Archive for David Bowie

Great Rock Albums of 1984: David Bowie- Tonight

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 14, 2018 by 80smetalman

Every year through the journey through the golden age of heavy metal, there is no doubt in my mind that I missed an album or two that was considered a great album in that year. One I nearly missed was the “Tonight” album from the legendary David Bowie. My (poor) excuse for this was the fact that I was so caught up in posting about all the great metal albums that this one nearly past me by.

Thinking back to said year, I remember when the single, “Blue Jean,” from the album first appeared on MTV, my reaction to the song was, “Hey, David has gone back to his more traditional roots that brought him fame, no pun intended, in the 1970s.” “Blue Jean” is considered a light rocker in my eyes and it is the best song on the album. Back then, it persuaded me that “Tonight” would be better than his previous album, “Let’s Dance,” so I went out an procured it. After a listen, I came to the conclusion that “Tonight” was better than “Let’s Dance,” but not that much better.

For the first few songs, “Tonight” sounds like it was it was preformed by a late 1970s lounge act. Everything that comprises such a thing is present in these songs. It’s definitely music to mellow out to, however, I can not fault the first rate musicianship on the songs. It is why I can say that while theses songs aren’t exactly my cup of tea, they still provide good listening to if you are in the right mood. Two prime examples are the seven minute long opener, “Loving the Alien” and his mellowed cover of the Beach Boys classic, “God Only Knows.”

For those who have “Tonight” on vinyl or cassette, side two goes in a more harder rock direction starting with “Neighbourhood Threat.” This is a decent rocker and even more harder than the single “Blue Jean” and precisely the reason why it’s the hidden gem on the album. The single comes next and things pretty much carry on from there, although the remainder of the songs aren’t quite as hard rock as these two. Saying that, I do like the horns sound in “I Keep Forgettin.'” The second side is definitely the better side for me.

Track Listing:

  1. Loving the Alien
  2. Don’t Look Down
  3. God Only Knows
  4. Tonight
  5. Neighbourhood Threat
  6. Blue Jean
  7. Tumble and Twirl
  8. I Keep Forgettin’
  9. Dancing With the Big Boys

David Bowie

David Bowie- lead vocals

Derek Bramble- guitar, synthesizers, bass, backing vocals

Carlos Alomar- guitar

Omar Hakim- drums

Carmine Rojas- bass

Mark King- bass on “Tumble and Twirl”

Rob Yale- CMI on “Loving the Alien,” “Tonight” and “God Only Knows”

Guy St Ange-marimba

Sammy Figueroa- percussion

Tina Turner- vocals on “Tonight”

Iggy Pop- backing vocals on “Dancing With the Big Boys”

Robin Clark, George Simms, Curtis King- backing vocals

The Borneo Horns:

Stanley Harrison- alto and tenor saxophones

Lenny Pickett- tenor sax, clarinet

Steve Elson- baritone saxophone

Arif Mardison- string arrangements, synthesizers

Okay, David Bowie’s 1984 album “Tonight” doesn’t make me stop wanting to listen to “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and Spiders From Mars” but it is, at least in my opinion, better than his more commercial album, “Let’s Dance.” While it’s not something I would want to listen to in conjunction with any metal album, it is still a good album to lay back, mellow out and appreciate the fine playing on it.

Next post: Tank- Honour & Blood

To get Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://crreadac.cf/current/ebooks-free-download-rock-and-roll-children-fb2-by-michael-d-lefevre.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

1983- Triumphs and Tragedies

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 27, 2016 by 80smetalman
The Alamo

The Alamo

The only tragedy I remember from 1983 actually happened the year before. Due to my military service, I didn’t find out about it until 83 when I read about all the fallout from it. I’m talking about when Ozzy Osbourne pissed on the Alamo. He claims he was drunk as a skunk, (I’ve never seen a drunk skunk so I have nothing to compare it to.) Ozzy also said he didn’t know it was such a national shrine, well it is in Texas. The result of his action got him banned from the city of San Antonio for ten years, although that was lifted a few years later when he made a large donation to the Alamo charity.

Ozzy Osbourne

Ozzy Osbourne

Ozzy was already getting himself a reputation outside the heavy metal world for the wrong reasons. His infamous biting the head off a bat was making its rounds. Of course, the religious element in America embellished things further. There were rumours he blew up goats on stage and at one show, he supposedly threw a puppy into the crowd and said he wouldn’t sing anymore until the audience killed the puppy. While this was all untrue hype, it didn’t help Ozzy when he actually did something for real. So for Ozzy and somewhat in the metal world, this was a bit of a tragedy because it overshadowed the two albums he released in the year. I’ll be covering those soon enough.

Now for the triumphs. It seems that 1983 was a cool year for festivals. I got to go to two of them. The first one, I mentioned when I posted about the Nantucket and Doc Holliday albums a few months ago. Those two bands topped the bill at the Mayfair Festival at Jacksonville, North Carolina. The other five bands remain pretty much unheard of with the bottom three being cover bands. So, I thought I’d include them in this little piece of history. They were Skeet Kelly, Roxy, Avalanche- who did a great cover of Sammy Hagar’s “Heavy Metal,” Peer Pressure- who did a reasonably decent cover of John Cougar’s “Hurt So Good” and Eraxle- who closed their set with a fantastic cover of Van Halen’s “Ice Cream Man.” I consumed loads of alcohol and there were some interesting events between the bands like a wet t-shirt and a men’s ugly legs competition. A fine day from what I remember.

Nantucket

Nantucket

Military commitments kept me from attending this festival but my sister went. I tried to pick her brains but she didn’t remember much. In the June, Journey headlined in Philadelphia and with them were John Cougar, Sammy Hagar, The Tubes and Bryan Adams. From what she can remember, my sister says that Journey sounded great and had a fantastic light show. John Cougar and Bryan Adams were both very good as was Sammy Hagar despite his red spandex. Unfortunately, The Tubes weren’t up to the rest of those who played that day. If this line up played in more cities than Philly, I would love to hear your account of the day.

Journey Live

Journey Live

It didn’t matter that I was in the military for this one, I couldn’t have gone to the US Festival because it was 3000 miles away in California. The US Festival was a three day festival where the first day consisted of new wave bands, the second day’s line up was heavy metal and the third day’s was a rock line up. From what I heard, all three days were fantastic although I do recall an interview with a local sheriff saying that he was going to try to ban such events following the festival. I didn’t think about it then, but that was the first salvo fired at music in the 1980s. I think the best thing to do is just to let you look at the line up for the three days and I’m sure you will be just as awestruck as I was.

Us Festival Showbill

Us Festival Showbill

I did get to the final festival in 1983. This was my first Donington Festival as I happened to be in England at the time. From my memory, I can recall that Diamond Head were all right and Dio were very good. I didn’t twig on who the lead singer was until they played “Heaven and Hell” but that was okay. They were brilliant. Then came Twisted Sister. I can still remember Dee Snider’s quip: “We’re not Culture Club or any of those gay boys or Duran Duran nor any of those other wimps. We’re Twisted Sister and we play heavy metal rock and roll!” Of course I knew there must of been something about them when they were introduced as Twisted Fuckin’ Sister. Their music was great too.

For me, ZZ Top took the concert. They played a magnificent combination of old and new material during their time on stage. Of course it helped that they played my two favourite ZZ Top tunes, “Jesus Just Left Chicago” and “La Grange.” They also played quite a few songs off their new “Eliminator” album so they basically rocked. The big let down after ZZ Top was Meatloaf. I was not impressed, he just sounded terrible that day. Worse, my friend’s English girlfriend didn’t realize that they ran a special train after the concert so out of fear of getting stuck, we left early and missed headliners, Whitesnake. I remain gutted but overall, Donington 1983 was a kick ass day and proved that Great Britain could rock.

donfest83

 

That was 1983 in a nutshell. The only real tragedy was Ozzy pissing on a national shrine but all the great concert festivals more than compensated for it. Just posting about it has me psyched for Bloodstock in two weeks. It was no wonder I was super excited when I got out of the marines that year.

Next post: Great Soundtracks

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 1983: Supertramp- Famous Last Words

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 21, 2016 by 80smetalman

220px-Supertramp_-_Famous_Last_Words

Released at the end of 1982, “Famous Last Words” by Supertramp came to my attention in the first few weeks of 1983. I happened to see the video for the biggest single off the album, “It’s Raining Again,” while at a disco in Tokyo. When I say saw the video, I mean literally. While the video was played on the club’s television screen, the music being played definitely wasn’t Supertramp. It would be a month later when I returned to Okinawa, I would finally get to hear the song matched up to the video.

As I reflect back to those early months of 1983 and some of the albums I have posted about so far, I am beginning to think that this year wasn’t a very good one for some of the established superstars of rock. It seemed that like David Bowie and Todd Rundgren, Supertramp also decided to go for a more commercial sound. In their case, “Famous Last Words” was an attempt to build on the success of their previous studio album, “Breakfast in America.” However, I don’t think this album measures up to their previous classic.

supbia

Let’s not be too negative about “Famous Last Words,” there are some bright spots on it. First, take the big single for instance. Sure, it reeks of commercialdom but there is enough of Supertramp’s presence on it to know that it is theirs. Still, there are better songs on it, like the very jazz sounding “My Kind of Lady.” The sax solo on that song does blow me away. “Crazy” and “Put On Your Brown Shoes” are also decent tunes. I do like the honky tonk piano in the latter and Ann and Nancy Wilson from Heart perform backing vocals on it but my personal favourite on this album has to be “Bonnie.” To me that song is Supertramp from their glory days back in the 1970s. I’m talking stuff like my favourite Supertramp album, “Crime of the Century.”

cotc

Track Listing:

  1. Crazy
  2. Put On Your Brown Shoes
  3. It’s Raining Again
  4. Bonnie
  5. Know Who You Are
  6. My Kind of Lady
  7. C’est Le Bon
  8. Waiting So Long
  9. Don’t Leave Me Now
Supertramp

Supertramp

Rick Davies- keyboards, lead and backing vocals, harmonica, melodica solo on “Its Raining Again”

John Helliwell- saxophone, keyboards

Roger Hodgeson- guitar, lead and backing vocals

Bob Seibenberg- drums

Dougie Thompson- bass

“Famous Last Words” may not be as good as some of Supertramp’s more classic albums but it is enjoyable nonetheless. Maybe like so many artists back then, they were trying too hard for commercial success. It could also be why Roger Hodgeson would go solo after this album.

Next post: Billy Idol- White Wedding

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 1983: U2- War

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 17, 2016 by 80smetalman

220px-U2_War_album_cover

My original intention was to post U2’s breakthrough album “War” in succession with Todd Rundgren and Bryan Adams. However, with the death of David Bowie, I felt the need to abandon that intention in order to pay proper homage to a true rock icon. The idea for my original intention came about because back in 1983, there was a chance to see Todd Rundgren, U2 and Bryan Adams together. They were playing a concert in Charlotte, North Carolina and the local radio station in Jacksonville, where I was stationed, was running a bus to it. I would have loved to have gone but unfortunately, the Marine Corps stuck me on duty that day so I couldn’t. It’s no wonder why I didn’t re-enlist.

Like I said a second again, u2’s third album, “War” was the album where they finally got the attention they deserved in the US. In 1983 and I’ve probably said this before, commercial radio didn’t totally suck, so when the monster hits, “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and “New Year’s Day,” blew me away when they got played, I naturally had to get a hold of the album. Especially, having heard their first two albums, “Boy” and “October.” U2 was one of those bands where I could tell the johnny come lately’s that I was listening to them before they got famous.

What I have always liked about War is that, at least in my ears, it’s not much different to their first two albums. They didn’t have to change to get accepted, (something they would forget in the years to follow.) U2 brought a different sound to the table which many people liked when they got to hear it. The fascinating thing about “War” is that the album has been enjoyed by both metalheads and Duranies (people who worshiped Duran Duran) alike. In fact, they have often been labelled ‘punk’ mainly because there was no other category in which to put them.

So many great things have been said about the “War” album, I would just be repeating them and even now, I find it difficult to find my own words. I know I just really like this album. The two singles already mentioned are my joint second favourite U2 songs of all time, “I Will Follow” takes the top slot. However, I was more than slightly disappointed when they didn’t play the third single from the album, “Two Hearts Beat as One” when I finally got to see them live in 1985. While all of the songs are good, I would have to pick “Surrender” as my favourite of the lesser known songs on “War.”

Track Listing:

  1. Sunday Bloody Sunday
  2. Seconds
  3. New Year’s Day
  4. Like a Song
  5. Drowning Man
  6. The Refugee
  7. Two Hearts Beat as One
  8. Red Light
  9. Surrender
  10. 40
U2

U2

Bono- lead vocals, additional guitar

The Edge- guitars, piano, backing vocals, lead vocal on “Seconds”

Adam Clayton- bass

Larry Mullen Jr- drums

In 1983, U2 finally broke into the big time with a fantastic album “War.” This album was a milestone for the band and fans like me in so many ways. In fact, often times I think that the band should go back and listen to this album and remember what got them to where they are.

Next post: Supertramp- Famous Last Words

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 1983: David Bowie- Let’s Dance

Posted in 1980s, Death, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 13, 2016 by 80smetalman

David-bowie-lets-dance (1)

So far, the new year isn’t starting off very well for rock and metal. Two weeks ago, we lose Lemmy to cancer and then two days ago, cancer claims David Bowie. Right now is a time for tragedy and great morning.

One observation I have made goes back to that metal hating newspaper, The Sun. At Lemmy’s passing, the paper devoted pages 14 and 15 to talk about his life and contribution to music. However, yesterday’s Sun put David Bowie on the front cover and dedicated about eight pages, at least, to him. Now, I know the argument that Bowie was more well known than Lemmy and sold more records and had many more Top 40 hits. But still, the difference in the amount of coverage by the paper is way out of proportion.

When I began to assemble my list for albums of 1983, I was in two minds on whether or not to include Bowie’s 1983 “Let’s Dance” album. For me, it’s not his best album. It’s a long way down from classics like “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and Spiders From Mars,” an album I visited many eons ago. However, being an open minded person and having mellowed a little with old age, I thought it fair that I give it another listen. My opinion of “Let’s Dance” has improved but only a little bit. To me, it still sounds too 80s mainstream pop.

220px-ZiggyStardust

Here’s the good news. When I first heard the title cut all those years ago, I was put off by the domineering bass in the song. I thought he was trying to go for a dance record with it. Hearing it again, I realise now that “Let’s Dance” has a real killer guitar solo. Naturally, I had to look up to discover who played this great solo and very much to my surprise, I have learned that the guitar virtuoso was none other than guitar great Stevie Ray Vaughan. Better yet, not only does he shine on the title cut but his talents explode all over this album. So, I ask myself, “How could have I missed out this great guitar work over thirty years ago?” My only answer is that the mainstream 8os sound put me off so much, that I missed the great guitar solos.

Stevie Ray Vaughan

Stevie Ray Vaughan

Another point to make is that there is absolutely nothing wrong with Bowie’s vocals anywhere on the album. When you listen to each song, you know without a shadow of a doubt that it’s the Starman singing. His unique voice was as good as ever. This leads me to alter my original verdict on “Let’s Dance” to state that Bowie’s vocals and Vaughan’s guitar work save the album. Like with many albums, I did find a lesser known good track on this one. That track is “Cat People (Putting Out Fire)” and that even takes the top spot from the former fave, “Modern Love.”

Track Listing:

  1. Modern Love
  2. China Girl
  3. Let’s Dance
  4. Without You
  5. Ricochet
  6. Criminal World
  7. Cat People (Putting Out Fire)
  8. Shake It
David Bowie

David Bowie

David Bowie- vocals

Carmine Rojas- bass

Omar Hakim, Tony Thompson- drums

Nile Rodgers- guitar, horn arrangements

Stevie Ray Vaughan- lead guitar

Rob Sabino- keyboards

Mac Gallehon- trumpet

Robert Aaron, Lenny Pickett, Stan Harrison- tenor saxophone, flute

Steve Elson- baritone saxophone, flute

Sammy Figueroa- percussion

Frank Simms, George Simms, David Spinner- backing vocals

175px-David-Bowie_Early

R.I.P. David Bowie

While “Let’s Dance” is better than what I remember from over thirty years ago, after I listened to it, I did listen to “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and Spiders From Mars” again. That album is more my style. Whichever album you from David Bowie you prefer, you can’t the fault the contribution this great singer made to music for over forty years.

Next Post: U2- War  (Unless someone else who put out an album in 1983 dies)

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Great Rock Albums of 70s: David Bowie- The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and Spiders from Mars

Posted in Heavy Metal, Music with tags , , , , , , on November 14, 2011 by 80smetalman

I thought I was ready to move onto the next chapter of this tour through heavy metal history, but as what has been always happening to me, another great rock album from the 70s has sprouted to mind. I came upon this one while listening to my MP3 the other day which contains my two favourite Bowie songs of all time; “Space Oddity” and “Ziggy Stardust.” I know that the album “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and Spiders from Mars” only contains one of those songs, but I have decided to visit the album anyway.

The best reason for visiting the album is quite simple, for an ageing metalhead like me, it takes me back to a time of pure rock. Great tracks like the “Ziggy Stardust,” “Starman” and “Suffragette City” are true rock anthems which helped laid a foundation to the metal we know and love today. For me, this was a time when I thought David Bowie was good before he settled for being popular. Sorry, I just couldn’t get into that “Let’s Dance” stuff in the mid 80s. But Metallica should take note.

Track Listing:

1. Five Years

2. Soul Love

3. Moonage Daydream

4. Starman

5. It Ain’t Easy

6. Lady Stardust

7. Star

8. Hang On In To Yourself

9. Ziggy Stardust

10. Suffragette City

11. Rock And Roll Suicide

David Bowie- vocals, piano, accoustic guitar, harpsichord

Mick Ronson- guitars, piano, backing vocals

Trevor Bolder- bass

Mick Woodmansey- drums

The other thing David Bowie can take credit for is being a key player in the glam rock of the early 1970s. Bowie along with Alice Cooper, The Sweet and later KISS would create an image which would influence a good many metal bands a decade later. If you fancy listening to a classic rock album, then try this one.

Next Post: Judas Priest- Sad Wings of Destiny

To Buy Rock And Roll Children, go to www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available in Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle