Archive for the Humour Category

Merry Christmas to All!

Posted in Heavy Metal, Humour, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on December 25, 2016 by 80smetalman

220px-Bob_Rivers_-_I_Am_Santa_Claus_cover

Twas the day before Christmas and I finally got my computer back. It turns out that they finished it a week ago but forgot to inform me of it. Anyway, while I was able to keep up with many of your posts using my stepson’s laptop, I couldn’t post on it. I didn’t think it would be right. Anyway, I’m back in business and 80smetalman will resume as normal. In the meant time, I would like to wish all of you a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanuka or just Happy Holidays in general. If you want something different to listen to at Christmas, may I suggest the album pictured above.

Next post will definitely be: Vandenberg- Heading for a Storm.

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock One Hit Wonders of 1983

Posted in 1980s, Humour, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 24, 2016 by 80smetalman

It’s that time of the year, at least as far as the trip through 1983 is concerned, where I look back on those who had one song that got my attention and nothing more. In short, it’s time to look at the great rock one hit wonders of 1983.

rufftrade

Now you would think that with a name like Rough Trade, this would be a power chord happy heavy metal band. Unfortunately, there is too much piano in their hit “High School Confidential” to make that even possible. However, the song is memorable enough that it has never escaped my memory after all these years.  Maybe it was because when I heard it in ’83, I was amused by the lyrics: “She makes me want to cream my jeans.” Wow, the things that amused my young mind then. Thinking about it though, the song might sound really cool if metalized.

Doctor Demento

Doctor Demento

Here’s a classic example of how attitudes have changed in the past thirty-three years. Today, if anyone put out a song about a clown who is a peadophile, that person or persons would be hung, drawn and quartered. Things were a bit different in 1983 where a song called “Kinko the Clown” got loads of airplay on the Doctor Demento show. Even then, it was too tasteless for mainstream radio. Back then it got lots of laughs from people who heard it, me included. Today, I see the not funny side about it.

3stooges

No the Three Stooges didn’t put out any songs in 1983. If they did, I would have bought it because I was a big fan of theirs since I was 12, coitenly, nyuk nyuk! Like most fans of this classic comedy group, my favourite Stooge was Curly. So you can imagine how excited I was when I heard the song, “Curly Shuffle” by the Jump in the Saddle Band. The song is definitely of the swing jazz genre but it is played so well that it rocks! Throwing the phrases and sounds made by Curly into the song take it up even higher. Once again, proof that humour belongs in music. So don’t be a victim of coicumstance!

Martin Briley

Martin Briley

Naturally, I save the best for last. “Salt in My Tears” by Martin Briley is simply a great rocker, nuff said! Thirty three years on, I still head bang along to it. A great rocking hook and though the guitar solo is mind blowing, it is sufficient here. From a personal historical aspect, this song came out just before I got out of the marines and it immediately had me thinking of an ex girlfriend while I was in and how I wanted to sing the song to her. While I don’t think about her anymore, those lyrics continue to amuse me.

Well those are my choices for the great rock one hit wonders of 1983 and hopefully they’ll bring back some memories for you.

Next post: Triumphs and Tragedies

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1983: John Cougar Mellencamp- Uh Huh

Posted in 1980s, Humour, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 17, 2016 by 80smetalman

John_Cougar_Mellencamp-Uh-Huh_(album_cover)

One type of person whom most other people in the world find annoying is the guy who acts all tough but clearly isn’t. This was a major problem for John Cougar Mellencamp back in the early 1980s, especially in the eyes of many metalheads. My sister saw him live in 1983 along with Journey (who headlined,) Sammy Hagar, The Tubes and Bryan Adams. Anyway, while Cougar was on stage, ( he hadn’t reclaimed is family name yet), someone threw something onto the stage. In response, John called out, “Hey mother f*cker, throw some shit up here again and I’ll come down and stomp on your ass.” While this was amusing, I remember one friend who said that he would have thrown something else at the stage so he could kick John Cougar’s ass because Cougar was a wimp.

JCM’s 1983 album “Uh Huh” established him as a true American rock act and many of my British friends agree. My thoughts on the album was while it wasn’t a metal album, it was still hard enough for metalheads to enjoy. I have always enjoyed “Uh Huh,” even the singles, which are the first three songs on the album. “Crumblin’ Down,” “Pink Houses” and “The Authority Song” were all good tunes that stretched across the barriers that were being erected in music back then. They had a commercial appeal and a hard rock enough sound that no one who liked those songs would be accused of leaving their chosen camp. Of the three, “The Authority Song” is my favourite because it highlights perfectly the phase I was going through at the time. It was kind of and I stress kind of my theme song for a brief period.

After the three singles, there is still plenty of straightforward American rock and roll to be had. “Play Guitar” and “Lovin’ Mother Fo Ya” definitely qualify but the best song of all on the album has to be “Serious Business.” The lyrics alone make the song for me. I mean how could one not like lyrics that go :

“This is serious business, sex and violence and rock and roll.”

Hell, I’m singing those lyrics now as I type this. This is why I found “Uh Huh” to be such and enjoyable album. John Cougar Mellencamp has a bit of fun on it.

Track Listing:

  1. Crumblin’ Down
  2. Pink Houses
  3. The Authority Song
  4. Warmer Place to Sleep
  5. Jackie O
  6. Play Guitar
  7. Serious Business
  8. Lovin’ Mother Fo Ya
  9. Golden Gates
John Cougar Mellencamp

John Cougar Mellencamp

John Cougar Mellencamp- vocals

Larry Crane- guitar

Kenny Aronoff- drums, percussion

Toby Myers- bass

Mike Wanchic- guitar, backing vocals

Louis Johnson- bass

Carol Sue Hill- vocals

Maggie Ryder- vocals

Jay Ferguson- vocals

When I was teaching full time, I did an American theme in a cookery lesson which the class was making sloppy joes and corn dogs. One of my British colleagues remarked at this, “Sloppy Joes and corn dogs, it sounds like a John Mellencamp song.” Yes, many people outside the US regard John Cougar Mellencamp as truly and American artist, especially with some of the topics he sings about in later albums. That was before “Uh Huh,” where while there are some hidden themes, it’s still a fun rocker of an album.

Next post: Dave Edmunds- Information

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1983: Thomas Dolby- The Golden Age of the Wireless

Posted in 1980s, Humour, Music, Rock with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 8, 2016 by 80smetalman

Thomas_Dolby_-_The_Golden_Age_Of_Wireless_(US)

In many musical circles, Thomas Dolby is considered a one hit wonder, only known for his classic song, “She Blinded Me With Science.” Me personally, I’ve always liked that song, always having loved humour in music and there is plenty of it to be found in “She Blinded Me With Science.” What I loved best is the background voices that hilariously repeat the title or just say, “Science!” Furthermore, the keyboards in it are played very well. However, for those of us who take our music slightly more seriously, Thomas Dolby is not a one hit wonder. As I reflect back to 1983, I think that he represented the crossroads between progressive rock and the synth pop that made up much of the 1980s. I also know that I wasn’t the only metalhead who liked Thomas Dolby, so for any of my metal brethren out there, don’t be afraid to step forward and admit it. There’s nothing to be ashamed about.

The trademark keyboards that I mentioned on the hit single can be found throughout the entire album. Some of the tracks are quite trippy bordering on space rock. “Weightless” and “Windpower” are two of these. I could easily listen to both of those songs along with Hawkwind or a Paul Kantner solo album and they wouldn’t be out of place. Dolby’s vocals add to the trippy feeling. He doesn’t try to make any of these songs sound commercial, barring “She Blinded Me With Science” but it’s the humour that makes that song for me. “Commercial Breakup” goes more in a traditional progressive rock direction while at the same time having a reggae feel to it, nicely done. What Dolby does on “The Golden Age of the Wireless” is employ the modern technology of the time into his music but he does so without compromising any of his musical integrity.

Track Listing:

  1. She Blinded Me With Science
  2. Radio Waves
  3. Airwaves
  4. Flying North
  5. Weightless
  6. Europa and the Pirate Twins
  7. Windpower
  8. Commercial Breakup
  9. One of Our Submarines
  10. Cloudburst at Shingle Street

Thomas Dolby

Thomas Dolby

Thomas Dolby- vocals, synthesizers, wave computer, piano, kalimba, monk voice

Kevin Armstrong- guitar, backing vocals

Dave Birch- guitar, monk voice

Bosco- percussion

Mark Heyward Chaplin- bass

Justin Hildreth- drums

Simon House, Tim Kerr- violin

Simon Lloyd- leadline brass, flute

Daniel Miller- synthesizer

Andy Partridge- harmonica, percussion

Dr Magnus Pike- voiceover

Matthew Seligman- moog bass

Further backing vocals provided by: James Allen, Les Chappel, Judy Evans, Lesley Fairbairn, Mutt Lange, Lene Lovich, Miriam Stockley, Brian Woolley, Akiko Yano

I should have included “One of Our Submarines” in with the songs that stand out for me since it does. My conclusion here is what I have always thought all these years. Thomas Dolby was not a one hit wonder but a very underrated musician. Although many of them might not admit it, I think many of the synth pop bands that came after him would site him as an influence. For me, he was more than synth pop or a one hit wonder.

Next post: Nantucket- No Direction Home

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

Great Rock Albums of 1983: Weird Al Yankovic

Posted in 1980s, Humour, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 11, 2015 by 80smetalman

220px-Weird_Al_Yankovic_-_Weird_Al_Yankovic

Madness had finally broken through to America and Frank Zappa put out a fantastic album but if there was any more proof needed to forward the belief that 1983 was a good year for humour in music, it would be the debut album of Weird Al Yankovic. In fact, since this year, many people would forever compare Weird Al with Frank on account of their love of humour. So much so, that twenty years after this album, Weird Al would have a track on an album that if you didn’t know any better, you would think it was Zappa himself. As for me though, it would only be the humour and the fact that both are true musical geniuses being the only things they have in common. They have totally different styles.

Hearing the tracks “Ricky” and “Stop Dragging My Car Around” on the radio in the spring of this year would convert me to Weird Al forever and I don’t care if people think I’m sad for it, (some do.) Those songs had me rolling on the floor in laughter and when I heard it, so did the self titled debut album. Nobody, now or then, does parody better than he does. What’s even more impressive is how he is able to adjust to the musical style of the song he’s parodying even if he sometimes does it with an accordion. That’s another amazing thing about him, no one else has been able to employ an accordion in rock songs the way he does.

On the debut album, the parodies come thick and fast. Not only do many of them take the piss out of classic songs, they are also parody other things. Take the two already mentioned. “Ricky” is obviously a parody of one hit wonder Toni Basil’s “Mickey” but it also parodies the old “I Love Lucy” show. Same with “Stop Dragging My Car Around.” Yes, it’s a humourous version of the classic Tom Petty/Stevie Nicks duet “Stop Dragging My Heart Around,” but it also rips on the the culture of towing cars away. Other great ones are “Another One Rides the Bus,” which is a parody of a Queen classic and if you have ever ridden on a crowded bus, then you would appreciate the sentiments on this song. Others great parodies are “My Bologna” which pokes fun at The Knack’s “My Sharona and “I Love Rocky Road,” a dig at the famous Joan Jett and the Blackhearts song. However, not all of Weird Al’s songs parody other songs. Some are just simple digs about other things. “Buckingham Blues” makes fun of the Royal Family. “I’ll Be Mellow When I’m Dead” is a dig at the hippy culture. Then there’s “Gotta Boogie,” let me just say this song has nothing to do with dancing. In any case, unless you have no sense of humour at all, and there are people out there who do, you can’t stop laughing out loud at the songs from this album. Weird Al proves to the world just how weird he is.

Track Listing:

  1. Ricky
  2. Gotta Boogie
  3. I Love Rocky Road
  4. Buckingham Blues
  5. Happy Birthday
  6. Stop Dragging My Car Around
  7. My Bolgna
  8. The Check’s in the Mail
  9. Another One Rides the Bus
  10. I’ll Be Mellow When I’m Dead
  11. Such a Groovy Guy
  12. Mr Frump in the Iron Lung
Weird Al Yankovic

Weird Al Yankovic

Weird Al Yankovic- accordion, vocals

Rick Derringer- guitar

Steve Jay- bass

John ‘Bermuda’ Schwartz- drums, percussion

Rich Bennett- ukulele, banjo, guitar

William K Anderson- saxophone, harmonica

Joel Miller- bongos

Mike Kieffer- percussion

Dorothy Ramsen- harp

Tress MacNeille- voice of Lucy Ricardo on “Ricky”

Dawn Smythey, Zaidee  Cole, Joan Manners- backing vocals

Weird Al Yankovic, along with Frank Zappa of course, proved to the world in 1983 that humour and music could go together. The debut album from Weird Al continues to have me in stitches each time listen to it.

Next post: DNA- Party Tested

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

Great Rock Albums of 1983: Frank Zappa- The Man From Utopia

Posted in 1980s, films, Humour, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 6, 2015 by 80smetalman

220px-The_Man_From_Utopia

If there was any more evidence to further my belief that 1983 was the year for humour in music, then it would have to be the album “The Man From Utopia” by Frank Zappa. For over a decade and a half before the release of this album, Frank had been successfully carrying out a two pronged assault of making some fantastic music while at the same time, making us laugh our asses off with his humourous lyrics. In the late 1970s, listening to Zappa was practically a requirement at my high school. 1983 would be the year that one of his songs would actually get airplay on commercial radio. Before that, his only access to radio play was via the Dr Demento Show. Yes, I know that “Valley Girl” broke into the top forty charts in 1982 but that song will always be associated with his daughter Moon.

Doctor Demento

Doctor Demento

That all changed when one day, while listening to the one decent rock station in Jacksonville, North Carolina, I heard the track “Cocaine Decisions.” Okay, the song never broke the top forty singles chart, but who really cares about that? I just thought it was great to hear Frank on the radio. True, “Cocaine Decisions” is an anti drug song. However, it is not aimed at the common man. Instead it pokes fun at all the high class executives who used to snort. There was a saying back in the 80s that went, “Cocaine was God’s way of telling you that you make too much money.” Frank’s song parodies that.

The rest of the album consists of everything that Frank Zappa has been doing to entertain us for all those years. There are a load of great parody songs on the album. At first, I thought “The Radio is Broken” was going to be about a broken radio. Instead, Frank is being a kind of prophet here. It would only be less than two years later when, in my view, commercial radio started to suck. This song is about that.

Then there’s “The Dangerous Kitchen.” This one takes the piss out of the rising health and safety culture and look where it is now these days. The track “The Jazz Discharge Party Hats” rips on musicians trying to get laid after every gig. However, my favourite track on “The Man From Utopia” is “The Man From Utopia Meets Mary Lou.” While the song is done with the usual Zappa sense of humour, there is a serious side to it. It’s about a down trodden housewife who gets away but then gets revenge by fleecing men. It is on this track that Ray White’s underrated vocals come out. Oh yes, “Sex” is a pretty funny track too.

If I were to nit pick anything about the album, it would be the absence of Frank Zappa’s guitar playing ability. He doesn’t go into any great solos and it could be said that there is a lack of guitar great Steve Vai’s skills. Honestly, I’m not really bothered. There are three instrumentals, “Tink Walks Amok,” “We’re Not Alone” and “Moggio,” on the album and they all boast the great musicianship from the people Frank gets to play on his albums. I think that “The Man From Utopia” might be his best album since “Joe’s Garage Act 1.”

Track Listing (CD)

  1. Cocaine Decisions
  2. Sex
  3. Tink Walks Amok
  4. The Radio is Broken
  5. We’re Not Alone
  6. The Dangerous Kitchen
  7. The Man From Utopia Meets Mary Lou
  8. Stick Together
  9. The Jazz Discharge Party Hats
  10. Luigi and the Wise Guys
  11. Moggio
Frank Zappa

Frank Zappa

Frank Zappa- vocals, guitar, drum machine

Steve Vai- guitars

Ray White- guitar, vocals

Roy Estrada- vocals

Bob Harris- boy soprano

Ike Willis- vocals

Bobby Martin- keyboards, saxophone, vocals

Tommy Mars- keyboards

Arthur Barrow- bass, rhythm guitar, keyboards

Ed Mann- percussion

Scott Thunes- bass

Chris Wackerman- drums

Vinnie Colaiuta- drums

Craig Twister Stewart- harmonica

Dick Fegy- mandolin

Marty Krystall- saxophone

Frank Zappa was still going strong in 1983 as “The Man From Utopia” shows. After all, if 1983 was a year for humour in music to step forward, it wouldn’t have been able to do so without Frank.

I have also made a rather disappointing discovery. As a teen forty years ago, I thought that by now, 2015, wars would no longer exist but there would be ROLLERBALL!

Rollerball

Rollerball

Next post: Weird Al Yankovick

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

Great Rock Albums of 1983: Madness- The Rise and Fall

Posted in 1980s, Humour, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 3, 2015 by 80smetalman

Madnesstheriseandfall

Madness are generally considered to be one hit wonders in the US. The song, “Our House,” from this album, got a good amount of airplay on radio and MTV. I always laughed at the part in the video where they are all outside and the mother comes parachuting down. While the song didn’t get me rocking, I still found it quite amusing and I liked it for its different sound. But I have to admit that Madness got sort of pushed to one side after more music that typified me came out. Though I did hear and like the song, “One Step Beyond,” which is not on the album “The Rise and Fall.” Madness would gain more of my attention a few years later when I came to their home country. It also happens that my first wife was a fan of them so I got to appreciate their material more fully.

Video for Our House

Video for Our House

As I journey back more into 1983, I see that while it was the year that heavy metal burst onto the scene in flamboyant style, it was a good year for more humourous music. Maybe the music industry finally opened up and got a funny bone in this year. As I listen to “The Rise and Fall,” I sense that there is a bit of fun to it. Madness play with of tongue in cheek humour. Even in their more serious songs like “Blue Skinned Beast,” which is a political dig at Margaret Thatcher’s handling of the Falklands Conflict, does it completely go away. However, it is definitely present in the single, as well as tracks like “Sunday Morning” and the closer “Madness (Is All In the Mind.)”

Humour aside, I find that Madness are all very good musicians. Like I said, their sound is definitely unique now as it was back in 1983. I find it hard to label and since I don’t really like to pigeon hole things to much, I’ll just say it’s unique. Other standout tracks on the album for me are “Mr Speaker Gets the Word” and “New Dehli.”

Track Listing:

  1. Rise and Fall
  2. Tomorrow’s (Just Another Day)
  3. Blue Skinned Beast
  4. Primrose Hill
  5. Mr Speaker (Gets the Word
  6. Sunday Morning
  7. Our House
  8. Tiptoes
  9. New Delhi
  10. That Face
  11. Calling Cards
  12. Are You Coming (With Me)
  13. Madness (Is All in the Mind)
Madness

Madness

Suggs- vocals

Mike Barson- keyboards, harmonica

Chris Foreman- guitar

Lee Thompson- saxophone

Daniel Woodgate- drums

Mark Bedford- bass

Chas Smash- trumpet, backing vocals, lead vocal on “Madness (Is All in the Mind)”

They may be considered one hit wonders in the US but I know they were more than that in the UK. Either way, they definitely got the notice from a lot of people, myself included in 1983. Their unique sound helped a lot.

Next post: Frank Zappa- The Man From Utopia

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London