Archive for Americans

Great Metal Albums of 1984: Hellion

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 10, 2018 by 80smetalman

Upon further reflection back to 1984, I have come to the conclusion that I seemed to be in the right place at the right time when a particular metal band’s song got played on MTV or their album just happened to be on display when I walked past the record store. In the case of this six song EP from American metal artists, Hellion, I don’t exactly remember which one of those scenarios apply. For some reason, however, their name has stuck in my mind for over thirty-three years. In fact, I went through a period wondering if I was confusing Hellion with Helix but thankfully, I wasn’t.

The debut album from Hellion is another cool stereotypical 80s metal album, plain and simple. Things open with the high energy “Break the Spell” and does its job in getting the metal juices flowing. There is a cool opening riff to the song which helps grab your attention before the fast paced action begins. Lead singer Ann Boleyn stamps her vocal authority on things and it all points to a good time had by all. Any doubts otherwise are cast quickly aside by my vote for best track, “Don’t Take No.” This is a slightly less faced paced ditty but the power behind the melody is attention grabbing. So is the little drum solo at the beginning. Again, Boleyn’s vocals shine and there’s also of course, the obligatory killer guitar solo and that’s why this song gets my vote.

“Backstabber” takes things up a notch with its speedier riffs. On this song, Ann proves she has a very good voice provided she doesn’t try to scream so much. On this track, her voice fits the music very well and a decent guitar solo is heard. Furthermore, the band do a good job in the backing vocals department on it. Another cool intro gets, “Looking for a Good Time” going in the right direction and that leads to a good steady metal tune with all the fore-mentioned elements present. That, in turn, leads to the next track, “Driving Hard,” where the change of tempo does wonders for the song and if the guitar solo was a little longer, it would have been the best one on the album. “Up From the Depths” closes the party with it’s theatrical intro/cool guitar solo intro before it belts out mayhem. Definitely the best song to close the album, the guitar solo makes that clear. If I’ve discovered anything about this album, the songs are definitely arranged in the correct order.

Track Listing:

  1. Break the Spell
  2. Don’t Take No
  3. Backstabber
  4. Looking for a Good Time
  5. Driving Hard
  6. Up From the Depths

Hellion

Ann Boleyn- throat

Alan Barlem- guitar

Ray Schenk- guitar

Sean Kelly- drums

Bill Sweet- bass

After this debut EP, Hellion would disappear for a few years. Wendy Dio would eventually take the band under her wing but that’s for another time. So is the mistake to fire Ann Boleyn and bring in a male vocalist. So, there won’t be any more Hellion posts until I get to 1987 so have a listen to this debut and enjoy.

Next post: Saxon- Crusader

To get Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://book-fm.cf/print/free-download-rock-and-roll-children-by-michael-d-lefevre-pdf.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Great Metal Albums of 1984: Twisted Sister- Stay Hungry

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Humour, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 19, 2017 by 80smetalman

With all the fuss about the upcoming Christmas holidays and reading about various opinions of the “Twisted Christmas” album and why Twisted Sister made such an album, I thought I’d treat everyone to their most defining album, “Stay Hungry.” It was by and far the most successful Twisted Sister album of all time and it made, to quote Dee Snider, 1984 “the year of the Sister.”

Let me take you back to the golden year and where it first started. The massive sales of the album were spring-boarded by the huge hit, “We’re Not Gonna Take It” and the very amusing video for it, that got tons of airplay on MTV. I never minded the fact that during the summer of 1984, it seemed to be on every time I turned the station on. The video for said song featured actor Mark Metcalf, famous for playing Niedermeyer in the greatest party film of all time, “National Lampoon’s Animal House.” Metcalf plays an overbearing dictatorial father who shouts constantly at his rock loving son. The son gets his own back by propelling his father out windows after turning into Dee Snider. It was all very hilarious and only those without any sense of humour wouldn’t enjoy it.

A scene from the video, “We’re Not Gonna Take It.”

“Stay Hungry” spawned two more singles, “I Wanna Rock” which did fairly well in the charts. The video carried on the zaniness of the Niedermeyer debacle. It too was a very funny video. The other single was the power ballad, “The Price,” which didn’t break the top forty, but who cares because it is definitely up in my top ten of power ballads.

Singles aside, the remaining seven songs are just as awesome. The closest track to filler is “Don’t Let Me Down” but it’s better than many songs on other albums which  aren’t considered filler. While “The Beast” never got played the last two times I saw Twister Sister at Bloodstock, it did get played the two times I saw them on tour for this album. “Captain Howdy” is a cool song. The title track is one of the best album openers of all time and the closer “SMF” is also outstanding as a closer and build the foundations as to why this album is so great. To my knowledge, there isn’t a sane soul in the metal world who doesn’t like “Burn In Hell.” Except for the first time because it hadn’t been written yet, it got played all the other times I saw the band live. However, the one small disappointment whenever I saw them live  was that they never played the song I call the hidden gem, “Street Justice.” I like everything about this song from the cool intro to the guitar solo to the serious lyrics. Maybe that’s why I think I’m different to the rest of the world because I seem to be the only person who really likes it. I’ve read that they played the song in 2009 when they played the entire album live. I wish I could have been there.

Track Listing:

  1. Stay Hungry
  2. We’re Not Gonna Take It
  3. Burn In Hell
  4. Horror Teria

a. Captain Howdy

b. Street Justice

5. I Wanna Rock

6. The Price

7. Don’t Let Me Down

8. The Beast

9. SMF

Twisted Sister

Dee Snider- lead vocals

Eddie Ojeda- guitars, backing vocals

Jay Jay French- guitars, backing vocals

Mark ‘The Animal’ Mendoza- bass, backing growls

AJ Pero- drums, percussion

Three videos from this iconic album is my Christmas treat to all of you, enjoy. Whatever else happened in the band’s history before or since, the obvious thing is that “Stay Hungry” made Twisted Sister in 1984. It was definitely the year of the Sister and I wonder sometimes if I didn’t convey that point in Rock and Roll Children.

Next post: The 12 Days of Christmas, several versions

To get Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://book-fm.cf/print/free-download-rock-and-roll-children-by-michael-d-lefevre-pdf.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1984: Ratt- Out of the Cellar

Posted in 1980s, Books, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 14, 2017 by 80smetalman

Here’s a scene from “Rock and Roll Children.” One night, after unsuccessfully trying to get into bars, the four main characters decide to head to one of the group’s houses. While driving with the radio on, some power chords come blasting through the car’s speakers. Intently listening to whoever the mysterious artist is playing, these words coming ringing true.

“I knew right from the beginning

That you would end up winning,

I knew right from the start,

You’d put an arrow through my heart.”

The big single “Round and Round” brought Ratt into the homes of many Americans in the summer of 1984, with it being constantly played on radio and MTV. I can’t deny the fact that it is most likely my favourite Ratt song of all time although there are a couple of others that might come close. I can’t explain why this song is so good, not just to metalheads but many non-metalheads liked it too. That’s why it got to number 12 on the Billboard charts.

Like the big hit, one thing that many of the songs on Ratt’s debut album, “Out of the Cellar” have catchy intros that make your ears perk up and pay attention. True, some of the songs trail off a bit and end not as exciting as they begin but there isn’t a bad song on the album. Saying that, except for “Round and Round” the second half of the album is better than the first. It’s probably why the said single was put third on the album. A kind of high point on a more level ground. Furthermore and this is me totally nit picking here, I would have swapped “She Wants Money” as the opener and “Wanted Man” would have been fifth. The latter is a good song, I just think the former would have made a better opener.

Having heard “Out of the Cellar” on vinyl, flipping to side two, one is greeted with a great side opener in “Lack of Communication.” This song opens the doorway for the best to come. “Back For More” was the second single on the album and I liked it more than what the charts indicated. I think it only got to 27 but that never bothered me because it is a cool song. The acoustic intro makes a great change up to the album and I can’t fault Warren DeMartini’s guitar playing on it or on any song actually. However, after single number two comes the hidden gem on the album and the one to rival “Round and Round” for my affections. “The Morning After” is just a fantastic song. I love all the tempo changes in the guitars on it and how they kick in big time on the chorus. It’s hard to describe in words but even thirty three years on, I still don’t tire of this song. Shit, maybe I should call it number one.

The last two tracks are strong and solid ones. I sometimes wonder if “I’m Insane” applies to me. After all, I feel that way sometimes. “Scene of the Crime” isn’t the greatest album closer in history but it is probably the best song to close the album, especially with the intro.

Track Listing:

  1. Wanted Man
  2. You’re In Trouble
  3. Round and Round
  4. In Your Direction
  5. She Wants Money
  6. Lack of Communication
  7. Back for More
  8. The Morning After
  9. I’m Insane
  10. Scene of the Crime

Ratt

Stephen Pearcy- vocals

Warren De Martini- guitar, backing vocals

Robbin Crosby- guitar, backing vocals

Juan Crocier- bass, backing vocals

Bobby Blotzer- drums, percussion

When people talk of the metal explosion of 1984, Ratt always gets a mention. Though many would accuse them of being too much the same on later albums, there is no debate that “Out of the Cellar” album was something fresh, at least to me.

Next post: Twisted Sister- Stay Hungry

To get Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://spread-luv.ga/info/kindle-free-e-books-rock-and-roll-children-by-michael-d-lefevre-9781609763558-pdf.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Metal Albums of 1984: Great White

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 3, 2017 by 80smetalman

Going back to the debut album by American metal band, Great White, after so many many years, I feel that I owe them a small apology. I did enjoy their debut quite a lot back in 1984, but it quickly got pushed aside when albums from more established bands came my way. Therefore, the album didn’t get the respect from me it deserved. This was the main reason why they didn’t get too much mention in “Rock and Roll Children.” In fact, their main mention in the book was probably my first mistake when I wrote the book. In the story and in real life, Great White supported the mighty Judas Priest on tour. This was the first concert I write about in the book and the one I knew least about. I didn’t go and could only glean bits and pieces from people who did. So it wasn’t the best idea to have the first concert one I knew very little about.

Now onto the album. Like I said, I may have discarded this album too soon in favour of others because I now realize just how good it was. However, in order to fully appreciate it, one should mentally drift back to 1984. Back then, I found the tracks “Out of the Night” and “Bad Boys” to be typical of the time metal tunes. Both songs are done well but they are about being bad and things like sex and music. Listening today, I would not be surprised if anyone thought it was all done before with them. The same could be said for “Down On Your Knees.” I wonder if they were influenced by AC/DC here but Mark Kendall hammers a cool guitar solo on it. It doesn’t matter because I like them anyway and there are better songs between them. “Stick It” has a really cool opening metal riff and just kicks ass throughout, definitely my favourite song on the album.

Many people might not think so but I really like their cover of The Who’s “Substitute.” I think what I like about it the most is how they alter the lyrics to make it more metal.

“I can see your pants are made of leather”

and

“I can see right through your Satan crap.” 

Great stuff and well played too. “Streetkiller” is a good, hard, in your face metal tune. “No Better Than Hell” starts in similar fashion but slows down into a more melodic rocker but the hard chords with the chorus still makes its mark. “Hold On” goes the other way. It’s hard in the meat of the verses but goes more melodic for the chorus. Still, its a nice switch up. “Nightmares” starts with one of those tunes designed to help babies sleep before going into a metal frenzy. That’s also what the song is about. Maybe I should start playing it every Halloween. That takes things to the closing song, “Dead End,” which is definitely the best track to end the album on because everything that has gone on before all comes together perfectly here.

Track Listing:

  1. Out of the Night
  2. Stick It
  3. Substitute
  4. Bad Boys
  5. Down On Your Knees
  6. Streetkiller
  7. No Better Than Hell
  8. Hold On
  9. Nightmares
  10. Dead End

Jack Russell- lead and backing vocals

Mark Kendall- guitar, backing vocals

Lorne Black- bass, backing vocals

Gary Holland- drums, backing vocals

Maybe if I listened to Great White’s debut album more, EMI wouldn’t have dropped the band due to its lack of success and the band wouldn’t have opted for a more bluesy direction in later albums. Because from what is on here, they could play metal well.

Next post: I thought I’d best keep with the flow I started above so it will be, Judas Priest- Defenders of the Faith

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://spread-luv.ga/info/kindle-free-e-books-rock-and-roll-children-by-michael-d-lefevre-9781609763558-pdf.html

 

 

 

Great Metal Albums of 1984: Ted Nugent- Penetrator

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 29, 2017 by 80smetalman

Guess what? For this Ted Nugent post, I’m not going to say anything about his politics. Even I know when to stop beating a dead horse. So instead, I’ll focus on his 1984 album, “Penetrator,” which was universally criticized by the metal world for his use of keyboards on the album. To my shame, even I was one of those critics. Thankfully, there’s a much older and questionably wiser me to listen to the album with a more objective mind. My thoughts: “Penetrator” still doesn’t make me want to put albums like “Cat Scratch Fever,” “Weekend Warriors” and “Scream Dream” nor any of his kick ass live albums on the scrap heap but it’s still a pretty good album.

The use of keyboards come through straight away on the opening song, “Tied Up In Love” but not until after a really cool guitar intro only which Terrible Ted can do. Before, I risk repeating myself over and over, the keyboards do make their presence known on many of the songs but they play a subordinate role on the album. Take the second song for example, “(Where Do You) Draw the Line.” This song was written by Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance so one might be forgiven for thinking this was going to be some keyboard dominated soft rock song, it’s not. Ted’s guitar magic comes through very loud and abundantly clear. While still present, the keyboards take even more of a back seat on “Knocking at Your Door.” There are some good guitar riffs to lead the song and Ted nails the guitar solo perfectly. Even more so on the track after “Don’t You Want My Love.” Here the keys are almost non existent. Almost, but there are plenty of Nugent style rocking to be heard on it.

A curious twist comes up with “Go Down Fighting.” This is a song title that you would expect to be a belt it out of the park rocker but the keyboards make their presence known on it, almost making it a Journey type song. The strange thing is that the intro reminds me of Savatage, yeah really. Fortunately, Ted works his guitar magic so you know which side of the fence the song really is. Any doubts of that are dispelled with “Thunder Thighs.” This is a great rocker where Ted just takes control and jams and I hear not one trace of keyboards. It’s just Ted being how he always had been in albums past. However, I sometimes am reluctant to declare it my favourite song on the album because of the sexist connotations behind the title. “No Man’s Land” is just as heavy, if not more than it’s predecessor. Where you think there might be a keyboard at the chorus, there isn’t. After a couple of decent but non descriptive tracks is the closer “Take Me Home.” Again, maybe it’s me but this sounds like a Southern Rock anthem. Not something I’d expect from Ted Nugent but it’s the best song for the closer.

Looking at the credits and remembering recent posts, it turns out that Bobby Chouinard’s drum skills were in great demand in 1984. He played on some of the tracks of both Gary Moore albums I recently posted about and he plays on this entire album. It leads me to conclude that his skills have been forgotten about in later years and this is a travesty because, he’s that good.

Track Listing:

  1. Tied Up In Love
  2. (Where Do You) Draw the Line
  3. Knockin’ At Your Door
  4. Don’t You Want My Love
  5. Go Down Fighting
  6. Thunder Thighs
  7. No Man’s Land
  8. Blame it On the Night
  9. Lean Mean R&R Machine
  10. Take Me Home

Ted Nugent

Ted Nugent_ guitars, lead vocals

Brian Howe- lead vocals

Alan St John- keyboards- vocals

Doug Lubahn-bass

Bobby Chouinard- drums

Two interesting notes regarding Ted Nugent, the first coming from this post. Two years on, I would see Ted Nugent live with Savatage in support. It was a great concert even if it was poorly attended. The other was after my last Ted Nugent post, I put him down on the Bloodstock wishlist. The only comment I got back was someone saying they would love for him to play Bloodstock but he has only come to the UK four times since 1988. Anyway, back to “Penetrator.” This album was far better than I remembered it back in 1984, keyboards or not.

Next post: Great White

To get Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://spread-luv.ga/info/kindle-free-e-books-rock-and-roll-children-by-michael-d-lefevre-9781609763558-pdf.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Metal Albums of 1984: Lita Ford- Dancing on the Edge

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 26, 2017 by 80smetalman

With heavy metal actually dominating the rock music scene in the summer of 1984, (trust me, it did), metal acts were coming out of the woodwork thick and fast. It was only right that a female metal artist come forward in what is a male dominated world. The metal world had Girlschool and Rock Goddess from England and from the USA came former Runaways guitarist Lita Ford. “Dancing on the Edge” was her second album and I’m kicking myself for never noting her first one but it was this album which made me and the rest of the world take notice.

“Dancing on the Edge” came out amidst controversy in Lita’s personal life. First there was her supposed feud with former Runaways band members Joan Jett and Cherrie Currie. From what I’ve read, the feud with Joan was more or less fabricated by Joan Jett’s management who didn’t want Lita anywhere near their star. She was also engaged to Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi at the time and he appears in the video for “Dressed to Kill” from this album. However, Lita has said that the relationship was marred with physical abuse due to Tony’s drug problems back then. Therefore, it’s an amazing endorsement of Lita Ford herself that she could put out such a killer album in spite of all the things in her personal life.

Cutting right to the chase, let me just say that “Dancing on the Edge” is a fantastic metal album. There a lots of great power chords and Lita has a great voice but the best thing is that she can really shred. She does this very well on every song. So well in fact, that it has always been difficult for me to pick a favourite track on the album. Each time I listen, I discover something small in a song that I hadn’t noticed when I heard it before. Therefore, I am forced to conclude that the album simply has nine fantastic songs of pure metal mania. God, I’m pinching quotes from Dee Snider. While Lita shines on vocals and guitar, she has two very capable musicians providing that all important rhythm section. On bass was Hugh McDonald who is currently with Bon Jovi and Randy Castillo who would later play for Ozzy Osbourne and Motley Crue on the drums. That can only help make “Dancing on the Edge” that much better.

Track Listing:

  1. Gotta Let Go
  2. Dancing on the Edge
  3. Dressed to Kill
  4. Hit’N Run
  5. Lady Killer
  6. Still Waitin’
  7. Fire in My Heart
  8. Don’t Let Me Down Tonight
  9. Run With the $

Lita Ford- vocals, guitar

Hugh McDonald- bass

Randy Castillo- drums

Geoff Leib- synthesizers, backing vocals

Robbie Kondor and Aldo Nova- synthesizers

“Dancing on the Edge” cemented Lita’s permanent foothold as a serious metal artist in 1984. From there, her legacy would continue to this day with loads more great albums.

Next post: Ted Nugent- Penetrator

To get Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://spread-luv.ga/info/kindle-free-e-books-rock-and-roll-children-by-michael-d-lefevre-9781609763558-pdf.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great RockMetal Albums of 1984: Bon Jovi

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 23, 2017 by 80smetalman

Before I launch into the debut album by a band considered to be a symbol for 1980s hard rock and heavy metal, I thought I first begin by naming four more films of 1984 I missed. Two of them I can’t believe I did and two of them starred comedian Eddie Murphy.

Beverly Hills Cop was considered to be on a par with Ghostbusters at the time.

Conan the Destroyer with Arnie Schwartzeneger was a big let down in comparison with the first film

Another children’s favourite, Gremlins. Thanks to keepsmealive for bringing it to light for me.

 

Hot Dog- about freestyle skiing had its funny moments.

There was a fifth film called Best Defense with Eddie Murphy and Dudley Moore which was okay but just okay.

Now onto the self-titled debut from Bon Jovi. While I have always liked this album, at the time, I thought it was nothing spectacular. Yes, the single that got them on MTV, “Runaway,” was very good, probably still one of my favourite Bon Jovi jams, even if one friend of mine considered it to sound too much like Rick Springfield. Furthermore, I felt exactly the same way when I saw them open for The Scorpions in this year. I thought they weren’t bad but not anything phenomenal.

Like all Bon Jovi albums, when I listen to it, I ask myself the question why Bon Jovi are considered heavy metal. True, there are some hard rocking songs on the album and there was the potential for more had not the keyboards been too heavy on them. The tracks I’m talking about are “Burning For Love” and the second single, “She Don’t Know Me.” The latter officially became the first song I liked on account of the video for it. Had I heard it on the radio or the album, I wouldn’t have liked it so much. The former does have a great guitar solo on it though.

On the other hand, there are some decent rockers on the album in addition to “Runaway.” “Love Lies” is definitely one of those. Whenever I listen to it, I remember why I have always held the guitar abilities of one Richie Sambora in such high regards. He does shine here. “Breakout” can’t make up its mind as to whether it wants to be a rocker or not. I do like the standard keyboard intro followed by the thunder of the guitar. However, the keyboards come back in and take over a little too much in some places. The song sounds like a power struggle between the hard rock and commercial sounds. The decider is again, another good guitar solo from Richie. I have always said that a good closing song can do wonders for an album and “Get Ready” does that job well on the album. It is a strong rocker which ends things quite well. Plus, it gets some good support from the penultimate track.

Track Listing:

  1. Runaway
  2. Roulette
  3. She Don’t Know Me
  4. “Shot Through the Heart
  5. Love Lies
  6. Breakout
  7. Burning For Love
  8. Come Back
  9. Get Ready

Bon Jovi

Jon Bon Jovi- lead vocals, rhythm guitar

Richie Sambora- lead guitar, backing vocals

Dave Bryan- keyboards, backing vocals

Alec John Such- bass, backing vocals

Tico Torres- drums, percussion

Now here’s the big question I am going to explore on all my Bon Jovi posts in the future. Someone once commented that Bon Jovi represented everything that was wrong with heavy metal in the 1980s. What? I never thought there was anything wrong with metal back then. It’s something I’m going to investigate though. Thinking back to 1984 and this debut album, I certainly wasn’t thinking that. Then, I would never have thought that the band would go onto achieve so much.

Next post: Accept- Balls to the Wall

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.com/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1508760900&sr=8-3&keywords=michael+d+lefevre