review: Bruce Dickinson An Autobiography

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 12, 2018 by 80smetalman

Welcome to my second ever book review. The first one was three years ago so I figured it was time I do another. Okay, it’s because I write more than I read but this particular book definitely needs a comment or three on. My total reaction to “Bruce Dickinson, An Autobiography” was, “I wish I could write like that.” Bruce has a distinct writing style that definitely entertains as well as it informs. When recounting his life, he doesn’t do the normal David Copperfield crap with dates and list of his life’s events. Instead he gives those accounts through his own eyes in a very amusing way which at times while reading it made me wonder if I should pack up writing.

Iron Maiden

Naturally, I read the book to hear about his life with the great Iron Maiden and yes, there are some wild accounts there. However, his life before and outside of Maiden was just as intense. Reading about his childhood, his father was a bit of a Delboy Trotter, (a character from the famous British sit-com “Only Fools and Horses), in the sense that he was always acquiring and running different businesses, often at the same time. At one point, he owned a hotel but sold used cars from the front of it. I point this out because I think Bruce’s childhood experiences contributed to his eccentricity.

Bruce Dickinson

How he became a pilot was also a very good and interesting read. He started on a twin engine plane and by the end, he was piloting huge passenger jets. Then there is how he started his brand of beer, “The Trooper.” However, the part that I found most interesting was during his solo career. His account of his concert in war torn Sarajevo and all what he and his band had to go through, the check points, the fear of getting fired on, to be able to perform was absolutely mind blowing. Talk about guts but then it was those guts that helped him beat cancer very recently. How he describes what he went through while battling this disease is harrowing and it’s only right that he gets full marks for overcoming it.

Bruce Dickinson’s autobiography is a cracking read from start to finish. He keeps the reader entertained while at the same time giving them insight into his wild and wonderful life. Plus there are a few surprises along the way as long as events that I didn’t know about but not surprised about. I bow to the superior writer here.

Reading the autobiography has further convinced me that Bruce Dickinson deserves a knighthood. Therefore, I call on all British readers to clink the link and sign the petition.

https://www.change.org/p/special-honours-committees-for-knighthoods-a-knighthood-for-bruce-dickinson

On a different note, though I have retired from festivals, I will still go for single days. This year, it looks as if I must go to Bloodstock on the Sunday because Queensryche are headlining and Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider is also on the bill for that day.

Next post: Starship- Knee Deep in the Hoopla

I don’t feel worth to post a link to Rock and Roll Children for this post.

Great Rock Albums of 1985: Night Ranger- Seven Wishes

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 8, 2018 by 80smetalman

The release of Night Ranger’s third album, “Seven Wishes” confirmed to me what I already knew, Night Ranger were not heavy metal. This didn’t stop the unknowing from continuing to label them as such and it made me grind my teeth at times. The first single, “Sentimental Street” was all the proof one needed. That song is supposed to be a power ballad, I use that term loosely because it is heavily over synthed. All that did was take me back to their more superior power ballad, “Sister Christian” which wasn’t so. Just a fine use of the piano. On the other hand, while I have always believed that Night Ranger was never heavy metal, they definitely weren’t a top 40 band either, in spite of having several songs in the top 40. The best label to give Night Ranger would be melodic hard rock.

I thought that now I’m back from my client holiday, I’d treat you to at least one photo from it. This is the fog lifting off Lynmouth Harbour.

Back to the “Seven Wishes” album. While many metalheads dissed this album back in 1985 and I admit, the first single nearly put me off. Fortunately, I had known for years never to judge an album on one single, so I took the plunge. In spite of what was said about Night Ranger at the time, this album still rocks in many places. Additionally, unlike singles from their first two albums, none of the songs remind me of Rick Springfield. Unlike, “Sentimental Street,” the guitars dominate more than the keyboards, the only exception might be the title track. Even then, there is a fab guitar solo on it as with all the songs, the talents of the guitar duo of Brad Gillis and Jeff Watson are put to maximum use. More proof that I’m mellowing a little with age, I like “Sentimental Street” more now than I did in 1985.

Actually, “Seven Wishes” is an album of two halves for the most part. Part one is the more keyboard oriented songs and singles. “Four in the Morning” was the second single and though not as keyboard oriented, the whole song screams “Single for radio!” Saying that, “I Need a Woman” really cooks and if you only listened to the first five songs, might seem slightly out of place. However, the album goes total rock on the second half of the album. “This Boy Needs to Rock” starts things off perfectly and the rest of the album follows through. “Interstate Love Affair” is my vote for hidden gem on the album. I just love that intro and the way it rocks to the mind blowing guitar solo. Yep, it gets my vote. The closer, “Goodbye” is, in my not so humble opinion, a better power ballad than “Sentimental Street.” Better still, it’s the best song to end the album on a high.

Track Listing:

  1. Seven Wishes
  2. Faces
  3. Four in the Morning
  4. I Need a Woman
  5. Sentimental Street
  6. This Boy Needs to Rock
  7. I’ll Follow You
  8. Interstate Love Affair
  9. Night Machine
  10. Goodbye

Night Ranger

Jack Blades- bass, lead vocals

Jeff Watson- guitar

Brad Gillis- guitar

Alan ‘Fitz’ Fitzgerald- keyboards

Kelly Keagy- drums, lead vocals

While Night Ranger aren’t heavy metal, they can’t be simply dismissed. Their brand of melodic hard rock is played very well as this album shows.

Next post: My Second Book Review

To download Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://c-newfreepdf.cf/olddocs/free-download-online-rock-and-roll-children-pdf-1609763556-by-michael-d-lefevre.html