Archive for Bob Seger

Great Rock Albums of 1984: Randy Newman- Trouble in Paradise

Posted in 1980s, films, Humour, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 11, 2017 by 80smetalman

Forget Toy Story, forget his controversial 1977 hit, “Short People,” my favourite Randy Newman song has always been “I Love LA,” which is the opening track on his album “Trouble in Paradise.” Released in 1983, this album didn’t come to my attention til the following year, courtesy of MTV, which is why I’m posting it here.

Alert, “Trouble in Paradise” is not an album for hardcore metalheads. Randy has always been a piano player and a very good one to say the least. His chops can be heard all throughout the album. However, there is one guitar solo on it. It appears on the track, “The Blues,” and is played by Steve Lukather of Toto fame. An additional bonus to this song is that he duets with Paul Simon on it and both do a fine job.

Many of Randy Newman’s songs have an air of humour about them. With this album, “Same Girl” and “My Life is Good” are good, funny tracks and I have always been tickled by some of the lyrics in “Miami.” “Miami, Blue day, best dope in the world and it’s free.” However, he has a serious side. To my knowledge, the track “Christmas in Capetown” was the first song to talk about the Apartheid in South Africa. He deserves full kudos for that. “Real Emotional Girl” is more of a serious ballad as well.

Many guest artists appear on “Trouble in Paradise” including the two who appear on the track, “The Blues.” Of all the tracks, I do love the backing  vocals from Jennifer Warnes, Wendy Waldman and Linda Ronstadt on “I’m Different.” For me, while Randy is his normal self on the song, it’s the backing vocals from these three ladies who really make this song shine for me. Definitely the second best track on the album.

Track Listing:

  1. I Love LA
  2. Christmas in Capetown
  3. The Blues
  4. Same Girl
  5. Mikey’s
  6. My Life is Good
  7. Miami
  8. Real Emotional Girl
  9. Take Me Back
  10. There’s a Party at My House
  11. I’m Different
  12. Song for the Dead

Randy Newman

Randy Newman- vocals, piano

Steve Lukather- guitar

Jennifer Warnes- vocals

Don Henley- vocals

Larry Williams- horns

Steve Madalo- horns

Jon Smith- horns

Ralph Grierson- piano

Neil Larson- piano

David Paich- keyboards

Michael Boddicker- keyboards

Nathan East- bass

Jeff Porcaro- drums

Larry Castro- percussion

Paulinho Da Costa- percussion

Christine McVie- backing vocals

Wendy Waldman- backing vocals

Lindsey Buckingham- backing vocals

Bob Seger- backing vocals

Linda Rondstadt- backing vocals

Rickie Lee Jones- backing vocals

Paul Simon- vocals on “The Blues”

Waddy Watchell- guitar

I won’t say that “Trouble in Paradise” is a great album to mellow out to but it does have its moments there. While Randy Newman is not as zany as Weird Al Yankovic, there is a good deal of humour if you listen for it. It’s a good album just to sit back and enjoy.

Next post; The Cars- Heartbeat City

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Great Rock Albums of 1983: Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band- The Distance

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 1, 2015 by 80smetalman

Bob_Seger_-_The_Distance

When I returned from my six month tour in the Far East in April, 1983, I had a lot to look forward to upon my arrival in the USA. The main one was the fact that I had less than 100 days left in the service. I was what is commonly called, a two digit midget. Another thing I had to look forward to was many of the music releases that passed me by during my six months away. Adding to that was after reading a rock magazine, I found out to my delight that the unsung hero of 1970’s rock, Bob Seger, had released a new album.

“Even Now” was one of the first songs I heard on the radio upon my return. This delighted me more because I was relieved that Bob had stuck to his normal great formula instead of being railroaded by the creeping doom of synth pop. “Even Now” is reminiscent of the classic “Hollywood Nights” but it is yet unique enough to stand on its own. A great song and a brilliant way to open “The Distance.”

Things go a bit harder with the next track, “Makin’ Thunderbirds,” which has a sort of New Orleans vibe. I could easily see myself sitting in a bar banging my near empty bottle on the table in time to it. Love the sax solo to it as well. Then, if that wasn’t hard enough, “Boomtown Blues” comes at you even harder. In fact, I could see a heavy metal band covering this song.

After the first three songs get your blood pumping, things slow down a little with “Shame on the Moon.” With this song, I get the picture of a cowboy on a horse, singing this song while playing a guitar. Even so, Bob Seger and his band make it sound like a memorable ride. Things go even slower with the first ballad, “Love’s the Last to Know.” Nothing wrong here, Bob Seger is one of the few who could perform a ballad like this and still make it a good listen.

At first, “Roll Me Away” starts like another ballad but thoughts of that are soon discarded as the song propels into one of those classic 70s sounding Bob Seger songs. All of the elements that made Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band so great a decade earlier are present in this song. No wonder why it, and several other songs including the opener, did so well in the singles charts. That leads brilliantly to another hard rocker, “House Behind a House.” This too would probably sound pretty good if covered by a metal band.

Things again slow down with “Comin’ Home” before going out nice with “Little Victories.” Back then, I thought that Bob Seger was back and good as ever. Nowadays, I realise that he never really went away. “The Distance” proves it.

Track Listing:

  1. Even Now
  2. Makin’ Thunderbirds
  3. Boomtown Blues
  4. Shame on the Moon
  5. Love’s the Last to Know
  6. Roll Me Away
  7. House Behind a House
  8. Comin’ Home
  9. Little Victories
Bob Seger

Bob Seger

The Silver Bullet Band

Bob Seger- guitar, vocals

Chris Campbell- bass

Craig Frost- keyboards

Alto Reed- saxophone

Additional Musicians:

Russ Kunkel- drums

Drew Abbot- guitar on “Makin’ Thunderbirds” and “Shame on the Moon

Roy Bittan- piano on “Even Now” and “Roll Me Away”

Don Felder- guitar on “Even Now” and “Boomtown Blues”

Glenn Frey- harmony vocals on “Shame on the Moon”

What a great album to return home to! That’s what I thought when I first came back from overseas in 1983. What’s even better is that “The Distance” is as good now as it was then. If I didn’t already know that Bob Seger is in the Rock Hall of Fame, I would be using this post to ask why not.

Next post: Madness- The Rise and Fall

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 Soundtracks of 1981: American Pop

Posted in 1980s, films, Music, Rock, soundtracks, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 17, 2014 by 80smetalman

220px-American_pop_soundtrack_album

Whilst I was on leave after my first deployment overseas, the animated film “American Pop” was at the cinemas. The fact that they used the spot where Jimi Hendrix plays “Purple Haze” was enough to make me want to go see it. The movie itself was all right but what was even better was the soundtrack. It had some of the great artists from the 60s and 70s on it and those songs together make this soundtrack very cool to listen to.

Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix

It has been many years since I have seen this film or listened to the soundtrack but for those who may not be familiar with it, I’ll go through a very quick synopsis of the movie. “American Pop” is about 4 generations of musicians. It begins in the early 20th Century and focuses on the character Zamwe who is a child star. However, is throat is injured while singing for the troops on World War One so he never gets to be a star. He also falls foul of the mafia. The story then goes to his son Benny who is an accomplished pianist in a jazz band. He is on the road to fame when World War Two breaks out. Unfortunately, he is shot in the back while playing a piano in a bombed out bar in France. However, Benny’s seed is passed on through Tony. Now in the 60s, Tony’s mother has remarried and has more kids making him an outcast. He goes on the road taking odd jobs where he meets a rock band and becomes their song writer. However, he gets involved with the female lead singer and also gets hooked on drugs ending his brief brush with success. Several years later, Tony is a down and out and his companion is a young street kid named Pete. Tony disappears after giving Pete a load of drugs telling him not to sell it all in one place. Several years more and Pete is a big time drug dealer and is selling to rock stars. One day, he asks the band he is selling to to hear one of his songs. The band refuse at first but relent when Pete threatens to withdraw his business. Pete plays his song and the result is he becomes a big rock star, the end.

Tony and Pete

Tony and Pete

At the time, this film was slated by a lot of people. The problem was that some people tried to take the film too literally. For instance, the girl singer comes across like Grace Slick, (the rest of the band does resemble Jefferson Airplane a little) but turns into Janis Joplin. Okay, those two 60s rock queens may have been fused together to create the character but I say good on them. The other one was at the end. It turns out that Pete’s song is none other than “Night Moves” by and I know I’ve said it before, the unsung hero of 70s rock, Bob Seger. The Pete character was never meant to be Bob, they just use his song. Besides, I did a little research and didn’t find any evidence that Bob Seger was a drug dealer. If I were to go back to that time, I would tell those people to lighten up because if you don’t try to look at things that aren’t really there, the film is quite enjoyable. Of course it is the soundtrack that really makes this movie.

Do they resemble Jefferson Airplane to you?

Do they resemble Jefferson Airplane to you?

Official Track Listing:

1. Pat Benatar- Hell is for Children

2. Big Brother and the Holding Company- Summertime

3. The Mamas and the Papas- California Dreamin’

4. Peter, Paul and Mary- This Train

5. Jefferson Airplane- Somebody to Love

6. Jimi Hendrix- Purple Haze

7. The Dave Brubeck Quartet- Take Five

8. Sam Cooke- You Send Me

9. Fabian- Turn Me Loose

10. The Doors- People are Strange

Songs in the film not on the Soundtrack

Bob Seger- Night Moves

Lynyrd Skynyrd- Freebird

Bob Seger

Bob Seger

Just from looking at this list of songs, it is obvious that I do not need to go into more detail about them. A great array of songs from several decades brought together to make one hell of a soundtrack and you can’t debate that whatever you think of the film.

Next post: The Soundtrack to Heavy Metal

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: Bob Seger- Against The Wind

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on May 19, 2013 by 80smetalman

Bob_Seger_-_Against_the_Wind

For those who read my posting for Bob Seger’s 1978 album “Stranger In Town,” I apologise in advance for repeating myself but the fact remains, Bob Seger is the forgotten hero of 70’s rock. With The Silver Bullet Band, he had a string of hits and great albums throughout the decade that live on today. Classics like “Night Moves,” “Rock and Roll Never Forgets,” “Hollywood Nights,” “Old Time Rock And Roll” and my personal favourite, “Main Street” continue to give old men like me classic musical memories. Therefore, when his 1980 album “Against The Wind” was released, everyone was certain that he would continue his musical domination into the next decade.

Back in 1980, this was the album that knocked the iconic Pink Floyd album “The Wall” off the number one spot. I can see why this album is considered one of his best. It doesn’t just rest on the laurels of Bob Seger’s previous achievements but is an improvement on it, especially with the quality of the musicianship on the album. I can safely say that I think The Silver Bullet Band was at their very best when recording the album. The title track, which was a top ten hit, is a prime example. I love the musical interlude in the middle of the song where the piano and the guitar trade off each other. Then there is the ballad “No Man’s Land,” where my best memory of the song was when it was played at the heavy metal club I used to frequent in London in dedication to a fellow metalhead who had tragically passed away. From the more AOR “You’ll Accompany Me” to the more vociferous “Her Strut,” this album demonstrates why it knocked Floyd off the top spot and stayed there for six weeks.

Track Listing:

1. The Horizontal Bop

2. You’ll Accompany Me

3. Her Strut

4. No Man’s Land

5. Long Twin Silver Line

6. Against The Wind

7. Good For Me

8. Betty Lou’s Getting Out Tonight

9. Fire Lake

10. Shinin’ Brightly

Bob Seager

Bob Seger

The Silver Bullet Band- tracks 1-3, 6 & 8

Bob Seger- vocals, guitar

Drew Abbot- guitar

Alto Reed- horn, saxophone

Chris Campbell- bass

David Teegarden- drums, percussion

The Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section- tracks 4,5,7, 9 & 10

Barry Beckett- piano, keyboards

Randy McCormick- organ, keyboards

Pete Carr- guitar

Jimmy Johnson- guitar, horn

David Wood- bass

Roger Hawkins- drum, percussion

I once saw a band called The Queer Boys in London who I thought sounded like a combination of The Rolling Stones, Aerosmith and Bob Seger. Now this would lead me to conclude that the music of Bob Seger had an indirect impact on heavy metal. Maybe it did, but what I do know is that he put out some great music and the album “Against The Wind” is arguably his best.

Next post: 38 Special- Rocking Into the Night

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Great Rock Albums of 1978 Bob Seger- Stranger in Town

Posted in 1978, Music, soundtracks with tags , , , , , , on April 6, 2012 by 80smetalman

Bob Seger was the man who rocked the seventies but you didn’t notice it. Throughout the decade, he produced a lot of great albums with many great singles played on the radio and I am kicking myself for not putting at least one of his albums in my last chapter of Great Rock Albums of the 70s. Back then, even my little AM clock radio would be playing the songs he made great at that time. The problem is that while Seger was considered great back in the 70s, he seems to be one of the most forgotten people of rock from that decade. Strangest thing about this is that many of his songs still manage to make their way onto movie soundtracks proving that his music is still relevant today.

The 1978 album “Stranger in Town” exlemplifies why Bob Seger is a silent hero of the decade. First, he had four top 40 tracks from the album, all of which are clear in my memory as true rock anthems. “Hollywood Nights,” “Still the Same,” “We Got Tonight” and “Old Time Rock and Roll” are still enshrined in my memory and I have no doubt the memories of many others. All of these have that rock core with a catchy melody that gets your foot tapping away to them. Furthermore, with many of his songs, “Hollywood Nights” being a prime example, his lyrics tell a story or recall fond memories. There is definitely a feel good factor when you listen to this album and it is true with many Bob Seger albums.

Track Listing:

1. Hollywood Nights

2. Still the Same

3. Old Time Rock and Roll

4. It Shines

5. Feel Like a Number

6. Ain’t Got No Money

7. We Got Tonight

8. Brave Strangers

9 The Famous Final Scene

The Silver Bullet Band

Bob Seger- vocals, guitar

Drew Abbot- guitar

Robyn Robbins- keyboards

Alto Reed- saxophone

Chris Campbell- bass

David Teegarden- drums, percussion

The Muscle Shoasl Rhythm Section

Barry Beckettkeyboard

Pete Carr – guitar

                                                                                                                             Additional Musicians
  • Glenn Frey – guitar solo on “Till It Shines”
  • Don Felder – guitar solo on “Ain’t Got No Money”
  • Bill Payneorgan, synthesizer, piano, keyboards on “Hollywood Nights”
  • Doug Riley – piano, keyboard on “Feel Like a Number” and “Brave Strangers”

 I bet that if you were to hear any of these songs on the radio today, you would comment,, “I remember that one, who was the guy who sung it?” This is beacuse that Bob Seger was one of the unsung heroes of the 70s. He probably had as many hits as Abba but did so without all the publicity and hype that Abba had. What I do know is that if Bob Seger hadn’t been around to produce great albums such as these, music today would be a lot worse off.

Next Post: Journey- Infinity

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