Archive for the soundtracks Category

Great Rock Albums of 1984: John Parr

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, soundtracks, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 29, 2017 by 80smetalman

History has always misrepresented English rocker John Parr. For the masses, he is considered a one hit wonder, that one hit being the title track of the soundtrack for the film “St. Elmo’s Fire.” If you were to judge him on that song alone, you would have thought him to be just another 80s synth pop singer. However, I know that this wasn’t the case and most, possibly all the songs, on his 1984 self titled debut album are better. In fact, the “St Elmo’s Fire” track only appears on the UK release and not the US Atlantic records one, which was what I experienced. My conclusion here is that the album is just fine without it.

Long before there was a “St Elmo’s Fire,” (that film didn’t come out until 1985 and it will take a lot of convincing from you the masses for me to visit the soundtrack), I was already familiar with Mr Parr. The first single from the album, “Naughty Naughty” received a good amount of air play on both radio and MTV. It’s a rocker and for me, that song defines John Parr.

Fortunately, his album follows suit along with the song I just talked about. In fact the only hint of synth pop on the album is the track “Love Grammar” and I stress only a hint. Even that song has its hard rocking moments as well as a cool guitar solo from John himself. That’s another thing about him, he can shred a little too as well as sing. The rest is pretty much straight forward hard rock. (Am I using that phrase too much in my posts?) In this case, it does define the album very well. One great example of this is the track, “Treat Me Like and Animal.” Now that song is hard rock, no debate. There is a ballad right after, “She’s Gonna Love You to Death” but there are some decent guitars in the song. The album then returns to more rock ground after that with a rather cool intro on the track, “Revenge” and some cool hard guitars on it. I’m glad they did it that way and not try to use synths as was the custom of the time. The keyboards on the track are more progressive rock than anything. The rest of the album pretty much follows along the path with the possible exceptions “Heartbreaker” and the closer, “Don’t Leave YOur Mark on Me” which sound like they could have been songs for a 1980s film soundtrack. But even these on has their rocking moments. What you get here is a cool rock album from John Parr.

Track Listing:

  1. Magical
  2. Naughty Naughty
  3. Love Grammar
  4. Treat Me Like an Animal
  5. She’s Gonna Love You to Death
  6. Revenge
  7. Heartbreaker
  8. Somebody Stole My Thunder
  9. Don’t Leave Your Mark on Me

John Parr

John Parr- lead vocals, lead guitar, African sounds

Pete Solley- organ

Christopher Marra- guitar

Brad Lang- bass

Colin Farley- bass on tracks 3 and 7

Jon Cook- keyboards

Richard Cottle- keyboards tracks 3,4 and 6

Jonathon J Jeczalik- synthesizer

The Kick Horns- horns

Graham Broad- drums, percussion, African sounds

Simon Phillips- drums on tracks 3 and 7

Chuck Kirkpatrick and John Sombataro- backing vocals

So forget “St Elmo’s Fire,” I never watched the film anyway. Have a listen to this debut album from John Parr. I guarantee you’ll enjoy it much more.

Next post: Tommy Shaw- Girls With Guns

To buy Rock and Roll Children go to: https://www.amazon.com/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1501322174&sr=8-5&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Soundtracks of 1983: Flashdance

Posted in 1980s, films, Music, Rock, soundtracks, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on July 29, 2016 by 80smetalman

flashdance

As if! I never saw the movie and never listened to the soundtrack. The only tracks I heard from it were the title track sung by Irene Cara which made her a one hit wonder as did the other song, “Maniac” by Michael Sambello. Neither song was good enough for me one hit wonders post. The fact that they were played constantly in discos throughout the world makes no difference. If anything, it makes me less likely to want to listen to them. Funny thing was that there were some really cool films in 1983. “Trading Places” with Dan Ackroyd and Eddie Murphy, “War Games” featuring a very young fresh faced Mathew Broderick and “Pyscho II” to name just a few. However, I don’t remember any of these having cool soundtracks. If any of you know of a film from this year that had a cool soundtrack, let me know and I’ll listen to it and post about it.

Next post: Business as usual with Alice Cooper- Da da

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: Don Felder- Airborne

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, soundtracks, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 26, 2016 by 80smetalman

220px-Felder_airborne

Having acquired MTV in 1983, I found, at the time, a more reliable source than radio to keep me informed of new music. If it hadn’t been for this revolutionary new TV station that showed music videos 24/7 and informed viewers of news in music, then the album “Airborne” by former Eagles guitarist Don Felder would have most likely passed me by.

One very good reason for this was that MTV showed the video to the single from this album, “Bad Girls” while I never recall hearing the song played on radio. I remember the video quite well because not only “Bad Girls” was a decent song, but it also featured a guest appearance by Cheech Marin of Cheech and Chong fame. Then again, Don Felder had already gotten my attention two years earlier with his phenomenal song, “Heavy Metal” from the soundtrack to the film of the same name. If I was to try to rank solo songs by all the members of the Eagles, “Heavy Metal” would definitely be number one.

hevmetmov

“Airborne” has no such powerful heavy metal anthems like the one I have mentioned from the above soundtrack. Saying that, the album tends to chart the waters of melodic hard rock and is very similar to some of the songs he co-wrote with his former band mates when he was in The Eagles. The first half of the album is pure evidence of this but all of the tracks are nicely done. While I cite the Eagles influence, I am not left thinking, “why don’t I just put on “Hotel California” when I listen to “Airborne.”

Track five, “Never Surrender” appeared on the soundtrack of “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.” If you remember when I covered the soundtrack, I thought it was a very good album but shame the movie sucked. But, I digress yet again. With the tracks following “Never Surrender,” he does get more adventurous. “Asphalt Jungle” and “Night Owl” are more in the blues fashion and in my view the two best tracks on the album. While Felder rips out some great guitar solos and bridges with every song, his best efforts are on these two tracks and the closer. He really just lets himself go on these and really shines.

Track Listing:

  1. Bad Girls
  2. Winners
  3. Haywire
  4. Who Tonight
  5. Never Surrender
  6. Asphalt Jungle
  7. Night Owls
  8. Still Alive
Don Felder

Don Felder

Don Felder- guitar, vocals, synthesizer, keyboards

George ‘Chocolate’ Perry,Greg Hawkins, Nathan East – bass

Jeff Lorber, Michael Murphy- keyboards

Joe Vitale- keyboards, flute, drums

Albhy Galuten, Anthony Marianelli- synthesizers

Carlos Vega, Ross Kunkel, Tris Imboden- drums

Paulino da Costa- percussion

James Pankow, Lee Loughnane- horns

Dave Mason, Kenny Loggins, Timothy B Schmidt- backing vocals

“Airborne” by former Eagles guitarist Don Felder is probably the best hidden gem from 1983. When I listen to it, I ask myself why this album didn’t make more of an impression on people. Maybe it was just the way things were back then because this is a very good album. Felder was just a good singer/song writer as the rest of his compatriots from the Eagles and he is one hell of a guitarist as well.

Next post: Brian May and Friends- Starfleet

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: George Thorogood and the Destroyers- Bad to the Bone

Posted in 1980s, films, Music, Rock, soundtracks, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 30, 2016 by 80smetalman

220px-George_Thorogood_&_The_Destroyers_-_Bad_To_The_Bone

Here’s another album that was released in 1982 but didn’t come to my attention until 1983 on account of my military commitments. Then it was very late in the year and only because of the film, “Christine,” a film about a possessed car based on the book by Stephen King. The title track to this album from George Thorogood and the Destroyers was the main single from the soundtrack. I can’t remember anything else appealing to me from the soundtrack so I didn’t get it but because I only associated “Bad to the Bone” with the film, the album nearly passed me by, nearly.

chirs

I’ve always been a rather big fan of George Thorogood and his unique-ish guitar style. Then again, I’ve always been a fan of blues based guitarists. “Bad to the Bone” is no departure from this. His guitar and vocal style is present throughout the entire album. While he only pens three of the ten songs himself, he definitely leaves his stamp on the other seven.

“Bad to the Bone” opens with one of his own. “Back to Wentzville” is a 1950s style boogie blues jam and it is perfect to open this album. The next two songs are more in line with George’s traditional blues-riff style and I’m sure the Isley Brothers wouldn’t be too upset over the way he jams on their song, “Nobody But Me.” “It’s a Sin” is more of a slower song but the George and his band inject a great deal of power into it. Next comes my second favourite track, “New Boogie Chillun.” This was a classic John Lee Hooker song and again, the performance of it is phenomenal. After that is the title track and possibly my favourite on the album. Wow, that’s two albums in a row where my favourite track is the single, I’m hope I’m not starting a trend here. Anyway, it is the second song he writes on the album and I think the main reason I like it so much is that I have been listening to that one separate from the rest of the album way too much. Still, it’s a great tune.

“Miss Luann” is the third and final song he writes on the album. This along with the other two, shows that he can definitely write songs which has me wondering why he has used so many covers on the album. Then again, he does each and every cover total justice. For instance, the very next song, “As the Years Go Passing By” is the closest thing to a ballad on the album. However, it also highlights the fact that George’s voice has a little bit more range than what he is usually given credit for. Still, he lays down yet another grand guitar solo on it. After a classic Chuck Berry number, the album closes with a Bob Dylan tune, “Wanted Man.” Even though you can clearly hear the Thorogood stamp on it, you can still work out that this is Dylan through the lyrics. Nevertheless, it’s a great one to go out on.

Track Listing:

  1. Back to Wentzville
  2. Blue Highway
  3. Nobody But Me
  4. It’s a Sin
  5. New Boogie Chillun
  6. Bad to the Bone
  7. Miss Luann
  8. As the Years Go Passing By
  9. No Particular Place to Go
  10. Wanted Man
George Thorogood

George Thorogood

George Thorogood- vocals, guitar

Billy Blough- bass

Jeff Simon- drums, percussion

Hank Carter- saxophone

Ian Stewart- piano, keyboards

Besides the fact it was a rubbish film, I think that the soundtrack to “Christine” was the first of a long list of film soundtracks back in the 1980s to try to incorporate different forms of music in an attempt to appeal to everyone. I don’t know for sure as I have no intention of listening to it. Why should I? After all, the best single on it can be found on a far more superior album.

Next post: Planet P Project

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: Modern English- After the Snow

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, soundtracks, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 3, 2016 by 80smetalman

220px-After_the_Snow_-_Modern_English

Originally, my plan was to post the “After the Snow” album from British post punk, new wave band, Modern English, after the album from INXS. My reason was because back in 1983, I would often confuse the two bands. Worse, I would further confuse INXS’s single “Don’t Change” with the big single from this Modern English album, “I Melt With You.” Both bands sound very similar and it is possible that Modern English could have had a song on the “Rock Star” soundtrack.

I have come to the conclusion that one reason why Modern English never got the success they may have deserved was down to my beef with the 1980s. Too many people wanted to put their music into categories or genres. “After the Snow” offers a mixed bag of musical styles that makes categorizing them difficult. Track two, “Life in the Gladhouse,” is a more progressive rock song while the very next track, “Face of Wood,” might be a candidate for the “Rock Star” soundtrack. However, the track that makes my point is the one after that, “Dawn Chorus.” This song sounds like Jim Morrison came back from the dead and joined The Cult. The guitar intro at the beginning of the song definitely sound like the named band, whose albums I will be visiting a little more down the line and the vocal style could almost be Jim. Saying all that though, I really like the song as I do all of the ones on the album.

Some critic of the “After the Snow” album claims that the single “I Melt With You” is not indicative of the rest of the album. Well it certainly does stand out from the other songs but I think it goes well with the album. It provides a different turn and keeps you from getting to familiar with the album. I like the fact that you don’t know what to expect with each song and if you listen to it without stressing out over what category it should be put in, then the album becomes that much more enjoyable.

Track Listing:

  1. Someone’s Calling
  2. Life in the Gladhouse
  3. Face of Wood
  4. Dawn Chorus
  5. I Melt With You
  6. After the Snow
  7. Carry Me Down
  8. Tables Turning
Modern English

Modern English

Robbie Grey- vocals

Gary McDowell- guitars

Stephen Walker- keyboards

Michael Conroy- bass, violin

Richard Brown- drums, percussion

“After the Snow” by Modern English goes against the 1980s belief that you had to put a band into a category in order to appreciate. Their mixed bag of hard rock, post punk, new wave and progressive rock all goes well on this album. Listen to it with that in mind and you’ll definitely enjoy the album.

Next post: Journey- Frontiers

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 Metal Albums of 1983: AC/DC- Flick of the Switch

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, soundtracks, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 10, 2016 by 80smetalman

ACDC_FOTS

Once again, I’m mixed things up here and throwing in a metal album. Usually I don’t visit metal album until the second half of my journey through any given year but there are exceptional circumstances. Those of you who have been following for a while have probably guessed why I’m writing about an AC/DC album. That’s right, AC/DC tribute band Hell’s Bells are coming to town this weekend. Unfortunately, they picked the same weekend as my step-granddaughter’s christening so I won’t be able to see them this time. Therefore, as my consolation prize, I thought I’d visit their 1983 album, “Flick of the Switch.”

Hells Bells at their usual greatness

Hells Bells at their usual greatness

What kind of drugs was I on in 1983? I remember listening to some of this album and not being very impressed with it. In fact, and this is going to confirm I must have been on drugs, I rated this album below their 1985 “Fly On the Wall” album. An album most AC/DC stalwarts say was their worst. Recently, I listened to the entire album after so many years and hell, this album is pretty good. Okay, it’s not near the same level as “Back in Black” or “Highway to Hell” or even “For Those About to Rock, We Salute You,” but this is in no way, shape or form a bad album.

From the very first note, “Flick of the Switch” has everything that has made AC/DC legends for forty odd years. It has all the trademark riffs that they had been known for, the tight rhythm section of Malcolm Young, Cliff Williams and Phil Rudd. Brian Johnson’s voice hadn’t begun to suffer and he still hits some pretty good high notes on the album. The closer, “Brain Shake” is the perfect example of that. Most importantly, Angus Young still blows people away with his solos. When I hear them on the songs on this album, I don’t get that ‘it’s all been done before’ feeling. There may have been a desire to go back to rawness and their might have been in fighting between Rudd and Malcolm but AC/DC come together to put out a fine album.

You know, I can’t  find a song that I don’t like on “Flick of the Switch.” On the other hand, I find it difficult to pick ones that stand out. When I hear one track and think, “That’s pretty good,” the next one comes on and is just as good. If there is one standout track, it would have to be “Guns for Hire” and that’s only because I heard it before on the “Iron Man 2” soundtrack. Then again, “Badlands” is also a really cool song.

Track Listing:

  1. Rising Power
  2. The House is On Fire
  3. Flick of the Switch
  4. Nervous Shakedown
  5. Landslide
  6. Guns for Hire
  7. Deep in the Hole
  8. Bedlam in Belgium
  9. Badlands
  10. Brain Shake
AC/DC

AC/DC

Brian Johnson- lead vocals

Angus Young- lead guitar

Malcolm Young- rhythm guitar

Cliff Williams- bass

Phil Rudd- drums

Now that the drugs have totally cleared my system, I can say that “Flick of the Switch” isn’t the worst album by AC/DC. It’s a good, solid album that may have come too soon after their classics. On the down side, it would be during this tour that Phil Rudd would leave the band and be replaced by Englishman Simon Wright. The result would be that this band from Australia wouldn’t have any members who were actually born there.

Next post: Berlin- Pleasure Victim

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 Soundtracks of 1982: Fast Times at Ridgemont High

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

220px-Fasttimesatridgemonthighsoundtrack

Before I get started, let me be perfectly blunt here. I thought the movie “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” sucked. Not as much as my friend though because while I was willing to endure it to the end, he couldn’t take it and suggested we leave. I didn’t debate it. I know that it has been preserved on account of its apparent tackling of teen issues at the time. That may have been true but they could have made a better film to deliver the message. The only positive I found about the film was the stoner character played by Sean Penn, he was quite amusing.

Sean Penn in the film

Sean Penn in the film

Fortunately, a sucky film doesn’t mean that the soundtrack is going to be as bad. Any soundtrack that has such artists as Billy Squier, Don Felder, Don Henley, Joe Walsh and Sammy Hagar has to be good. My hypothesis is that when deciding what songs to use on the soundtrack, someone suggested just how kick ass the soundtrack to “Heavy Metal” was so they brought in some of the same artists on “Fast Times.” Again, Sammy Hagar does the title cut and it’s good although I wouldn’t put it at the same level as the other film I mentioned here. It’s the same with Felder’s track. It’s good but it doesn’t measure up to “Heavy Metal Takin’ a Ride.” Then again, that is a very tough song to measure up to. On the other hand, I do prefer the offering from Stevie Nicks on this soundtrack and I really liked her song on “Heavy Metal.” Plus there are good contributions from the likes of Joe Walsh, Don Henley and Billy Squier as well.

Billy Squier

Billy Squier  

Sammy Hagar

Sammy Hagar

Stevie Nicks

Stevie Nicks

joewalsh

Another comparison with “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” and “Heavy Metal” is the fact that there are some good songs from unknown artists. The Rayvins “Raised on Radio” is a very pleasing hard rock track and it’s made me curious to hear what else they might have to offer. The same can be said for the songs by Graham Nash and Gerrard McMahon. Both deliver some decent rock here. However, they’re not the only ones. Jimmy Buffet and Poco both known more for their country rock sound go down a definite rockier route with the songs on this soundtrack. But the biggest surprise is from Donna Summer! The proclaimed Queen of Disco from the late 70s sings a blinder of a rock song on the soundtrack and all I can say is, “I’m impressed.”

Track Listing:

1. Jackson Browne- Somebody’s Baby

2. Joe Walsh- Waffle Stomp

3. Don Henley- Love Rules

4. Louise Goffin- Uptown Boys

5. Timothy B Schmit- So Much in Love

6. The Rayvins- Raised on Radio

7. Gerard McMahon- The Look In Your Eyes

8. The Go Go’s- Speeding

9. Don’t be Lonely- Quarterflash

10. Don Felder- Never Surrender

11. Billy Squier- Fast Times (The Best Years of Our Lives)

12. Sammy Hagar- Fast Times at Ridgemont High

13. Jimmy Buffet- I Don’t Know (Spicoli’s Theme)

14. Graham Nash- Love is the Reason

15. Poco- I’ll Leave it Up to You

16. Donna Summer- Highway Runner

17. Steve Nicks- Sleeping Angel

18. Palmer/Joist- She’s My Baby (And She’s Out of Control)

19. Oingo Boingo- Goodbye Goodbye

What can’t be faulted is that there is a great collection of songs here by some of the best artists who were around at the time. Many of whom are still going. What they did was come together to make a really cool soundtrack which leaves me thinking, “Shame about the movie.”

Next post: Joan Jett and the Blackhearts- I Love Rock and Roll

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