Archive for March, 2020

Religions War on Rock Music in 1986

Posted in Uncategorized on March 29, 2020 by 80smetalman

It didn’t start in 1986. Ever since rock music came about in the 1950s, the American religious right has been out against it. While it was pretty much ignored by people who think with their brains as opposed to their bibles, it seemed to go a little mainstream in 1986. One of the main leaders of the anti- rock brigade was TV evangelist Jimmy Swaggart. He preached fire and brimstone against rock music from the pulpit and I thought the Jimmy Swaggart Ministry made for great Sunday morning television comedy.  His first major strike was when he told his local Wal-mart and K-Mart stores that he would tell his congregation not to shop at the stores if they didn’t pull rock magazines from their shelves. Not long after, Wal-mart pulled thirty-two different magazines from all of their stores.

Holy man Swaggart wasn’t the only so-called Christian in the fight against rock music in 1986. This was also the year that some of his like minded devotees began going to rock concerts to preach against those who were going to see these ‘Satanic’ bands. My first experience of Jesus freaks at concerts came when I saw Ozzy and Metallica in the April. The experience was pretty much how I described it in “Rock and Roll Children.” The leader of the group did look like Lemmy and sounded as if he had just ingested helium and I did yell what the Nick character did in the story. These religious fanatics would come back again for Judas Priest and Dio.

I wish I had heard this guy’s advice back in 1986.

Here’s my rebuttal to Mr Swaggart and his minions:

Fortunately, the religious fanatics at concerts never made its way to Great Britain and though I haven’t been to a concert in the US in over 34 years, I know that they still go to concerts throughout America and try to stop others from having fun. I have always thought these people were sad and pathetic and I still do. Of course, two years later, the so-called Holy Man would have a great downfall and I will post about that.

Next post: Metal Ruled Parts of 1986

















































































Great Rock One Hit Wonders of 1986 and Other Significant Songs

Posted in Uncategorized on March 25, 2020 by 80smetalman

While there weren’t many one hit wonders in the proper sense worth remembering in 1986, there were quite a few significant songs which were. Take this first offering. While Aerosmith’s 1985 “Done With Mirrors” album put them back on the rock and roll map, it didn’t propel them to the superstardom they had once enjoyed in the 1970s. In 1986, they were given a boost from a rather unexpected hand. Rap group Run DMC collaborated with the band to make a cover of Aerosmith’s classic hit, “Walk This Way” and it was a great success for both. The song even got redneck white boys listening to rap and it put Aerosmith truly on the road back to superstardom.

Already, I can hear Jess and many other of my Australian followers screaming that Jimmy Barnes wasn’t a one hit wonder. Don’t worry, I agree with you. However, his 1986 hit “Working Class Man” is the song is what Jimmy is best known for and it’s a great one. I almost got to see him live in 1986 as he was on tour supporting ZZ Top. Unfortunately, he had left the tour by the time ZZ Top made it to Philadelphia.

Suzanne Vega wasn’t a one hit wonder either but the song that attracted my attention and got a fair amount of radio airplay was “Left of Center.” It stood out because it was far better than most of the crap commercial radio was offering. Besides, the title of the song indicated the political direction I was heading at the time.

Five weeks in the UK, I was sitting in a pub in North London when a very interesting song started playing on the juke box. Upon a quick look, I discovered it was a cover of the song, “Spirit in the Sky” done by Doctor and the Medics. These guys were truly one hit wonders as I know of nothing more they came out with. But hey, it’s a good song.

Naturally, I save the best for last. All throughout 1985, with all the aid for Africa songs coming out, it was suggested that metal artists get together and make a song for Africa. Ronnie James Dio obliged them. Getting together with some of the great metal singers and guitarists, “Stars” was made and released in 1986. Unlike all the other charity songs, not only was there vocals contributions but some of the greatest lead guitarists in metal got to lay down contributions of their own. I’ve always loved this song but some metalheads didn’t. I don’t know why.

If you watch the video, it will tell you who does what on the song

While 1986 didn’t produced one hit wonders which I thought were worthy of being put on an 80smetalman’s post, the year did give us some great one off songs that were.

Next post: The Religious War on Metal

To download Rock and Roll Children, go to:
























Great Rock Albums of 1986: John Fogerty- Eye of a Zombie

Posted in Uncategorized on March 22, 2020 by 80smetalman


John Fogerty’s “Eye of a Zombie” album is the last of the albums I missed in 1986 because it came out in the US after I had gone to the UK. In fact, it would be several more years before I even knew this album existed because it never charted in the UK. At least it did answer my question as to why he didn’t put out a follow up album after the very successful “Centerfield” album. The answer was that he did, the problem was that it wasn’t quite as good as its predecessor.

I think why the album did not achieve the critical or commercial success the 1985 classic did was that many people’s musical tastes were diverging, something I’ve noted in quite a few posts. An album from someone in an iconic 1960s band like CCR was good as a one off for most people but they didn’t want more of the same, which is why I like “Eye of a Zombie.” It does sound a lot like it would have been a great Credence album if it had come out some fifteen years prior.

What I like most about it is that John really lets loose with the guitar here. He does lay down some cool guitar jams. On the opener, “Goin’ Back Home,” it starts with a choir for the first minute and a half and then he finishes the rest of the song jamming away on the guitar. Ditto for the next two songs, John does what he did with CCR on both of those songs but he does play a couple of decent guitar solos on them. “Headlines” definitely sounds quite a bit like his old band.

It’s not just CCR which influences John here. He did say in the past that he was heavily influenced by 60’s Motown and that shines through on two songs, “Knockin’ On Your Door” and “Soda Pop.” Though I must admit when I first heard the latter tune, I did have a brief WTF moment but on further listen, I hear what he was doing on the song. With that said, “Change in the Weather” best combines the influence and the sound of the former band. This song would have been good on any CCR album but that’s not the best song on the album. That award in my mind goes to “Violence is Golden.” Again, he takes everything he’s done in the past and makes it a great song but with some very cool guitar work on it. Also, the topical lyrics about the American weapons industry is what puts it at number one for me. The very intriguing intro to the song has something to do with it as well.

Track Listing:

  1. Goin’ Back Home
  2. Eye of a Zombie
  3. Headlines
  4. Knockin’ On Your Door
  5. Change in the Weather
  6. Violence is Golden
  7. Wasn’t That a Woman
  8. Soda Pop
  9. Sail Away

John Fogerty

John Fogerty- lead vocals, guitar, keyboards

Alan Pasqua- keyboards (track 4)

Neil Stubenhaus- bass

John Robinson- drums, percussion

Bobby King, Willie Green Jr, Terry Evans- backing vocals

I think I might have worn out the Steve Lukather jokes by now but he didn’t play on this album.

Not one to care what the critics or the general record buying public think, I think “Eye of the Zombie” is a pretty good album. It’s a shame John paid attention to the above and let it keep him from putting out another record for several years and not playing any tracks from this album until 2009 because I really enjoy the album.

Next post: One Hit Wonders of 1986
























































Great Rock Albums of 1986: Fiona- Beyond the Pale

Posted in Uncategorized on March 19, 2020 by 80smetalman


Here’s another album I missed in 1986 because it came out in the US after I went to the UK. Only this time, I knew that Fiona was a rather busy girl that year. She appeared in an episode of “Miami Vice,” more on that in a future post, and she did come to Britain with Bob Dylan because the two appeared in a film together. However, I didn’t know that she put out a second album that year as well. Then again, while her debut album wasn’t bad, it didn’t have me licking my lips in anticipation of  the next Fiona release.

Listening to the album, I am pleasantly surprised! Second album, “Beyond the Pale” is better than her self titled debut. The songs are better written, the quality of the musicianship is better and most important of all, Fiona’s vocals are a noticeable improvement on the first album. On that album, she struggled with the ballads but on the ballad, “He’s On My Side,” from this album, she makes a better job of it. In fact, it’s a rather good power ballad. Oh yes, the album has more of a harder rock feel on it.

Now for the downside: while “Beyond the Pale” is more rockier, many of the songs are damaged by the let’s put some heavy synths in here to make it sound more commercial and that keeps some good songs on the album from becoming great. I fear that Fiona was still under the dictate of corporate record producers here. The opener is a stellar example of what I mean. It explodes at the beginning with a good hard rock edge and then somewhere in the middle of the song, the synths come in and take that edge away, though I will stop way short of it making the song congruent to what the title suggests, it’s not a tragedy.

Two songs where it’s done right are “Living in a Boy’s World” and “Thunder and Lightning.” The former starts with a heavy synth intro, which for a brief second, deceives you into thinking it’s going to be a pop song, but then it just rips into a good rock song, my vote for best on the album, especially with the cool guitar solo. The latter is almost as good. While the synths are there, the guitars do win out and make it a respectable rocker with a cool guitar solo. Other songs like “Tender is the Heart,” tend to follow the opener. Their potential to be great hard rock jams is slightly diminished by the over use of synths. Another exception is “You Better Wait,” which is more of a straight forward rocker.

On a personal observation, two things the debut album has over “Beyond the Pale” are first, I still prefer the hit single, “Talk to Me,” from the debut over “Hopelessly Love You” on this one, although “Hopelessly Love You” has a guitar solo which “Talk to Me” didn’t have. Second, while “Keeper of the Flame” is an okay closer on the album, it comes nowhere near “The Na Na Song” from the first album. Then again, that one is in my top ten list of great album closing songs.

Track Listing:

  1. Tragedy
  2. Hopelessly Love You
  3. Living in a Boy’s World
  4. Thunder and Lightning
  5. Tender is the Heart
  6. Running Out of Night
  7. In My Blood
  8. He’s On My Side
  9. You Better Wait
  10. Keeper of the Flame


Fiona- lead vocals

Bobby Messano- guitar (tracks 1, 9, 10)

Mike Salmer- guitar (tracks 2,3, 5-9)

Reb Beach- guitar (tracks 2-4, 7, 10)

Nile Rodgers- guitar (track 2)

Beau Hill- keyboards

Benjy King- keyboards (track 10)

Joe Franco- drums (tracks 1,3,4 6, 8-10)

David Rosenberg- drums (tracks 2,5,7) percussion (tracks 3,8,10)

Donnie Kisslebach- bass

Harlem Katzenjammer Horns- horns

Kip Winger- backing vocals (tracks 1,4,7,9)

Stephen Benben- background vocals (track 1)

Louis Merlino- backing vocals (tracks 4-6)

Sandy Stewart- background vocals (track 7)

I wonder if this album would have been more successful is Steve Lukather played on it.


While “Beyond the Pale” is better than the debut album, it wasn’t enough to save her from obscurity. I blame the corporate record companies. If they had just let her rock out a bit more, she could have been a great metal singer.

Next post: John Fogerty- Eye of the Zombie















































Great Rock Albums of 1986: Phantom, Rocker and Slick- Cover Girl

Posted in Uncategorized on March 15, 2020 by 80smetalman


I’m afraid this post is going to be a bit short and sweet. Usually, if I don’t have an album I wish to post about, Youtube has always been forthcoming which enables me to listen to it several times before posting. Even if I can’t listen to the entire album all at once, I’m at least able to tap in the individual tracks from the album and listen to it that way. Unfortunately, this time, Youtube has only allowed me three songs from the second album from Phantom, Rocker and Slick called “Cover Girl.”

To be honest, I didn’t know that they had actually put out a second album until fairly recently. I had always assumed that due to the lack of commercial success of the debut album, that they never put out another album. Turns out I was wrong. The album was released in the US after I had gone to the UK and because I was one of the few people back in 1985 who really enjoyed the debut, I was excited to listen to the second one.

Judging from the three tracks, it seems evident that Phantom, Rocker and Slick didn’t vary what they did on the first album. Once again, we are treated to some really good and well played straight ahead, no frills rock and roll. Those three tracks are all very good in my opinion and it’s difficult to choose a favourite from the three. One thing I can say is that I think Earl Slick’s best guitar solo comes on “Still Have Time.” Then again, their cover of the Hollies’ classic, “Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress” is done rather impressively. Since, there’s little more I can say, I’ll put all three tracks here and see what all of you think.

Track Listing:

  1. Cover Girl
  2. The Only Way to Fly
  3. Sidewalk Princess
  4. It’s Good to Be Alive
  5. Still Got Time
  6. Can’t Get it Right
  7. Going South
  8. I Found Someone Who Loves Me
  9. Enough is Enough
  10. Dressed in Dirt
  11. Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress


Slim Jim Phantom- drums, backing vocals

Lee Rocker- bass, lead vocals

Earl Slick- guitar

I am going to venture a theory as to why Phantom, Rocker and Slick never went on to greater glories. That theory is that in the mid 1980s, people were either in the top 40 camp or the heavy metal one. Therefore, neither group was really interested in the straight ahead rock that these guys produced. Okay, John Cougar Mellencamp was an exception but I think that it’s not right that Phantom, Rocker and Slick didn’t go further.

Next post: I will stick with albums released in America after I went to England, the next one is Fiona- Beyond the Pale

I hope Youtube will give me more than three tracks.






































































Happy Birthday to Dawn!

Posted in Uncategorized on March 13, 2020 by 80smetalman


My sister Dawn on the right with her husband Mark and our brother Dave

This Saturday is my sister Dawn’s birthday. I won’t say how old she is because I don’t think it’s polite to ask a lady her age or declare it to anyone else. I will say she’s five years younger than me. My ex wife once described Dawn as ‘the ultimate rock chick,’ though I prefer to the term ‘metal maiden.’ Ever since she was in high school, Dawn has been very heavily into hard rock and heavy metal. Back in the 1980s, she was a very big Dokken fan and probably still is.

However, there was a time when she could have gone in another musical direction. Back in junior high, she was into the Bee Gees and all that disco crap. Fortunately, she grew out of it. She once said that she should put her disco records on a bonfire. Furthermore, during her disco days, she used to roll her eyes at me listening to bands like Jefferson Starship and The Cars.

These days, actually for many years now, Dawn is a true metalhead. She still listens to metal and always will, I hope. We went to several concerts together back in the day and it would be nice to go to one together for old times sake. Therefore, I hope you will all join me in wishing Dawn a very happy birthday.

















Great Rock Albums of 1986: Dweezil Zappa- Havin’ a Bad Day

Posted in Uncategorized on March 11, 2020 by 80smetalman


The big question when Dweezil Zappa’s debut album, “Havin’ a Bad Day,” came out was, “How much would Dweezil be like his father?” After all, back in 1984, Julian Lennon was accused of either being too much or not enough like his famous father. For me, the answer was that Dweezil was wanting to strike out and make his own name in the music world and this album was evidence of it.

First piece of evidence is the fact that except for song, “I Want a Yacht,” which also features comedy actor Bobcat Tailgwith, the lyrics in the songs aren’t the over the top humour which so many of us have come to love about Frank Zappa. Unfortunately, it might have been better if he had been more like his dad in the lyrics department. It’s the lyrics that are the weakest part of the album. Maybe lyrics like “Blonde hair, brown nose, you know where it goes,” might have been an attempt to be more like his father but they just don’t do it.

Fortunately, the lyrics are the only thing weak about the album. The musicianship is top rate on here and one thing I can say about Dweezil is that he can wail on a guitar. His constant soloing on the opening title track make it the best track on the album. But there are cool heavy metal sounding riffs on the track, “You Can’t Ruin Me,” plus a great metal sounding guitar solo to go with it. In spite of my observations about the lyrics, the music on the track, “Blonde Hair, Brown Nose” is more than enough to save the song. However, the lyrics and music on the song, “I Want a Yacht,” make it brilliant enough to make it the second best song. Dad’s influence does come in on this track. Using logic, my concerns about the lyrics combined with Dweezil Zappa’s obvious music talent should make “The Pirate Song” the best track on the album because it is an instrumental. He does wail on it with some great metal sounding riffs but I still prefer the songs already named as number one and two.

One more comparison of father and son comes with the vocals. While Frank is a musical genius, he was never the best vocalist in the world. Then he didn’t have to be. I can state that Dweezil is of similar vocal ability. He’s not bad, it’s just that his vocals aren’t great and maybe he should have handed off the vocals on the closing ballad, “I Feel Like I Wanna Cry.” It feels that Don Dokken would have made a good substitute here. The tracks, “You Can’t Ruin Me” and “Let’s Talk About It” are sung by one Katherine Thyne and she does a pretty good job.

 Track Listing:

  1. Havin’ a Bad Day
  2. Blonde Hair, Brown Nose
  3. You Can’t Ruin Me
  4. The Pirate Song
  5. You Can’t Imagine
  6. Let’s Talk About It
  7. Electric Hoedown
  8. I Want a Yacht
  9. I Feel Lie I Wanna Cry


Dweezil Zappa- lead vocals, guitar

Scott Thunes- bass

Chris Wackerman- drums

Katherine Thyne- vocals on “You Can’t Ruin Me” and “Let’s Talk About It”

Bobcat Tailgwith- backing vocals

Gail Zappa- backing vocals

Moon Unit Zappa- backing vocals

Ahmet Zappa- backing vocals

Diva Zappa- backing vocals

Some critics say that after this album, Dweezil went back into the shadow of his father. Personally, I don’t think Frank would have allowed that and wanted his son to strike out on his own. “Havin’ a Bad Day” is a decent album and with all the guitar greats that were around in 1986, I think that he should have been included in that group.

Next post: Phantom, Rocker and Slick- Cover Girl
































Great Rock Albums of 1986: Kate Bush- The Whole Story

Posted in Uncategorized on March 8, 2020 by 80smetalman


Believe it or not, my first experience of Kate Bush came way back in 1978 when she appeared on “Saturday Night Live.” As per usual with the programme, she sang two songs that night, her first big hit, “Wuthering Heights” and “Rolling the Ball to Me.” I remember her performances of both songs very well. On “Wuthering Heights,” she sang while sitting on the piano, which was played by Murphy Dunne of Blues Brothers fame. I found her unique vocals mesmerizing on both songs and I could see that she was eccentric to say the least. On her performance of “Rolling the Ball to Me,” she was dressed in a raincoat and hat and the way she performed that song definitely illustrated her eccentricity and I was quite disappointed that the song doesn’t appear on this album.


Unfortunately, for the most part, although she was very big in Britain, the rest of Europe and even Japan, she seemed to go virtually unnoticed in the US. I did discover on my first visit to the UK with the military in 1980, her hit “Babooshka” and on one occasion, did get to hear that song played on a juke box in a pub in Southampton. I got excited but my two friends who were with me, were not impressed.

Kate’s big American breakthrough came with the song, “Running Up That Hill,” which isn’t my favourite song of hers. Anyway, when I did get over to Britain in the Autumn of 1986, her greatest hits album, “The Whole Story,” was out and being listened to quite extensively. It is through this compilation album where I finally got to fully experience Kate Bush and I loved it. Sure, it wasn’t metal but her eccentricity shows through and I love eccentricity.

Being a greatest hits album, it’s obviously a case of Kate’s best songs, which is sometimes the best way to introduce oneself to an artist they have little experience of. However, only having a limited experience of her before 1986, I will bend the rules and say that for me, the hidden gem on the album is “The Man With the Child in His Eyes.” I can’t say what there is exactly about that song I like so much but I just do. Maybe I thought the lyrics applied to me at the time and maybe still do. “Wow” is a great song because it shows her how powerful her vocal range is. In addition to liking her songs, I had the added bonus of seeing the videos for many of the songs on the album. Those videos are really way out there and they certainly appeal to my sense of eccentricity. Probably the wildest one is for “Babooshka.” That one is definitely way out there as is “Sat in Your Lap.” Then “Army of Dreamers” has a quite cool video and a great song too. It is all why I became a Kate Bush fan upon my arrival in the UK.

Track Listing:

  1. Wuthering Heights
  2. Cloudbusting
  3. The Man With the Child in His Eyes
  4. Breathing
  5. Wow
  6. Hounds of Love
  7. Running Up That Hill
  8. Army of Dreamers
  9. Sat in Your Lap
  10. Experiment IV
  11. Dreaming
  12. Babooshka


Kate Bush

Kate Bush- vocals, keyboards

When I did get to England in 1986, I was glad to discover that I wasn’t the only metalhead who liked Kate Bush. A good number of my new found British metalhead friends liked her too. She is definitely unique on so many levels and being able to find a compilation of her greatest hits was like finding treasure at the time.

Next post: Dweezil Zappa- Having a Bad Day







































































































Great Rock Albums of 1986: Huey Lewis and the News- Fore

Posted in Uncategorized on March 4, 2020 by 80smetalman


This was one album that nearly escaped my attention in late 1986 because I was already in the UK by the time of it’s release. I say nearly because “Fore” did eventually make its way over here. However, by this time, I was so focused on things metal that I didn’t give it a fair listen. Sure, the hits from the album, “Stuck on You,” “Jacob’s Ladder” and “Hip to be Square” make themselves very well known to everyone but they weren’t enough to make me say, “Hey, I wanna listen to this album.”

Let me start with the not so positive, back in the mid 80s, I thought the track, “Hip to ber Square” was a ploy by the Republicans to get us all to conform through the medium of music. Here’s a popular band telling us it’s okay to not to rebel so I guess we were all supposed to simply follow the lead. Back then, songs like that made me even more determined not to cut my hair and change my clothes and stop listening to heavy metal. These days, while those lyrics don’t anger me any longer and it’s not the best track on the album but it’s okay.

As for the rest of “Fore,” first let me say that while it’s not a bad album, quite good in places to be honest, I still prefer its predecessor, “Sports.” The other two mentioned singles lead the album and they’re okay songs. Not rockers but there’s something about them that made me not want to go into ignore mode when I heard them. Always looking for hidden gems, “Whole Lotta Lovin'” is the first one. It is done in a 1950s doo-wop style. Saying that, Huey and the News do rock this song and I will take it over the singles every time. This track being sandwiched between all the big singles gives the album just a little more spark in my opinion.

When an album has five singles, all of them major hits, it does say something about the album, whether one likes that music or not. Here was my surprise. Being established in the UK, I never knew that “I Know What I Like” was not only released as a single, but it reached number nine in the US charts. I don’t remember it ever being played on British radio or on “Top of the Pops.” Why do I mention this? Answer is that before I did a little research, I had “I Know What I Like” pegged as the hidden gem on the album, especially as it boasts the best guitar solo on it. To my ears, this is the hardest rock song on “Fore,” which is why I like it. This says another good thing about the album, Huey Lewis and the News must have done something right if I actually liked a chart topping single from the album.

Some may dismiss the final four songs as filler, I don’t. “I Never Walk Alone” rocks almost as much as “I Know What I Like” and good job whoever it was idea to put these songs together on the album. “I Never Walk Alone” is the second hidden gem on the album. While not rockers, the remaining songs tend to go back to what the band did so successfully on the previous album. Well not exactly but close enough. “Forest for the Trees” is a mid tempo sort of song but opening with a cool guitar solo and carrying on with a guitar in the background makes it cool. But full marks to the closer, “Simple as That.” I may have banged on about Republican influences of “Hip to Be Square” but this song is the opposite. It very accurately portrays life back then where everyone had to work three jobs in order to make ends meet. Well done Huey Lewis and the News on that score!

Track Listing:

  1. Jacob’s Ladder
  2. Stuck on You
  3. Whole Lotta Lovin’
  4. Doing It All for My Baby
  5. Hip to Be Square
  6. I Know What I Like
  7. I Never Walk Alone
  8. Forest for the Trees
  9. Naturally
  10. Simple as That

Huey Lewis and the News

Huey Lewis- lead vocals, harmonica

Mario Cipollina- bass

Johnny Colla- guitar, saxophone, backing vocals

Chris Hayes- guitar, backing vocals

Bill Gibson- drums, percussion, backing vocals

Sean Hopper- keyboards, backing vocals

Additional Musicians

Greg Adams- trumpet

Ralph Arista- backing vocals

Emilio Costillo- tenor saxophone

Dwight Clark- backing vocals

Mike Duke- backing vocals

Richard Elliot- tenor saxophone

Riki Ellison- backing vocals

Jerome Fletcher- backing vocals

David Jenkins- backing vocals

Stephen ‘Doc’ Kupka- baritone saxophone, backing vocals

Ronnie Lott- backing vocals

Joe Montana- backing vocals

Jim Moran- backing vocals

Lee Thornburg- trumpet

I just noticed that several members of the four time Super Bowl winning San Francisco 49ers sing on the album but Steve Lukather doesn’t appear here.

“Fore” wasn’t my cup of tea back in 1986 and today, there are still many albums I would reach for before this one. But full credit to Huey Lewis and the News for being able to put out a chart topping album which I like.

Next post: Kate Bush- The Whole Story



















































Great Rock Albums of 1986: Bruce Springsteen- Live 1975-85

Posted in Uncategorized on March 1, 2020 by 80smetalman


If aliens from outer space landed on Earth and said they wanted to know about the legend that is Bruce Springsteen, I would put on this “Live 1975-85” album because it stamps with authority, everything that is good about ‘The Boss.’ First, if anyone has been fortunate enough to see him live, I wasn’t as tickets always sold out too quick, would know how truly amazing he is in concert. Renowned for his four hour plus performances, this live album tries to capture the essence of his live performances. After all, the album is over three and a half hours long with forty tracks.

All of Bruce’s classic songs between the years in the title are recorded live and put before you here. The album isn’t just one concert but songs are recorded from various concerts over the decade. Some dates and venues appear more than others and if I wanted to nit pick, I could point out that none of them were recorded in Philadelphia where I went to see a majority of my concerts at the time but I can’t because I’ve never seen him. Some people may prefer recordings from one concert but what Bruce gives you here is his very best efforts over ten years and listening to the album, it works!

Typical of Springsteen, he does throw in what I call a few surprises. Two songs he wrote but were made famous by other artists are on the album. One was the famous “Because the Night,” which he co-wrote with Patti Smith and “Fire,” which was a minor hit for the Pointer Sisters in 1979. Again, I could nit pick because my two favourite songs by other artists, “Blinded by the Light,” made famous in 1977 by Manfred Mann and “From Small Things Momma, Big Things One Day Come” done by Dave Edmunds aren’t here. Oh well. Furthermore, he does a cool cover of Edwin Starr’s “War,” which he released as a single from the album. But my highlight is the live recording of “The River.” It’s not just the fact that it’s a great song, it’s his little talk about his early life before the song that does it for me. It makes this album that much more excellent.

Track Listing:

  1. Thunder Road
  2. Adam Raised a Cain
  3. Spirit in the Night
  4. 4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)
  5. Paradise by the C
  6. Fire
  7. Growin Up
  8. It’s Hard to be a Saint in the City
  9. Backstreets
  10. Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)
  11. Raise Your Hand
  12. Hungry Heart
  13. Two Hearts
  14. Cadillac Ranch
  15. You Can Look (But You Better Not Touch)
  16. Independence Day
  17. Badlands
  18. Because the Night
  19. Candy’s Room
  20. Darkness on the Edge of Town
  21. Racing in the Street
  22. This is Your Land
  23. Nebraska
  24. Johnny 99
  25. Reason to Believe
  26. Born in the USA
  27. Seeds
  28. The River
  29. War
  30. Darlington County
  31. Working on the Highway
  32. The Promised Land
  33. I’m On Fire
  34. Cover Me
  35. Bobby Jean
  36. My Hometown
  37. Born to Run
  38. No Surrender
  39. Tenth Avenue Freeze Out
  40. Jersey Girl

Bruce Springsteen

Bruce Springsteen- lead vocals, guitar, harmonica

Roy Bittan- piano, synthesizer, backing vocals

Clarence Clemmons- saxophone, percussion, backing vocals

Danny Fereici- organ, accordion, glockenspiel, piano, synthesizer, backing vocals

Nils Lofgren- guitar, backing vocals

Patti Scialfa- backing vocals, synthesizer

Garry Talent- bass, backing vocals

Steven Van Zandt- guitar, backing vocals

Max Weinberg- drums

Additional Musicians

Eddie and Flo- backing vocals on “Hungry Heart”

The Miami Horns on “Tenth Avenue Freeze Out”

Steve Harrison- tenor saxophone

Eddie Manion- baritone saxophone

Mark Pender- trumpet

Richie ‘La Bamba’ Rosenberg- trombone


Bruce Springsteen was never one to do things by halves. He wanted his fans to have an album worthy of his concert performances. They certainly got it with this one. There’s not much more I can add here.

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