Archive for April Wine

80sMetalman’s Top 30 Power Ballads: 1-10

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 23, 2018 by 80smetalman

The moment of truth has arrived! I am going to real my all time top ten power ballads. Before I do, let me just thank you for all of your comments and for simply enjoying the ride. While sitting down actually figuring out my top 30 was more exhausting than I had anticipated, it was still great fun. Think of all the songs I got to listen to. I know some of you might be a little disappointed that a power ballad you really love didn’t make the list but believe me, there were so many to choose from. Pity poor Ozzy, he has delivered many a great power ballad but not one of them made my list. It’s not that I didn’t want to include him, my favourite Ozzy power ballad, “In Old LA Tonight” from the “Osmosis” album came pretty damn close. Maybe if he preforms it at Download, I may change my mind. Anyway, enough of me rambling on, here’s my top ten.

10. Dokken- Alone Again

9. TNT- Eddie

8. Beggars and Thieves- Your Love is in Vain

7. Steel Panther- Community Property

I can see with lyrics like these why some people don’t take SP seriously but this is a kick ass power ballad!

6. Tyketto- Standing Alone

Another reason why Danny Vaughn doesn’t get the accolades he so truly deserves as a singer.

5. Pretty Maids- With These Eyes

4. Twisted Sister- The Price

For me, this song put the power in the ballad!

3. Savatage- All That I Bleed

I had to do some complicated math to include this one. The first half of it is a piano ballad while the second half completely rocks. So I applied the formula ballad + power rocker = power ballad

2. April Wine- Just Between You and Me

Go back and re-read my post on their 1981 album, “Nature of the Beast” and you’ll see why it’s number two.

  1. Heart- Allies

Heart would put out two more commercially successful power ballads later on in the 1980s. However, in my mind, they would never be as good as this one, not even close.

There you have it, 80sMetalman’s top thirty power ballads. I hope you have enjoyed listening to them as much as I have.

Next post: A Great Unknown Philadelphia Band

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Great Metal Albums of 1984: Daniel Band- Run From the Darkness

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 22, 2017 by 80smetalman

Satan had come upon me during the summer of 1984 because the Daniel Band had lots of airplay on the Sunday morning radio show, TCN Hot Rock. I remember liking what they played but for some reason, I never explored them further. That’s why I say Satan had corrupted me because if I had explored the Daniel Band more, I would have discovered a long time ago what a great album “Run From the Darkness” is.

A little background on them, they were formed in 1979 in Toronto Canada. Their first album, “On Rock,” offered a more progressive sound. However, with this, their second album, they went full blown heavy metal. They even wore dog collars and spandex when they went on tour for this album. Plain and simple, upon listening to “Run From the Darkness,” I will second the motion that this was a heavy metal album. The first three tracks are definitely metal in your face, although I think the title track was the intended single. The third track, “Walk on the Water” is my favourite track on the album. The power chords are like Judas Priest and the harmonies in the chorus remind me of KISS in their heyday. Not a bad combination me thinks. They have also been compared to AC/DC, Boston and their fellow countrymen, April Wine. What’s not to like?

The metal doesn’t end with the first three tracks. Tracks four and five keep things ticking over very nicely. The latter is given the fan treatment at the beginning giving it that recorded live feel but “Sixteen” cooks regardless. In fact, the album doesn’t slow down to the latter end of the album. “Live Connection” is almost thrash. Even the keyboard on “Wall” just complements the hard rocking sound of the song. After “Wall” is the ballad, “It’s Over” and that’s a very tidy power ballad. As is the track after, “My Children.” This starts like a piano ballad and then the guitars come in and could flatten the walls of Jericho. The closing track, “In the Sky” takes things out in a typical metal way.

Let me once and for all dispel the myth about Christian Rock. I have listened to “Run From the Darkness” five times in the last week and not once did I find myself wanting to put my beer down and start reading my bible. Anyone who does that is just as liable to sacrifice a chicken to Satan after listening to Deicide. There are no in your face Jesus lyrics on here and even if there were, this album is good enough to where they could be singing about doing terrible things to dogs with a fork and I’d still enjoy the music from it. Added bonus is that lead guitarist Tony Rossi can hold his own with many of his non- Christian counterparts. Hey, the main can wail!

Track Listing:

  1. Don’t Give Up
  2. Run From the Darkness
  3. Walk on the Water
  4. Never Gonna Die
  5. Sixteen
  6. Live Connection
  7. Let’s Get Ready
  8. Wall
  9. It’s Over
  10. My Children
  11. In the Sky

Tony Rossi- lead guitar, vocals

Don McCabe- bass, lead vocals

Bill Findlay- guitar, keyboards, vocals

Matt Del Duca- drums

Have I converted? In regards to the Daniel Band, the answer is yes. If anyone out there still thinks that Christian Rock musicians are second rate, then have a listen to “Run From the Darkness.” This album, Christian or not, simply kicks ass.

Next post: Kerry Livgren AD- Time Line

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Great Rock Albums of 1983: Heart- Passionworks

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 8, 2016 by 80smetalman

Passionworks

One of the great things I remember musically about 1983 was that Heart was back! For many, including myself, their 1980 album “Bebe Le Strange,” as good as it was, signaled the end of Heart as we knew it. Their 1982 album “Private Audition” failed to make an impact on anyone, me included there as well, which was why it got left out of the albums of that year. In the Autumn of 1983, the first single, “How Can I Refuse,” came to my attention thanks to the late night TV programme, “Video Rock.” When I heard it, I loved it. True, that song hasn’t the rocking power of classics like “Barracuda,” “Crazy On You” and “Magic Man,” but it still rocks for me. In fact, it’s number four on my favourite Heart songs list behind the three giants I have mentioned.

“How Can I Refuse” isn’t the only cool rocker on the “Passionworks” album, there are quite a few other good ones. “Blue Guitar,” “Beat By Jelousy,” “Sleep Alone” and “Heavy Heart are all great rock outs and the standouts for me on the album. “Sleep Alone” is definitely a trip back to Heart’s heavy days of the 1970s and “Beat By Jealousy has some really cool guitar hooks. True, there are more synthesizers used here as was the 80s trend but that doesn’t detract from the quality one iota. Ann Wilson’s voice is as great as it had ever been and would continue to be years after. As for Nancy, I feel a bit sexist for not including her among my list of great rhythm guitarists. She definitely belongs there!

Apart from all the great rocking to there are also three ballads and as any Heart fan can tell you, Ann’s voice can sing anything very well. “Johnny Moon” and “Language of Love” bear tribute to the fact. However, there is one ballad here that stands above everything. I even put it above the great power ballad, “Just Between You and Me” by April Wine. What’s more, there isn’t even a guitar solo in the song, so it must be that good for me to like it. If you haven’t guessed already, I’m talking about “Allies.” Play that song, and I’ll stop whatever I’m doing and I mean whatever and just rock out to it. It is the ballad of ballads in my view. The ballads with the rock, plus the song “Together Now” bridging them together, make “Passionworks” a brilliant album.

Track Listing:

  1. How Can I Refuse
  2. Blue Guitar
  3. Johnny Moon
  4. Sleep Alone
  5. Together Now
  6. Allies
  7. (Beat by) Jealousy
  8. Heavy Heart
  9. Love Mistake
  10. Language of Love
  11. Ambush
Heart

Heart

Ann Wilson- vocals

Nancy Wilson- guitar, vocals (lead vocal on track 9)

Howard Leese- lead guitar, keyboards, backing vocals

Mark Andes- bass, backing vocals

Danny Carmassi- drums

“Passionworks” paved the way for Heart to comeback in 1983. This album put their hard rock sound into a more marketable 1980s style without old fans like me saying they sold out. Often unremembered, this album is far better than what it has been given credit for.

Next post: Pat Benetar- Live From Earth

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

 

Great Metal Albums of 1983: Billy Squier- Emotions in Motion

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 16, 2015 by 80smetalman

220px-Sqmot

Like I’ve probably said a million times on here, one of the greatest things about writing this blog is that it allows me to reminisce about some of the great albums of the time. Albums that I might not have listened to for nearly three decades or more! Not listening to an album for that extreme length of time, one forgets how great an album can be. Therefore, it is a pleasant surprise when you put such an album on and just realise that very thing. All of the above can be said for the “Emotions in Motion” album from Billy Squier. The reason why I haven’t listened to this one in such a long time was the fact that I never bought it because my sister had it and while she was away at college, I would sometimes borrow it and listen to it. Dawn, if you’re reading this, I hope you’re not too upset with me for borrowing this fine album without asking.

A year ago, when I visited Squier’s “Don’t Say No” album, I commented that Billy was the best American artist not to have cracked Great Britain. However, since I was in Okinawa when I first saw the video for the album’s single, “Everybody Wants You,” I can safely say that Billy Squier did make it in Japan. Listening to “Emotions in Motion” again after so many years, it’s easy to see why. I like this album even more than the more commercially successful “Don’t Say No.”

Billy_Squier_-_Don't_Say_No

First, like so many albums that were released in 1982, (this one didn’t come to my attention until 1983) it starts off with the single. “Everybody Wants You” is a good song and probably a good choice to be released as a single, especially with the catchy riff it contains, but it’s not the best song on the album. In fact, I’ve been having great difficulty in choosing such as all of the songs are that good here. Another fact I’ve forgotten about the album is that the title track is much harder than I remembered it being and that’s a good thing. Damn my Swiss cheese memory!

As I said, after the first two songs, the hit single and title track, “Emotions in Motion” continues to kick some serious ass. “Learn How To Live” suckers you in with an alluring acoustic intro before blasting you away with more powerful chords. Furthermore, the song is suited fine to Billy’s vocals and would not work with anyone else. “In Your Eyes” is a power ballad worthy to included with many of the others I’ve mentioned in so many posts. It nearly touches the bar set by April Wine in 1981. However, the rest of the album are all just simply great rockers, period. Another surprise after a 30 year non listening famine is that I had forgotten that Squier can play a guitar. The problem is that his best known songs, including “Everybody Wants You” don’t have noteworthy solos. Any doubts about his guitar ability is silenced once you hear him go to town on “Keep Me Satisfied” and his lead guitar intro on “One Good Woman” is quite impressive as well. There are others as well. In the end, I must say shame on me for neglecting such a great album for all of these years.

Track Listing:

  1. Everybody Wants You
  2. Emotions in Motion
  3. Learn How to Live
  4. In Your Eyes
  5. Keep Me Satisfied
  6. It Keeps You Rocking
  7. One Good Woman
  8. She’s a Runner
  9. Catch 22
  10. Listen to the Heartbeat
Billy Squier

Billy Squier

Billy Squier- lead vocals, lead guitar

Kevin Osborn- guitar

Jeff Golub- guitar

Allen St John- keyboards, synthesizers, backing vocals

Greg Lubahn- bass, backing vocals

Bobby Chouinard- drums

Freddie Mercury and Roger Taylor- backing vocals on “Everybody Wants You” and emotional support

While I admit that I have neglected many a fine album over the years, there hasn’t been one making me feel this guilty about it like “Emotions in Motion” from Billy Squier. I just had a thought and I hope my British friends will support this. Since he’s the best American not to have made it in Britain, maybe it’s time he does. So I urge all of my British friends, as well as the rest of you reading this, to go out and listen to this album. I know you won’t be disappointed. Hell, maybe I’ll go and put him on the wishlist for this year’s Bloodstock Festival.

Next post: The Plasmatics- Coup d’ Etat

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

Great Metal Albums of 1982: April Wine- Power Play

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 8, 2015 by 80smetalman

220px-Power_Play_(April_Wine_album_cover)

When I returned from my second tour of the Mediterranean in the summer of 1982, I was quite excited to discover that April Wine had put out a new album. After all, their 1981 album “Nature of the Beast” was one of the albums that made that year for me. Therefore, it was logical for me to conclude that “Power Play” was going to be just as kick ass. Unfortunately, it wasn’t but the band should not hang their head in shame because the album didn’t make me want to remove it from the turntable and throw it directly in the bin. It really is a decent album.

First, let me get the obvious compare and contrast between “Power Play” and “Nature of the Beast” over and done with straight away. The main issue here is that with the previous album, April Wine recorded a power ballad that set the bar for all power ballads ever since. Expecting them to create another one as mind blowing as “Just Between You and Me” is asking them to make tea in a chocolate kettle. “Enough is Enough,” “What if We Fall in Love” and “Tell Me Why” don’t come close to touching the bar but on the other hand, I didn’t find myself wanting to hit the fast forward button when those songs came on. With hindsight, that could be the problem with this album. Maybe the band was too engrossed in writing another kick ass power ballad, that it detracted from the rest of the album.

When they weren’t focusing on power ballads, the rest of the album is pretty good. I love the opener, “Anything You Want, You Got It.” When I first heard it back then and even now, I think that this is a great start to what I hoped would be a great album. The song really does rock. Furthermore, I like the guitar work on “Waiting on a Miracle.” It proves that April Wine still had a trick or two up their metal sleeves. I can say the same for “Doing it Right,” another really good rocking song. Those three songs redeem the album for me.

Now let’s go to what some called the “ostrich in the room.” Yes, I mean the song “If You See Kay” and yes I know, everyone sees the innuendo here. I too, admit that I thought the song was going to be a shitty song disguised by an amusing sounding name but I have to admit, it’s not that bad. The down side to it is I think that the band wasn’t sure whether to make it a power ballad or a rocker, it kind of lingers in between both nor is there anything rude about the lyrics. It’s just about a girl named Kay.

Track Listing:

1. Anything You Want, You Got It

2. Enough is Enough

3. If You See Kay

4. What if We Fall in Love

5. Waiting for a Miracle

6. Doing it Right

7. Ain’t Got Your Love

8. Blood Money

9. Tell Me Why

10. Runners in the Night

April Wine

April Wine

Myles Goodwin- vocals, guitars, keyboards

Gary Moffet- guitars, backing vocals

Steve Lang- bass, backing vocals

Brian Greenway- vocals, guitars

Jerry Mercer- drums

The fact that “Power Play” didn’t live up to the expectations set by its predecessor made some of the less informed at the time dismiss them as one album wonders. They obviously never to listened to the early albums. I did and I can say how good they were. However, like I said, while the album isn’t as good as the previous, it’s still a pretty good album and it was a good one to come home to.

Next post: Michael Schenker Group- Assault Attack

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1982: Johnny Van Zant Band- The Last of the Wild Ones

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 2, 2015 by 80smetalman

jvz-wildones

 Owing to the fact that I spent two thirds of 1982 overseas combined with the expectations of the military, I only managed to attend one concert in 1982. It was at a local club in Jacksonville, North Carolina called the Chateau Madrid. It’s not there any more and unlike the Driftwood, I couldn’t find any pictures of it on line. Anyway, there are no prizes for guessing who it was I saw that night as I am visiting the album from that tour of the Johnny Van Zant band right now. I remember it being a good night and Johnny and Co were on form and I loved when they played Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “I Ain’t the One.” However, what could have ruined that night was the fact it was in a club full of drunk marines, yes I was one of them but I didn’t get involved in any scraps that night. No kidding, while I was enjoying the show, two marines to my right suddenly went to the floor in a heap and started hooking and jabbing. A few minutes after the bouncers broke up that fight and ejected the participants, two more guys on my left engaged in similar festivities. Those weren’t the only two bouts on the card that night but I didn’t let it spoil my enjoyment of the evening.

“The Last of the Wild Ones” is the third album from the Johnny Van Zant Band and it is definitely a power Southern Rock album. Some of the tracks are almost metal such as the opener and “Can’t Live Without Your Love.” Both of these are some very heavy songs where Robbie Gay and Erik Lundgren show what they are capable of with a guitar in their hands. The track “Inside Looking Out” sounds like what I think Boston would have sounded like if they had come from south of the Mason-Dixon Line. The power ballad, “Still Hold On” is the one song of such genre that comes closest to the bar set by April Wine the previous year as to what a power ballad should sound like. “It’s You” is the one song I remember getting air play at the time and it’s not your standard made for radio single. This song rocks and I can’t believe how much I had forgotten of the song, shame on me I know. My question is why this album didn’t break the band out of the Southeast as had it gotten more notice up North, it would have done well.

Track Listing:

1. Good Girls Gone Bad

2. It’s You

3. The Last of the Wild Ones

4. Still Hold On

5. Can’t Live Without Your Love

6. Danger Zone

7. Together Forever

8. Inside Looking Out

9. The One and Only

Johnny Van Zant Band

Johnny Van Zant Band

Johnny Van Zant- vocals

Robbie Gay- lead guitar

Erik- Lundgren- lead guitar

Danny Clausman- bass

Robbie Morris- drums

Maybe it was because the corporate record companies had made their millions out of Southern Rock the previous year the reason for why this album seems virtually unknown outside the Southeast of the USA. This is a shame because they alone got to enjoy what a great album “The Last of the Wild Ones” really is and many got to do it without having drunk marines fighting around them.

Next post: Greatest Hits of the Outlaws- High Tides Forever

To Buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

Great Metal Albums of 1981: Saxon- Denim and Leather

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 17, 2014 by 80smetalman

220px-Denimsaxon2

I know I’ve said this before, but Saxon didn’t fully come to my attention until 1985. I had heard of them before that and even remember liking one of their songs but I can never remember which one. I blame it on the booze. Their master song “Princess of the Night” appears on a compilation album I had bought in the above year but it would be more than another year until I saw this great album “Denim and Leather” on sale at my local record store for $3. I snapped it up without further thought and it is probably the wisest investment I ever made.

“Denim and Leather” is my all time favourite Saxon album and it is easy to understand why. But before I sing it’s praises, let me begin with the one minor flaw with the album, if you want to call it that. It is with the song “Rough and Ready,” which is about being a hard man. Now, in my mind, there is nothing more ridiculous than someone who is clearly not hard trying to sound like they are and sorry Biff, you’re not convincing here. Saying that, the song does redeem itself with some good musicianship equal to the rest of the album.

That leads nicely to the monster classics on this album, there are no fewer than five blockbusting songs on “Denim and Leather.” Of course,  I have to mention the track already mentioned “Princess of the Night.” It has such a killer intro that stays with you long after the song is done. Even now, I listen to it and say “wow!” Not taking anything away from the three songs that follow “Princess of the Night,” especially “Never Surrender,” but “Play It Loud” is definitely the “Wheels of Steel” of the album in the sense that it is the perfect song to play at full volume when driving in your car. I bought the album on cassette so I got to do a lot of that back in the day. Just when you’ve gotten over it, your ear drums are once again assaulted by another great one in the form of “And the Band Played On.” The guitar work in this song is completely amazing, my head just wants to keep banging away to it even when it’s over. “Midnight Rider” follows on and between this song and “Princess of the Night,” I get the impression that Saxon are into trains because that’s two songs about them. That doesn’t stop the former from also being a killer song. Then following “Fire in the Sky,” which like April Wine’s “Caught in the Crossfire” is about nuclear destruction, a relevant fear back in 1981 with Ronald Regan wanting to put cruise missiles everywhere, is one of the finest album closers of all time. The title track “Denim and Leather” is the best way to bring any album to a close. Like the other gems on the album, it has that memorable guitar crunch that aids Biff Byford’s vocals in creating history. For me, Saxon’s “Denim and Leather” is definitely my pick for one of the best albums of 1981.

Track Listing:

1. Princess of the Night

2. Never Surrender

3. Out of Control

4. Rough and Ready

5. Play it Loud

6. And the Band Played On

7. Midnight Rider

8. Fire in the Sky

9. Denim and Leather

Saxon

Saxon

Biff Byford- vocals

Graham Oliver- guitars

Paul Quinn- guitars

Steve Dawson- bass

Pete Gill- drums

When people mention NWOBHM, they are quick to say Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and Def Leppard, but Saxon only gets mentioned as an after thought in many cases. I think the problem was that they put out their three greatest albums in rapid succession, sort of like Blackfoot. Furthermore, Oliver and Quinn often get left out when great guitar duos are mentioned. They are every bit as good a combo as Downing/Tipton and Smith/Murray. It is a shame that they didn’t make it as big as the the others but they’re every bit as good. “Denim and Leather” is proof in the pudding.

Next post: Sammy Hagar- Standing Hampton

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London