Archive for February, 2019

Great Metal Albums of 1985: W.A.S.P.- The Last Command

Posted in Uncategorized on February 25, 2019 by 80smetalman


Following on from my last post on the PMRC, I thought it was only right that I visit the album, “The Last Command” from W.A.S.P. My reason for buying this album was straight forward, I bought it because it was the first album I knew of to have a PMRC warning label on it. I remember from an article in the same edition of the People magazine where I first learned of the PMRC reading a quote from lead singer Blackie Lawless stating that putting labels on records would only help record sales. That’s probably why they happily allowed it to be put on the album. It worked as far as I’m concerned.


It seemed that many people didn’t rate “The Last Command” as high as their self titled debut album. In fact, a few years later, I found myself justifying buying the album on the grounds that I had bought it for the warning label. It wasn’t on my regular listening rotation back then. However, after listening to it again, after so many years, it’s growing on me.

“The Last Command” starts off very well with “Wild Child.” Hearing this song, one thinks that the album is going to kick total ass all over. I love that intro to it. The next song, “Ballcrusher,” which gets my vote for hidden gem keeps that thought alive. I mean, at the time, I was amused by lyrics about a lesbo-nymphomaniac woman drinking all my JD and stealing my brand new car. Actually, those lyrics still bring a smile to my face. Unfortunately, the next three songs give that ‘heard this all before’ feeling and it dampens things a little. Like the stock report at the beginning of “Fistful of Diamonds” and while I like the riff on “Jack Action,” the lyrics seemed re-hashed. “Widowmaker” ends the first side okay but not enough to support the previous two songs.

Side two starts out very promising with my second favourite all time W.A.S.P. song, “Blind in Texas.” The lead guitars make the song shine and even though I’ve heard tons of songs about getting drunk, the fact that Blackie is doing it in Texas is still somewhat unique. Like the first side, the remainder of the songs don’t hold a candle to the one that began the second side. It might have been better if “Cries in the Night” had been the closer because “Sex Drive” doesn’t do it for me. Those two should have been swapped around. “Running Wild in the Streets” is a decent song. One thing that seems to be overlooked on this album is the guitar work from Randy Piper and Chris Holmes. There are some good solos on some of these songs which redeems what could have been a lackluster album. “Widowmaker” is a prime choice.

Track Listing:

  1. Wild Child
  2. Ballcrusher
  3. Fistful of Diamonds
  4. Jack Action
  5. Widowmaker
  6. Blind in Texas
  7. Cries in the Night
  8. The Last Command
  9. Running Wild in the Streets
  10. Sex Drive


Blackie Lawless- lead vocals, bass

Chris Holmes- guitar

Randy Piper- guitar, backing vocals

Steve Riley- drums, backing vocals

Thinking about “The Last Command,” it’s would have been an average album if it wasn’t for three very kick ass songs, “Wild Child,” “Ballcrusher” and “Blind in Texas.” These three songs propel the rest of the album and I will no longer say that I only bought it because of the warning label.

Remember, don’t drive blind in Texas or anywhere else!

Next post: Soundtrack to Visionquest

I would also ask you all to raise a glass to my son Will and his lovely fiancee Ela who will be getting married this Wednesday.

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The Rise of the PMRC

Posted in Uncategorized on February 22, 2019 by 80smetalman


Tipper Gore

In November 1985, I happened to see a copy of People Magazine on the dining room table. On the front cover was a picture of Madonna and the title was “Has Rock Gone Too Far?” Naturally, I had to read the article therein and that was how I first learned about the Parents Music Resource Center. Founded by Tipper Gore, wife of then senator Al Gore and Susan Baker, wife of then Treasury Secretary James Baker, the PMRC  to combat the concerns of the effect rock music was having on young minds, heavy metal was particularly a prime target for the “Washington Wives.” Their concern was that explicit lyrics and ‘shocking’ music videos were having a potentially bad influence on children. What the PMRC wanted was records being rated in regards to sex, violence, drugs and the occult. They also wanted stations like MTV not to play songs which fell into the above ratings and ask record companies to reassess their contracts with performers who might act too sexual or violent on stage. They went on to produce the “Filthy Fifteen’ songs as an example.

Filthy Fifteen

  1. Prince- Darling Nikki- References to sex and masturbation
  2. Sheena Easton- Sugar Walls- sex
  3. Judas Priest- Eat Me Alive- sex and violence
  4. Vanity- Strap On Robbie Baby- sex
  5. Motley Crue- Bastard- Violence, language
  6. AC/DC- Let Me Put My Love Into You- sex
  7. Twisted Sister- We’re Not Gonna Take It- violence
  8. Madonna- Dress You Up- sex
  9. W.A.S.P.- Fuck Like a Beast- sex, violence, language
  10. Def Leppard- High ‘N’ Dry- drugs and alcohol use
  11. Mercyful Fate- Into the Coven- occult
  12. Black Sabbath- Trashed- drug and alcohol use
  13. Mary Jane Girls- In My House- sex
  14. Venom- Possessed- Occult
  15. Cyndi Lauper- She Bop- sex and masturbation

For further amusement please watch this video:

What resulted from the PMRC’s actions was a Senate hearing. Coming to defend rock music was John Denver, Frank Zappa and Dee Snider, all of which testified before the Senate committee putting forward their views as what they and I saw as an attempt by the PMRC at censorship. So for your further entertainment, I have included parts of the testimonies of all three of these great men.

In the end, the record industry agreed to voluntarily police itself and put advisory labels on records whose lyrics some might have found offensive. Rumours abounded at the time that the record industry was trying to get lawmakers to put a tax or surcharge on blank tapes because they feared everyone was taping their albums and they were losing money from it. Therefore, they agreed to the labels in the hopes that Congress would look into the taping ‘situation.’ Personally, I believe this to be true and there has been evidence to support it. The record companies sold the musicians up the river in an attempt to garnish more profit.

Did the PMRC change anything? Is their depravity and insurrection in the streets because of rock music? I don’t think so to either question. I do think that the one thing to come out of the PMRC’s actions was that it would cost Al Gore the presidency fifteen years later. The fear of having someone like Tipper Gore as First Lady scared the shit out of me and her extreme actions on music made me damn sure I wasn’t going to vote for her husband. I voted for Ralph Nader in 2000 by the way.

Next post: I was going to save this more towards the end of 1985 but this post has motivated me to post it next. WASP- The Last Command

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1985- The First Farm Aid

Posted in Uncategorized on February 18, 2019 by 80smetalman


Farm Aid grew out of comments made by Bob Dylan at Live Aid when he stated that he hoped that some of the money raised by the benefit concert would go to help American family farmers who were losing their farms. Spurred on by Dylan’s words, Country legend Willie Nelson, John Cougar Mellencamp and Neil Young organized a benefit concert to help farmers. Thus, the first Farm Aid concert was held on September 22, 1985 at the University of Illinois Memorial Stadium.


To be honest, I never watched Farm Aid, I was either working, studying or partying so I missed it. I have heard some great happenings and looking at the line up which played on the day, I regret not seeing a lot of them. What Farm Aid accomplished was a great coming together of rock and country music stars for the big event. One of my favourite country artists, David Allen Coe, played on the day as did Johnny Cash, George Jones and Merle Haggard to name a few. On the rock side, I would have loved to see Foreigner, Bon Jovi, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and John Cougar Mellencamp plus many more.

One defining moment from the day I did get to see not long after. Farm Aid would feature Eddie Van Halen and Sammy Hagar playing together live for the very first time. Even if I had seen the entire show, that still would have been my highlight for the day.

The first Farm Aid raised $9 million for family farmers. While not as prolific or as hyped as Live Aid was, the concert was a success leading to further concerts in the years after and while I can complain about Bon Jovi and Eddie and Sammy being the only metal acts that day, I won’t because it was still a great day of music.

Next post: The Rise of the PMRC

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The 1985 Rock And Wrestling Connection

Posted in Uncategorized on February 15, 2019 by 80smetalman

Another feature of 1985 was the merger of rock music and professional wrestling which became known as the Rock and Wrestling Connection. While the seeds were planted the previous year with Cyndi Lauper training Wendi Richter to become Women’s World Champion, the connection really got going in this year.

If my memory serves me right, it all started in the early months of 1985 when notorious bad guy wrestler, Rowdy Roddy Piper, attacked Lauper and her manager Dave Wolfe on his segment on Saturday morning wrestling called Piper’s Pit. Then, WWF Champion Hulk Hogan came to Cyndi and Dave’s rescue and this resulted in a match between Piper and Hogan at a later date.


Hulk Hogan v. Roddy Piper

I remember during the build up to the match, various rock stars appearing on MTV to declare their support for Hogan and that he kicks Piper’s ass. The two who stick out most for me were Dee Snider and Charlie Daniels. MTV really hyped the match. Well, the match happened but it did not come to a conclusion. Piper’s friends, Paul ‘Mr Wonderful’ Orndorff and Cowboy Bob Orton interfered on Piper’s behalf and attacked Hulk Hogan. Then from out of nowhere, Mr T (A- Team) ran into the ring and saved Hogan. This match set the stage for a big showdown which would be known as the first Wrestlemania.


Poster for the first Wrestlemania

Wrestlemania was the WWF’s attempt to match other federations in having a super star card. On this day, Hulk Hogan and Mr T with wrestler Superfly Jimmy Snuka in their corner would be against Roddy Piper, Paul Orndorff with Cowboy Bob Orton in theirs. To save me having to go into the details, I thought I’d let you see highlights from Wrestlemania’s main event.

Of course, there were other great matches on that day. The only bad guy victory was when Nikolai Volkov and the Iron Sheik won the tag team titles from the US Express, (Mike Rotondo and Barry Windham) when Volkov and Sheik’s manager Luscious Johnny Valiant hit Windham over the head with his cane. However, of all the matches on the day, my favourite is still the women’s title match between Wendi Richter and Lelani Kai. So, here it is for your viewing pleasure.

Later on in 1985, some girl asked me if I liked Cyndi Lauper. My response was, “I like wrestling, is that close enough? The girl couldn’t respond. The fact was that I really did like wrestling, still do and merging it with music even temporarily was another great happening in 1985.

Next post: Farm Aid

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Live Aid- 1985

Posted in Uncategorized on February 11, 2019 by 80smetalman


Undoubtedly, the most significant music event in 1985 for both Duranie and metalhead alike was Live Aid. True, many metalheads like me were more than a little disappointed at the fact there were only two heavy metal acts on the entire bill. Led Zeppelin’s performance has always been a topic for debate since this great show thirty-three and a half years ago. For instance, was it right for the band to place the entire blame on their less than impressive performance squarely on Phil Collins? After all, he was the only singer to play both the London and Philadelphia shows. Anyway, I digress. No matter what individual thoughts were, no one can deny that it was a major landmark in music in 1985.

My personal experience of the day, (and I would love to hear all of yours), is paraphrased in my book “Rock and Roll Children.” I say paraphrased because I wasn’t up at 9 that morning, waiting with great anticipation for Black Sabbath. I woke up, slightly hung over, in time to catch the tail end of Sabbath’s performance. From what I have been told, Ozzy was also a little hungover and forgot huge chunks of songs, but from what I saw when they played “Paranoid,” he seemed okay. What pissed me off about that was after Sabbath’s set, the dee-jay at my local radio station made a crack that Ozzy didn’t bite the heads off any small rodents.

About two hours later, heavy metal established itself in full glory when Judas Priest took the stage. Robert Halford came out in 90 degree fahrenheit  heat (approx. 32 degrees Celsius) wearing enough leather for three people. They stuck with the classics although I noticed a camera blooper when it focused on KK Downing while Glenn Tipton was playing the solo on “Living After Midnight.” The audience also got to experience “Some Heads Are Gonna Roll” and “You Got Another Thing Comin'” before it cut away to London for Paul Young, bad move. A good move was to have Judas Priest on right after REO Speedwagon, especially as REO finished with their all time classic, “Roll With the Changes.” Still, for twenty minutes, metalheads had a reason to be proud.


Most people remembered when Bono got a girl from the audience and began dancing with her. 

At 1 PM Eastern Time and 6 PM in London, Live Aid began going back and forth between London and Philly. Therefore, I got to witness a few of the great moments, at least until I had to be in work at 4. I did get to see U2, where Bono did what it says in the caption under the picture and I at least got to listen to Dire Straits perform a very good set on the radio. However, I did miss Madonna’s stating that she was going to keep her jacket on because she would only get shit for it in ten years time.

There were rumours a plenty about Live Aid as well. The biggest one was that the London show was going to end with the surviving members of the Beatles getting together with Julian Lennon to perform. I even made sure I was near a radio just in case, but it never happened. What did happen was the music history was made on July 13, 1985 on a grand scale that was unprecedented at that time. I think that Live Aid gave everyone some moments of joy no matter how small or large. It was a great day for all of rock and roll. Oh yes, another rumour, my father remains convinced that the grain bought from the proceeds of Live Aid only went to Africa on paper but in reality went to Russia.

I leave you know with some of my favourite moments of this historic day and again, I invite you all to tell me yours.

Hope you enjoyed!

Next post: Rock And Wrestling Connection

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1985- The Year of Charity Songs

Posted in Uncategorized on February 8, 2019 by 80smetalman

It actually started at the tail end of 1984 when many British artists came together calling themselves Band Aid and under the direction of Bob Geldolf of Boomtown Rats fame, recorded the song, “Do They Know It’s Christmas” to raise money and awareness of people starving in Africa. That song was a tremendous success as far as the charts and raising awareness and thirty-four years later, it still gets lots of play during the run up to Christmas.


Band Aid

In the early weeks of 1985, a load of American artist decided to do the same thing and recorded a song written by Lionel Richie and Michael Jackson titled, “We Are the World.” It went to number one in the US charts and did fairly well in the UK ones as well. It too, did a lot to raise awareness of Africa in the US. On a side note, I thought Steve Perry’s performance on the song was best.


USA for Africa

Personally, neither of these two songs did much for me but they were part of music history in 1985. At least, when “Do They Know It’s Christmas” gets played in December it does make me stop for a moment and think about those less fortunate than myself. Being one to find hidden gems, in my opinion, the best charity song for Africa was the one recorded by Northern Lights. Yes, my Canadian readers, I do think that “Tears are Not Enough”  was the best of the three charity songs and that’s why I’m sharing it below.


Northern Lights

As 1985 progressed, it wasn’t just famine Africa which was the focus of huge collaborations from singers. Towards the end of the year, singers from all over the world came together and formed Artists United Against Apartheid and recorded “Sun City” as a protest against the Apartheid regime in South Africa. Quick history lesson here, Sun City was a rich people’s resort where the rich from all over the world came to play. Many famous acts played there and the ones who recorded this song, made a stand saying they were refusing to play Sun City.

The list of artists who appear on the record is phenomenal. Some like Bono and Bruce Springsteen who sang on some of the other collaborations sing on the record. Then again, in Bruce’s case, his right hand man in the E-Street Band, Little Steven, did write the song. Also Clarence Clemmons plays a sax solo. But there’s also Lou Reed, Pat Benatar, Run DMC, Ringo Starr plays drums along with his son Zack and there’s even a heavy metal singer. Michael Monroe from Hanoi Rocks makes an appearance, though he doesn’t have a solo spot on the song. Plus there’s many more. So, with a line up like this, no wonder the song is so good.

On the subject of heavy metal, it was often asked throughout the year why didn’t metal artists make a song for Africa. They did, but it wasn’t released until 1986 so when I get to that year, it will be given all the attention it deserves.

Next post: Live Aid

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Great Rock One Hit Wonders of 1985

Posted in Uncategorized on February 4, 2019 by 80smetalman

It’s that time of the year, the one I’m visiting anyway, where I introduce the one hit wonders of that year. At least the ones I liked. I remember hearing the first two in the Spring of 85. Bruce Cockburn’s “If I Had a Rocket Launcher” really resonated with me. I was more politically aware and starting to disagree with Ronald Regan’s Contra War in Nicaragua, so this song really caught my attention and it has a cool guitar solo as well. The second song, Nick Lowe’s “I Knew the Bride When She Used to Rock and Roll,” reached the other part of me. This was a fun rock song and I love the gospel harmonizing at the beginning.

If I had to pick a favourite from the one hit wonders of 1985, this next song would be the outright winner. “Your Love” by The Outfield is a true rock song. Like Phantom, Rocker and Slick, this was another band from this year where I wonder why they didn’t go further then they did.

Before my British readers start shaking their fists and jumping up and down in anger, yes I know Alison Moyet was not a one hit wonder. Furthermore, many more of you are scratching your heads wondering why I am including her here. Confession time, Alison’s song “Invisible” was my ‘Not Guilty Pleasure’ of 1985. I actually like it. Whether or not you like her music, I think most of us can agree that she has a very powerful voice. I bet she’d sound really good singing metal.

Finally, I am pretty sure that these last two songs, “The Rodeo Song” and “Were You Born an Asshole?” by my favourite country singer, David Allen Coe did not come out in 1985. However, throughout the entire year of 85, whenever I went into a South Jersey dive bar and there were plenty of them, one or often both of these songs would be blasting from the juke box. Both of them were important parts of my 1985.

There you have it, the one hit wonders from 1985 which remain with me til this day. Have a listen and I hope you enjoy them as much as I have over the past thirty plus years.

Next post: Charity Songs

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