Great Rock Albums of 1984: Bruce Springsteen- Born in the USA

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 22, 2017 by 80smetalman

For a good many people, the “Born in the USA” album from Bruce Springsteen was the album of the year in 1984. No one can debate how successful this album was. Any album which sell 11 million copies certainly is that. For the Top 40 brigade, it produced seven singles and like U2, Bruce Springsteen was one of those artists who both metalheads and non metalheads could listen to and not feel they were being unfaithful to their chosen genre. Needless to say, 1984 was Bruce’s year and this album was the reason why.

Now, I’m not one to rain on anyone’s parade but I am going to make my opinion known as it was the same now as it was then. Like the rest of the world, I agree that this is a fine album. It was certainly four steps up from his previous album, the rather depressing, “Nebraska,” but I don’t rate this album as high as classics like “Born to Run” and “Darkness on the Edge of Town” and only slightly higher than “The River.” Still, unlike outgoing governor Chris Christie, Bruce Springsteen has always made me feel proud that I grew up in New Jersey.

Reflecting back, I think my main problem with “Born in the USA” was the fact that all of the singles got played to death on the radio at the time. That usually happens in any artist’s home ground so New Jersey radio stations did that. However, some of the singles got tiresome after hearing them played for the 957th time. “Glory Days” and “I’m On Fire” were examples of this and probably “Dancing in the Dark” as well. They were all good songs but got old after hearing them so many times. Saying that, “Cover Me” is the big exception here. I could hear that song 9050 times and wouldn’t get tired of it.

Fortunately, the great thing about the album was the tracks that weren’t singles. They’re all brilliant! There is some good traditional Springsteen rock to be had on all five of these. I’m talking about “Darlington County,” “Working on the Highway,” “Downbound Train,” “No Surrender” and “Bobby Jean.” For me, it is these tracks that have made “Born in the USA” so enjoyable for me.

While most people have raved about the songs on here, I think what often gets overlooked is the lyrics behind many of these songs. Personally, I can identify a tiny bit with the title track. I didn’t serve in Vietnam but Bruce highlights how badly those who served over there were treated. I had been out of the service about a year and by this time, I was beginning to wonder what had been the point of my serving due to the way I was being treated. Only the Vietnam Vets had it far worse than I ever did. The real eye opener was “My Home Town.” It was about his native town, Asbury Park and what was happening while he was growing up. It does make one stand up and think of how divided the nation really was back in the 1960s. Bruce let his feelings be known when he wrote these songs.

Track Listing:

  1. Born in the USA
  2. Cover Me
  3. Darlington County
  4. Working on the Highway
  5. Downbound Train
  6. I’m On Fire
  7. No Surrender
  8. Bobby Jean
  9. I’m Goin’ Down
  10. Glory Days
  11. Dancing in the Dark
  12. My Home Town

Bruce Springsteen

Bruce Springsteen- lead vocals, guitars

Roy Bittan- piano, synthesizer, backing vocals

Clarence Clemmons- saxophone, percussion backing vocals

Danny Federici- organ, glockenspiel, piano

Gary Tallent- bass, backing vocals

Steven Van Zandt- acoustic guitar, mandolin, harmony vocals

Max Weinberg- drums, backing vocals

It is slightly amazing that in a year where heavy metal dominated, a great rock album like “Born in the USA” could do so astronomically well. It was considered by many Bruce Springsteen’s crowning achievement.

Next post: Planet P- Pink World

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=1500740514&sr=8-5&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1984: Billy Satellite

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on July 19, 2017 by 80smetalman

Like Jethro Tull, Billy Satellite is the name of a band. As far as I know, there is no individual with that name. Also, like the Bangles, their debut album came and went in 1984 with little notice except for keen persons like myself who had an ear out for some good straightforward rock. Unlike the Bangles or Jethro Tull, this self titled album would be the band’s only release and they would drift off into obscurity living only in my memory.

Their album is the reason why Billy Satellite has lived in the back corners of my mind for over three decades. It is a really cool down to earth straight ahead rock album. All the elements to make the album great are there. Good vocals, some cool guitars and a sound rhythm section with a keyboard accompaniment that brings out the flavour of the mix really well. So, my question is, why didn’t people take more notice of Billy Satellite? My only suggested answer is that with all of the heavy metal that was flying about at the time, they simply got lost in the hysteria. They definitely aren’t a heavy metal band but they were a hell of a lot better than a lot of the non metal in this year.

If you want something to compare them to, then the closest would be Night Ranger but that might being doing them a disservice. They were unique enough to not need any comparison as far as this album is concerned. The first three tracks come straight at you with some of that good straight ahead rock that I have been talking about. The opener was also the highest charting single (#64). It is a good track but I like the following one, “Last Call.” That is the standout for me with all the elements of a good hard rock song present. Track #3 is a good one too before the two ballads, “Trouble” being the better of the two. Then things go back to heavy rock with the cool, “Rockin’ Down the Highway” and continue to do so for the rest of the album. “Turning Point” has a slight blues feel to it and the tempo change works well on the album. It has a good guitar solo but notes don’t reveal which guitarist is responsible. That leads nicely to “Bye Bye Baby” which borders on a ballad and a rock song. Rock returns for sure with “Standing with the Kings” and that leads to the closer which ends the album very well.

Track Listing:

  1. Satisfy Me
  2. Last Call
  3. Do Ya
  4. I Wanna Go Back
  5. Trouble
  6. Rockin’ Down the Highway
  7. Turning Point
  8. Bye Bye Baby
  9. Standing With the Kings
  10. The Lonely One

Billy Satellite

Monty Byrom- guitars, vocals, keyboards

Danny Chauncey- guitars, keyboards

Ira Walker- bass

Tom ‘Fee’ Faletti- drums

While sitting here typing this, I have come to a conclusion as to why Billy Satellite didn’t go further in 1984. It was that they were about four or five years too soon. Thinking about some of the bands in the late 80s, Danger Danger and Hurricane and Winger, these guys would have fit in well with that group. Unfortunately, they were five years too soon and although they had a cool album, it didn’t do well enough for them to continue. They would split and go their separate ways.

Next post: Bruce Springsteen- Born in the USA

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.com/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_6?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1500479463&sr=1-6&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1984: The Bangles- All Over the Place

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 16, 2017 by 80smetalman

Before Prince and other more commercial types got their claws into them, The Bangles debut album, “All Over the Place” was a solid new wave sounding album. When the video for the single, “The Hero Takes a Fall” appeared on MTV one day, I thought to myself, I like this song. It wasn’t heavy but there was just enough guitar in there for me.

“The Hero Takes a Fall” never broke the top forty charts in 1984, most likely because I liked it. What it did do was to further my intrigue into this band and I liked what I discovered. Like, I said above, “All Over the Place” is a decent album. There is a strong new wave sound but it stops a just short of being a hard rocker and in no way did it knock Girlschool off top spot as my favourite all female band.

The funny thing is that the album could have been a cool metal album if they had let loose with the guitars a bit more. One song that typifies this is “All About You.” There is a guitar bit that sounds okay but it would have sounded amazing if they had put a fuzz box in there. The same thing could have been said about “Restless” and “Tell Me.” However, there is another song that stands above even those. “Dover Beach” is where lead guitarist Vicki Peterson really gets to shred a little. I’m not going to say she’s a hidden guitar great because of one solo but it would have been nice to hear her shred a little more. She does shred a little bit on “Going Down to Liverpool” but because the song is in the early Beatles form, her guitar solo sounds like something from “A Hard Day’s Night.” Not a bad thing and the song is okay, it just doesn’t make it any real rocker.

“He’s Got a Secret” is another decent song. It’s about a man whose cheating on his partner and there is some good guitar work in it. However, it is the vocals of Susanna Hoffs which punctuate the song for me. Actually, the hardest rock song is, “Silent Treatment” and it’s good to hear the band really let loose. I think that song should have been the closer as I was never very impressed with the one that actually is.

Track Listing:

  1. The Hero Takes a Fall
  2. Live
  3. James
  4. All About You
  5. Dover Beach
  6. Tell Me
  7. Restless
  8. Going Down to Liverpool
  9. He’s Got a Secret
  10. Silent Treatment
  11. More Than Meets the Eye

The Bangles

Susannah Hoffs- rhythm guitar, vocals

Vicki Peterson- lead guitar, vocals

Michael Steele- bass

Debbi Peterson- drums, vocals

While I wasn’t the only one who took notice of the Bangles in 1984, they pretty much came and went through the year unnoticed. Unfortunately, the wrong people, as far as this metalhead is concerned, did take notice of them and would turn them into a top forty band. That is why “All Over the Place” would be the only Bangles album I would ever listen to.

Next Post: Billy Satellite

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.com/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1500195556&sr=8-8&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

Making Up For a Crap Memory

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 15, 2017 by 80smetalman

Before I went off to Download, I began the practice of posting a song from the album I was posting about. However, it seems since I returned, I have forgotten to do that. Maybe it was down to too much partying at Download. So, in order to make up for that, I’m posting songs from Honeymoon Suite, Scandal, Marillion and David Gilmour. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1984: David Gilmour- About Face

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 13, 2017 by 80smetalman

Like Lennon and McCartney after the Beatles split and Henley and Frey after the split of the Eagles, I wonder if Roger Waters and David Gilmour were entwined in some music one-upsmanship after the imagined Pink Floyd split following the last album with Waters, “The Final Cut.” Early in the year, we were treated to Roger’s album, “The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking,” which I’ve already posted about. In the months that followed, Pink Floyd guitarist, David Gilmour, released his solo album, “About Face.”

One thing I will never do is allow myself to be dragged into any debate as to which was the better album between Waters and Gilmour. Don’t even ask because even after thirty-three years, I couldn’t give an answer. I like both of them very much.

Some critic back then stated that “About Face” had a commercial feel that Pink Floyd were never bothered with. I would never call this album commercial, even if in a 2006 interview, Gilmour stated that he thought that it was too 80s. Well, maybe it was for him. In my not so humble opinion, I think that the album doesn’t go too far from the Pink Floyd formula. While I wouldn’t call the opening track typically Floyd, I do think “Until We Sleep” a cool space rock tune. I can easily listen to it while puffing the magic dragon and might have done so. However, the next two tracks are definitely Pink Floyd style tracks. The first of these, “Murder” was written in angry reaction to the senseless murder of John Lennon. On the track, Gilmour really vents that anger with a hair raising guitar solo. “Blue Light” has a funky jazz beat with the horns and this song is probably the farthest song from the traditional Pink Floyd trademark. I like it regardless.

“Out of the Blue” goes back to more familiar territory, nothing wrong with that either, but the track after, “All Lovers are Deranged” is a bit of a rocker. The lyrics were written by Who guitarist Peter Townsend and you can hear a bit of early Who in the song. It had to have been put on the album to give the listener a shock after being absorbed by the mellower track before it. “Don’t Turn You Back” starts out like a Floyd-esque song but there’s some interesting stuff going on in the middle of it with horns. If there was any track on the album that sounded commercial 80s, then it would be “Cruise.” I have always wondered why it never was released as a single. With its more easy listening style, the trendy top forty types might have liked it even if they didn’t know anything about David Gilmour or Pink Floyd. Some good organ work behind a reggae tint makes this song. Another interesting song is the instrumental that is “Let’s Get Metaphysical.” This goes from being spacey type Floyd to jazzy horns to some very good progressive sounds. The thing is that with all of this mixed together, David pulls it off. That must be a tribute to his genius. Then he ends things in what I call typical Pink Floyd fashion with “Near the End.” A long sounded space out track with some great Gilmour guitar licks. It is the best song to end with.

One thing consistent on every song is the guitar work of David Gilmour. He does let himself go more and while I always liked his guitar work with Pink Floyd, he outshines himself on “About Face.” It also helps that he put a great band together as well as some cool guest musicians to play with him.

Track Listing:

  1. Until We Sleep
  2. Murder
  3. Love On the Air
  4. Blue Light
  5. Out of the Blue
  6. All Lovers are Deranged
  7. Don’t Turn Your Back
  8. Cruise
  9. Let’s Get Metaphysical
  10. Near the End

David Gilmour

David Glimour- guitars, lead vocals, bass

Jeff Procraro- drums, percussion

Pino Palladino- bass

Ian Kewley- organ

Additional Musicians

Steve Winwood- organ on “Blue Light” and piano on “Love on the Air”

Jon Lord- synthesizer

Anne Dudley- synthesizer

Bob Ezrin- keyboards, orchestral arrangement

The Kick Horns- brass

Luis Jardim, Ray Cooper- percussion

Roy Harper, Sam Brown, Vicki Brown, Mickey Feat- vocals

The National Philharmonic Orchestra

David Gilmour popped out onto the music world of 1984 with a great solo album. Okay, it didn’t have the chart success even if Dave thought it was too 1980s. Many Pink Floyd fans do like it and so do some who weren’t. A great effort from a fine musician.

Next post: The Bangles- All Over the Place

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.com/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1499972446&sr=8-8&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1984: Marillion- Fugazi

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on July 8, 2017 by 80smetalman

If there hadn’t been so much heavy metal available in 1984, I wouldn’t have missed the second album from the band I call the progressive rock kings of the 1980s, Marillion. While the “Fugazy” album was wowing people in the UK, I was too busy headbanging away for it to catch my notice.Was it a shame that I didn’t listen to any Marillion until 1985 and this album until 87? It sure is but I’ve made up for it since.

At the opening notes of the album’s first song, “Assassing,”I can hear a definite influence from 1970s prog icons Emerson, Lake and Palmer. Maybe it’s that horn sound that reminds me of “Fanfare for the Common Man” that does it. Still, “Assassing” is a brilliant song, very underrated, even in the scope of Marillion songs. “Punch and Judy” follows next and there are elements of hard rock in the song that I truly like.

The next three songs have always melded together for me with the standout part being the middle song, Emerald Lies.” “Emerald Lies” is a great versatile song that makes use of keyboards and guitars in all the right parts. This is another great progressive rock tune that requires one to sit down and listen in order to appreciate its beauty to its full potential. The song after, “She Chameleon” has always sounded weird to me but not in a bad way. There are keyboard parts that sound like a horror or sci fi film and Steve Rothery does play a mean guitar solo on it. The album closes with two of the strongest tracks on the album, “Incubus” and “Fugazi.” Both are very catchy prog rock tunes that have you bouncing along until the end. There might only be seven songs on the “Fugazi” but when the album is done, you definitely feel you had more than your money’s worth.

In an age where many bands were dumbing down their sound, it was great to hear that Marillion was one of those bands who continued to sound intelligent. They were musicians who actually cared about how well they played and that is evidenced on this album and other ones. One thing “Fugazi” surprises you with is with all the changes in all of the songs. One minute you’re drifting off to some great keyboard wizardry from Kelly and then bang! Rothery powers up the guitar. Then there’s the unmistakable vocals of Fish. He makes poetry come alive to music.

Track Listing:

  1. Assassing
  2. Punch and Judy
  3. Jigsaw
  4. Emerald Lies
  5. She Chameleon
  6. Incubus
  7. Fugazi

Marillion

Fish- vocals

Steve Rothery- guitars

Mark Kelly- keyboards

Pete Trawavas- bass

Ian Mosley- drums

Marillion would make the major breakthrough to my listening ears a year later and I would embrace them. Eventually, I would go back through their catalogue and savour the music thanks to my first wife who was a big Marillion fan. That would be the first concert we went to as husband and wife. With all of that said, “Fugazi” was too good of an album for me to miss out on in 1984.

Next post: David Gilmour- About Face

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.com/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1499533067&sr=8-8&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

A New Great Metal Album: Greywind- Afterthoughts

Posted in Concerts, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 5, 2017 by 80smetalman

Apologies for all of those who were expecting to be reading my thoughts on the “Fugazi” album from Marillion. Trust me, that will be coming very soon. What has thrown a metal spanner in the works was my getting and listening to the debut album, “Afterthoughts” by Greywind after seeing them dominate the Avalanche Stage on the Saturday and Download. Now, that I’ve had a couple of listens to it, I am even more impressed and now want to spread the word about this band.

Greywind making their mark at Download

At first listen, one might be tempted to compare Greywind to Paramore and there are similarities in the sound beyond the fact that both are fronted by female lead singers. Only similarities though, as I find Greywind to be much more in your face than what Paramore ever was, no disrespect to that band. There is some powerful forces at work on “Afterthoughts” in between some flashes of prog metal. The best example of this is on the tracks “Circle” and “The Lake.” The latter uses a piano in a very seductive way that lures you into a possible mellow out before belting you ear drums with more guitars. However, those aren’t my favourite tracks on the album. The title track is a definite candidate as well as being a great opener for the album. I also like the track “Desolate” for its start like a ballad before ripping your head off power chords and then going back and forth between the two and “Car Spins” is a very interesting track to say indeed.

One thing I learned after purchasing the album was that Greywind are actually a brother and sister act fronted by guitarist Paul O’Sullivan and singer Stephanie O’Sullivan. The rhythm section get a mention in the Special Thanks part on the label as they should. Mark Chapman and Adam Perry make a very good one here. Guitarist Paul is a very good guitarist which is paradoxical for me. I usually like ones who do blistering solos ala Van Halen, Nugent, Blackmore, Iommi, Page etc. I had to stop there before I got carried away naming all the great axemen. He does play some intricate little riffs throughout the songs that don’t escape your attention.

For me though, it’s the dominating voice of Steph that makes this album for me. In comparison to Paramore, Hayley Williams’ vocals don’t even come close! Steph O’Sullivan can do it all. She can sing soft or belt you with her raw power vocal chords. She did that at Download and she does it here on the album.

Track Listing:

  1. Afterthoughts
  2. Forest Ablaze
  3. Circle
  4. Safe Haven
  5. The Lake
  6. Car Spin
  7. Stitch On My Wings
  8. Desolate
  9. In Autumn
  10. Wander

Stephanie O’Sullivan giving it her all.

Stephanie O’Sullivan- vocals

Paul O’Sullivan- guitars

Mark Chapman- bass

Adam Perry- drums

The whole point of my writing “Rock and Roll Children” and starting 80sMetalman was to get everyone to get out their old albums and listen to them again. I know a lot of you never stopped listening to them. In this case, I’m hoping that you will give a new band a chance and listen to their debut album because I think it’s worth it.

To buy Rock And Roll Children go to: https://www.amazon.com/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1499276423&sr=8-8&keywords=michael+d+lefevre