Archive for April, 2020

Great Rock/Metal Albums of 1986: Blue Oyster Cult- Club Ninja

Posted in Uncategorized on April 29, 2020 by 80smetalman

CNINJA

It appears that I am one of the few people on the planet who really likes Blue Oyster Cult’s 1986 album, “Club Ninja.” One radio critic stated that the album, ‘lacked punch.’ I don’t know about that and I will say that it is a few levels down from their earlier greats like “Agents of Fortune” and my all time favorite B.O.C. album, “Fire of Unknown Origin,” but it’s still pretty good.

One criticism was that the band was struggling to find a commercial sound while not varying from their roots. Fingers point at the single, “Dancing in the Ruins” which was definitely made for the MTV generation. Still, the song has a good catchy vibe and is easy to listen to while still highlighting the quality musicianship of Blue Oyster Cult.

The opener, White Flag,” reminds me of their earlier material and shows they didn’t stray too far from the sound that made them great. “Make Rock Not War” is the heaviest song on the album. While it’s not “Godzilla,” the chorus is one of those you can chant or shout along to in good fun. Plus, it hosts the best guitar solo on the album. It definitely gets my vote for hidden gem.

Most of the rest of the album is in more of a progressive rock mode. “Perfect Water” has a cool guitar intro accompanied by some way out keyboards and Roeser’s vocals are very good. That’s another thing, I don’t think Eric Bloom and Donald Roeser get the true recognition they deserve as vocalists but I digress. However, even more progressive sounding rock comes in the forms of “When the War Comes” and the closer “Madness to the Method.” Both are long progressive jams over six minutes long and done very well. On the intro “When the War Comes,” there is a spoken word by radio shock deejay Howard Stern whose cousin was married to Bloom.

“Spy in the House of the Night” and “Shadow Warrior” are more harder rock tunes but not as hard as “Make Rock Not War,” although “Shadow Warrior” comes close with a cool guitar solo. But then comes the most surprising song on the album. This wasn’t the first time I heard the song “Beat ‘Em Up.” Lee Aaron also sings a version of it on her “Call of the Wild” album and I can’t fathom why Blue Oyster Cult would want to record it themselves. While they do a good job on the song, I still don’t think it’s necessary for it to be there. Maybe that’s me or would it have sounded better if Lee sang it with Blue Oyster Cult? That would be something worth hearing.

One reason why critics have been hard on the album and even called Blue Oyster Cult a band in decline was that they were going through constant line up changes. Jimmy Wilcox replaced Rick Downey who had played on the “Revolution By Night” album. Furthermore, Tommy Zvoncheck replaced Alan Lanier on keyboards, although this would be the only album Lanier didn’t play on. However, “Club Ninja” would be the last album for bassist Joe Bouchard. Constant personnel changes are never good for a band and maybe this affected the album.

One useless piece of information: In 1985, Blue Oyster Cult toured bars under the name of Soft White Underbelly. Unfortunately, they never came my way.

Track Listing:

  1. White Flags
  2. Dancing in the Ruins
  3. Make Rock Not War
  4. Perfect Water
  5. Spy in the House at Night
  6. Beat ‘Em Up
  7. When the War Comes
  8. Shadow Warriors
  9. Madness to the Method

boc

Blue Oyster Cult 1986

Eric Bloom- vocals, guitar

Donald ‘Buck Dharma’ Roeser- vocals, lead guitar

Joe Bouchard- bass

Tommy Zvoncheck- keyboards, backing vocals

Jimmy Wilcox- drums, backing vocals

In spite of what critics and some people say, “Club Ninja” is still a pretty good album. It would probably have been better if they had a more secure line up.

Next post: Weird Al Yankovic- Polka Party

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rock Stars on Miami Vice in 1986

Posted in Uncategorized on April 26, 2020 by 80smetalman

mivi

Don Johnson and Phillip Michael Thomas as ‘Crockett and Tubbs’ on “Miami Vice” 

One way to test if you really knew the 1980s was if you had heard of the hit TV series, “Miami Vice.” Even if, like me, you rarely watched the show, you couldn’t help from bumping into it one place or another. The show was everywhere. Hell, it even inspired a brief fashion craze as young men, (not me), wanted to look like the stars of the show. Note: the antagonist character in the film, “The Wedding Singer,” was accurately portrayed. In the second season of the show, (1985-6), many rock stars made guests appearances on the show. Another reason why it was so popular. These are some of them:

tnl

Ted Nugent

Ted played a deranged assassin on the show, probably very fitting for him

powstat

The Power Station

fiona

Fiona

Fiona played a prostitute who falls in love with Tubbs

gfrey

Glenn Frey

lenny

Leonard Cohen

kiss1985

Only Gene Simmons from KISS made an appearance on the show

th-1

Suicidal Tendencies

While I can’t confirm it, I was told there was a brief scene in one episode where Suicidal Tendencies was in a bar playing “Institutionalized”

frank

Frank Zappa

One of the few episodes I did watch. Frank playing the role of a drugs baron

Other musicians who appeared on Miami Vice include:

Sheena Easton (she was on several times)

Phil Collins

Willie Nelson

Miles Davis

Frankie Valli

Little Richard

But not Steve Lukather!

An excerpt from Frank Zappa’s appearance

The big question is: Would “Miami Vice” have been so successful if these great rock stars hadn’t appeared on it? For some, it did make it worth watching and I might have watched it more if the likes of Dee Snider and Ronnie James Dio had made guest appearances.

Next post: Blue Oyster Cult- Club Ninja

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Soundtracks of 1986: Top Gun

Posted in Uncategorized on April 24, 2020 by 80smetalman

220px-Top_gun_(album)

Before I get into the “Top Gun” soundtrack, I did finally get around to watching “Iron Eagle” the other night. The film was what I expected but there was something about the music which really shocked me. Two fantastic songs from the film do not appear on the soundtrack, Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It” and “Rolling on the River” from Ike and Tina Turner. Ever since I watched the film, I’ve been asking, “How in all of sanity could they leave those two songs out?” What were they thinking? Including those songs would have made a good soundtrack so much better.

Now, let’s go onto “Top Gun.” My initial and still impression was that it’s not as good as the soundtrack from “Iron Eagle.” While the synth pop songs which appear aren’t bad, there’s just too many of them on the soundtrack. Even some of the rock songs on it are a bit dodgy. Perfect example, “Mighty Wings” from Cheap Trick. Whenever I listen to this song, I have to check the label to make sure it is Cheap Trick because it doesn’t sound like anything I had ever heard from them in the past. While it’s not a bad song, I still much prefer their other material. And Loverboy, I know they can do a power ballad and do it well, but “Heaven In Your Eyes?” Though it’s not terrible, it doesn’t impress me that much.

Kenny Loggins is the star of the soundtrack. “Danger Zone,” while intended to be a more commercial song, it’s still pretty good. It rocks more than most of the other songs. His other song, “Playing With the Boys,” is of the same construction, a commercial viable rock song. While it didn’t have the chart success of “Danger Zone,” it does have a better guitar solo.

Most of the remaining songs go more in a pop direction but there is a surprisingly good song from the late soul artist Teena Marie. I hate to say it, and I can already see the masses congregating at my door with torches and pitchforks but I’ll take “Lead Me On” over the Loverboy and Cheap Trick songs. Then, there is the other big single, “Take My Breath Away,” from Berlin. I have this song on a couple of compilation albums, mainly due to the fact that lots of people consider it a power ballad. Ballad yes, but not powerful enough for me. Although I never did, this would be a song I would have played with the intention of impressing the ladies. Another pleasant surprise comes from Miami Sound Machine in the form of “Hot Summer Nights.” It does say something about an album when pop artists have better songs than the rock artists on it.

It’s not all doom and gloom with the “Top Gun” soundtrack.” There is still a hidden gem on it and it comes in the instrumental form of closing track, “Top Gun Anthem.” The song features American guitarist Steve Stevens and boy, he does wail on it. The song is a good way to close out the album.

Track Listing:

  1. Kenny Loggins- Danger Zone
chtr

Cheap Trick

2. Cheap Trick- Mighty Wings

3. Kenny Loggins- Playing With the Boys

Teena_Marie

Teena Marie

4. Teena Marie- Lead Me On

berlin

Berlin

5. Berlin- Take My Breath Away

6. Miami Sound Machine- Hot Summer Nights

loverboyband

Loverboy

7. Loverboy- Heaven In Your Eyes

8 Larry Greene- Through the Fire

9. Marietta- Destination Unknown

SteveStevens

Steve Stevens

10. Harold Faltimeyer and Steve Stevens- Top Gun Anthem

While “Top Gun” isn’t as good as the previous soundtrack I visited, there are some surprisingly good songs on it. I say surprisingly because they come from artists I don’t usually bother with. That’s saying something.

Next post: Rock Stars on Miami Vice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Soundtracks of 1986: Iron Eagle

Posted in Uncategorized on April 20, 2020 by 80smetalman

220px-Iron-Eagle-OST

It seemed from 1985 til the end of the decade, there were a spate of Rambo type ‘America gets even’ films. In 1986, two films come to mind. One is “Top Gun,” the other was “Iron Eagle” starring Lou Gossett Jr. To be honest, due to the political direction I was heading at the time, this film didn’t interest me and I admit I have never seen it. Again, I will take recommendations as to whether I should. However, like with “Maximum Overdrive,” the movie has a really cool soundtrack.

Opening track, “One Vision,” quashed my fears of Queen. After “Radio Gaga,” I was paranoid that they were heading in the direction of synth pop but Brian May’s guitar riffs said otherwise. The second song introduced me to King Kobra. Well, I had heard of the band but their song on the soundtrack made me take a serious look at them. I’m glad of that.

As typical with the 1980s soundtracks, there is a little known artist who puts out a melodic hard rock song to try to reel in trendies and metalheads alike. That is the case with the track, “These Are the Good Times,” by Eric Martin. It is a mid-tempo hard rock tune which I like. Then comes the real surprise on the record for me. A year earlier, the world was treated to “Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina and the Waves. It was one of those catchy pop songs with just enough guitar to whet one’s interest. I didn’t dislike the song but it wasn’t in my ‘must hear when it comes on’ list. However, on the soundtrack, they put out a blinder of a rocker with “When a Maniac Calls.” Really, the song surprised the shit out of me and it gets the vote for hidden gem.

Unlike some soundtracks I’ve posted about in the past, the makers of this soundtrack didn’t try anything daft like putting Madonna on the album with Dio. Dio is on the album with what to me was an unknown song in “Hide the Rainbow.” What can I say? It’s what you expect from Dio and to my knowledge, it hasn’t been on any Dio album or played live. I don’t know why because it is a decent song. In addition, you get a cool contribution in the form of Canadian Metallers Helix. “It’s Too Late” is a good tune from them and adds considerably to the soundtrack’s quality. What the soundtrack does do in the tradition of 80s film soundtracks is to put in the token rap song in order to appeal to African American listeners. The offering comes in the form of “Intense” by George Clinton.

The three tracks closing out the album are from little known artists. While those songs are okay as I never skip over them when listening to the album, they never really get me wanting to explore their discography more. The best of the three is “Road of the Gypsy” from Adrenaline and I believe it would have been better as the closer. It just has that end of album feel to me. Still, in the end, “Iron Eagle” has a cool soundtrack with some great songs.

Track listing:

queen

Queen

  1. Queen- One Vision

kingkobra

2. King Kobra-Iron Eagle (Never Say Die)

3. Eric Martin- These are the Good Times

4. Katrina and the Waves- Maniac House

5. George Clinton- Intense

dio

Dio

6. Dio- Hide the Rainbow

helix

Helix and their friends

7. Helix- It’s Too Late

8. Adrenalin- Road of the Gypsy

9. Urgent- Love Can Make You Cry

10. John Butcher Axis- The Raging Fire

 

There you have it! Another film I didn’t see which has a cool soundtrack.

Next post: Top Gun

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coping With the Crisis in a Metal Way

Posted in Uncategorized on April 19, 2020 by 80smetalman

20200419_122339[1]

In the wake of the Covid crisis, with governments telling us not to spread out germs to everyone, I thought this would be a great metal way to follow guidelines. I got the above bandanna back in 1985 and I wear it to concerts and festivals, usually tied around my head. So, I thought, “Why not follow guidelines and still look cool in the process?” Therefore I will be wearing this over my nose and mouth while precautions are in place and to show further spirit to the cause, I’ll be changing my profile picture to the one below. I just hope it doesn’t scare people off.

20200419_122421[1]

spffh

On a more amusing note, I watched “Spiderman Far From Home” the other night and there was a line that had me laughing inside. It was when Peter Parker is with Tony Stark’s assistant and the assistant puts on AC/DC’s “Back in Black” to which Peter remarks, “Cool, I love Led Zeppelin.” Someone needs to give Mr Parker a music history lesson.

That’s all for now, stay safe!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Metal Albums of 1986: AC/DC- Who Made Who

Posted in Uncategorized on April 17, 2020 by 80smetalman

220px-Whomadewho

Like so many of you out there, the lockdown has given me more time to write and do other things I wouldn’t normally have time for. Usually I don’t have time to write three posts in a week and some weeks I struggle to write my self-imposed obligation of two. Right now, I’m on my three days off from work. I have a job considered essential. Normally, these days off would be filled with supply teaching work or since it’s the Easter break, nursery or holiday club work. But since both are closed, here I am.

Those of you who have been following 80sMetalman for some time have already worked out what makes me write about an AC/DC album at a particular time. For those who are new, whenever I write about an AD/DC album, it’s because AC/DC tribute band Hell’s Bells came to town and I always try to go see them for a bit of inspiration. After all, Hell’s Bells are always note perfect in things AC/DC. They were supposed to come to town tomorrow evening but because of the lockdown, they’re not. Therefore, I thought that in order to maintain some sort of normality, I should carry on and write about their 1986 “Who Made Who” album.

20181026_215434[1]

The last time I saw Hell’s Bells

“Who Made Who” was a soundtrack for the Stephen King film, “Maximum Overdrive.” I’ve never seen it but if anyone can recommend it, I’ll give it a go. The title track was written by the band exclusively for the film soundtrack and it turned out to have been their most successful single in years. However, when I first saw the video for it in 1986, I wasn’t overly impressed with it and like many paranoid metalheads back then, accused AC/DC of trying to sound too commercial. God, how naive I was back then! Fortunately, I’ve seen the light and like it much more these days.

Except for two instrumentals, the rest of the album consists of some of the AC/DC classics from earlier great albums. Saying that, I was very impressed with “D.T.” and it gets my vote for hidden gem. It does hold its own with the other great songs which make up this soundtrack. It just so happens that it has my two favourite tracks from the famous “Back in Black” album, “You Shook Me All Night Long” and the track whose title inspired the name for the tribute band. It just so happens that my top two tracks from the more controversial “Fly on the Wall” album, also make an appearance here as well, “Shake Your Foundations” and “Sink the Pink.” In addition, the listener is also treated to classics like “For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)” and the only song from the Bon Scott era, “Ride On.” With all of these great AC/DC songs on it, it can’t help but to be a fantastic album.

Track Listing:

  1. Who Made Who
  2. You Shook Me All Night Long
  3. D.T.
  4. Sink the Pink
  5. Ride On
  6. Hell’s Bells
  7. Shake Your Foundation
  8. Chase the Ace
  9. For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)

acdc

Brian Johnson- vocals

Angus Young- lead guitar

Malcolm Young- rhythm guitar, backing vocals

Cliff Williams- bass, backing vocals

Simon Wright- drums

untitled

Bon Scott

Bon Scott- lead vocal on “Ride On”

Hell’s Bells wasn’t the only gig the Covid-19 lockdown has cancelled. Both Glastonbury and Download as well as Whacken in Germany have all been cancelled as well. One optimistic hope lies in an email I received last week stating that Bloodstock is still hoping to take place in August. Fingers crossed. In the mean time, while you are all stuck at home, this is a good album to enjoy.

Next post: Iron Eagle Soundtrack

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Record Company to Rule Them All

Posted in Uncategorized on April 15, 2020 by 80smetalman

co,mrec

 

 

 

 

Record companies have come and gone over the decades but the one record company which ruled in 1986 was Combat Records. Founded in 1983, Combat Records became the ‘in house’ label for heavy metal. Quite a few well known heavy metal bands like Metallica, Megadeth and Anthrax first started with the label before being enticed away by larger companies. All three bands made their debut albums with Combat Records. Other artists to record with Combat were Savatage, Venom, Mercyful Fate and Corrosion of Conformity plus many more. However, it seemed that in 1986, every time I picked up a new metal album, it had been released through Combat Records. So, in celebration of this great record company which ruled 1986, I will play songs from some of the great bands who recorded with them. Note: not every song here will be from 1986.

 

Combat Records would be taken over by Sony Records who allowed the label to exist for awhile before putting an end to it all together. It may be consigned to history but metalheads in 1986 will remember the great music which this great label produced.

Next post: AC/DC- Who Made Who

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Major Turning Point for Me in 1986

Posted in Uncategorized on April 12, 2020 by 80smetalman

220px-Thin_lizzy_22041980_01_400

Phil Lynott

Before I launch into the main portion of the post, let me correct something I missed in the last post. For in 1986, this was yet another tragedy. The year began with news of the death of Thin Lizzy bassist/singer Phil Lynott from drink and drug related causes. I knew a good number of Thin Lizzy fans in America but when I got to England, later in the year, I met a lot more hardcore Lizzy fans. Mrs 80smetalman is a big fan and we did go see the Thin Lizzy tribute band, Limehouse Lizzy, together the only time they came to town. As for me, I was always more of a casual Thin Lizzy fan but I did like the songs I did hear and I finally broke down and bought their greatest hits album in the mid 1990s. My regret was not listening to them more when they were around for I now appreciate their contribution to heavy metal. Here’s a post from the 80smetalman archives which sums it up:

https://80smetalman.wordpress.com/2011/06/06/other-great-metal-influences-part-7-thin-lizzy/

August 1986 was a major turning point in my life. While I was officially accepted to Queen Mary College in London in December, 1985, it was the August when I would actually fly over. I went over a month before college actually started as I wanted to get the tourist aspects of going to Europe over so I could concentrate on my studies. The funny thing was that I was only supposed to be in England for a year but five months there, I would meet my first wife and the rest, I guess you can say, was history.

One of the things I found so great about London was the amount of heavy metal and rock pubs and clubs there were in the city. Even more astounding was Queen Mary College having its own Rock Society, something none of the colleges I went to in Southern New Jersey would ever dream of having. This was another thing I found great about the UK. It was true that there were British people who looked down on heavy metal and those who followed the music, metalheads weren’t targeted for intolerance and discrimination they way they were in my part of the US. I would loved to have seen the reactions of British people if Jesus freaks had shown up to a concert in London to preach they were all going to hell.

I have many great concert memories from that first year in the UK. In fact, thanks to London having so many clubs, at one point in November, I saw three concerts in four days! The day off was a Sunday. Additionally, the day before that string, being a Friday, my new metal mates and I made our weekly trip to a club called Oscar’s in Newbury Park. Let’s just say that heavy metal nights there were always quite wild! I did venture back to Oscar’s used to be in 1998. I say used to because it became a McDonalds. Of all the great concerts I went to between the summers of 1986 and 87, the first one I went to was the Monsters of Rock Festival at Donnington Park. It was a great day with a great lineup.

don86

Starting things off on the day was German metal artists, Warlock. I had never heard of them before that day and by the time they had left the stage, Warlock had totally won me over.

I had never heard of the second band up on the day, Bad News. Admittedly, I was rather amused when they came out on stage and announced they weren’t going to start playing until the crowd started chanting, “Fuck off Bad News!” Musically, I can’t judge them one way or another and then the penny dropped when I saw their photo in the programme. They looked very much like the characters in British comedy show, “The Young Ones.” Things all made sense when I read a review in Kerrang which said, “If they wanted a joke band to play, they should have gotten Manowar.”

Disclaimer: I have never considered Manowar a joke band.

Redemption came when the third band of the day, Motorhead, came onstage. I saw Motorhead in December of 1985 and though I loved when they played, I left the venue that night thinking Lemmy was a bit of an asshole over the way he constantly complained about the sound. On this day, Lemmy didn’t act that way and he and Motorhead produced a very good set. In fact, my sympathies were with him when some other asshole through a flare at the stage which narrowly missed Lemmy. He had definitely redeemed himself in my eyes.

Miraculous comeback followed redemption when Def Leppard hit the stage after Motorhead as all eyes were on drummer Rick Allen. The question was whether he could play a full set with his one arm. The short answer was YES! Not only did Rick kill off any doubts about him, the band themselves proved that they were back! On a personal note, their great set would have been better if they had played, “Bringing On the Heartbreak” but with me, there’s usually a song I like that bands on stage don’t play.

You know things were getting pretty serious by the time The Scorpions hit the stage. Having seen them two years prior, I knew they were going to be great and they were. Even if it seemed they pretty much played the same set as they did when I had seen them last.

Finally the headliner and who better to end such a great day than Ozzy. I remember he was brilliant that day and better yet, there were no Jesus freaks at this show!

I have now been in the UK for 34 years, more than half my life. Sure, there are many things I miss about not living in the USA, like not being able to get Cap’n Crunch cereal on demand but for the most part, I like living in the UK and more than likely will live out my days here.

Next post: One Record Company to Rule Them All

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tragedies of 1986

Posted in Uncategorized on April 8, 2020 by 80smetalman

220px-Dead_Kennedys_-_Frankenchrist_cover

Let us start first with the more minor tragedy. I put this down as a tragedy because the implications it would have a year later and further down the line. In April of said year, police raided the home of Dead Kennedys’ singer/songwriter Jello Biafra on the advice of the PMRC, who was trying to flex their muscles. In the June, he was charged with “distributing harmful material to minors,” for the 1985 “Frankenchrist” album. The PMRC’s complaint was not over the cover or lyrics of any of the songs, instead it was over the inner sleeve which depicted the H.R. Giger poster, “Penis Landscape.” I agree with Mr Biafra that his arrest was politically motivated. That the police and PMRC went after him because it was a small record label who could not afford a big legal battle. I think what they were trying to do was to convict Biafra so they could set a legal precedent in order to go after more established metal bands.

What the trial did do was to spark a major debate about free speech and First Amendment rights. Since the trial went on to 1987, you will have to wait until I get to touring that year before I get around to telling the verdict but the repercussions of the trial were still felt even then. Unfortunately, Biafra’s trial would lead to the disbanding of the Dead Kennedys.

An even more minor tragedy, I don’t call it one but at the time, a lot of teenage heavy metal girls did, was the incarceration of Motley Crue singer, Vince Neil. He served 15 days of a 30 day sentence for his drunk driving accident which took the life of Hanoi Rocks drummer Razzle. To this day, the debate of whether or not Vince’s sentence was too lenient carries on.

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Motley Crue

The major tragedy of 1986, by leaps and bounds, was the tragic death of Metallica bassist Cliff Burton. He was killed on September 27 while Metallica was on their European tour. Cliff was sleeping on the tour bus when the bus skidded off the road and fell over onto its side. As a result, Cliff was thrown through an open window and the bus fell on top of him, crushing him to death. Controversy still surrounds this very tragic event. The driver says he hit black ice and lost control but singer/guitarist James Hetfield was convinced that the driver was drunk or had fallen asleep at the wheel. Some of the forensic evidence from the investigation of the accident backs this up. Still, no criminal charges were ever brought against the driver.

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Cliff Burton

Like with 9-11 and other tragic events, I can still remember where I was when I first heard the news. It was my second week at Queen Mary College in London and I was in the college bar when the news was broadcast by a guy named Tim Williams who was a big Metallica fan and an even bigger Iron Maiden one. That week, we metalheads at the college held a vigil for Cliff.

This song was played at Cliff’s funeral:

 

Rest in Peace Cliff Burton.

Next post: Moving to a new country

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When Metal Ruled in 1986

Posted in Uncategorized on April 5, 2020 by 80smetalman

mtv

One aspect of 1986 which I found very amusing was in spite of the fact that heavy metal received very little air play on commercial radio or MTV, metal albums sold by their millions and the top metal bands and even some which were not considered top played to packed arenas. What some radio stations and MTV did to address this was to give heavy metal its own slot sometime in the day or week. MTV ran a half hour slot between two and two-thirty in the afternoon where they would only show metal videos and the MTV music news was devoted to metal news. While this half hour slot only showed six videos, (remember this was American television and one had to account for all the commercials), there was a good mix of old and new metal songs. There would be classics from Dio and Iron Maiden then, I would watch the latest offerings from David Lee Roth, Krokus, Bon Jovi and it was here I learned about some band called Europe. That’s a story for another post.

Radio was already ahead of MTV. In 1985, while driving home from seeing Motley Crue and Loudness in concert on a Saturday night, a Philadelphia radio station, WYSP, had a one hour programme beginning at midnight called “Metal Shop.” When possible, many metalheads would be glued to their radios to listen to it. It was hosted by a deejay called Mean Ed Green who knew his metal. When there was a concert on the Saturday or Sunday, Mean Ed would have members of the opening band as guests on the show. I remember being treated to Loudness, Bon Jovi, Dokken and Metallica. It was a great way to spend an hour.

loudness

Loudness

metallica

Metallica

bonj

Bon Jovi

dokken

Dokken

Another way in which metal stuck it to MTV in 1986 was when the station had a six o’clock segment where they would show the ten most requested videos on the day. Every day, at least half of those videos would be from metal bands. Even when MTV tried to change tactics and brought in a rule that the videos had to be recently released songs, it did not stop half of the top ten being comprised of metal videos. Here are two I remember making the top ten quite a bit at the time, the latter often being number one!

It wasn’t only in the US where this phenomenon occurred. When I got over to the UK, I found the same thing happening there. MTV hadn’t made it across the Atlantic in 1986 but commercial radio played very little metal. Only if a song got into the charts, usually Iron Maiden. Then in November of said year, that band called Europe hit number two in the charts with “The Final Countdown” while at number seven was Bon Jovi’s “Living on a Prayer” where they made their first appearance on the TV show, “Top of the Pops.”

One more amusing point from 1986 was that 1970s Canadian rock legends Bachman- Turner- Overdrive (BTO) made an attempted comeback in that year. They toured North America supporting Van Halen. However, they didn’t make their anticipated impact. My friend summed them up when he labelled them, “fat, burnt out 40 year old bikers.”

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In spite of efforts from commercial radio and MTV to stifle heavy metal, it not only flourished in 1986 but grew exponentially. I have the albums and concert memories to prove it.

Next post: Metal Tragedies in 1986