Archive for September, 2019

Great Metal Albums of 1985: Wendy O Williams- Kommander of Kaos

Posted in Uncategorized on September 30, 2019 by 80smetalman


Yet another historical conflict between Wikipedia and my memory. According to the site, Wendy O Williams’s album “Kommader of Kaos” was recorded in 1984 and released in early 1986. However, I always thought it came out in 1985 because in the final days of the year, I saw her live along with Motorhead and the Stormtroopers of Death. She appeared between those two bands and was absolutely brilliant! I won’t go into too much detail because you can read it in “Rock and Roll Children.” It would have been an historical night, the Stormtroopers of Death totally blew me away that evening and it was the first time I got to witness stage diving. However, Motorhead came on after Wendy and when they played, Motorhead sounded as good as they were expected to be. However, Lemmy put a dampener on the night by constantly complaining about the sound. I thought they sounded okay. Anyway, it was my first time seeing Motorhead and while I enjoyed their show, I left with the feeling that Lemmy was a bit of an asshole.

No matter which year “Kommander of Kaos” came out, it reminds me of Wendy’s show that particular evening. It’s loud, fast and aggressive. After some dubious sounds at the very beginning, the album explodes into one big metalfest. Wendy’s vocals kill any doubt that women shouldn’t sing thrash, in fact, I think her voice is even better than when she was in the Plasmatics.

After the first two tracks totally beat your eardrums to death, things appear to momentarily slow down with the intro on “Goin’ Wild.” It reminds me a tiny bit of The Plasmatics’ classic, “The Damned.” However, that breather lasts less than a minute before more heavy metal bombards your ears. The guitar solo on the song is phenomenal and while I can’t say for sure, I can’t help thinking that it was during this tune when she carried her guitarist around on her shoulders when I saw her live.

Speaking of live, the track, “Ain’t None of Your Business” is recorded live and I love her dig at what she calls straight people at the beginning of the song as well as her long scream at the end. It’s definitely a top track on the album and it reminds me why I enjoyed her live show so much. Then again, seeing her as 24 year old man, I did love how she first appeared on stage in full biker leather, only to fling a piece of clothing out to the audience after a few songs until near the time she got to the end, she was only in her bra and panties.

Of course, the other tracks also vie for that top spot as well. All of them are great tracks on their own. They are loud and aggressive with some great musicianship to accompany Wendy’s vocals. However, I think “Fight for the Right” pips the others at the post for me. It just has that special I don’t know what. It could very well be that with all the PMRC bullshit that came around in 1985, this song was an anthem for us who opposed their silly campaign against rock music. It has a cool guitar solo as well. Saying that, I do love the chorus of Bad Girl.

I’m a bad girl baby, the baddest bitch around.

Track Listing:

  1. Hey Ho (Live to Rock)
  2. Pedal to the Metal
  3. Goin’ Wild
  4. Ain’t None of Your Business
  5. Party
  6. Jailbait
  7. Bad Girl
  8. Fight for the Right
  9. (Work That Muscle) F*ch that Booty


Wendy O Williams

Wendy O. Williams- vocals

Michael Ray- guitar, backing vocals

Greg Smith- bass, backing vocals

T.C. Oliver- drums

Wes Beech- drums

This concert was just four days before Christmas so for me it was a great early present, even if Lemmy was a bit of an asshole that night. Fortunately, for Lemmy, I would see him again eight months later and he would redeem himself in my eyes. Meanwhile, I got the delights of a great album from Wendy.

Next post: Stormtroopers of Death- Speak English or Die

To downolad Rock and Roll Children, go to:




















Great Metal Albums of 1985: Dokken- Under Lock and Key

Posted in Uncategorized on September 28, 2019 by 80smetalman


Listening to Dokken’s third album, “Under Lock and Key,” I’m going to have to retract a comment I recently made on another blog. There, I stated that I find it difficult to choose which album is better between this one and Dokken’s previous album, “Tooth ‘N’ Nail.” Having re-familiarized myself with “Under Lock and Key” after quite a few years, I have to say that I prefer “Tooth ‘N’ Nail.” In some circles, that makes me a heavy metal purist but that’s not the point. I just think, like so many other metal bands in 1985, Dokken were going for commercial success here and the album is slightly less metalized.

Now demoted to second favourite Dokken album, I can now concentrate as to how good “Under Lock and Key” is. After all, it did gain some commercial with success with two cool singles from the album, “The Hunter” and my personal fave, “In My Dreams.” With the latter, I’m just a sucker for the harmonizing intro before guitar, bass and drums come crashing down all around you. This combo works well throughout the entire song with the added bonus of a rather cool George Lynch guitar solo but it’s his solos as to why this album is good.

Here’s a conflict between history according to Wikipedia and my memory. Wiki says that the track, “It’s Not Love,” was only released as a promo single. However, I remember MTV playing the video half to death throughout the summer of 1986. You might remember it, it’s the video where the band play while riding on the back of a flatbed truck (lorry). Doesn’t matter though because it is a great song. I love the intro of George’s guitar lick which appears several times in the song.

What relegated the album to number two in my mind is the absence of a true hidden gem. The other tracks are good, even great, but none of them stands out for me. Even the power ballad, “Slippin’ Away” while good, doesn’t make me want to forget about “Alone Again,” from the previous album. However, it’s like I said, the remaining tracks are good to great but nothing stands out as the hidden gem. You get plenty of great vocals from Don and everything I’ve said about George on guitar still applies to the remaining songs. Plus, Jeff Pilson and Mick Brown could be one of the most underrated rhythm sections in 80s metal. With all of that going for it, “Under Lock and Key” can’t help but to be a very good album.

Track Listing:

  1. Unchain the Night
  2. The Hunter
  3. In My Dreams
  4. Slippin’ Away
  5. Lightning Strikes Again
  6. It’s Not Love
  7. Jaded Heart
  8. Don’t Lie to Me
  9. Will the Sun Rise
  10. Till the Livin’ End


Don Dokken- lead vocals

George Lynch- guitar

Jeff Pilson- bass, backing vocals

Mick Brown- drums, backing vocals

“Under Lock and Key” did give Dokken some commercial success. The singles from the album, especially “In My Dreams,” got considerable airplay on radio and MTV. Furthermore, I got to see them live twice in 1986, first time supporting Twisted Sister and the second time, Judas Priest. Both accounts can be read in “Rock and Roll Children.” My sister got to see them a third time supporting Loverboy. In conclusion, while I might have decided that the album wasn’t as good as their previous one, it’s still a great album.

Next post: Wendy O. Williams- Kommander of Kaos

To download Rock and Roll Children, go to:








Great Metal Albums of 1985: Twisted Sister- Come Out And Play

Posted in Uncategorized on September 24, 2019 by 80smetalman


Nobody in the entire world was more excited than me about the release of Twisted Sister’s follow up album to the famous “Stay Hungry” album, “Come Out and Play.” Thing was that the album was slammed mercilessly by critics and fans. Hardcore metalheads accused Twisted Sister of going too pop while pop fans continued to claim that they were too metal. An argument, I wouldn’t disagree with. In any case, was “Come Out and Play” as bad as what it has been made out to be?

My answer to the above was no. At my first listen to it, I was in no way, shape or form disappointed with the album. I never disliked the album and still don’t. However, I do have to concede that it wasn’t as good as their first three albums. I mean there is a noticeable difference in the drop in quality with “Come Out and Play” but that only shows how magnificent those other three albums are.

Let’s start with the not so positive. It wasn’t rocket science to deduce that the cover of the Shangri-La’s hit, “Leader of the Pack” was always meant to be a commercial single. Like with the videos from the two “Stay Hungry” singles, there was a bit of humour in the video. Unfortunately, “Leader of the Pack” only made it to about #75 in the charts and I can’t help thinking that it wouldn’t have been detrimental to the album if it had been left off.

One paradox with “Come Out and Play” is the track “Be Crool to Your Scuel.” Dee Snider explained in an interview that he believed that heavy metal wasn’t a separate entity from rock and roll and that was the logic behind the song. After all, they got the likes of Brian Setzer from the Stray Cats, Alice Cooper, Billy Joel and Bruce Springsteen’s saxophonist, Clarence Clemons to play on the song. I think all do a good job and it would have been a more effective single than “Leader of the Pack” had not MTV banned the video for being offensive. That’s why I’ve included it below.

In the case of this album, it’s the lesser known tracks that make the album, especially the two hidden gems, which I will get to in a second. Now before people start shouting, I know how well known “The Fire Still Burns” is. It and the title track are the only songs from this album they played the last two times I saw them live at Bloodstock. That song does prove that Twisted Sister hadn’t fully abandoned their metal roots. The power ballad “I Believe in You” is done well and includes harmonizing vocals from Don Dokken. “I Believe in Rock and Roll” is also a great metal tune and with “The Warriors” being my all time favorite film, I love how a great scene from the movie is paraphrased on the opening title cut.

As for the hidden gems, “Looking Out for #’1” was my own personal anthem. The lyrics weren’t about being selfish, they were about being an individual, something I was still trying to establish for myself after four years of conformity while serving my country. It was my security blanket in an 80s Reagan America which was becoming more intolerant towards heavy metal and metalheads. The best track however, only appears on the cassette and CD release. For me, “King of the Fools” is the best track on the whole damn album. Done in a very bluesy fashion, the song really kicks ass and like the other gem, the lyrics speak to me on a personal level.

Who are these people who cast stones, better a fool than just a clone.

Track Listing:

  1. Come Out and Play
  2. Leader of the Pack
  3. You Want What We Got
  4. I Believe in Rock and Roll
  5. The Fire Still Burns
  6. Be Crool to Your Scuel
  7. I Believe in You
  8. Out in the Streets
  9. Looking Out for #1
  10. Kill or be Killed
  11. King of the Fools

Twisted Sister

Dee Snider- lead vocals

Jay Jay French- guitar, backing vocals

Eddie Ojeda- guitar, backing vocals

Mark Mendoza- bass, backing vocals

A.J. Pero- drums, percussion

Additional Musicians

Gary St John- keyboards

Don Dokken, Gary Holland- high harmony vocals on “I Believe in You”

Additional Musicians on “Be Crool to Your Scuel”

Alice Cooper- accompanying vocals

Brian Setzer- guitar solo

Billy Joel- piano

Clarence Clemons- saxophone solo

Julia and Maxine Waters- backing vocals

The Uptown Horns

Crispin Cioe- baritone sax

Arno ‘Cool Ray’ Hecht- tenor sax

Bad Bob Funk- trombone

‘Hollywood’ Paul Litteral- trumpet

I’m not going to ask if “Come Out and Play” was as bad an album as it was made out to be. It wasn’t, not in the slightest. While not as good as the first three, it’s still a very good listen.

Next post: Dokken- Under Lock and Key





Great Metal Albums of 1985: Iron Maiden- Live After Death

Posted in Uncategorized on September 19, 2019 by 80smetalman


History has shown that 1985 was a damn good year for live albums. There was The Scorpions’ “World Wide Live” album as well as Molly Hatchet’s “Double Trouble Live” both considered to be two of the best all time live albums. Plus there were cool live albums from Hanoi Rocks and Venom to boot. Then when you might have thought that 1985 had enough great live albums, as the year was coming to an end, Iron Maiden come out with their “Live After Death” album and this just happens to be my favourite live album of all time.

This was the tour I first saw Iron Maiden live, having seen them in January of 1985. Twisted Sister was the opening act so you can imagine what a great night that was for me!¬† What “Live After Death” also did for me was to get me off my ass and start procuring their studio albums. Having seen them live, I still hadn’t done that, I know, shame on me, so this was also the first Iron Maiden album I bought. Actually, I didn’t buy it, my sister got it for me as a Christmas present, very nice of her don’t you think?

One piece of wisdom I can pass onto anyone who is looking to experience the Great Maiden, is that this album is a fantastic place to start. After all, it has all the great Iron Maiden classics played so wonderfully live. Great tracks and I’ll just name my faves here, like “Run to the Hills,” “The Trooper,” “Aces High,” I’ve always loved how that one followed on from Churchill’s WW2 speech, and “The Flight of Icarus” just to name a few. Furthermore, like I wrote in “Rock and Roll Children,” even the thirteen minute long “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” doesn’t get boring as Maiden blow your ears off with their great metal assault. This album was is still so fantastic, even after 34 years, there’s little more I can say here.

If I were to nitpick and the military used to say, “There’s always room from improvement” and that was it would have been cool if the album included an address to the American audiences from Bruce Dickinson. While on the “World Slavery Tour,” and this is also mentioned in “Rock and Roll Children,” Bruce informed every venue in America that Iron Maiden were not Satan worshipers. While, I thought this was amusing when I saw them, it was a shame that the band felt they needed to do this. But that was the hold the religious right had on America at the time. Still, even that small omission doesn’t detract from the fact that “Live After Death” is a stupendous live album. If the situation had been reversed and I heard this album before I had seen them live, I would have moved heaven and earth to go to see them the next time the played live.

Credit where due on another point from Maiden here. While the majority of the album was recorded from shows in Long Beach, California, they didn’t forget their British fans and include five tracks from their Hammersmith shows. When I eventually got to England, I got to fully appreciate what “22 Acacia Avenue” was truly about, thus adding further appreciation to the song.

Track Listing:

  1. Intro: Churchill’s Speech
  2. Aces Hight
  3. Two Minutes to Midnight
  4. The Trooper
  5. Revelatations
  6. The Flight of Icarus
  7. Rime of the Ancient Mariner
  8. Powerslave
  9. Number of the Beast
  10. Hallowed Be Thy Name
  11. Iron Maiden
  12. Run to the Hills
  13. Running Free

Recorded from the Hammersmith Shows

  1. Wrathchild
  2. 22 Acacia Avenue
  3. Children of the Damned
  4. Die With Your Boots On
  5. Phantom of the Opera

Iron Maiden

Bruce Dickinson- lead vocals

Steve Harris- bass, backing vocals

Adrian Smith- guitar, backing vocals

Dave Murray- guitar

Nicko McBrain- drums

Not much more I can say here, this is just one magnificent live album and it’s what has made me an Iron Maiden fan for three and a half decades.

Next post: Twisted Sister- Come Out and Play

To download Rock and Roll Children go to:






Rest in Peace Ric Ocasek

Posted in Uncategorized on September 16, 2019 by 80smetalman


Ric Ocasek


The Cars

Naturally, there are much deserved tributes to lead singer, rhythm guitarist from The Cars, Ric Ocasek¬† pouring out all over the music blogosphere. When I posted about The Cars’ self titled debut album from 1978, it was said that they were ahead of their time and they were. For me, The Cars were one of the chief founders of the new wave/punk movement. Since all of the best words have already been said, the best I can do is to add my all time favourite Cars song, “My Best Friend’s Girl.”

Rest in Peace Ric.






Tribute to Eddie Money

Posted in Uncategorized on September 15, 2019 by 80smetalman


Eddie Money

With the recent passing of singer Eddie Money, I realize that my total experience of him was his singles. For some inexplicable reason, I’ve never delved into his albums. Therefore, after reading several tributes to Eddie, (Mike’s was fantastic BTW), I’d thought I put my own spin on Eddie. Even though, I only have experience from what was played on radio and MTV, I do have a song which I consider an Eddie Money hidden gem. I remember “Big Crash” getting quite a bit of airplay on MTV and I like the song. The backstory to it also interested me because it was about someone Eddie knew from his days as a police officer. So, it is only fitting that Eddie Money’s “Big Crash” gets its rightful spin.

Rest in Peace Eddie Money


Great Metal Albums of 1985: Lee Aaron- Call of the Wild

Posted in Uncategorized on September 12, 2019 by 80smetalman


Thanks to that one copy of “Metallion” magazine I read in the summer of 1985, I discovered that the Canadian Metal Queen, Lee Aaron, was coming out with a new album in this year. The magazine’s interview with Lee prepared me for suspected changes from her first two albums. Like quite a few artists did in 85, she stated that she was adding a few keyboards to her sound. However, she also stated that the album would be no less rocky than those previous albums. After reading all that, I had to go and listen to “Call of the Wild” and make my own mind up.


The projected synth pop sound that some might thought Lee was going to deliver on her third album never really materialize. In fact, the opener, “Rock Me All Over” sounds very much like songs from her first two albums. Like any good opening track, it rocks to the point of grabbing your attention and makes you take notice. The slight downside is the lyrics do sound a little juvenile which I read she complained about on her first album.

Keyboards do manifest themselves on the next two songs. Reflecting back to 1985, I am not in the least bit surprised that “Runnin’ From the Fire” was released as a single. It captured the commercial 1985 sound and that’s why I’m surprised that it didn’t do diddle squat in the singles charts. Maybe because there’s a little bit of rock on it. While present on “Champion,” the keyboards take a more supportive role in it and this sounds much better. However, the best song for combining keyboards with the metal sound that made Lee a hit with metalheads is my fave track, “Barely Holdin’ On.” The keyboards are done in a good progressive rock style in support of some great hard rock from Lee’s band. Guitarist John Albani plays a blinder of a solo on it. Some critics have accused Lee of screaming too much on the song but for me, it’s what makes the song. Even at that volume, she can still rock a tune.

That favourite track sets the tone for the rest of the album. The remaining seven songs are all rockers and while keyboards can still be heard on some tracks, they realize their place and take a supporting role. Like on the cover of the Kix song, “Burnin’ Love.” Again, John Albani’s guitar solo is fantastic. While none of those tracks stand out more than the other, they’re all good, they aren’t clones of one another. Each rocking tune is different in its own right, although “Beat ’em Up” has always amused me. However, all of them possess Lee’s magnificent voice backed by a hard rocking rhythm section and some great solos from John Albani, another guitarist whose efforts have never gotten the accolades they so richly deserve.

Track Listing:

  1. Rock Me All Over
  2. Runnin’ From the Fire
  3. Champion
  4. Barely Holdin’ On
  5. Burnin’ Love
  6. Line of Fire
  7. Beat ’em Up
  8. Paradise
  9. Evil Game
  10. Danger Zone
  11. Hot to be Rocked

Lee Aaron

Lee Aaron- lead and backing vocals

John Albani- lead guitar, backing vocals

Simon Brierly- guitar

Bob Ezrin- keyboards

Jerry Mercer- drums

Spider Sinnaeve- bass

Chris Brockaway, Walter Zwolinski, Dick Wagner- backing vocals

I never really thought that “Call of the Wild” would be dumbed down to a trendy synth pop album. The keyboards know their place in the songs and let the guitars take the lead, like they should. What the album does show was how Lee was maturing in the music industry.

Next post: Iron Maiden- Live After Death

To download Rock and Roll Children, go to:















Great Metal Albums of 1985: KISS- Asylum

Posted in Uncategorized on September 8, 2019 by 80smetalman


KISS’s 1985 “Asylum” album is one album I refuse to buy. Oh, I’ve listened to the album, not long after it came out, a friend of mine had it on cassette and asked to put it in the car stereo and we listened to it then. Nor is it because I find anything wrong with the album. This could have been their best album from the non-makeup 80s years. No, there’s a different reason as to why I refuse to buy this album. That reason is that I was cheated out of a free copy of it.

In December 1985, a local club was giving free copies of “Asylum” to the first twenty-five people who went through the door. Therefore, I made sure I got to the club nice and early. Seeing the sparse club on my arrival, I inquired about the free album, there was definitely less than twenty-five people in the club when I went in. The doorman responded that they hadn’t started giving the albums out yet. When they did begin to give out copies to the later arrivals, they refused to give me one on the grounds that I arrived too soon. I was cheated out of a free copy and so I feel I shouldn’t have to buy what I should have had for free. Nowadays, I could probably sue. Back then, all the lawyer adverts were just starting to flood the TV ads so the idea didn’t enter my mind.

Now onto the album itself. My thoughts are that KISS tried to go back to their roots a little on “Asylum.” The track, “Anyway You Slice It,” does sound similar to 1970s KISS and I definitely detect more than a hint of the 1983 single, “Lick It Up,” on the track ” Trial by Fire.” One paradox is the third track, “Who Wants to Be Lonely.” There is a Led Zeppelin style intro but then the songs veers more towards their disco sounding “I Was Made for Lovin’ You.” Actually, I still prefer “Who Wants to Be Lonely” to the disco song.

After the two fastest songs on the album, “I’m Alive” and “Love’s a Deadly Weapon,” the second half of the album gets better. It’s on these two songs where Bruce Kulick arrives with some great soloing. You have the two singles “Tears Are Falling” and “Uh! All Night.” The former received lots of play on MTV and it was that song that turned my attention to the album. In fact, it’s my favourite KISS single from this period. Plus, you get what looks like Paul pissing against the wall at the beginning of the video. I’ve always taken the latter of the singles with a bit of tongue in cheek amusement. Of course, you can’t forget my vote for hidden gem, which goes to “Secretly Cruel” though “Radar for Love” is a fairly close second. This song shows that when the band stops trying to be poseurs, they can play some serious metal. It, along with some of the other songs, cemented that after Vinnie Vincent and Mark St John, the band finally had a reliable lead guitarist in the form of Bruce. He really nails the intro and later the guitar solo on the hidden gem.

Track Listing:

  1. King of the Mountain
  2. Anyway You Slice It
  3. Who Wants to Be Lonely
  4. Trial By Fire
  5. I’m Alive
  6. Love is a Deadly Weapon
  7. Tears are Falling
  8. Secretly Cruel
  9. Radar for Love
  10. Uh! All Night



Paul Stanley- rhythm guitar, lead vocals

Gene Simmons- bass, lead vocals

Bruce Kulick- lead guitar, backing vocals

Eric Carr- drums, backing vocals

Even though “Asylum” could be the best of the non-makeup 1980s albums, I still won’t buy it because I was cheated out of the free copy thirty-four years earlier. However, justice was mine in the end. Not long after, that club was busted for serving minors and had to start carding. It closed six months later.

Next post: Lee Aaron- Call of the Wild

To download Rock and Roll Children, go to:






















Great Metal Albums of 1985: Black ‘N Blue- Without Love

Posted in Uncategorized on September 5, 2019 by 80smetalman


Did you ever go see a band live and then when you bought and listened to their album, find that it sounded different from what you remembered from the live show? For me, this was sort of the case with Black ‘N Blue’s second album, “Without Love.” I saw them live in support of this album as the opening act for the mighty KISS in 1985. I thought they were total metaled out that evening. However, when I put this album on, it sounded a little less metal and slightly power pop. I had to give it another listen before I heard the metal in “Without Love.”

What this album is full of is catchy tunes with some good metal playing behind them. I’m rather surprised that none of these tracks received any air play on radio or MTV from what I remember. The title track especially, could have scored a singles hit for the band if given the airplay. It is definitely a catchy tune while at the same time, there are metal hooks a plenty on it. The same can be said for the tracks “Nature of the Beach” and “Miss Mystery.” I was caught up in the vibe on both of these tracks and “Miss Mystery” gets my vote for hidden gem.

Another element which makes itself known from the opening track is the KISS influence. I can hear it on many of the songs, even on the much harder “Bombastic Plastic.” The possible exceptions are “Stop the Lightning” and the jazz sounding “Swing Time.” Both are good tunes by the way and if anything, they prove that Black ‘N Blue were capable of going outside the KISS bubble. Of course, if you have this album on CD, you might have the bonus track, their cover of the Aerosmith classic, “Same Old Song and Dance.” Definitely no KISS influence there!

Another KISS related aspect from this album is I can now see why that band would eventually snap up guitarist Tommy Thayer. He can really play and he would seem to be a natural fit with KISS. While he never joined KISS, lead vocalist Jaime St James does sometimes resemble Paul Stanley when he sings. At least he does on a couple of songs like “Swing Time.” Still, KISS or no KISS, they do merge to form the basis of a band who possibly should have gone farther.

Track Listing:

  1. Rockin’ On Heaven’s Door
  2. Without Love
  3. Stop the Lightning
  4. Nature of the Beach
  5. Miss Mystery
  6. Swing Time
  7. Bombastic Plastic
  8. We Got the Fire
  9. Strange Things
  10. Two Wrongs (Don’t Make it Love)
  11. Same Old Song and Dance (bonus track)

Black’n Blue

Jaime St James- lead vocals

Tommy Thayer- guitar, backing vocals

Jeff Warner- guitar

Patrick Young- bass

Pete Holmes- drums

Additional Musicians:

Jim Vallance- electric drums

Adam Bomb- additional guitar

Dave Pickell, Doug Johnson, Steve Procraro- keybards

Mike Reno- backing vocals on “We Got the Fire”

Should this have been a single?

Or maybe the hidden gem?

Black ‘N Blue were absolutely brilliant that night in December 1985 and I probably didn’t do them justice in “Rock and Roll Children.” Then again, I was going strictly on memory from 25 years earlier. “Without Love” was a good second album for this band and I can’t help thinking it should have done better.

Next post: KISS- Assylum

To download Rock and Roll Children, go to:















Great Metal Albums of 1985: Y&T- Down For the Count

Posted in Uncategorized on September 2, 2019 by 80smetalman


Ditto from my previous post about metal bands releasing a single full of synthesizers in order to get radio play. In 1985, Y&T did it when they released the single, “Summertime Girls,” which also appeared on their live “Open Fire” album put out earlier in that year. History tells us that this action of synthed out singles had little success for bands like Y&T and Fastway. Fastway’s single had a couple of plays on radio and I remember seeing the video for “Summertime Girls” on MTV a few times but that single only managed to reach #55 in the singles charts. Fortunately, for the rest of Y&T’s 1985 “Down for the Count” album, they remained truer to their metal roots.

If you weren’t aware of the synth single, then you would have been none the wiser when you put the album on because “In the Name of Rock” opens the album as well as many good metal opening tracks. It does the job of turning your attention to the album. If I were giving the band advice on which track to use a single on this album, I would have chosen the second track, “All American Boy.” That song is just as radio friendly as “Summertime Girls” but without the use of synthesizers. It has a good catchy vibe without betraying the band’s metal rep.

If they were so insistent on using keyboards, then the track, “Anytime At All,” demonstrates the best way to use them. The keyboards compliment the song but give way to the guitars to dominate. Meniketti does play a cool guitar solo on it. Radio worthiness and keyboards are totally forgotten on “Anything for Money” because here, Y&T go total metaled out on it. It’s fast and furious and reminds me a little of my all time favourite Y&T song, “Mean Streak.” Again, Dave shows his lead guitar chops.

A cool lead guitar solo intro leads well into the near power ballad, “Face Like an Angel” and carries the album on its metal way. Again, it’s catchy without straying from what made Y&T a great metal band. Sandwiched between the synth single and a decent cover of the Loggins and Messina classic, “Your Mamma Don’t Dance” is another cool metal tune in the form “Looks Like Trouble.” However, it’s the penultimate track that gets my vote for hidden gem on “Down for the Count.” “Don’t Tell Me What to Wear” was sort of a theme song for me in 1985 because in the intolerant times of 80s Regan America, I got a lot of shit off people for my choice of footwear. I used to wear Native American moccasin boots which wasn’t cool in that era. My sword and hand grenade earrings didn’t help either. It helps that it’s a great track musically as well. All the things found on the album come together the closer on “Hands of Time.” It’s another near power ballad with keyboards in support of hard riffing guitars and cool soloing. Things end on a great note here, literally.

While I have always thought Dave Meniketti a decent guitarist, his efforts on the album shows that I had underestimated the guy. He can play! The big mystery is on which tracks does Dio keyboardist Claude Schnell play on. Three different keyboards players are used on this album but for me, they should have just simply used Claude on all of them.

Track Listing:

  1. In the Name of Rock
  2. All American Boy
  3. Anytime at All
  4. Anything for Money
  5. Face Like and Angel
  6. Summertime Girls
  7. Looks Like Trouble
  8. Your Mamma Don’t Dance
  9. Don’t Tell Me What to Wear
  10. Hands of Time


Dave Meniketti- lead vocals, lead guitar

Joey Alves- rhythm guitar, backing vocals

Phil Kennemore- bass, backing vocals

Leonard Haze- drums, percussion

Additional Musicians

Randy Nichols- keyboards

Steffen Presley- keyboards

Claude Schnell- keyboards

John Nymann- vocals

After all these years, I fully appreciate how good an album “Down For the Count” really is. Maybe I was distracted by Y&T’s push for radio recognition back then. Now, I would like to go back in time and tell them that they didn’t really need to try to sound commercial, even on one song as this album holds up.

Next post: Black ‘N’ Blue- Without Love

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