Archive for Blondie

Great Rock Albums of 1981: Pat Benatar- Precious Time

Posted in 1980s, Books, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, soundtracks, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 24, 2014 by 80smetalman


Kings and queens of rock music have come and gone throughout the years but it can be safely said that in 1980 and 81, Pat Benatar was the undisputed queen of rock. She ascended to the throne in 1980 on the wings of her second album “Crimes of Passion” after the previous rock queen, Debbie Harry, in my view, abdicated. The more astute among you probably realise that I never visited Blondie’s “Auto-American” album and for good reason. While “Crimes of Passion” ascended Pat Benatar to her rightful throne, her third album in 1981, “Precious Time,” kept her firmly seated there.

“Precious Time” continues on in the same hard rocking theme that made Pat Benatar a household name in rock circles. I admit, when I first heard the introduction to the opener, “Promises in the Dark,” I thought she might be going a bit softer but about thirty seconds in, the guitars take over and that Benatar sound is back in full swing. The second track is the big single, “Fire and Ice” and contains what I think is the best ever guitar solo from Neil Giraldo. “Just Like Me” and the title track are both traditional Pat Benatar rockers and the track “It’s a Tuff Life” goes quite reggae but nonetheless is a great track. In all of these tracks and the following, “Take It Anyway You Want It,” the vocals of Pat Benatar combined with the guitar of Neil Giraldo definitely work well like they did with the two albums.

Now, if they were ever to make a film from either of my books, “Rock And Roll Children” would be filled with some great concert footage, but with my latest one, “He Was Weird,” I would insist that one song from this album, “Evil Genius,” be on the soundtrack. While the lyrics of this song don’t exactly fit in with the main character in the story, the song itself would greatly add to the ambiance of the movie. The lyrics are spot on here and that helps make the song even better for me. I can’t leave out the fact that this album proves that The Beatles wrote a song that had an impact on hard rock and heavy metal. This album provided me with my first opportunity to hear the classic “Helter Skelter” covered by a great hard rock act. Here, Pat Benatar, to quote Cheryl Cole, makes the song her own and no I don’t watch “X-Factor.”


Track Listing:

1. Promises in the Dark

2. Fire and Ice

3. Just Like Me

4. Precious Time

5. It’s a Tuff Life

6. Take It Anyway You Want It

7. Evil Genius

8. Hard to Believe

9. Helter Skelter

Pat Benatar

Pat Benatar

Pat Benatar- vocals

Neil Giraldo- lead guitar, keyboards, backing vocals

Scott St Clair Sheets- rhythm guitar

Roger Capps- bass

Myron Grombacher- drums

With “Precious Time,” it is easy to see why Pat Benatar was the undisputed queen of rock in 1980 and 81. Come the following year, there would be a serious challenge to her rule but that is best left for another time. In the world of hard rock, 1981 was without a doubt Pat Benatar’s year and “Precious Time” backs this up.

Next album: Frank Zappa- You Are What You Is

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Also available at Amazon, Barnes & 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


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.



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



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

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book shop in London





Great Soundtracks of 1980: Up The Academy

Posted in 1980s, films, Humour, Music, Rock, soundtracks, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 14, 2013 by 80smetalman


There is many a film out there where the film itself wasn’t up to much but it had a kick ass soundtrack. One I covered already with “The Last Waltz” although the film itself was a concert and there are more out there which will appear here. One such film from 1980 was the film from Mad Magazine called “Up The Academy.” One doesn’t need a college degree to figure out that Mad Magazine made this film in an attempt to cash in on the success of their rival National Lampoon whose film “Animal House” is one of the forever classics. Unfortunately, there is no comparison between the two films, “Animal House” wins hands down.

This is not to say that “Up the Academy” is a bad film. Actually, I thought it was funny in many places. The film is about four teenage boys who are sent to military school by there parents on account of things the boys have done to bring dishonour to the family. One got his girlfriend pregnant and his father is a politician campaigning on the anti-abortion platform. One, played by a young Ralph Machio, is the son of a mafia kingpin and is not interested in the family business. Then there is the son of the Arabian Sheik and the pot smoking African American boy whose father is a TV evangelist. Without going into full details, the main characters immediately fall foul of the gung-ho commandant and there is a lot of funny moments as they try to get one over on him. For months after I saw the film, one of my marine buddies who I saw it with, (he went by Mooch,) would impersonate the commandant with “Say ageeen, say ageen.”

A scene from the film

A scene from the film

What stood out for me more than the laughs was all the great songs that were played in the film. Now classics like “One Way or Another” from Blondie and Cheap Trick’s “Surrender” lead a string of cool rock tunes. There are also contributions from Pat Benatar, Sammy Hagar, The Kinks, Dwight Twilley and a ten minute song from the legendary Lou Reed. Ok, they only played a small part of the song. As the case with many soundtracks, there is some unknown band that makes its mark. On this soundtrack, it is the band Blow-Up. Three of their songs appear on the album and I was impressed with all of them. The opener, “Kicking Up a Fuss” reminds me of The Ramones or The Dead Kennedys and the other two, while less punk are still good rock tunes as well. This is definitely a cool soundtrack.



Cheap Trick

Cheap Trick


Track Listing:

1. Blow-Up- Kicking Up a Fuss

2. Iggy and the Stooges- Gimme Danger

3. Dwight Twilley Band- Trying to Find My Baby

4. Blondie- X Offender

5. Eddie and the Hot Rods- Do Anything You Wanna Do

6. The Kinks- Yes Sir, No Sir

7. Ian Hunter- We Gotta Get Out of Here

8. Lou Reed- Street Hassle

9. Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers- Roadrunner

10. The Boomtown Rats- Rat Trap

11. David Johansen- Girls

12. Blondie- One Way or Another

13. Cheeks- Coquette

14. Blow-Up- Local Hero

15. Sammy Hagar- Bad Reputation

16. Iggy Pop and James Williamson- Night Theme

17. Cheeks- Bony Moronie

18. Nick Lowe- Heart of the City

19. Pat Benatar- We Live for Love

20. The Babys- Midnight Rendezvous

21. Cheap Trick- Surrender

22. Blow- Up- Beat the Devil

So if you want a good laugh while rocking out to some great tunes then your task is simple. Watch “Up the Academy” and then listen to the soundtrack, it’s definitely worth it. But it does seem a shame that Blow-Up never seemed to make it big.

Next post: Great Rock One Hit Wonders of 1980

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to:

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

Great Albums of 1979: Blondie- Eat to the Beat

Posted in 1978, 1979, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 26, 2012 by 80smetalman

There’s no denying it, it is a fact that 1979 was the year for Blondie. They began the year with their 1978 release “Parallel Lines” which included the number 1 hit single “Heart of Glass.” One of the few songs to successfully make the rock-disco crossover that year. Debbie Harry became a common fixture on the walls of many teenage boys, including mine. Then they ended the year with “Eat to the Beat,” also a good album. Along with “Get the Knack” and “The Long Run” by the Eagles, this was also one of the albums that first greeted me when I came home on leave from that no contact with the outside world three month period I call boot camp.




Debbie Harry






I won’t go into a compare/contrast with “Parallel Lines” the way I did with Fleetwood Mac’s “Tusk” album. “Eat to the Beat” took Blondie into a more new wave direction. The hard rock sound is still there but it seems more melodic this time around. There are some very good tracks like the singles, “Dreaming” and “Atomic” and I really like “Accidents Never Happen.” It is a good album on its own and kept Blondie at the top of the rock music hill for 1979 and early 1980.

Track Listing:

1. Dreaming

2. The Hardest Part

3. Union City Blues

4. Shayla

5. Eat to the Beat

6. Accidents Never Happen

7. Die Young, Stay Pretty

8. Slow Motion

9. Atomic

10. Sound Asleep

11. Victor

12. Living in the Real World


Deborah Harry- vocals

Chris Stein- lead guitar

Jimmy Destri- keyboards, backing vocals

Nigel Harrison- bass

Frank Infante- guitar, backing vocals

Clem Burke- drums

“Eat to the Beat” was the second of two great albums from Blondie and the reason why 1979 was their year. Many boys like me first listened to them because they liked the lead singer, but stayed with them because of the music. It was something great to come home from boot camp to.

Next post: Jethro Tull- Stormwarning

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to

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

Great Rock Albums of 1979: Blondie- Parallel Lines

Posted in 1979, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on July 12, 2012 by 80smetalman

Heart’s Ann and Nancy Wilson were the first rock ladies to tingle my teenage hormones and Deborah Harry from Blondie was definitely the second. I still have nice memories of when I first saw her on the old Midnight Special show in the mini skirt and green tights. The band played their most popular hit, “Heart of Glass” and while I class the song as one that’s not bad, it wasn’t the song that I was thinking about.

Musically, while most people will say that “Heart of Glass” was their best song, it wasn’t the song that attracted me to them in that way. That honour belongs to another single from the album, “One Way or Another.” For me, that song proved to me that Blondie could rock. Furthermore, there are song other cool rock type songs like “11:59” and “Will Anything Happen.” The rest of the album contains some good to passable rock tunes which makes this it all around, a pretty good album.

Track Listing:

1. Hanging on the Telephone

2. One Way or Another

3. Picture This

4. Fade Away, Radiate

5. Pretty Baby

6. I Know But I Don’t Know

7. 11:59

8. Will Anything Happen

9. Sunday Girl

10. Heart of Glass

11. I’m Gonna Love You Too

12. Just Go Away


Deborah Harry- vocals

Frank Infante- guitars

Chris Stein- guitar, 12 string guitar and ebow

Jimmy Destri- keyboards

Nigel Harrison- bass

Clem Burke- drums

I admit, it was the fabulous look of Deborah Harry which first got me into Blondie and I know I wasn’t the only teenage boy guilty of this. But beyond the sex, there is some really good music from “Parallel Lines” and it is easy to see why it went so high in the album charts and why it’s considered Blondie’s most popular album. So, here’s a photo of Deborah Harry so those who aren’t old enough to remember her in her prime can see what the fuss was all about.

Next post: Jefferson Starship- Gold

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to

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