Archive for Back in Black

Great Metal Albums of 1983: AC/DC- Flick of the Switch

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, soundtracks, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 10, 2016 by 80smetalman

ACDC_FOTS

Once again, I’m mixed things up here and throwing in a metal album. Usually I don’t visit metal album until the second half of my journey through any given year but there are exceptional circumstances. Those of you who have been following for a while have probably guessed why I’m writing about an AC/DC album. That’s right, AC/DC tribute band Hell’s Bells are coming to town this weekend. Unfortunately, they picked the same weekend as my step-granddaughter’s christening so I won’t be able to see them this time. Therefore, as my consolation prize, I thought I’d visit their 1983 album, “Flick of the Switch.”

Hells Bells at their usual greatness

Hells Bells at their usual greatness

What kind of drugs was I on in 1983? I remember listening to some of this album and not being very impressed with it. In fact, and this is going to confirm I must have been on drugs, I rated this album below their 1985 “Fly On the Wall” album. An album most AC/DC stalwarts say was their worst. Recently, I listened to the entire album after so many years and hell, this album is pretty good. Okay, it’s not near the same level as “Back in Black” or “Highway to Hell” or even “For Those About to Rock, We Salute You,” but this is in no way, shape or form a bad album.

From the very first note, “Flick of the Switch” has everything that has made AC/DC legends for forty odd years. It has all the trademark riffs that they had been known for, the tight rhythm section of Malcolm Young, Cliff Williams and Phil Rudd. Brian Johnson’s voice hadn’t begun to suffer and he still hits some pretty good high notes on the album. The closer, “Brain Shake” is the perfect example of that. Most importantly, Angus Young still blows people away with his solos. When I hear them on the songs on this album, I don’t get that ‘it’s all been done before’ feeling. There may have been a desire to go back to rawness and their might have been in fighting between Rudd and Malcolm but AC/DC come together to put out a fine album.

You know, I can’t  find a song that I don’t like on “Flick of the Switch.” On the other hand, I find it difficult to pick ones that stand out. When I hear one track and think, “That’s pretty good,” the next one comes on and is just as good. If there is one standout track, it would have to be “Guns for Hire” and that’s only because I heard it before on the “Iron Man 2” soundtrack. Then again, “Badlands” is also a really cool song.

Track Listing:

  1. Rising Power
  2. The House is On Fire
  3. Flick of the Switch
  4. Nervous Shakedown
  5. Landslide
  6. Guns for Hire
  7. Deep in the Hole
  8. Bedlam in Belgium
  9. Badlands
  10. Brain Shake
AC/DC

AC/DC

Brian Johnson- lead vocals

Angus Young- lead guitar

Malcolm Young- rhythm guitar

Cliff Williams- bass

Phil Rudd- drums

Now that the drugs have totally cleared my system, I can say that “Flick of the Switch” isn’t the worst album by AC/DC. It’s a good, solid album that may have come too soon after their classics. On the down side, it would be during this tour that Phil Rudd would leave the band and be replaced by Englishman Simon Wright. The result would be that this band from Australia wouldn’t have any members who were actually born there.

Next post: Berlin- Pleasure Victim

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: The Plasmatics- Coup d’Etat

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 19, 2015 by 80smetalman

220px-CoupdEtat

Here is the last of the great metal albums which came out in 1982 but it didn’t come to my attention until the early months of 1983 due to my being posted in Japan at the time. Like Billy Squier’s “Emotions in Motion” album, “Coup d’Etat” by the Plasmatics was an album that I have neglected for quite a long time. Saying that, I still have fond memories of seeing the video for the single, “The Damned” from this album on the video screens of Sgt Peppers on Okinawa. At this time, music video was still something I was only becoming familiar with, so seeing Wendy O Williams in that outfit while singing away while standing on the school bus as it crashed through walls of television sets was something else. Probably why “The Damned” is my favourite Plasmatics song of all time. It also helps that it’s a great song to begin with.

Wendy driving the school bus in "The Damned."

Wendy driving the school bus in “The Damned.”

For years, I have regarded this band as punk but as I listen to “Coup d’Etat” again after so many years, I firmly believe that the album holds all the classic trademarks of heavy metal. Track after track has some heavy metal hook that grasps my attention and leaves me wondering why I didn’t take notice of it more. First, the album has both a grabbing opener that makes you want to stick around for the rest of it and a closer that seals the belief that this is a great album once it’s over. Of course all the tracks in between keep things running along very nicely. Standout tracks, apart from “The Damned” of course are “No Class,” “Stop” and “Mistress of Taboo.”

Another thing which not only I but probably many others had is the lack of appreciation for the talents of the rest of the band. Yes, Wendy was the main feature of the Plasmatics, both for her looks and her very unique vocals and I have already sung the praises of lead guitarist Ritchie Stotts when I reviewed the “Metal Priestess” album. He’s even better on this album by the way. I submit “Paths of Glory” into evidence. However, nothing should be taken away from the rhythm section of Beech, Romanelli and Tolliver. These guys are definitely tighter on this album and the results prove itself in the music. What this album has done is to look at the entire band in a whole new way and give them the respect they are long overdue.

Track Listing

  1. Put Your Love Into Me
  2. Stop
  3. Rock’ N Roll
  4. Lightning Breaks
  5. No Class
  6. Mistress of Taboo
  7. Country Fairs
  8. Paths of Glory
  9. Just Like on TV
  10. The Damned
  11. Uniformed Guards
The Plasmatics

The Plasmatics

Wendy O Williams- lead vocals

Ritchie Stotts- lead guitar

Wes Beech- rhythm guitar, lead guitar on tracks 2, 9, 5

Junior Romanelli- bass, keyboards

T. C. Tolliver-drums, percussion

I’ve just had a thought, I wonder if the opening track on this album was a response to a song on AC/DC’s “Back in Black” album. Interesting thought, though. What I do know is that this album helped start my 1983 in style and while I may have neglected it for a long time, (fool, me), it gave me a video that has stuck well in my mind for over thirty years.

Next post: Utopia

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: AC/DC- For Those About to Rock, We Salute You

Posted in 1980s, films, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, soundtracks, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 19, 2014 by 80smetalman

220px-ForThoseAboutToRock_ACDCalbum

For some of you, this is going to be a bit of a shock. The fact that I am writing about an AC/DC album without first going to see AC/DC tribute band Hell’s Bells. The ironic part is that they are coming to town next Saturday, unfortunately, I am heading off to the States for two weeks on Thursday. I am a little miffed at not going to see them but this time I have a legitimate excuse. So, you’ll have to settle for a picture of Hell’s Bells from the last time I saw them.

Hells Bells at their usual greatness

Hells Bells at their usual greatness

Most everyone on the planet knows that “For Those About to Rock” was the follow up to the most highly successful “Back in Black” album. Many of the same people say that the follow up isn’t as good but I say “Come on!” It would have been a monumental feat indeed if AC/DC or any band to think of it, was able to put out an album that measured up to “Back in Black.” Credit where due though, “For Those About to Rock” comes fairly close.

I have heard many a person say that the only thing good about the title track is the cannons. True, they are brilliant and it’s even more mind blowing to see it live. Hell’s Bells do try to copy it using a computer but while it’s a commendable effort, it’s just not the same. I do try to describe this wonderful phenomenon in “Rock And Roll Children,” but I probably fail. Even without the cannon, this song would probably have been my favourite on the album. The rest of the album also has the typically great tracks you expect from an AC/DC album. I remember hearing “Let’s Get It Up” blasting out of many a juke box in the cafes of Toulon, France and “Evil Walks” is definitely a worthy choice for the “Iron Man 2” soundtrack. Angus Young works his guitar magic throughout the entire album but the most noteworthy from me is on “Night of the Long Knives.” What “For Those About to Rock” proves is that AC/DC weren’t about to rest on the laurels of just one great album.

Track Listing:

1. For Those About to Rock, We Salute You

2. Put The Finger  On You

3. Let’s Get It Up

4. Inject the Venom

5. Snowballed

6. Evil Walks

7. C.O.D.

8. Breaking the Rules

9. Night of the Long Knives

10. Spellbound

AC/DC

AC/DC

Brian Johnson- vocals

Angus Young- lead guitar

Malcolm Young- rhythm guitar, backing vocals

Cliff Williams- bass, backing vocals

Phil Rudd- drums

The best thing about it not being 1981 anymore is that you can listen to “For Those About to Rock” without the specter of “Back in Black” hanging over it. This follow up is truly a fantastic album on its own and definitely one that reminds you why AC/DC have continued to rule for more than three decades.

I don’t know when I’ll be posting again but when I do, it will be: Black Sabbath- The Mob Rules

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 1981: Nantucket- A Long Way To The Top

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 4, 2014 by 80smetalman

 

Long_Way_To_The_Top_LPDue to the fact that I didn’t hear this album until the August of 1981, I have always assumed that “A Long Way to the Top” by Nantucket was released in that year. I now know that it was released in 1980. The title cut is a cover of the AC/DC classic and was recorded as a tribute to the passing of Bon Scott. It won the band a supporting slot with AC/DC on the “Back in Black” tour. That must have been one hell of a concert and I wish I wasn’t on sea duty at the time.

Like the Johnny Van Zant Band, Nantucket were yet another great Southern Rock band who were around at Southern Rock’s peak of popularity but never really got recognised outside the Southeast of the U.S. At least, Johnny Van Zant could be identified with his famous late brother but this wasn’t the case for Nantucket. I admit, if I hadn’t been down south at the time, I probably would have never heard of them either. Fortunately, for me, I did get to hear this wonderful album.

First, the tribute to Bon is a very fitting one, Nantucket do a splendid job covering this long time AC/DC gem. Lead singer Larry Uzzell does try to sound like Bon and while no one can ever duplicate Scott, his efforts are noteworthy. The rest of the album doesn’t disappoint either but is played in the great tradition that made Nantucket a name for themselves in the South. “Time Bomb,” “5o More,” “Living With You” and “Rugburn” are all great songs. The one standout track, other than the title cut, for me is “Too Much Wrong in the Past.” That is a classic rock song. I love the way that song fakes the listener in with the piano and lead guitar as if it’s going to be a power ballad and then just explodes, very nicely done.

Track Listing:

1. A Long Way to the Top

2. Living With You

3. Time Bomb

4. 50 More

5. Media Darling

6. Rugburn

7. Too Much Wrong in the Past

8. Over and Over

9. Turn On the Radio

10. Tell Me (Doctor Rhythm Method)

11. Rescue

12. Rock the 80s

Nantucket

Nantucket

Tommy Redd- guitars, vocals

Larry Uzzell- lead vocals

Tommy Downing- lead guitar

Eddie Blair- sax, keyboards, vocals

Kenny Soule- drums

Pee Wee Watson- bass, vocals

Nantucket were another band that should have gotten more world wide attention but unfortunately didn’t. This album proves that they were as good as many of their Southern contemporaries. Still, I would have loved to see them open for AC/DC.

Next post: Marshall Tucker Band- Dedicated

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

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

Great Metal Albums of 1980: AC/DC- Back In Black

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on November 10, 2013 by 80smetalman

untitled

Someone somewhere must have some sort of sixth sense because every time I come around to visiting an AC/DC album here, tribute band Hells Bells comes to town. Therefore, I think that it’s only fitting that before I talk about any AC/DC album, I should go and see Hells Bells first for inspiration. That’s what I did with my step son last night.

Bombshell

Bombshell

Unlike their last visit, this time Hells Bells brought a support band with them. We were a couple of minutes late and so going up the stairs to the show, I thought it was a bit strange that I was hearing the  Blondie classic “One Way or Another.” Once inside the function room, the Stroud audience was being treated to Bombshell. My first thought to this band was on account of their name and the fact they were fronted by a very attractive lead singer reminiscent of Debbie Harry, that they were a Blondie tribute band. The very next song killed that theory. Bombshell turned out to be a very capable cover band playing their own version of some great rock classics like “Black Velvet,” “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” and Kelly Clarkson’s “Since You Been Gone.” There was one trick up their sleeve. My first thought was “Why are they playing a Lady Ga Ga song when I recognised “Poker Face.” However, their hard rock version totally kicks the pants off the original version. Give me Bombshell’s anytime. So Bombshell provided a good opening to the evening’s festivities.

Hells Bells at their usual greatness

Hells Bells at their usual greatness

I would only be repeating myself from the last time I posted about this great tribute to AC/DC if I go into great details about the show. Of course, they played many of the great classics and as always, they were note perfect in regards to AC/DC. The only thing difference was that the entire band is growing moustaches this month for Movember in order to raise money for research for testicular cancer. This means there isn’t a whole lot to say about the night that I haven’t said before because as always, Hells Bells proved why AC/DC are one of the best loved bands in the world.

I thought I'd take this because I never seem to get the rhythm guitarist and bass in my photos

I thought I’d take this because I never seem to get the rhythm guitarist and bass in my photos

All of this brings me around to my all time favourite AC/DC album and that is my one tiny gripe about the show. Hells Bells only played three songs off “Back In Black.” “Shoot to Thrill,” “Back in Black” and “You Shook Me All Night Long” are all great songs, especially the last one, but any song from this album would have had me banging my head in vigorous exultation. Of course, I also would have been over the moon if they had played “Given the Dog a Bone.” I have always like that song even before I discovered what the song was actually about. Of course, there are several songs with innuendo on the album. “What Do You Do For Money” and “Let Me Put My Love Into You” are perfect examples, especially with the lyrics in the latter, “Let me cut your cake with my knife.”

Stating the obvious here but back in 1980, the big question asked when this album came out was if new lead singer Brian Johnson could fill the shoes vacated by the passing of Bon Scott. For me and many others, there was no question here, Brian proved he’s got the goods. Full credit to the band here, they didn’t try to go out and find a Bon Scott clone because no such person exists. Brian Johnson is his own vocalist and this album highlights the fact behind the usual great musicianship of Young, Young, Williams and Rudd. This album does have some of my favourite guitar solos from Angus.

Track Listing:

1. Hells Bells

2. Shoot to Thrill

3. What Do You Do For Money, Honey

4. Given the Dog a Bone

5. Let Me Put My Love Into You

6. Back in Black

7. You Shook Me All Night Long

8. Have a Drink On Me

9. Shake a Leg

10. Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution

AC/DC

AC/DC

Brian Johnson- lead vocals

Angus Young- lead guitar

Malcolm Young- rhythm guitar

Cliff Williams- bass

Phil Rudd- drums

Thirty million sales world wide can’t be wrong. Many, including me, will say that this is the best AC/DC album of all time. Listening to the songs in it, I can see why.

Next post: Triumph- Progression of Power

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