Archive for Americans

Rest in Peace- Tom Petty

Posted in 1980s, Death, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 2, 2017 by 80smetalman

Tom Petty

It seems that 2017 is determined to suck as much as 2016 with another great rocker going to the great gig in the sky. Tom Petty entertained us with some great music for four decades whether it be with his band, Tom Petty and the Heartbrakers, solo material and a brief stint with the Travelling Willburys who included Bob Dylan, Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison and the late George Harrison.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/tom-petty-legendary-rocker-is-dead-at-66/

Not only was Tom a great musician, he was a great song writer and as someone pointed out to me recently, those skills were very underrated. So, I guess the best thing to do is to pull out any or all of his great albums, (my favourite has always been “Damn the Torpedoes”) and give them a listen to commemorate this great rocker.

 

 

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80sMetalman’s Band of Underrated Musicians

Posted in Concerts, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 13, 2017 by 80smetalman

Since tomorrow is my first day of supply (substitute) teaching in the new school year, I thought I’d get a bit of practice in by giving all of you an assignment. Hopefully, you’ll find it as fun as I did although there was a struggle in the area of female lead vocalist. I had to go on Youtube and listen to songs by both ladies before I finally made a choice and that was tough. The choice, I’m talking about not listening to their music. That bit was fun.

Now to the assignment, for nearly the entire life of 80smetalman, I have been banging on about musicians whose talents have been ignored or grossly underrated. So, with my weird and wonderful mind, I thought I would take the ones who I feel were the most underrated and put them together in a band of my own. The theory is that with all that combined under appreciated talent, they would come together and form an awesome band. I think the ones I have chosen, though a few may be deemed controversial, would fill the bill. So, here’s the 80smetalman Under Appreciated Band!

Danny Vaughn- male lead vocals

You know him from Tyketto and Waysted and his own band, Vaughn but I think that Danny Vaughn has never gotten the accolades he so deserves as a lead singer. He’s got a great voice, end of.

Liv Kristine- female lead vocals

When I saw her band, Leaves Eyes, at Bloodstock, 2010, I was totally captivated by the vocals of Liv Kristine. Hailing from Norway, she has a beautiful operatic voice that is just mindblowingly seductive.

Derry Grehan- guitar

I sang Derry’s praises not too long ago when I visited Honeymoon Suite’s first album. I was and still am very impressed by his guitar playing. I talk about underrated guitarists a lot on here but Derry Grehan really is.

Frenzy Phillipon- guitar

You might remember, I came upon this French fingerboard smoker nearly a year ago when I saw his band, Mystery Blue, support Canadian greats, Anvil. His band hasn’t made the big time but boy can he play that guitar.

Dom Lawson- bass

Another amazing discovery from Bloodstock, this time it was 2015. It was then I saw Dom Lawson, in his band Oaf, shred a bass like no one ever has before or since.

John Galvin- keyboards

It was another difficult choice picking a keyboards player. Originally, I was going to go with Claude Schnell of Dio fame but then when I listened to the 1984 Molly Hatchet album, “The Deed is Done” after so many years, I have come to really like John Galvin’s keyboards skills on the album. Southern Rock bands didn’t do much with keyboards but John really shines when given the chance.

Gina Schock- drums

I know this one will seem controversial to some but I am picking former Go Go’s drummer Gina Schock for my band. I think one of the reasons she is underrated as a drummer is because she’s female but I think she’s really good as well.

Well, there’s my band. Now, I want you all to go back, listen to your albums, have a good think and put together your own bands of underrated musicians. Trust me, it will be a fun assignment.

Next post: The Rise of Christian Rock

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=1505334396&sr=8-3&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Hit Wonders of 1984 and Another Significant Songs

Posted in 1980s, Humour, Music, Rock, television, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 6, 2017 by 80smetalman

Its that time again where I look at some of the one hit wonders of the year I am visiting. There were some interesting ones in 1984 with others who were wrongly considered such by the so called mainstream public. Some great heavy metal acts fell under this misbelief. So without further ado, let’s start with what was the most successful hit, “Missing You” by John Waite.

John Waite

What I couldn’t believe was that after doing a bit of research, that John Waite had a pretty impressive discography. However, the only song I and many others will remember him for would be this great soft rock ballad that went to number one. Although many metalheads wouldn’t admit it back then, they did like it. It can be found on quite a few soft rock compilation albums.

Dwight Twilley

The next one comes from American songwriter Dwight Twilley. He had been around for years as I have learned but he is best known for his 1984 top 20 hit “Girls.” This mid tempo rock tune takes me back to the time when the build up to the metal explosion in 1984 was just about to happen. I haven’t heard this song for years but listening to it for the purposes of research was very pleasant. I wonder if this one is on any compilation albums.

Dog Police

In 1984, MTV had a monthly segment called “Basement Video.” The premise was six videos from unsigned artists would be played and the winner would go onto the grand final. In January, a video from a Memphis Tennessee outfit called Dog Police won with their self titled single. I even phone up and voted for it. What I remember about them was that upon the introduction to the video it was said that Dog Police wanted to become the Frank Zappa of music video. Unfortunately, that never happened and they only finished fourth in the grand final. Still, it’s a great video and song.

Rick Derringer

All I know for sure with this next one was that I first heard the song  “I Play Guitar” by Rick Derringer in 1984 when I saw the video for said song. I loved it straight away! Now, I’m not sure if this song actually came out in this year but because 84 was when I first heard it, I’m including it here just because it’s such a kick ass song. Before this, I had only heard how great a guitarist Rick was but this song proved it. And because I can’t find the official MTV video on Youtube, you get this really cool live version.

Naff song of 1984

Tracey Ulman

In the eyes of most of the world, Tracey Ulman is a brilliant comedy actress. I love her wit. But in 1984, she put an album and MTV treated the world to the single from it, “They Don’t Know.” I had the misfortune of hearing it on the car radio a couple of months ago. The song is totally naff, with a 1960s pop feel and even the guitar solo sounds naff. Don’t worry, I won’t inflict it upon you, my readers, but rest assured, I am glad that she stuck to comedy. The rest of the world is probably glad too. However, I can identify with her sense of humour with the title of her album “You Broke My Heart in 17 Places.” I have this habit of picking out numbers like that.

Next post: Music News of 1984

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=1504721323&sr=8-8&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1984: REO Speedwagon- Wheels Are Turnin’

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

With the explosion of heavy metal onto commercial airwaves in 1984, it is not surprising that there would be casualties left in its wake. For me, my love for the music of REO Speedwagon would come to an end in this year. In my eyes and ears, their 1984 album, “Wheels Are Turnin’,” was a sell out and I came to the conclusion that the band had abandoned their more hard rock roots and had become a top forty band. The exact phrase I used at the time was “They went from being good and settled for being popular.” Thinking back, was my assessment of them and this album accurate? It is now, thirty years on, that I am revisiting “Wheels Are Turnin'” with a fresh set of ears and a much more open mind.

My very first impression at the time was that they had stayed true to their roots with their first single, “I Do’ Wanna Know.” This lively track is classic REO Speedwagon as I had always known them. It’s a fast hard track where lead guitarist Gary Richrath and keyboardist Neil Doughty show their musical talents off. In fact, if I were to compile a list of my favourite REO songs, “I Do’ Wanna Know” would most certainly be in the top five. Unfortunately for me, came their second single, their ultra successful mega hit, “Can’t Fight This Feeling.” While I have come to appreciate this song more in my mellowing old age, in 1984, I thought that the band where just trying to recapture the success they had with a previous successful song, “Keep on Loving You” from the “Hi Infidelity” album. At the time, that was a big turnoff for me.

The two singles after that were even bigger turnoffs to me. “One Lonely Night” didn’t fire me up in any way nor did “Live Every Moment.” It was here that I went off REO Speedwagon and found myself content to listen to their earlier classics, especially my all time favourite of theirs, “Nine Lives.” As I write this, I am feeling a little bit like a hypocrite. I have said on countless posts of albums that I don’t judge them by their singles, so why did I here? I think the reason was that on so many of their albums, including my fave, the singles from them were some of my favourite songs. I know that sounds a bit weak and that’s why I am asking if anyone knows where I time machine is located so I can got back to 1984 and tell my 23 year old self to give the “Wheels Are Turnin'” album a chance.

Unlike those other albums, some of the best tracks aren’t the singles, “I Do’ Wanna Know” being the exception. That will always be the best track on the album for me. However, with some of the other songs, they do go back more to their harder rock roots. “Thru the Window” and “Gotta Feel More” are great examples of this as is the title track at the end. However, on these songs and even the singles, the guitar talents of Gary Richrath aren’t ignored as he does wail on many of them. “Gotta Feel More” is probably Gary at his best on this album.

Gary Richrath

Track Listing:

  1. I Do’ Wanna Know
  2. One Lonely Night
  3. Thru the Window
  4. Rock N’ Roll Star
  5. Live Every Moment
  6. Can’t Fight This Feeling
  7. Gotta Feel More
  8. Break This Spell
  9. Wheels Are Turnin’

REO Speedwagon

Kevin Cronin- lead vocals, rhythm guitar

Gary Richrath- lead guitar

Neil Doughty- keyboards

Bruce Hall- bass, backing vocals

Alan Gratzer- drums, percussion, backing vocals

So the big question here is did REO Speedwagon sell out with the “Wheels Are Turnin'” album? My answer is possibly. They did have four singles from this album and only one of them I truly liked. However, there is plenty of evidence on the album to show that they hadn’t fully turned away from their harder past. My conclusion is that while I enjoy this album more in my older age, it still doesn’t match up to classics like “Nine Lives,” “Hi Infidelity,” “You Can Tune a Piano But You Can’t Tuna Fish” or “Good Trouble.” For me, those are the greatest REO albums of all time.

Next post: Great Rock One Hit Wonders of 1984

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=1504429543&sr=8-8&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1984: Molly Hatchet- The Deed is Done

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 20, 2017 by 80smetalman

In the mid and late 1980s, there was a belief that whenever a hard rock or heavy metal band incorporated keyboards into their sound, they had sold out and were trying to sound more commercial friendly. Yes, this was the case for a good number of bands back then and Molly Hatchet were accused of the same when guitarist Steve Holland was replaced with keyboards player John Galvin, who had played with Danny Joe Brown when he had his own band. Sure, the band moved away from their Southern Rock stylings to a more commercial friendly arena rock sound but their 1984 album, “The Deed is Done” is by no means in any shape or form a sell out.

While there are notable differences with this album and their very famous hard smashing album “Flirtin’ With Disaster,” the hard rock sound is there for all to hear. Even with two guitars, Molly Hatchet really rock out on the album, the keyboards only give it a more melodic back ground. The most prominent examples are the two tracks released as singles, “Satisfied Man” and the one I prefer slightly more, “Stone in Your Heart.” These are both rockers with John’s keyboards providing excellent melodic back up. Unlike so many bands who tried using keyboards, Molly Hatchet does it right here and unfortunately, this is why the album didn’t sell as well as the fore mentioned biggie. Some metalheads scoffed at the use of keyboards while mainstream trendies were put off by the hard guitars and labelled them heavy metal. That’s another issue about the 1980s, but I’ll save that for another time.

As for the rest of the tracks, they cook as well and the now guitar duo of Duane Rolands and Dave Hlubeck show that even with two guitars, they can still kick ass. There is many a good hard rock song on “The Deed is Done” to be heard. However, if someone moaned about them using keyboards, then that person might have really been freaked out by the use of a saxophone on the track, “She Does She Does.” What younger metalheads didn’t understand in the 80s was that saxophones were employed very well in many a good rock song throughout the ages and it is done very well on this track. And while Molly Hatchet may have moved a little away from their Southern Boogie Rock sound, it is still there in the tracks, “Heartbreak Radio” and “I Ain’t Got You”. In fact, the second half of the album really rocks. “Good Smoke and Whiskey” wasn’t only a great track, it was my theme song for a while. However, my personal favourite on this album has to be “Man on the Run.” The old style of Molly Hatchet is stamped on it from the very beginning and the keyboards, like on the hits, provide the necessary support. This song is probably the best example of how you can incorporate the old Hatchet with the new. So what you do get with “The Deed is Done” is a more melodic hard rock sound in places but with the traditional southern sound not completely forgotten. It does make an excellent combination to the open minded.

Going on a little more about the keyboards, John Galvin is definitely underrated in this position. Some have compared him to Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Billy Powell, probably because their both from Southern Rock bands. Like Southern Rock bands, the piano is given that honky tonk sound which only works with bands like these two giants. However, John’s work with organs and synthesizers can’t be ignored because he plays them well. Oh yes, with all the talk about keyboards, I forgot to mention that the album also marked the return of Bruce Crump on drums. It was good to hear him return on the album.

Track Listing:

  1. Satisfied Man
  2. Backstabber
  3. She Does She Does
  4. Intro Piece
  5. Stone In Your Heart
  6. Man on the Run
  7. Good Smoke and Whiskey
  8. Heartbreak Radio
  9. I Ain’t Got You
  10. Straight Shooter
  11. Song For the Children

Molly Hatchet

Danny Joe Brown- vocals

Duane Rolands- guitar

Dave Hlubeck- guitar

John Galvin- keyboards

Riff West- bass

Bruce Crump- drums

Additional Musicians

Jim Horn- saxophone

Jimi Jamison, Tom DeLuca, Steve Bassett, Terry Manning- background vocals

I think that I’ve established before the metal court that “The Deed is Done” album was in no way a sell out for Molly Hatchet. While the album marks a departure from their traditional Southern sound, it still rocks and rocks hard. It’s just a shame there were too many musically narrow minded people around in the mid 1980s who didn’t give the album a chance.

Next post: Blackfoot- Vertical Smiles

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.com/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1503214910&sr=8-7&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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