Archive for Billy Joel

Great Rock Albums of 1982: Steve Miller Band- Abracadabra

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 19, 2015 by 80smetalman

220px-AbracadabraSM

Unfortunately for the Steve Miller Band, they were another artist, like Billy Joel, I had written off as selling out in the early 1980s. They were another band I was quite into in the late 1970s only to go off them in the early 80s. After some reflection, I have come to the conclusion as to why I accused both Billy Joel and the Steve Miller Band of selling out. By late 1982, mainstream popular music and I were heading into totally opposite directions. While music was going into more new wave synth pop, my musical tastes were growing more and more harder and while I didn’t realise it at the time, I was well on my way to becoming a metalhead.

Whatever the reason, however, the best known song and title cut from the Steve Miller Band’s 1982 album, “Abracadabra,” is not one of the songs that first come to mind when I think of this band. This is in spite of the fact that when I went to the Driftwood in 1982 and I went there a lot in the four months I was in the US, there was a dancer, (not Twinkles, she had stopped dancing there in Autumn of 81), who knew how to work the stage to that song. Fortunately, as I know all too well, one song does not an album make.

The Driftwood (I still can't believe I found a picture of it online)

The Driftwood (I still can’t believe I found a picture of it online)

The best sticker I can assign to “Abracadabra” is soft rock or mellow out rock or melodic rock, probably a combination of all the above. The album has its good moments. While it was softer than what my musical tastes would allow at the time, at least it’s done with guitars and no synthesizers. You  can hear this in each and every song. “Give It Up” gets my vote for number one song and I have to give an honourable mention to “Never Say No,” “Cool Magic” and the closer “While I’m Waiting.” When I listened to the album again after so many years, I realised that it still possessed the quality musicianship I had come to appreciate about the Steve Miller Band back in the late 70s. I just didn’t appreciate it back in 1982.

Track Listing:

1. Keeps Me Wondering Why

2. Abracadabra

3. Something Special

4. Give It Up

5. Never Say No

6. Things I Told You

7. Young Girl’s Heart

8. Goodbye Love

9. Cool Magic

10. While I’m Waiting

Steve Miller Band

Steve Miller Band

    The Steve Miller Band has always appealed to my more mellower side and I must give credit to where credit is due, the “Abracadabra” album is as good as some of their others although “Fly Like an Eagle” remains my favourite. I realise now that my mind was so focused on hard rock that the album didn’t tickle my fancy back in 1982. Times change and though I still focus on the hard stuff, I can take time and appreciate some of the more melodic offerings like this album.

Next post: Uriah Heep- Abominog

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

Advertisements

Great Rock Albums of 1982: Billy Joel- The Nylon Curtain

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 6, 2015 by 80smetalman

Billy_Joel_-_The_Nylon_Curtain

April Fool’s Day has past and I am glad that everybody enjoyed my little joke last week but as Rich from Kamertunes pointed out, many of us have our musical guilty pleasures, here’s mine. I freely admit that back in the late 1970s, I liked the music of Billy Joel. I thought that “The Stranger” and “52nd Street” were both good albums and they led me to find an album that I thought was even better than those, “Piano Man.” The title cut and “Captain Jack” from that album are my two favourite Billy Joel tunes. Then in 1980, he put out the “Glass Houses” album, which confirmed my belief that he had it in him to rock. Therefore, I was pretty optimistic when I heard about his 1982 album, “The Nylon Curtain.”

This album takes Billy in a totally different direction. It’s not a rock out like “Glass Houses” but he doesn’t sit behind the piano on every song like the albums before that one. In fact, he plays other keyboard type instruments and has more musicians behind him in making the album. The result for me was quite interesting.

“The Nylon Curtain is yet again another album from 1982 that begins with its best known single. I’ve always liked “Allentown” because of the use of the acoustic guitar and what the song is about. Back in the early 1980s, factories, mines and other types of manual industry were being closed down resulting in unemployment soaring to over 10%. Many Americans felt that the American Dream had ended and this song is a good tribute to those who suffered during those times. I’m tempted to go political here but I won’t and if you listen to the lyrics of the song, you will see what I mean.

While it might not be guitar rock, there are some rocking moments on “The Nylon Curtain.” One of these is certainly “Goodnight Saigon.” That song not only rocks but it is the second song that year which paid tribute to the Vietnam Veterans. “Still in Saigon” by the Charlie Daniels Band was the first. “Pressure” is a good new wave type song where Billy goes wild on the keyboards. He does deliver on that one. The hidden surprise for me on this album has to be “Surprises” (no pun intended.) This starts like it is going to be a traditional Billy Joel tune but he does go in a rock direction on it. I can’t fault any of the other songs on the album even if they don’t stand out as much as the ones mentioned.

Track Listing:

1. Allentown

2. Laura

3. Pressure

4. Goodnight Saigon

5. She’s Right on Time

6. A Room of Our Own

7. Surprises

8. Scandinavian Skies

9. Where’s The Orchestra

Billy Joel

Billy Joel

Billy Joel- vocals, piano, organ synthesizers, Synclavier II

David Brown- lead guitar

Dominic Cortese- accordion

Liberty De Vitto- drums, percussion

Eddie Daniels- saxophone and clarinet

Russell Javors- rhythm guitar

Charles McCracken- cello

Rob Mounsey- synthesizer on “Scandinavian Skies”

Doug Stegmeyer- bass

Bill Zampino- field snare on “Goodnight Saigon”

For me, this would be the last good album from Billy Joel. He would sell out with his next album and I wouldn’t take him seriously after that. All of the Billy Joel albums before this one were good and showed his musical ability. It’s just a shame that he would settle for being popular.

Next post: Bruce Springsteen- Nebraska

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: Rod Stewart- Tonight I’m Yours

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized, video games with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 27, 2014 by 80smetalman

rstonightimyours

Balance has been restored in the world now. Rod Stewart’s “Tonight I’m Yours” is the first piece of new music I heard in 1982. It wasn’t the entire album but the second single from the album “Young Turks” which I heard several times on the AM radio of my beat up Chevy Nova during my journey home on my final weekend pass before going overseas. Like many of the Rod Stewart songs I heard throughout the 1970s, minus the two albums previous to this one because I thought they were too disco. Then again, I did like the song “Ain’t Love a Bitch” off the “Blondes Have More Fun” album but I digress. That single did stick in my mind like many of his other singles although I am glad I didn’t have MTV at that time so I was spared the cheesy video of the song where everyone is dancing on the roofs of cars. That experience would come in the April when I discovered that “Young Turks” was number three in the Israeli charts.

Abandoning the disco feel of the previous albums, Rod went a little more new wave with “Tonight I’m Yours” while at the same time, not venturing too far from his rock roots. The new wave part is obvious on the first two singles from the album: The title track and the already mentioned one with the cheesy video. Both are done well and I like Rod’s personal spin on his cover of “How Long?” which was his third single. He does get down to some more serious rock after that. On “Tora Tora Tora (Out With the Boys)” Rod truly rocks out. The guitar breaks in the song are great and the way it interlinks with the sax is nicely done. I don’t know which of the guitarists on the album played the solo here but he should step forward and receive his accolades. A pleasant surprise comes right on the heels of “Tora Tora Tora” in the form of “Tear It Up,” which begins with a piano intro that could rival that of “Piano Man” of Billy Joel fame. However, as far as piano intros go, it still doesn’t quite measure up to the best of all time: “Joan Crawford” by Blue Oyster Cult. Rod continues his rock tradition with the next few songs pausing in the middle to belt out the ballad, “Just Like a Woman,” originally a Bob Dylan tune. The album returns to new wave, with “Young Turks” before going out very nicely with the suitable closer “Never Give Up On a Dream.” This album certainly proves that Stewart’s voice is far more versatile than what some people give him credit for.

Track Listing:

1. Tonight I’m Yours

2. How Long?

3. Tora Tora Tora (Out With the Boys)

4. Tear It Up

5. Only a Boy

6. Just Like a Woman

7. Jealous

8. Sonny

9. Young Turks

10. Never Give Up On a Dream

Rod Stewart

Rod Stewart

Rod Stewart- vocals

Jim Cregan- guitars, backing vocals

Robin LeMesurier- guitars

Jeff Baxter- guitar on “Tonight I’m Yours,” pedal steel guitar on “Just Like a Woman”

Danny Johnson- guitar on “Jealous”

Byron Berline- fiddle

Jimmy “Z” Zavala- harmonica, saxophone

Kevin Savigar- keyboards

Duane Hutchins- keyboards on “Tonight I’m Yours” and “Young Turks”

Jay Davis- bass

Tony Brock- drums

Carmine Appice- drums on “Tonight I’m Yours” and “Young Turks”

Paulinho De Costa- percussion

Tommy Vig- tubular bells

Penny Jones- soloist on “Never Give Up On a Dream”

Linda Lewis, The Penetcostal Community Choir- backing vocals

I’m going to come out of the closet here, no not that way, but I am going to admit that I actually like a lot of Rod Stewart’s music. Something I would have never admitted to in male heavy metal circles. True, he’s not hard rocker or metal singer but his vocals and the music behind them is usually quite good. The album “Tonight I’m Yours” is proof.

Next post: U2- October

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: Danny Joe Brown and the Danny Joe Brown Band

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 23, 2014 by 80smetalman

 

220px-Danny_Joe_Brown_Band

Every Saturday night, the local FM radio station in Jacksonville, North Carolina had a feature starting at midnight called the Saturday Night Six Pack. They would play six albums, both classic and new in their entirety. One Saturday night in July of 1981, while I was doing the midnight to 4AM barracks security watch and before my company gunnery sergeant banned the listening of music whilst on duty, they played a brand new album from The Danny Joe Brown Band. I remember it well because it was played straight after Billy Joel’s “Glass Houses” album. I also remember that it was a very good album and listening to it again, only confirmed the earlier belief. You are probably wondering why I never bought the album, it was due to being strapped for cash. Crap military pay and car troubles are not a good combination.

What strikes me about this album is that while you can definitely feel that Southern boogie rock vibe throughout the entire album, it is not a clone of any Molly Hatchet album. On the album, Brown certainly does diversify somewhat from the sound of his then former band. The piano intro on “The Edge of Sundown” reminds me a little of Billy Powell from Lynyrd Skynyrd before it breaks off into some great pounding guitars. In fact, some of the guitar work on the album, “The Alamo” to name one, reminded me of The Dreggs and I half expected to see Steve Morse on the personnel list for the album. Like with Molly Hatchet, the three guitarists who Brown recruited for the album definitely know how to play. The entire album bears witness to that fact as there is some impressive playing on every song. Speaking of the piano, the fact that he uses keyboards on this album does not make it all go synth but compliments it perfectly and shows that Danny Joe Brown can be a bit versatile in his song writing. As for Brown’s vocals, I can’t say any different than what you would expect from him, whether it be a Molly Hatchet album or this one.

Track Listing:

1. Sundance

2. Nobody Walks On Me

3. The Alamo

4. Two Days Home

5. Edge of Sundown

6. Beggar Man

7. Run For Your Life

8. Hear My Song

9. Gambler’s Dream

10. Hit the Road

Danny Joe Brown Band

Danny Joe Brown Band

Danny Joe Brown- vocals

Bobby Ingram- lead and slide guitars, backing vocals

Steve Wheeler- lead and slide guitars

Kenny McVay- guitar

John Galvin- keyboards, keyboards

Buzzy Meekin- bass, backing vocals

Johnny Glenn- drums

This would be the only solo album from Danny Joe Brown. He would re-join Molly Hatchet after this one. Maybe the members of Hatchet realised what they lost when they let Brown go in the first place. When Brown did return, he would bring keyboardist John Galvin with him and that would influence their sound. But that’s all in the later years. If like many, you missed this album first time around, it’s not too late to have a listen to it now, definitely worth it.

Next post: Mother’s Finest- Iron Age

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 1980: Billy Joel- Glass Houses

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on May 5, 2013 by 80smetalman

Billy_Joel_-_Glass_Houses

Back in the late 1970s, Billy Joel was known as the singer who sat behind a piano and sang such ballads as “Just The Way You Are” or more pop oriented tunes like “Piano Man” or “My Life.” I admit that I liked these very songs back then, after all, they weren’t disco. However, I knew that he had the potential to be a little harder with his sound. Evidence of this can be sighted with songs like “Only the Good Die Young,” (I always thought the song would have been perfect if they used a fuzz box with the guitar) the guitar in “Big Shot” and my all time favourite song of his, “Captain Jack.” In 1980, Billy Joel finally realised this potential with the “Glass Houses” album.

If you asked any hard rocker and many metalheads back in the 80s about Billy Joel, they would probably say they liked “Glass Houses” or at the very least, it was an okay album. It helps a great deal that the album begins with that famous glass breaking sound followed by my all time second favourite Billy Joel song, “You May Be Right.” The rest of the album follows on with catchy rock tunes like, “Sometimes a Fantasy” and the big top forty hit “It’s Still Rock and Roll To Me” which as far as hit singles go, is not that bad. I won’t say that this album ranks with any of the monster metal albums but I have to give Billy Joel and “A” for effort in trying to go harder here.

Track Listing:

1. You May Be Right

2. Sometimes a Fantasy

3. Don’t Ask Me Why

4. It’s Still Rock And Roll To Me

5. All For Leyna

6. I Don’t Want To Be Alone

7. Sleeping With The Television On

8. C’etait Toi (You Are The One)

9. Close To The Borderline

10. Through The Long Night

Billy Joel

Billy Joel

Billy Joel- vocals, piano, synthesisers, harmonica, accordion

Dave Brown- guitars

Richie Cannata- organ, flute, saxophone

Liberty DeVitto- drums, percussion

Russell Javors- guitars

Doug Stegmeyer- bass

“Glass Houses” will go down in history as the one Billy Joel album found acceptable by many metalheads. Unfortunately, his later albums would go down the trail of 1980s commercial rock; although he did play piano on the Twisted Sister song “Be Cruel To Your School.” Even the thought of “Uptown Girl” still makes me want to put on some Venom or Slayer and smash things up. As a rock album, this one is all right with me.

Next post: The Clash- London Calling

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