Great Rock Albums of 1987: Foreigner- Inside Information

Posted in Uncategorized on May 23, 2021 by 80smetalman

If there was any band which polarized metalheads in the 1980s, it was Foreigner. Some accused the band of selling out because of the increased use of synthesizers and ballads which got them singles success. Others pointed out that they were simply moving along with the times and they were still able to rock. They pointed out some of the harder rock tunes which appear on their 1987 “Inside Information” album as evidence. Using the wisdom of my advanced years, (pause for laughter), I have come to the conclusion that Foreigner simply walked the tightrope between sounding commercial and incorporating their hard rock roots and I think they did that successfully. One thing however, probably their biggest single from their previous album, “Agent Provacteur,” did provide the source for a hilarious joke.

Back to the “Inside Information” album. If I point to any song which best demonstrates the band’s ability to walk that dreaded tightrope, it has to be the opener, “Heart Turns to Stone.” True, it’s synthed out for commercialability, but if you listen closely, you can hear the fuzz of Mick Jones’s guitar. It is catchy. They also stack the the three singles in the first four songs of the album. The most successful single from the album, “Say You Will,” which isn’t bad, but it’s not one for the power chords. Right after is the ballad “I Don’t Live Without You.” It was no surprise by this time that Foreigner were unashamedly writing ballads. After all, it got them lots of success and this one is all right. Not up their with “Waiting for a Girl Like You” or “I Want to Know What Love Is” but not bad. However, I think there is a better ballad on the album. The number two song, “Can’t Wait,” is a brilliant power ballad and I can’t think as to why it failed to crack the top 100 in the Billboard charts. That’s probably why I don’t trust Billboard.

After the singles, Foreigner waste no time in showing that they can still rock with “Counting Every Minute.” This song is guitar driven from beginning to end and Jones cranks out his first cool guitar solo. It’s definitely my choice for hidden gem. However, right after, the title track sounds like they are going a little 80s synth pop but Foreigner can even make a track like this sound pretty good. “The Beat of My Heart” and “Face to Face” are both solid rockers, although the latter song uses much more keyboards. Penultimate track, “Out of the Blue,” begins like a true progressive metal tune and though it tones it down after, it’s still a powerful song. The rocker that is the closer pounds the point that Foreigner hadn’t completely abandoned their hard rocking ways.

Track Listing:

  1. Heart Turns to Stone
  2. Can’t Wait
  3. Say You Will
  4. I Don’t Want to Live Without You
  5. Counting Every Minute
  6. Inside Information
  7. The Beat of My Heart
  8. Face to Face
  9. Out of the Blue
  10. A Night to Remember
Foreigner

Lou Gramm- vocals

Mick Jones- guitar, keyboards, backing vocals

Rick Willis- bass, backing vocals

Dennis Elliot- drums

Additional Musicians:

Tom Bailey- additional keyboards

Kevin Jones- Sinclavier

Ian Lloyd- backing vocals

Hugh McCracken- Spanish guitar

Sammy Merendino- electronic percussion

Mark Rivera- saxophone, backing vocals

Peter-John Vettesse- keyboards

Like I said earlier, Foreigner successfully walked the tightrope between commercial stardom and musical integrity. While they had the synth ballad like hits, they also showed they were still capable of a good rock tune or three.

Next post: Pink Floyd- A Momentary Lapse in Reason

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

Great Rock Albums of 1987: Cher

Posted in Uncategorized on May 19, 2021 by 80smetalman

I don’t remember Cher ever coming onto my music radar back in 1987 and if it wasn’t for Damien McKee including her 1987 self-titled album in his list of suggestions for albums, I would have passed it by. After listening to it, I’m glad he did. When the opening track, “I Found Someone,” came blasting through the speakers, memories of the song came flooding back. I had forgotten that Cher was capable of rocking out a little as that song in particular does rock. Before that, the only Cher songs I could say I liked was “If I Could Turn Back Time,” from her next album and the 1971 hit, “Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves.” Now, there’s at least one more song, I can add to that list.

What makes the album good is the fact that she had a great army of musicians and producers behind her. Most of the album was produced by Desmond Child, but there are contributions from Michael Bolton, Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora. The last three also contribute to backing vocals and Richie rips a mean guitar solo on “We All Sleep Alone.” That’s another great track by the way. An interesting track is number three, “Bang-Bang,” which was written by her ex-husband Sonny Bono. The lyrics about her baby shooting her down wasn’t one I would have expected from Sonny but they’re very good. Then Jon and Ritchie put their production spin on it and the song really rocks. Although not quite as good as the previous track, Richie’s guitar solo on it is good.

Even though I was quite pleasantly surprised as to how Cher can rock on this album, I have always admired her fantastic singing voice. Hers is a very powerful one and she can take it down low when needed. This vocal versatility shows best on the power ballad “Main Man.” But once the power ballad is over, Cher goes back to full on rock with “Give Our Love a Fightin’ Chance.” This is my vote for hidden gem as it does really rock. Richie is not credited with the guitar solo on the song but John McCurry does a great job with it.

Singers Bonnie Tyler and Darlene Love bring in the track, “Perfection” and this song too rocks. Maybe these three ladies should have done more songs together. The guitar and keyboards work well giving the song a Bon Jovi feel and McCurry shows he’s a capable guitarist. Actually, this album basically rocks. In fact, the only song that really doesn’t rock is “Skin Deep,” which seems to have a synth pop feel. I also had a misconception about the track, “Working Girl,” which I thought would have been on the soundtrack of a film of the same name which came out around the same time, it’s not on it. The power ballad, “Hard Enough Getting Over You,” takes the album out beautifully.

Track Listing:

  1. I Found Someone
  2. We Sleep Alone
  3. Bang-Bang
  4. Main Man
  5. Give Our Love a Fightin’ Chance
  6. Perfection
  7. Dangerous Time
  8. Skin Deep
  9. Working Girl
  10. Hard Enough Getting Over You
Cher

Cher- lead vocals

There are so many contributors to the album that it would take ages to list them all. Therefore, I will name a few of the more known names.

Jon Bon Jovi

Richie Sambora

Michael Bolton

Steve Lukather

Dave Meniketti

Tico Torres

Bonnie Tyler

Darlene Love

Joe Lynn Turner

Bob Rock

David Bryan

Down deep, I always knew that Cher could rock, now this album proves it. Thing is, she would have made a great singer in a metal band.

Next post: Foreigner- Inside Information

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

This week, I experienced the circle of life. All of your condolences for Teal for his biological father, Steven Parker were warmly welcomed. Steve’s funeral was this past Monday and his send off was accompanied by the songs, “Fairies Wear Boots” by Black Sabbath and Ozzy’s “Bark at the Moon.” Today, I would like all of you to join me in welcoming to the world, my granddaughter Primrose Anderton-Pearson.

Congratulations to my Jake and daughter in law, Grace.

Great Rock Albums of 1987: Heart- Bad Animals

Posted in Uncategorized on May 12, 2021 by 80smetalman

Heart’s 1987 “Bad Animals” sort of posed a bit of a dilemma for me. It’s a decent album and there is no doubt behind the reasons why it was their best selling album, with the possible exception of their previous self-titled album but for me, it’s not my favourite Heart album. I still prefer much more hard rocking albums such as “Dreamboat Annie” and “Dog and Butterfly.”

It’s the further reliance on keyboards which has formed my opinion on “Bad Animals.” I get that the use of keyboards and synthesizers was the key to success for many bands in the 1980s, however, I get the impression that secretly, Heart wanted to rock out more but they were under pressure from their record company to sound more ‘commercial.’ What gives me this impression was when I saw them live in early 1988 with The Jitters supporting. On the album, the title track sounds okay but still a little synthed out and the guitars are turned down too much. However, when Heart came out on stage, they opened the show with it and the guitars were definitely turned up, it sounded awesome! It would have been better if they had done it that way on the album. On the other hand, “Who Will You Run To” wasn’t a bad choice for album opener. There is a hard rock spark to it that grabs your attention but I’m afraid, their live performance of “Bad Animals” makes me wish that version of the track opened the album.

My feelings are similar to the single which went all the way to number one, “Alone.” It’s a great song and I love Ann Wilson’s melodic scream on the second verse. An old friend used to try to copy said scream after a few drinks and actually, her attempt wasn’t that bad. Again, and I know I probably shouldn’t compare it with other songs, but for me, Heart produced the great power ballad ever with “Allies” off the “Passionworks” album. One point to note, “Allies” doesn’t have a guitar solo and Howard Leese’s guitar solo on “Alone” is top notch but I still prefer “Allies.”

When I talk about the commercial success of “Bad Animals,” I am totally spot on. It went to number two in the US and peaked in the top five in Canada and four other countries and it hit number seven in the UK. Take that synth pop trendies! It also had four singles, two of which I have already mentioned. “The other two, “There’s the Girl” and “I Want You So Bad” are okay but not the rockers I loved about Heart in the late 1970s.

In spite of my talk about synthesizers, there are some rocking moments on the album. While “Who Will You Run To” might not have been my choice for an opener, it is still a good solid rocking track, my favourite on the album. However, I can’t call it a hidden gem because it did get to number seven in the US singles charts. The hidden gem is the penultimate track, “Easy Target.” It is here where guitarists Leese and Nancy Wilson are finally completely let off the leash and allowed to rock out. There are some power chords as well as some intricate sounding guitar hooks and a great solo from Howard. If more songs sounded like this, then I would have loved it more although the masses around the world don’t share my opinion.

Track Listing:

  1. Who Will You Run To
  2. Alone
  3. There’s the Girl
  4. I Want You So Bad
  5. Wait for an Answer
  6. Bad Animals
  7. You Ain’t So Tough
  8. Strangers of the Heart
  9. Easy Target
  10. RSVP
Heart

Ann Wilson- vocals

Nancy Wilson- guitar, keyboards, backing vocals

Howard Leese- guitar, keyboards, backing vocals

Mark Andes- bass

Denny Carmassi- drums

I think the problem with me is that my musical tastes and Heart went in different directions in the 1980s. They went for the more softer commercial sound while I was thrashing out. Therefore, I didn’t show the album the love I could have but instead reminisced about their 70s classics, all of which they played that night I saw them.

Next post: Cher

To buy Rock And Roll Children, email me at tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

I will be away from my desktop from Saturday till Wednesday to attend Steve’s funeral. So you’ll have to wait a week for the next post.

Great Rock Albums of 1987: The Jitters

Posted in Uncategorized on May 9, 2021 by 80smetalman

Technically, I didn’t discover Canadian band, The Jitters, until March of 1988 and that was only by accident. One evening in said month and year, I went to see Heart at Wembley Arena. According to my ticket, the support act was supposed to be The Hooters but when the support act hit the stage, it was immediately clear it wasn’t them. The band onstage instantly clarified this fact and introduced themselves as The Jitters from Toronto, Canada. Obviously, I was a little disappointed that I wasn’t going to see The Hooters, but by the end of their forty-five minute set, The Jitters had won me over and proved to be a very good consolation prize.

Even though, they made a lasting impression on me, finding their debut album proved to be an impossible task. No record store I went to had it and more than one sales assistant looked at me as if I had three heads. Therefore, I had to rely on thirty-three years of memory until I very recently, found their self-titled debut album on Spotify. It only took one listen, although I have listened to it several times now, for me to remember why I liked this band so much.

If I could guess which of the ten tracks on the album would be single-worthy, I would have to guess, the opener, “Closer Every Day.” The song starts off with a drum beat, followed quickly by the bass and then a melodic keyboard accompaniment. It all gels well together to make a good song which should have been on the radio. Maybe it was in Canada but definitely not in the UK. Then again, most, if not all of the tracks could have been released as singles because they do fit nicely into the genre of pop/rock. The a cappella harmonizing at the beginning of “Last of the Red Hot Fools” is done really well as is the lyrics about a disgruntled lover who let his heart rule is head. Then there is the ballad “Mad About You,” which reminds me a little of Huey Lewis and the News, so that could have made a good single.

Since the album was pretty much unknown, all of the songs could be classified as hidden gems but the one that gets the vote from me is “Justanotherfineexample.” This song is more rock than pop with a more harder guitar driven edge. Plus, the politically driven lyrics also combine to take it to the top spot in my estimation. The track “Hard as Nails” is no less hard rock and has a horn accompaniment that works very well within the song. Furthermore, it also contains the coolest guitar solo.

The second half of the album is definitely harder than the first. Even the more pop leaning “That’s When I Need You” has some impressive power chords in the background. There is some intricate guitar work going on behind the scenes as well. The lyrics are definitely a love song but who cares, the song rocks! It sounds slightly like 38 Special. On the other hand, the intro on “What About Me” sounds almost Bruce Springsteen like but the song moves away from there as it progresses and it does have good harmonizing in the backing vocals. “There Goes Love” is another ballad with some great harmonizing and great keyboard and guitar work. The closer is what a good closer should be. It has a catchy melody which you want to bob your head along to singing the chorus. It’s a great way to end the album.

Track Listing:

1. Closer Every Day

2. Last of the Red Hot Fools

3. Go Ahead ‘N’ Love Me

4. Mad About You

5. Justanotherfineexample

6. Hard as Nails

7. That’s When I Need You

8. What About Me

9. There Goes Love

10. Almost Convinced

Blair Packham- vocals, guitar

Danny Levy- guitar, backing vocals

Vic D’Arsie- keyboards

Matthew Greenberg- bass, backing vocals

Randy Cooke- drums

I am sending out a request to my Canadian readers or anyone else who might remember The Jitters. Any further information on them would be greatly appreciated as the internet is not forthcoming. After all, they did have a fine debut album in 1987 and they made a considerable impression on me when I saw them live.

Next post: Heart- Bad Animals

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Ozzy Osbourne- Randy Rhoads Tribute

Posted in Uncategorized on May 5, 2021 by 80smetalman

This post is dedicated to Steven Parker, the biological father of my stepson Teal Parker-Camps. Steve sadly passed away on the 24th of April. I always knew he was an Ozzy Osbourne fan but it was only when we were clearing his flat last week that I discovered just how much of an Ozzy fan he was. Since I am now touring the albums of 1987, what better album to dedicate to Steve than Ozzy’s live “Randy Rhoads Tribute” album, which itself was a dedication to the great deceased guitarist.

Naturally, since Randy only played on the first two Ozzy solo albums, most of the material would be from those albums. Therefore, I thought it was no surprise to kick things off with “I Don’t Know.” Though, I was slightly surprised to see that the classic single, “Crazy Train,” would follow second. The two times I saw him live, that song was played closer towards the end of his set but no matter, it fits in well. Then again, I wouldn’t get in a twist over any order in which the songs were played. “Believer” from the “Diary of a Madman” album proves my point coming straight after. If I had seen Ozzy on this tour, I would have been on my feet as soon as the song started as that is what Ozzy seems to do on the record.

Ozzy’s kick ass show, Download 2018

For me, things really pick up on the fourth song, only because it is my all time favourite Ozzy song, “Mr Crowley.” This song is phenomenal enough on the “Blizzard of Ozz” studio album but hearing it live on this album, it just goes through the roof, as it did the two times I saw him perform it live. Furthermore, hearing Randy shred away on the guitar solo makes me deeply regret not having seen him live. (I was in the service at the time.) Then, after two more well performed song, especially “Flying High Again,” where Ozzy tells the crowd to keep smoking them joints, we get to “Steal Away (The Night)” which features a drum solo from Tommy Aldridge and that makes a good halftime break in the action.

The second half of the album kicks off in grand style with “Suicide Solution.” Another of my favourite Ozzy songs but with the added bonus of a guitar solo from Randy. I can shut my eyes and just imagine him on the stage by himself just bending the six strings on the axe to his will. When your blown mind is recovering from that, Ozzy then goes back to his Black Sabbath days with “Iron Man,” “Children of the Grave,” where Ozzy and his band simply sound fantastic. Of the three Sabbath songs which are on this album, that one is my favourite. The keeping with tradition, Ozzy finishes with “Paranoid.”

Randy Rhoads

While the first eleven songs were recorded in Cleveland, Ohio, except for Randy’s extended guitar solo on “Suicide Solution,” which was recorded in Canada along with the remaining songs. Okay, the closer, “Dee,” was a compilation of studio outtakes from Randy but it was a fun way to end such a great live album.

Track Listing:

  1. I Don’t Know
  2. Crazy Train
  3. Believer
  4. Mr. Crowley
  5. Flying High Again
  6. Revelation (Mother Earth)
  7. Steal Away (The Night)
  8. Suicide Solution
  9. Iron Man
  10. Children of the Grave
  11. Paranoid
  12. Goodbye to Romance
  13. No Bone Movies
  14. Dee
Ozzy Osbourne

Ozzy Osboure- vocals

Randy Rhoads- guitar

Rudy Sarzo- bass

Tommy Aldridge- drums

Lindsay Bridgwater- keyboards

Bob Daisley- bass on “Goodbye to Romance” and “No Bone Movies”

Lee Kerslake- drums on “Goodbye to Romance” and “No Bone Movies”

Teal with his souvenir from the festival, Bloodstock 2015

While “Randy Rhoads Tribute” is a magnificent live album, there would be a downside to the story. At the time, it was said that Ozzy’s tribute to his former guitarist would be the cause of his then guitarist Jake E. Lee to part company with Ozzy out of jealousy. In reality, Jake was fired out of the blue by Sharon and my personal theory is that the Osbournes concocted the jealousy story as a distraction. Whatever the history is, one still can’t fault how good an album the tribute to Randy is. I’m sure Randy and Steven Parker are looking down with a smile.

Rest in peace Steven Parker.

Next post: The Jitters

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

Great Rock Albums of 1987: The Hooters- One Way Home

Posted in Uncategorized on May 1, 2021 by 80smetalman

First of all, Mrs. 80smetalman, Teal and I would like to thank everyone for their kind words last week. Sadly, Teal’s father passed away about an hour after I posted last Saturday. This past week was spent clearing his flat and helping Teal with all the phone calls and other related things. It was a very busy week for all of us and when we returned home, we were well and truly knackered. Again, thank you all for your support! Now onto a very interesting album from 1987.

“One Way Home” was the album which featured the single which made The Hooters one hit wonders in the UK. “Satellite” went to number 22 in the UK charts and when they made their only appearance on the British chart show, “Top of the Pops,” I drove my then wife mad by constantly pointing out that they were from Philadelphia throughout their performance. To refresh your memory, when I posted about their 1985 album, “Nervous Night,” I wrote about how great it was to see a band from my local area gain national success. So you can imagine my glee when two years later, my local heroes gained international success. Not that they didn’t deserve it, because they definitely did. “Satellite” is an excellent new wave/rock crossover song which takes the pee out of television evangelists. What’s not to love? It’s an excellent song!

However, (add tired repeated phrase), one song does not a good album make. Needless to say, the rest of the album holds its own with some really good songs. All of the songs feature some great musicianship and lyrics which give plenty of food for thought. I love how the band uses some unusual instruments such as a mandolin, the melodica and an accordion and yet maintain a rock edge. “Karla With a K,” “Johnny B” and “Fightin’ On the Same Side” are great examples. It’s especially the case with the last song mentioned as the accordion and mandolin are used in the intro and can be heard clearly throughout.

However, of all the great tracks on “One Way Home,” the hidden gem for me is “Graveyard Waltz.” This track seems to be about young lovers experiencing intimacy for the first time ever late at night at a graveyard. While the song is done very well, what stands out for me is the guitar solo from Eric Bazilian. I knew he could shred a bit from one of my other favourite Hooters songs, “All You Zombies,” from the previous album but this song really shows how good he is. He also cranks a cool solo on “Washington’s Day” and lays down a few cool riffs.

One point which has been noted about The Hooters through the years is that most of the limelight seems to go to Eric and keyboardist, Rob Hyman. It’s true, they do share mike and play all of the unusual instruments, plus Eric plays the saxophone as well. He does play it well on the reggae influenced title track but I must add that they are backed by a fine rhythm section in John Lilley, Andy King and David Uosikkinen. Together, they help make the album the great album it is.

Track Listing:

  1. Satellite
  2. Karla With a K
  3. Johnny B
  4. Graveyard Waltz
  5. Fightin’ On the Same Side
  6. One Way Home
  7. Washington’s Day
  8. Hard Rockin’ Summer
  9. Engine 999
The Hooters

Eric Bazilian- lead vocals (tracks 1, 2, 6, 7, 8), guitar, saxophone, mandolin, harmonica

Rob Hyman- lead vocals (tracks 3, 4, 5, 9), keyboards, melodica, accordion

Andy King- bass, backing vocals

John Lilley- guitar

David Uosikkinen- drums

In 1985, from my home in New Jersey, I could say that The Hooters had definitely made it in the US. In 1987, thanks to their album, “One Way Home,” sitting in my old bedsit in London, I got to say that they made it in the UK. It was great to see that happen.

Next post will be dedicated to Teal’s father Steven Parker who was a big Ozzy fan. It will be Ozzy Osbourne- Tribute

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

A Couple of Songs to Tie You Over

Posted in Uncategorized on April 24, 2021 by 80smetalman

I’m afraid I’m going to have to delay my next post due to a family emergency. My youngest stepson, Teal, who goes to festivals with me, his father is suffering from pancreatic cancer and will probably go to join Jim Steinman by the time I post again. Therefore, Teal, Mrs 80smetalman and I are making the 200 mile journey so Teal can see his father before the end.

Before I leave, I thought I’d share two songs which I have been listening to lately. The other day, I was listening to a local artist named Sally Ironmonger. On her 2014 album, “The Company I Keep,” there is a track called “Desert Island Discs” and when Mike said that his Friday night Facebook spot was going to be about Desert Island Discs, this song immediately came to mind. So I thought I’d share it with you all.

I have been thinking about the second one for quite awhile. Since a lot of you who follow me are big KISS fans, I always think of one song whenever they are mentioned. The very first band I ever saw at Bloodstock way back in 2010 was the Black Spiders. I was very impressed with them but the song which has always stood out was “KISS Tried to Kill Me.” Not only is this a great metal tune, the lyrics are very amusing. So listen and enjoy.

Group photo: Joe, Gemma, Teal and me, Bloodstock, 2016

I hope you enjoyed the songs and will join with me in sending condolences to Teal in this very difficult time.

Great Rock Albums of 1987: Marillion- Clutching At Straws

Posted in Uncategorized on April 22, 2021 by 80smetalman

In 1987, my friends of the band Torque Show cut a demo which they titled, “If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It.” While this post isn’t about their demo, I can’t help but thinking that Marillion applied the saying to their 1987 album, “Clutching At Straws.” They vary little from the formula of their previous three albums on this one and I think it’s the better for it. Back in 87, I thought it was a great that a great prog rock band could be so successful in a music world where synth pop was commercially popular.

“Clutching At Straws” is a concept album. It’s the story of a 29 year old man named Torch, supposedly a descendent of the Jester, who is out of work, a failed singer as well as having a failed marriage and being a deadbeat father. As a result, Torch finds comfort in alcohol. As he gets drunk, he contemplates his life and his failures. The songs set the scenes perfectly. “Hotel Hobbies” very accurately describe the goings on in a sleazy hotel and opens the scene for the rest of the concept very well. That’s probably why I stay at Premier Inns these days. The music helps too. It begins with a soft, keyboard intro with Fish’s voice almost lulling you before upping the tempo and a firecracker of a solo from Steve Rockery. Throughout the album, we get the fine musicianship from the band while the concept behind the lyrics never gets lost.

What I said about the opener could somewhat be applied to all of the other songs. Great music helps the songs tell the story of the album. It is little wonder that it produced three singles, “Warm Wet Circles,” “Incommunicado” and my personal favourite, “Sugar Mice.” However, all of these are great songs but what makes “Sugar Mice” stand out is the great guitar solo from Steve and the line from the song, “If you want my address, it’s number one at the end of the bar where I sit with the broken angels clutching at straws and nursing a scar.” Great stuff!

As I said in many a post, for me what makes the album are the hidden gems on it. There are two which really stand out for me here, “Just for the Record” and “White Russian.” Both tracks typify what I have always liked about Marillion, great lyrics, attention grabbing intros, cool guitar solos, the fact that Fish seems to put his heart and soul fully into the songs while he sings them, and I don’t sing the praises of keyboardist Mark Kelly nearly enough. He joins the likes of REO Speedwagon’s Neil Doughty, Claude Schnell of Dio and John Galvin of Molly Hatchet fame in my list of underrated keyboards players. I dare anyone to listen to any Marillion song and tell me that Mark doesn’t pack the goods. Okay, that’s a bit strong as everyone is entitled to their opinion but I just happen to think he’s that good!

Track Listing:

  1. Hotel Hobbies
  2. Warm Wet Circles
  3. That Time of the Night (The Short Straw)
  4. Just for the Record
  5. White Russian
  6. Incommunicado
  7. Torch Song
  8. Slainte Mhath
  9. Sugar Mice
  10. The Last Straw
  11. Happy Ending
Marillion

Fish- lead vocals

Steve Rockery- guitars

Mark Kelly- keyboards

Pete Trewavas- bass

Ian Mosley- drums

Additional Musicians:

Tessa Niles- backing vocals on tracks 3 and 9

Chris Kimsey- backing vocals on “Incomminicado”

John Cavanaugh- Dr. Finley voice on Torch Song

While the closing track might be “Happy Ending,” actually, it’s only eight seconds long where someone shouts “Help” and Fish laughs, the album didn’t provide one afterwards. Fish would leave the band and go solo. But that’s for another time because with “Clutching at Straws,” you could say that he left on a high.

Next post: The Hooters- One Way Home

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

Rest In Peace: Jim Steinman

Posted in Uncategorized on April 21, 2021 by 80smetalman
Jim Steinman

It is my sad duty to announce the death of Jim Steinman. Jim was most known for his collaborations with Meat Loaf, especially the “Bat Out of Hell Album,” however, reading his biography on Wikipedia, Jim had a very rich history of song writing and producing spanning more than three decades. I didn’t know until now that he wrote the song, “Tonight Is What It Means To Be Young,” which is from the soundtrack of the film, “Streets of Fire.” What I remember him most for, however, is his one solo album, “Bad for Good,” which came out in 1981. I posted about that album many many moons ago.

So, we have another great going to the great gig in the sky. Rest in Peace Jim.

Great Rock Albums of 1987: Billy Idol- Whiplash Smile

Posted in Uncategorized on April 19, 2021 by 80smetalman

Another artist I accused of ‘selling out’ in the mid 1980s was Billy Idol. The word going around at the time was that he went for a more commercial sound because all of the royalties from his previous albums went up his nose. I can’t say that was the case for definite but I did hear a lot of stories going around at the time that Billy was battling cocaine addiction. Here’s the thing, it wasn’t the album “Whiplash Smile” which made me think he had sold out, it was the his live rendition of the Tommy James and the Shondells classic, “Mony Mony” that steered my mind that way and I know of several metalheads who thought the same as me. However, that song isn’t on this album so I can listen to and post about in without any outside influences.

After a couple of listens to “Whiplash Smile,” I can safely say that Billy Idol didn’t sell out in order to pay for his cocaine habit. What he did attempt was to walk the thin line between the hard rock which he was originally known for and achieving commercial success in a 1980s synth pop oriented music world. There is nothing more evident of this than the first two songs of the album. Opener “World’s Forgotten Boy” reminds a little of the classic “White Wedding.” Sure, it doesn’t have that famous guitar riff but there are hard guitars to be heard. The following track, “To Be a Lover,” was definitely recorded with top 40 hit in mind. It does have a more commercial sound which was suited to the time. It did get to number 22 in the UK charts and 6 in the US, so he must have done something right.

On the third track, “Soul Standing By,” Billy attempts to fuse both the hard rock and commercial synths into the song. Long story short, his attempt is rather successful, especially as I like the guitar solo. Next comes one of my favourite tracks on the album, “Sweet Sexteen.” On this one, he goes a little bit country. The acoustic guitar kicks it off and carry on behind the song. If he had used steel guitars where instead of synthesizers on the fills, it would have been definitely country.

Any argument stating that Billy Idol had lost his ability to rock out is crushed on the track, “Man For All Seasons.” This song just rocks from the hard rhythm of the guitars to the cool guitar solo. This one is definitely the track that stands out for me. It could also be down to him sounding like Jim Morrison on the song. But it’s no surprise that “Don’t Need a Gun” was also released as a single. Although I was never one for trendy discos, I have the feeling that this track would have been played a lot in such places and would have gotten people out on the floor, possibly even me. It does have a steady beat which even I could bop along to, though I would have been tempted to go air guitar on some parts.

“Beyond Belief” is a ballad from Billy. As far as rock ballads go, it’s pretty good and I like the piano on it. Then he rocks out totally on “Fatal Charm,” which has a cool bass intro. Afterwards, he goes back to more synth oriented music. Actually “All Summer Single” reminds me of Simple Minds but the song does have a cool guitar solo. However, it took me a couple of listens for me to fathom the closer, “One Night, One Chance.” It was the way the guitar and bass line hook up to give a chilling feel to the song and it turns out to be the best way to end the album.

Track Listing:

  1. World’s Forgotten Boy
  2. To Be a Lover
  3. Soul Standing By
  4. Sweet Sexteen
  5. Man For All Seasons
  6. Don’t Need a Gun
  7. Beyond Belief
  8. Fatal Charm
  9. All Summer Single
  10. One Night, One Chance
Billy Idol

Billy Idol- lead vocals, guitar, bass

Steven Stevens- guitar, bass, keyboards

Marcus Miller- bass

John Regan- bass

Phillip Ashley- keyboards

Harold Faltermeyer- keyboards

David Frank- keyboards

Richard Tee- keyboards

Thommy Price- drums, percussion

Jocelyn Brown- backing vocals

Connie Harvey- backing vocals

Janet Wright- backing vocals

Apologies to Billy Idol, he didn’t sell out to fund his coke habit. Instead he put out an album which I should have paid more attention to back in the day. But I was too busy with the metal.

Next post: Marillion- Clutching at Straws

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com