A Major Turning Point for Me in 1986


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:


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.


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
















































13 Responses to “A Major Turning Point for Me in 1986”

  1. That is cool that you saw this show at Donnington. I remember reading the write-ups in Kerrang Magazine and going damn what a great lineup.
    VH did the Monsters of Rock here in North America in 88 and they lost money. No one ever attempted it again.

    Thanks for posting vids. I need to check em out.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. now that was a loss…just think about what weve missed with his passing..man…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Awesome you went to that Donnington show. A classic!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. They sell Captain Crunch in bigger tescos nowadays. Bit expensive though

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What a brilliant line up! I’ve seen Scorpions live too but only about 10 years ago so not at their prime. They were supporting Judas Priest.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow what a gig!

    Liked by 1 person

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