Archive for Brian May

Great Metal Albums of 1984: Waysted

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 10, 2018 by 80smetalman

Throughout my music listening career, EP’s have always been a bit of a paradox for me. I’ve visited quite a few of them over the years, Brian May’s “Star Fleet” for example. On the other hand, there has been some that I left out despite owning them myself. I’m surprised that while touring 1983, no one picked up on the fact that I never posted about Ratt’s EP. To many, it’s believed that EP’s aren’t proper albums so they don’t buy them and they’re intended to make money off dedicated followers of a band who will snap up anything they put out. While I see the point of the former, I see nothing wrong with a fan buying anything their heroes might release.

Waysted is a totally different story for me. I didn’t hear the name until 1985 and didn’t get to listen to them until I got over to England a year later and a friend was really into them. That was where I got to experience their “Vices” album and this 1984 self-titled, five song album, or EP. Every since, I have thanked that friend, even though he’s not into metal much these days, for the experience.

My overall opinion of “Waysted” is that it is just five really explosive songs. “Won’t Get Out Alive” is a great way to open any album. It definitely grabs my attention. “The Price You Pay” is just as rocking with a good harmony on the chorus and ends with a really good guitar solo. “Rock Steady” could have been the single on the album, although there is no indication that it was ever released as one. It has a good catchy vibe that might appeal to some who aren’t so keen on metal but this doesn’t make it any less rocking, especially with that guitar solo. Next comes the hidden gem on the album for me. “Hurt So Good,” no it’s not a cover of the John Cougar classic, it is a cowboyesque rock song, even before such songs would be made popular by a certain band from New Jersey. The acoustic intro pulls you in before blasting you with dual six strings. The chorus is very catchy and the vibe makes you want bob your head to it all the way through. Finally, the album closes with the eight minute long “Cinderella Boys.” This is a blues induced number that definitely grabs your curiosity. I sense that the band had a good time recording this and when it’s done, you feel that you’ve had a full album’s enjoyment despite the fact it only being five songs long.

Track Listing:

  1. Won’t Get Out Alive
  2. The Price You Pay
  3. Rock Steady
  4. Hurt So Good
  5. Cinderella Boys

Waysted

Fin Muir- vocals

Paul Chapman- guitar

Neil Shepard- guitar

Pete Way- bass

Andy Parker- drums

Like I said, “Waysted” by the band with the same name might only be five songs long but you remember all of them. It’s simply a case of quality over quantity.

Next post: I can’t say when that will be. I have had sad news this week. My mother has passed away and I will be flying to the States Monday morning and will be there for two weeks. Since the situation requires my full attention, I might not get to any albums while I’m there. I hope you all understand.

To get Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://book-fm.cf/print/free-download-rock-and-roll-children-by-michael-d-lefevre-pdf.html

 

 

 

 

 

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Great Rock/Metal Albums of 1984: Billy Squier- Signs of Life

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 29, 2018 by 80smetalman

With all the great metal artists, old and new, releasing stellar albums in 1984, it was only natural that the best American artist not to have cracked the UK put an album out as well. Billy Squier’s “Signs of Life” album came out in the summer of that year and would go platinum. However, I have always been reluctant to call “Signs of Life” a metal album because Billy tries to mesh his hard rock style with what was the current techno sound of the time. He uses a lot more synthesizers on the album and though they don’t make the album suck, I still like it a lot, I do prefer “Emotions in Motion” and “Don’t Say No” to this one.

Everybody identifies “Signs of Life” with Squier’s best selling single, “Rock Me Tonight,” which is on it. Before I got into that, I would like to mention the other tracks that appear here. On the opening riffs of the first track, “All Night Long,” you are led to believe that this is going to be a total Squier metal fest. It is one of the harder tracks on the album and has a pretty cool guitar solo. “Eyes on You” which follows the hit single, goes more into the vein I was talking about. The synths are there but you the hard rock roots which brought Billy Squier to the top still are present. Less keyboards appear on “Take a Look Behind Ya” and the guitars dominate. I do think it would have sounded better if the guitars were turned up a little more. Then it would have been an even cooler rocker, especially the way it ends on a guitar solo.

When I wrote about the Billy Squier concert in “Rock and Roll Children,” I had to pick my sister’s brains as she saw it and I didn’t. During the playing of “Reach For the Sky” she said he used lights that flipped up. Listening to the song, I can imagine that this combination would have been amazing to see and hear. He couldn’t have picked a better song to do this to. However, playing  live, he wouldn’t have had Brian May on stage with him to do the guitar solo on “(Another) 1984” and Mr May does work his magic here. Oh well, I guess you can’t have everything.

On “Fall for Love,” the keyboards are done very well to mix with the music. This is a more mellower song and the keyboards as well as the guitar suit it nicely. On the other hand, “Can’t Get Next to You” is one of the best rockers on the album. The keys are used to compliment the music and are done so sparingly. Again, I think they should have turned up the guitars a little more but that’s me. I think producer Jim Steinman must have had other ideas. Except for Brian’s efforts on “(Another) 1984,” this song has the best guitar solo on it and I sometimes think that this would have made a better closer than “Sweet Release.” I stress, sometimes!

Now onto the single, “Rock Me Tonight.” To be right to the point, I have always liked this song. It’s my fourth favourite Squier song behind “In the Dark,” “Everybody Wants You” and “The Stroke.” See, Billy was great at putting out singles I liked. Back in 1984, I didn’t really clock the effeminate nature behind the video to it. I was too busy rocking out to the song. However, this video is believed to have destroyed his career as a singles artist. It is said to have alienated him from hard rocking males and made him appear ‘gay.’ Unfortunately, this was more down to the narrow minded attitudes of people in 80’s Reagan America than anything else. For me, video or not, I will always like “Rock Me Tonight.”

Track Listing:

  1. All Night Long
  2. Rock Me Tonight
  3. Eyes On You
  4. Take a Look Behind Ya
  5. Reach for the Sky
  6. (Another) 1984
  7. Fall For Love
  8. Can’t Get Next to You
  9. Hand Me Downs
  10. Sweet Release

Billy Squier

Billy Squier- lead vocals, guitars, synthesizers

Jeff Goulb- guitar, slide guitar

Alan St John-keyboards, synthesizers

Doug Lubahn- bass, backing vocals

Bobby Chouinard- drums

Brian May- guitar solo on (Another) 1984

I’ll let you watch the video for “Rock Me Tonight” and make up your own mind.

When I wrote “Rock And Roll Children,” I did so with the intention of showing how narrow minded and intolerant people were back in 80s Reagan America, especially towards metal and metalheads. The fact that everyone stopped taking Billy Squier seriously on account of one video proves my point. People seem to forget that he made three great albums and “Signs of Life” just happened to be one of them.

Next post: Iron Maiden- Powerslave

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://book-fm.cf/print/free-download-rock-and-roll-children-by-michael-d-lefevre-pdf.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1984: Queen- The Works

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 10, 2017 by 80smetalman

Here is a perfect example of why I never buy or not buy an album on account of one song. When the first single from Queen’s album, “The Works,” came on the radio, my response was “What the hell?” I thought “Radio Ga Ga” was several steps down from what I had loved about Queen throughout my teenage years of the 1970s. The conclusion I was starting to draw was that they were departing from the harder rock music I enjoyed and were selling out to the synth pop of the 1980s. Fortunately, I didn’t let one bad song close my mind so I didn’t miss the rest of this cool album.

I have always had this sneaking feeling that Queen knew exactly what they were doing. “The Works” might open with the mentioned single which might alienate some of their hardcore fans, therefore, they followed up “Radio Ga Ga” with the hard rocking second track, “Tear It Up.” After the first ten seconds of rocking out to that song, you are completely thinking, “Radio Who?” Then if the hard rock of “Tear It Up” isn’t enough to grab you, Queen hit you with a very Queen sounding “It’s a Hard Life.” This song is Queen as they have always been as it follows the script of all the great classics. “Man on the Prowl” is a very likable rockabilly song in the vein of the famous, “Crazy Little Thing Called Love.” I love the little piano bit at the end. “Machines (Back to Humans) is a very progressive sounding tune. While there are elements of hard rock, there are some very quirky sounding keyboard sounds on the song, some of them sounding like a robot. Plus there is the famous harmonizing from the band. This is my favourite track on the album because Queen do hear what they have always done best. Incorporate several different musical genres into one song. On my first listen and the many subsequent listens after, by the time my favourite track was at its conclusion, I had totally forgotten “Radio Ga Ga” was even on the album.

Some may argue that “I Want to Break Free” is on the line of that first single. I have to slap down such fools. True, there is a little disco back beat to it but May’s guitar is definitely present, especially when he does that solo. Yes, some people might have discoed down to it but I just listen to it. Saying that, it’s not the best track on the album, there are so many better ones. The next one in fact, “Keep Passing the Open Windows.” This is on the lines of my favourite track, but not quite to the same level. “Keep Passing the Open Windows” is my third favourite track. There’s some good Queen elements on here as well. BTW, “Tear It Up” is my second favourite. “Hammer to Fall” is a good rock out and it follows on very nicely. I do like May’s guitar solo on it. “The Works” ends on a interesting note. It’s a ballad type song, “Is This the World We Created.” It’s almost an anti- climax to the album but the band makes it work and end the album on a good note.

Track Listing:

  1. Radio Ga Ga
  2. Tear It Up
  3. It’s a Hard Life
  4. Man on the Prowl
  5. Machines (Back to Humans)
  6. I Want to Break Free
  7. Keep Passing the Open Windows
  8. Hammer to Fall
  9. Is This the World We Created

Queen

Freddie Mercury- lead and backing vocals, piano

Brian May- guitar, backing vocals

John Deacon- bass, rhythm guitar, keyboards, backing vocals

Roger Taylor- drums, keyboards, backing vocals

Thank God, I never let one song on an album influence my decision to purchase it. If that was the case, I would have completely missed out this great album from Queen.

Next post: Tony Carey- Some Tough City

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another Thought on George Michael

Posted in Concerts, Death, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on January 4, 2017 by 80smetalman

When my last post went to Facebook, a good friend brought up something I had totally forgotten about. I realise now that I should have picked a better song for George Michael. Thing was that I don’t recall seeing his performance of the Queen classic, “Somebody to Love” at the Freddie Mercury Tribute concert in 1992. On advice, I watched it on Youtube and I have to give George full marks here. His performance of that song was superb. It might have had something to do with the fact that the other members of Queen were playing with him. Brian May still does that guitar solo. So, I would have to put that song on the album.

George at Wembley in 1992

George at Wembley in 1992

I would also add Jefferson Starship’s “Girl with the Hungry Eyes, ” David Bowie- “Suffragette City” and possibly “Blue Jean” as well.

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1983: Brian May and Friends- Starfleet Project

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 30, 2016 by 80smetalman

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Here’s another album that would have passed me by hadn’t been for MTV. The single from Queen guitarist Brian May’s album, (yes I know it’s really an EP) “Starfleet Project” was never played on radio, at least not on my local station in New Jersey and this was before it degenerated into a top forty station. I remember the video for “Starfleet.” It looked like something out of “The Thunderbirds” with the puppets and stuff. The science fiction theme to the video added to it. To be honest, I couldn’t have cared less about the video but I loved the song and thus, had to get the EP.

From the video to "Starfleet"

From the video to “Starfleet”

Now you have probably noticed that the album is from Brian May and Friends and boy did Brian choose the right friends to help him record this. He got Eddie Van Halen to accompany him on the guitar and Alan Gratzer from REO Speedwagon fame to do the honours on the drums. Those names right there should tell you that what you are about to hear is totally going to blow you away and they do.

There might only be three songs on the album but they are three memorable ones, plus the fact that the shortest of these three is still over seven minutes made “Starfleet Project” an album in my book back then. Starting with the title track, it is the more commercial of the three. Brian shows that he knows his way around a keyboard a little bit but he still does some great guitar work on the song. I had always suspected from his Queen days that he could sing and he clearly shows it here.

Track two is the more bluesy “Let Me Out.” Here, May and Van Halen really start to go to town with the solos. They are so good that I can never remember what Brian wants to be let out of. However, it’s the third track that takes you to Neptune and beyond. Here we have the two mentioned guitar greats paying tribute to another guitar god, Eric Clapton, with “Blues Breaker.” When that happens you are guaranteed nothing short of guitar heaven. For nearly thirteen minutes, Brian and Eddie go back and forth trading off guitar solos, each one as good as the last. There is a short break in the action for a bit of ivory tinkling from Fred Mandel but things go back to the blistering solos. This song alone makes the entire album a must have.

Track Listing:

  1. Starfleet
  2. Let Me Out
  3. Blues Breaker
Brian May

Brian May

Brian May- guitar, vocals, keyboards

Eddie Van Halen- guitar, backing vocals

Alan Gratzer- drums

Phil Cohen- bass

Freddie Mandel- keyboards

Roger Taylor- backing vocals on “Starfleet”

Queen might have been taking a hiatus in 1983 but Brian May wasn’t. He went well above and beyond and showed his true talents on this album.

Next post: Bob Dylan- Infidels

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.80smetalman.wordpress.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 1979: Pat Travers- Live! Go For What You Know

Posted in 1979, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 15, 2012 by 80smetalman

Raise your hand if there has been a musical artist you like who you hadn’t t listened to in many years where when you finally do get around listening to them again, you remember how much you really liked them. I put up my hand to Pat Travers. He was another musical great who never made it onto being played on the old AM clock radio. I first heard about him when I saw this album advertised in a music catalog. Back in the late seventies, they use to have these record clubs where you get an initial offer of buying six albums for a penny to join but you had to buy so many albums in two years. It was such a catalog where I discovered Pat Travers.

Once again, it was my military experiences of widening my musical horizons where I finally got to listen to this great artist and it was this live album. “Live! Go For What You Know” was the perfect album to showcase all of his great songs and guitar talents. The most noted song from this album is “Boom Boom, Out Go the Lights” which many of the bands playing to bars and clubs in North Carolina seemed to play. I also really like “Hooked on Music,” “Go All Night” and “Heat in the Street” but all of the songs here are some powerful, blues based, kick ass rock and roll.

Often have I mentioned the ever growing list of underrated guitarists from the seventies and recently, I have consciously been more picky about who I add to the list. However, Pat Travers is one guitarist who definitely belongs on the list. I might even go as far as to equate him with the likes of some I’ve already mentioned like Gary Richrath, Craig Chaquico and Rory Gallagher, ok I can’t leave out Brian May. Travers can definitely bend the six string to his will and a listen to this great live album will confirm it.

Track Listing:

1. Hooked on Music

2. Gettin’ Betta

3. Go All Night

4. Boom Boom, Out Go the Lights

5. Stevie

6. Makin’ Magic

7. Heat in the Streets

8. Makes No Difference

Pat Travers

Pat Travers- guitar, vocals

Mars Cowling- bass

Pat Thrall- guitar, backing vocals

Tommy Aldridge- drums

The moral of the story here is don’t go a long time without listening to someone you know is good. I made that mistake here with Pat Travers and my excuse of not owning any of his material doesn’t cut it. So, I’m going to have to go out and buy this fantastic live album. Praise the Lord for Amazon! I think you should give it a listen too, I guarantee you won’t regret it. I am wondering and my buddy Stone started my mind rolling on this one, if Pat Travers is yet another great artist the numpties at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame have ignored.

Next post: Olivia Newton John- Totally Hot

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 1979: Queen- Jazz

Posted in 1978, 1979, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 27, 2012 by 80smetalman

 

Coming off the success of the 1978 smash, “News of the World,” Queen proved with the follow up album, “Jazz,” why they were a force to be reckoned with back in the late 70s. For me, “Jazz” was every bit as good as their last albums and some of the predecessors as well. Track after track on this album is consistently good and has me bobbing my head along each time I listen to it.

I remember when I heard the very first track, “Mustapha,” I wondered whether or not they were taking the proverbial. Maybe Freddie Mercury was doing a Frank Zappa bit and I had the paranoid worry that they were going disco. However, down the line of the song, the guitars kicked in and all was well after that. Then came my favourite track on the album, “Fat Bottomed Girls” and the hit “Bicycle Races” as well as some other fine songs climaxing with “Don’t Stop Me Now.” A very good album indeed and I’m glad I’m paying tribute to it here.

Track Listing:

1. Mustapha

2. Fat Bottomed Girls

3. Jealousy

4. Bicycle Races

5. If You Can’t Beat Them

6. Let Me Entertain You

7. Dead On Time

8. In Only Seven Days

9. Dreamer’s Ball

10. Fun It

11. Leaving Home Ain’t Easy

12. Don’t Stop Me Now

13. More of That Jazz

Queen

Freddie Mercury- lead and backing vocals, piano

Brian May- guitars, lead and backing vocals

Roger Taylor- drums, percussion, lead and backing vocals, electric guitar, bass

John Deacon- bass, electric and acoustic guitar

I have to confess, back in 1979, I tried very hard to dislike Queen, due to my homophobic views back then. Something I regret now. However, when I heard the singles from this album, I couldn’t help liking them. The music of Queen has the aura that is very hard not to like and today, I am a full fledged fan.

Next post: Dire Straits

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