Archive for British

Great Rock Albums of 1984: Rodger Hodgson- In the Eye of the Storm

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 8, 2017 by 80smetalman

A friend, in 1984, announced that Supertramp had a new album out. I had to inform him that it wasn’t the case. Instead, thanks to the single, “Had a Dream (Sleeping With the Enemy), getting a fair amount of airplay on radio, I could tell him that former Supertramp guitar/vocalist Roger Hodgson had released his first solo album. One point to me, I think. Besides, my friend was a total Duranie and very anti- heavy metal.

I still feel the same way about Roger’s debut album, “In the Eye of the Storm,” now as I did back then. It could have been another Supertramp album. It became abundantly clear to me that Roger was the driving force behind the band and with his solo album, it was pretty much the same. Not that it’s a bad thing because it’s not. I’ve always liked Supertramp’s version of 1970s progressive rock. Nice keyboard work laced with some guitar done very creatively over rather long songs. I have this memory of Supertramp songs usually being in excess of five minutes, except for a few of the ones released as singles. It is the same on Roger’s album. Four of the seven songs are over seven minutes long and one is just a second below six. In a musical world where synth pop was emerging, I thought it was great to still hear some good progressive rock.

Though unusual for me, I have to say that “Had a Dream (Sleeping With the Enemy) is my favourite track. I liked it enough when radio cut huge chunks out of the song for airplay so the full eight minute plus version was even better. The entire progressive rock arsenal went into making this one. Some great keyboards with bouts of both acoustic and electric guitar with Hodgson’s unmistakable vocals. It all adds up to a great song. Of course, there are other nice songs too. I do like “In Jeopardy” as it is more classic Supertramp. “Hooked on a Problem” is an interesting one. The introduction reminds me of the classic, “The Logical Song” but transforms into sounding like a carnival. I would be repeating myself if I dissected every song, except for “Lovers in the Wind” which does nothing for me personally and credit where due, Roger definitely chose the right song for the closer.

Except for where noted below, I thought it was cool that he got Michael Shrieve of HSAS fame to play drums on the album, Roger plays all of the instruments himself on the album proving what a fine musician he is.

Track Listing:

  1. Had a Dream (Sleeping With the Enemy)
  2. In Jeopardy
  3. Lovers in the Wind
  4. Hooked on a Problem
  5. Give Me Love, Give Me Life
  6. I’m Not Afraid
  7. Only Because of You

Roger Hodgson

Roger Hodgson- vocals, guitar, keyboards, bass, drums on “Hooked on a Problem” and “Lovers in the Wind”

Michael Shrieve- drums, except on tracks 3 and 4

Ken Alldaryce- harmonica, backing vocals

Jimmy Johnson- fretless bass on “Lovers in the Wind” and “Only Because of You”

Claire Diament- female vocals on “Only Because of You”

Scott Page- saxophone on “Hooked on a Problem

Thinking back, I now realize that there was more great progressive rock back in the mid 80s than I allowed myself to believe. This debut album from Roger Hodgson is indisputable evidence of that.

Next Post: Soundtrack to Footloose

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.com/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1507494631&sr=8-3&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Triumphs and Other Happenings in 1984

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 10, 2017 by 80smetalman

 

Evidence that heavy metal had truly established itself in 1984 can be sited with the 1984 Monsters of Rock Festival at Donington Park, in England. This was the first and probably only Donington to feature seven artists and you can only look at the poster here, see which bands played on draw your own conclusions as to whether or not it was a kick ass day. I wasn’t there but I know people who were and they can confirm it. The only negative comment I heard about the day was that Motley Crue had bottles thrown at them for making too many comments about sex, drugs and rock and roll. Something an opening band should probably not do. Anyway, to see Ozzy, Van Halen and AD/DC all on one stage must have been mind blowing.

I must apologize for Youtube not having any individual songs recorded from this memorable day.

Cyndi Lauper

You are probably asking yourself, “What is she doing here on an 80smetalman’s post?” Well, some misguided individuals thought that Cyndi Lauper had replaced Joan Jett or Pat Benatar as the Queen of Rock in 1984. Nonsense, I say. I will never recognize Cyndi Lauper as such and will go to my grave stating that fact. Yes, I liked “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” the very first time I heard it but afterwards, I wanted to take an Uzi to the television every time the video came on MTV. The only song from of hers I nearly liked since was “Money Changes Everything” and a few years later, grew to like “I Drove All Night” a little.

So, why is she here you ask. Back when I posted about my weekend at Download, where I went to see wrestling, I mentioned that the Rock and Wrestling Connection began in 1984 and it began with Cyndi. At the time, wrestling manager, Captain Lou Albano, claimed she managed Cyndi Lauper on wrestling shows. Cyndi refuted that claim and without going into great details, she made a challenge to Captain Lou that she could manage a wrestler better than him. So, while Lou took Women’s World Champion The Fabulous Moolah under his wing, Cyndi managed challenger Wendi Richter. I’ll leave  you to watch the video to see who won but the Rock and Wrestling Connection started here.

There was a tragedy too in 1984 but that happened at the very end of the year, so I’m saving it for the end of the 1984 tour. So here, let us reflect on the happy times with all the great heavy metal and some wrestling too.

Next post: My Underrated Band

To Buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.com/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1505042182&sr=8-3&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Hit Wonders of 1984 and Another Significant Songs

Posted in 1980s, Humour, Music, Rock, television, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 6, 2017 by 80smetalman

Its that time again where I look at some of the one hit wonders of the year I am visiting. There were some interesting ones in 1984 with others who were wrongly considered such by the so called mainstream public. Some great heavy metal acts fell under this misbelief. So without further ado, let’s start with what was the most successful hit, “Missing You” by John Waite.

John Waite

What I couldn’t believe was that after doing a bit of research, that John Waite had a pretty impressive discography. However, the only song I and many others will remember him for would be this great soft rock ballad that went to number one. Although many metalheads wouldn’t admit it back then, they did like it. It can be found on quite a few soft rock compilation albums.

Dwight Twilley

The next one comes from American songwriter Dwight Twilley. He had been around for years as I have learned but he is best known for his 1984 top 20 hit “Girls.” This mid tempo rock tune takes me back to the time when the build up to the metal explosion in 1984 was just about to happen. I haven’t heard this song for years but listening to it for the purposes of research was very pleasant. I wonder if this one is on any compilation albums.

Dog Police

In 1984, MTV had a monthly segment called “Basement Video.” The premise was six videos from unsigned artists would be played and the winner would go onto the grand final. In January, a video from a Memphis Tennessee outfit called Dog Police won with their self titled single. I even phone up and voted for it. What I remember about them was that upon the introduction to the video it was said that Dog Police wanted to become the Frank Zappa of music video. Unfortunately, that never happened and they only finished fourth in the grand final. Still, it’s a great video and song.

Rick Derringer

All I know for sure with this next one was that I first heard the song  “I Play Guitar” by Rick Derringer in 1984 when I saw the video for said song. I loved it straight away! Now, I’m not sure if this song actually came out in this year but because 84 was when I first heard it, I’m including it here just because it’s such a kick ass song. Before this, I had only heard how great a guitarist Rick was but this song proved it. And because I can’t find the official MTV video on Youtube, you get this really cool live version.

Naff song of 1984

Tracey Ulman

In the eyes of most of the world, Tracey Ulman is a brilliant comedy actress. I love her wit. But in 1984, she put an album and MTV treated the world to the single from it, “They Don’t Know.” I had the misfortune of hearing it on the car radio a couple of months ago. The song is totally naff, with a 1960s pop feel and even the guitar solo sounds naff. Don’t worry, I won’t inflict it upon you, my readers, but rest assured, I am glad that she stuck to comedy. The rest of the world is probably glad too. However, I can identify with her sense of humour with the title of her album “You Broke My Heart in 17 Places.” I have this habit of picking out numbers like that.

Next post: Music News of 1984

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.com/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1504721323&sr=8-8&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1984: Big Country- Steeltown

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on August 31, 2017 by 80smetalman

After much contemplation, actually thirty plus years of it, I have arrived at the conclusion that Scottish rockers, Big Country have been given a bad rap by many in the rock world. I think that because of their first big hit “In a Big Country” from their 1983 album, “The Crossing,” which sounded a little new wave pop to some and the fact that MTV played the video to death. What also didn’t help them was that on this, their 1984 album, “Steeltown,” they went on tour with Hall and Oates, which led me and many others to conclude they were simply a top forty band. In truth, they weren’t and had some interesting sounds that metalheads and those not into trends could like together.

What they do so well on this album and their others as well is to blend the hard rock, new wave with their Celtic roots. Blended together, it makes a very interesting but enjoyable sound. The title track is the prime example of what I mean. One minute you are gently rocking away to it and the next you find yourself lost in the Celtic melody of the song. An added bonus is the political/historical message in the lyrics. “Steeltown” is about the town of Corby where many local Scots went to work in the newly opened steel mill in 1935 only to find themselves unemployed when it shut down in the early 1980s following the decline of the steelworks. The song was very apt for that time.

The rest of the album follows along in the same vein. Hard rock with great local melodies entwine themselves in every song. One thing I find on a personal note is that “East of Eden” was their only top 20 single from the album but I think that there are better songs on it and with me, that’s usually the criteria for a good album in my twisted mind. As far as singles go, I prefer the non top 20 reaching one, “Where the Rose is Sown.” That only made it to 29  but it has all the things I like on the album. “Come Back to Me” is also an interesting one. It’s kind of a ballad but it’s not but it does have some nice drum work on it. “Rain Dance” also stands out for me and “The Great Divide” is the hardest rock track but I can’t say there’s a bad song on here.

Track Listing:

  1. Flame of the West
  2. East of Eden
  3. Steeltown
  4. Where the Rose is Sown
  5. Come Back to Me
  6. Tall Ships Go
  7. Girl With Grey Eyes
  8. Rain Dance
  9. The Great Divide
  10. Just a Shadow

Big Country

Stuart Adamson- lead vocals, guitar, piano

Mark Brzezicki- drums, percussion, vocals

Tony Butler- bass, vocals

Bruce Watson- guitar, mandolin, sitar, vocals

For the reasons I mentioned at the start of the post, this album largely passed me by in 1984. Don’t worry, I’ve already given myself 40 lashes for it. It would be the next album when I would stop and say, “Hey wait a minute, these guys are pretty good.” Still, better late than never and I can say that this album is the real deal.

Next post:  REO Speedwagon- Wheels Are Turnin’

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to:  https://www.amazon.com/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1504208727&sr=8-8&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1984: The Kinks- Word of Mouth

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 6, 2017 by 80smetalman

In the waning months of 1984, I was hit by a sudden epiphany one day whilst I was watching MTV. The video for The Kinks’ first single, “Do It Again” from the 1984 “Word of Mouth” album came on and it hit. While many bands and genres in rock had come and gone, the Kinks were still going strong for twenty years. In fact, “Word of Mouth” was their 20th album! What helped was the fact that I really liked “Do It Again.” On Friday nights, after a heavy night’s partying, my friends and I would go to our favourite diner. Back in the day, diners had individual juke boxes in each both, so we would have to put on some tunes while we awaited our feasts. In the last months of 1984 and the first months of 85, “Do It Again” was constantly selected. Why not, it was a great song and still is.

One thing the Kinks have always been so successful at during their tenure was to bend a little with music trends while at the same time, remaining The Kinks. On this album, their sound is definitely in the no man’s land between hard and progressive rock and I don’t mean this in any derisory way. I mean that track I have loved so much over the past three decades and opens the album is a good hard rock song. The next couple of tracks follow suit, although the title track is the harder one of the two which follow “Do It Again.” Then comes another really great track that is hot on the heels of my favourite track. “Living on a Thin Line” has both elements of hard and progressive rock. There’s a very catchy melody accented by keyboards but the guitars really crunch when required to do so. An added bonus for me back then and now is the political statement in the lyrics. Dave Davies wrote the song to convey his hatred of politicians with the insinuation that politics in Britain then hadn’t moved on much from England in the middle ages. I can see that as this album came out during the peak of the miner’s strike.

Following on are two very interesting rock songs in the form of “Sold Me Out” and “Massive Reductions.” The keyboards on the latter track are a bit of a paradox for me. In my mind, the Kinks’ 1983 single “Come Dancing” was the worst song they ever made. I know a lot of you probably don’t agree and that’s cool. Anyway, on “Massive Reductions,” the keyboards sound very similar to that song I don’t like very much. However, with the hard rock of the guitars, the keyboards work well on that song. “Guilty” is a straight forward rocker and the lyrics “Guilty until proven innocent” seemed to ring true for me at the time. Not that I was in any trouble with the law. “Too Hot” is a fun song that reminds me of the Kinks of old, not that they really changed that much over the years. It’s just a catchy vibe that makes you want to wiggle back and forth in your chair.

Another interesting song is “Missing Persons” which is the closest song to a ballad on the album. It is a slow song but the drums are done in military fashion and it does get harder when it needs to punctuate its point. “Summer’s Gone” is a cross between 1960s pop and heavy metal. Sounds weird I know but believe me, it works on here. Some good guitar work on here too. Maybe it was a summertime fun song for the 1980s. “Going Solo” is a good closer and I have always wondered about it. With the lyrics: “My little girl’s going solo” combined with the fact that the band members were parents, that it’s about a daughter who’s grown up and leaving the house. Just a thought, but you can’t fault the album.

Track Listing:

  1. Do It Again
  2. Word of Mouth
  3. Good Day
  4. Living on a Thin Line
  5. Sold Me Out
  6. Massive Reductions
  7. Guilty
  8. Too Hot
  9. Missing Persons
  10. Summer’s Gone
  11. Going Solo

The Kinks

Ray Davies- guitar, vocals, keyboards, harmonica

Dave Davies- guitars, backing vocals, lead vocal on “Living on a Thin Line” and “Guilty”

Jim Rodford- bass, backing vocals

Mick Avory- drums on “Missing Persons,” “Sold Me Out” and “Going Solo”

Bob Henrit- drums on all other tracks

Ian Gibbons- keyboards and backing vocals

Twenty years and the Kinks were still going strong as the “Word of Mouth” album certainly showed. Looking back, it amazes me just how much good rock was out there in the year so much metal was being aired.

Next post: There will be no post later on this week as I’m off to Newcastle Upon Tyne for a much needed break. However, I will go to Trillian’s and if I happen to see a good band or two whilst I’m there, you’ll read about it here.

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.com/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1502046608&sr=8-7&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1984: David Gilmour- About Face

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 13, 2017 by 80smetalman

Like Lennon and McCartney after the Beatles split and Henley and Frey after the split of the Eagles, I wonder if Roger Waters and David Gilmour were entwined in some music one-upsmanship after the imagined Pink Floyd split following the last album with Waters, “The Final Cut.” Early in the year, we were treated to Roger’s album, “The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking,” which I’ve already posted about. In the months that followed, Pink Floyd guitarist, David Gilmour, released his solo album, “About Face.”

One thing I will never do is allow myself to be dragged into any debate as to which was the better album between Waters and Gilmour. Don’t even ask because even after thirty-three years, I couldn’t give an answer. I like both of them very much.

Some critic back then stated that “About Face” had a commercial feel that Pink Floyd were never bothered with. I would never call this album commercial, even if in a 2006 interview, Gilmour stated that he thought that it was too 80s. Well, maybe it was for him. In my not so humble opinion, I think that the album doesn’t go too far from the Pink Floyd formula. While I wouldn’t call the opening track typically Floyd, I do think “Until We Sleep” a cool space rock tune. I can easily listen to it while puffing the magic dragon and might have done so. However, the next two tracks are definitely Pink Floyd style tracks. The first of these, “Murder” was written in angry reaction to the senseless murder of John Lennon. On the track, Gilmour really vents that anger with a hair raising guitar solo. “Blue Light” has a funky jazz beat with the horns and this song is probably the farthest song from the traditional Pink Floyd trademark. I like it regardless.

“Out of the Blue” goes back to more familiar territory, nothing wrong with that either, but the track after, “All Lovers are Deranged” is a bit of a rocker. The lyrics were written by Who guitarist Peter Townsend and you can hear a bit of early Who in the song. It had to have been put on the album to give the listener a shock after being absorbed by the mellower track before it. “Don’t Turn You Back” starts out like a Floyd-esque song but there’s some interesting stuff going on in the middle of it with horns. If there was any track on the album that sounded commercial 80s, then it would be “Cruise.” I have always wondered why it never was released as a single. With its more easy listening style, the trendy top forty types might have liked it even if they didn’t know anything about David Gilmour or Pink Floyd. Some good organ work behind a reggae tint makes this song. Another interesting song is the instrumental that is “Let’s Get Metaphysical.” This goes from being spacey type Floyd to jazzy horns to some very good progressive sounds. The thing is that with all of this mixed together, David pulls it off. That must be a tribute to his genius. Then he ends things in what I call typical Pink Floyd fashion with “Near the End.” A long sounded space out track with some great Gilmour guitar licks. It is the best song to end with.

One thing consistent on every song is the guitar work of David Gilmour. He does let himself go more and while I always liked his guitar work with Pink Floyd, he outshines himself on “About Face.” It also helps that he put a great band together as well as some cool guest musicians to play with him.

Track Listing:

  1. Until We Sleep
  2. Murder
  3. Love On the Air
  4. Blue Light
  5. Out of the Blue
  6. All Lovers are Deranged
  7. Don’t Turn Your Back
  8. Cruise
  9. Let’s Get Metaphysical
  10. Near the End

David Gilmour

David Glimour- guitars, lead vocals, bass

Jeff Procraro- drums, percussion

Pino Palladino- bass

Ian Kewley- organ

Additional Musicians

Steve Winwood- organ on “Blue Light” and piano on “Love on the Air”

Jon Lord- synthesizer

Anne Dudley- synthesizer

Bob Ezrin- keyboards, orchestral arrangement

The Kick Horns- brass

Luis Jardim, Ray Cooper- percussion

Roy Harper, Sam Brown, Vicki Brown, Mickey Feat- vocals

The National Philharmonic Orchestra

David Gilmour popped out onto the music world of 1984 with a great solo album. Okay, it didn’t have the chart success even if Dave thought it was too 1980s. Many Pink Floyd fans do like it and so do some who weren’t. A great effort from a fine musician.

Next post: The Bangles- All Over the Place

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.com/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1499972446&sr=8-8&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1984: Marillion- Fugazi

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on July 8, 2017 by 80smetalman

If there hadn’t been so much heavy metal available in 1984, I wouldn’t have missed the second album from the band I call the progressive rock kings of the 1980s, Marillion. While the “Fugazy” album was wowing people in the UK, I was too busy headbanging away for it to catch my notice.Was it a shame that I didn’t listen to any Marillion until 1985 and this album until 87? It sure is but I’ve made up for it since.

At the opening notes of the album’s first song, “Assassing,”I can hear a definite influence from 1970s prog icons Emerson, Lake and Palmer. Maybe it’s that horn sound that reminds me of “Fanfare for the Common Man” that does it. Still, “Assassing” is a brilliant song, very underrated, even in the scope of Marillion songs. “Punch and Judy” follows next and there are elements of hard rock in the song that I truly like.

The next three songs have always melded together for me with the standout part being the middle song, Emerald Lies.” “Emerald Lies” is a great versatile song that makes use of keyboards and guitars in all the right parts. This is another great progressive rock tune that requires one to sit down and listen in order to appreciate its beauty to its full potential. The song after, “She Chameleon” has always sounded weird to me but not in a bad way. There are keyboard parts that sound like a horror or sci fi film and Steve Rothery does play a mean guitar solo on it. The album closes with two of the strongest tracks on the album, “Incubus” and “Fugazi.” Both are very catchy prog rock tunes that have you bouncing along until the end. There might only be seven songs on the “Fugazi” but when the album is done, you definitely feel you had more than your money’s worth.

In an age where many bands were dumbing down their sound, it was great to hear that Marillion was one of those bands who continued to sound intelligent. They were musicians who actually cared about how well they played and that is evidenced on this album and other ones. One thing “Fugazi” surprises you with is with all the changes in all of the songs. One minute you’re drifting off to some great keyboard wizardry from Kelly and then bang! Rothery powers up the guitar. Then there’s the unmistakable vocals of Fish. He makes poetry come alive to music.

Track Listing:

  1. Assassing
  2. Punch and Judy
  3. Jigsaw
  4. Emerald Lies
  5. She Chameleon
  6. Incubus
  7. Fugazi

Marillion

Fish- vocals

Steve Rothery- guitars

Mark Kelly- keyboards

Pete Trawavas- bass

Ian Mosley- drums

Marillion would make the major breakthrough to my listening ears a year later and I would embrace them. Eventually, I would go back through their catalogue and savour the music thanks to my first wife who was a big Marillion fan. That would be the first concert we went to as husband and wife. With all of that said, “Fugazi” was too good of an album for me to miss out on in 1984.

Next post: David Gilmour- About Face

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.com/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1499533067&sr=8-8&keywords=michael+d+lefevre