Archive for Earth

Great???? Rock Albums of 1985: Starship- Knee Deep in the Hoopla

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 17, 2018 by 80smetalman

Originally, I wasn’t going to post about this album. When I first heard tracks from the newly named Starship, (formerly Jefferson Starship) I thought, “OMG, how the mighty have fallen.” You see, from 1976-84, Jefferson Starship was my favourite band. Their albums during those years charted my own personal musical journey. The early albums from the mid to late 1970s, “Red Octopus,” “Spitfire” and “Earth” were much more progressive and considered by many to be mellow out rock. I never disagreed with this. However, there were even occasions on those albums, especially “Spitfire,” where they demonstrated they could rock out. That thought followed me into 1979 and then the early 80s where their albums, “Freedom At Point Zero,” “Modern Times” and “Winds of Change” were much more hard rock and I fully embraced the new sound as my own musical tastes were going harder.

Looking back to the past, some might argue that the 1984 “Nuclear Furniture” album was a sign of things to come with the Starship. It went back away from the total hard rock sound of the previous three albums but not as progressive as their 1970s ones. It had a more emerging 80s synth pop sound on some of the songs but not enough for me not to like it. Besides, the lyrics of many of the songs were more politically aware, something else I was getting into, so that album was okay. However, it was at this time rhythm guitarist and founding member Paul Kantner left the band and that would change the total dynamics of the band, starting with a law suit over the Jefferson moniker. If you remember when I posted about Paul’s passing, I stated that it was usually the songs he penned I liked the most on the albums.

In 1985, Starship appeared with the “Knee Deep in the Hoopla” album. I was curious and then I heard the first single, “We Built This City” on the radio and that was it. The lyrics might sing, “We built this city on rock and roll” but to me, a more accurate line would have been, “We built this city on top 40.” That song, established Starship as a top forty band with that song soaring in the charts. The second single, “Sarah,” was little better. The only thing that redeems it is Craig Chaquico hammers out a tidy guitar solo on it. But for the most part, I came to the conclusion in 1985 that Starship had sold out! Now, that label got banded about quite a lot back then and we can debate the semantics of it forever but what I did know was that I did not like their new sound.

Examining “Knee Deep in the Hoopla” further, it continues to be a top forty oriented synth pop album. Definitely not for me in 1985 and though I might have mellowed with age, it still doesn’t do it for me. The only songs which capture any interest for me are three of the middle ones, “Rock Myself to Sleep,” “Desperate Hearts” and “Private Room.” Kevin DuBrow from Quiet Riot fame sings backing vocals on “Rock Myself to Sleep” and that is the best song on the album for me. “Private Room isn’t too far behind but the rest of the album, with the possible exception of “Hearts of the World (Will Understand), doesn’t do it for me, even with Craig’s guitar solos.

What really angered me at the time and still does now is the reduction of Pete Sears to bass only. On those three early progressive albums, Pete shows his wizardry with the keyboards. I even equated him to the likes of Keith Emerson and Rick Wakeman back in the late 1970s. For further clarification, listen to the tracks, “Love Too Good” off the “Earth” album and “Sandalphon” from “Red Octopus” and I think you’ll be convinced. So, why in the hell did they relegate him to bass. Peter Wolf who plays keys on the album doesn’t hold a candle to Pete.

Track Listing:

  1. We Built This City
  2. Sarah
  3. Tomorrow Doesn’t Matter Tonight
  4. Rock Myself to Sleep
  5. Desperate Heart
  6. Private Room
  7. Before I Go
  8. Hearts of the World (Will Understand)
  9. Love Rusts

Starship

Mickey Thomas- lead vocals

Grace Slick- lead vocals

Craig Chaquico- guitar

Pete Sears- bass

Donny Baldwin- drums

Additional Musicians

Peter Wolf- keyboards

Les Garland- DJ voice on “We Built This City”

Kevin Dubrow- backing vocals on “Rock Myself to Sleep”

Another occurrence which annoyed the shit out of me back then was when I heard a Starship concert broadcast on the radio. During the concert, they played their classic hit “Find Your Way Back” from the “Modern Times” album. That song possesses the band’s greatest guitar intro of all times. However, when they played it at this concert, that great intro was all synthed out. For me, that was the final nail in the coffin and while I will always have great memories of Jefferson Starship, Starship can be left on the shelf.

Next post: Pat Benatar- Tropico

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

 

 

 

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R.I.P. Paul Kantner

Posted in Death, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 29, 2016 by 80smetalman
Paul Kantner- Jefferson Starship

Paul Kantner- Jefferson Starship

Now I am convinced the apocalypse is upon us. Not even a week since the death of Dio bassist, Jimmy Bain, another rock legend departs our world. Yesterday, it was rhythm guitarist Paul Kantner of Jefferson Airplane/Starship, who passed away from a heart attack, aged 74. Paul Kantner was one of the major reasons I was such a big Jefferson Starship fan throughout the 1970s and early 1980s. It was only after he departed the band in 1984, they ceased to be my favourite band.

Paul was not only one of the best rhythm guitarists in rock, (he was nominated for the Hugo Science Fiction Award for his efforts on Blows Against the Empire), he was also a damn good song writer. Whenever I got a new Jefferson Starship album, it was his songs that I usually liked the most on that album. His songs always tended to be more hard rock, especially during their days of mellow out rock in the late 70s. Unfortunately, many of the songs he wrote weren’t the ‘big’ singles so I doubt if they will release an album with just his songs. So what I am going to do in tribute to this great musician is to listen to all the songs he wrote or had a major hand in writing for the band and list them here if you should want to do the same.

Dragon_Fly_(Jefferson_Starship_album_-_cover_art)

From Dragonfly

  1. Ride the Tiger
  2. Caroline

redoc

From Red Octopus

  1. I Want to See Another World
  2. There Will Be Love

is

From Spitfire

  1. Dance With the Dragon
  2. St Charles
  3. Song to the Sun: Part I- Ozymandias, Part II- Don’t Let it Rain

jsearth

From Earth

  1. All Night Long

FreedomAtPointZero

From Freedom at Point Zero

  1. Lightning Rose
  2. Things to Come
  3. Girl With the Hungry Eyes
  4. Freedom at Point Zero

untitled (4)

From Modern Times

  1. Wild Eyes
  2. Modern Times
  3. Stairway to Cleveland

WindsOfChange_Jefferson_Starship

From Winds of Change

  1. Out of Control
  2. I Came Back From the Jaws of the Dragon

Nuclear_Furniture

From Nuclear Furniture

  1. Connection
  2. Rose Goes to Yale
  3. Champion

Jefferson Starship did not release an album in 1983 but Paul Kantner did put out a solo album that year, which I liked. That will be the next post.

R.I.P. Paul

Great Rock Albums of 1979: Jefferson Starship- Gold

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

As I said a few posts ago, 1979 was a big transitional year for me and I will probably say it a few more times as I continue to visit some of the great rock and metal albums from this year, so I ask your forgiveness in advance if I go on about it too much. It also turned out that 1979 was also a major transitional year for my favourite band from the 70s, Jefferson Starship. When I saw that the “Gold” album had been released in the February of that year, I just thought it was a typical greatest hits release from their albums from 1974-78 and didn’t realise what was going on behind the scenes. It would be a long time later before I learned that Grace Slick had said “I don’t want to play with you guys ever again,” after a bust up in Germany. She would also have to go to rehab for her problems with the bottle. Also, Marty Balin would also leave the band to persue a solo career. Therefore, “Gold” would mark a major change in the flight plan of the Starship.

First, let me be the first one to declare that I should be lined up against a wall and shot for not including the “Red Octopus” album in my “Great Rock Albums of the 70s” chapter in my tour. This was a great album that hit number one in the charts and unprecedented four times! And don’t be fooled by the three singles from the album that appear on here, althought I do really like “Fast Buck Freddie.” There are some other hidden rocking gems on this album so, it’s no wonder this album was so popular.

Anyway, back to “Gold.” Needless to say, it’s a greatest hits album so the songs that appear on here will have had some form of commercial success and be familiar to most people, that’s a given. However, this album had a little surprise for me the first time I listened to it. I had never heard the album “Dragon Fly” so when the song “Ride the Tiger” came blasting out of my speakers, I was totally amazed. This was a true hard rocking song that showcases the talents of Craig Chaquico with the ever competent Paul Kantner backing him up on rhythm guitar. As a result, “Ride the Tiger” went instantly to number one in my favourite Starship song list at that  time and continues to be up there in the top five of all time. In addition, the album featured a new single, “Light the Sky on Fire,” which also went of the grain of the more mellower songs from this time period and left me impressed by the musicianship.

Track Listing

1. Ride the Tiger

2. Caroline

3. Play on Love

4. Miracles

5. Fast Buck Freddie

6. With Your Love

7. St Charles

8. Count On Me

9. Love Too Good

10. Runaway

Bonus tracks

Light The Sky On Fire

Hyperdrive

Jefferson Starship

Grace Slick- vocals, piano

Marty Balin- vocals

Paul Kantner- rhythm guitar, vocals

Craig Chaquico- lead guitar, backing vocals

Pete Sears- bass, keyboards

David Freiberg- bass, keyboards, backing vocals

John Barbata- drums, backing vocals

Papa John Creach- violin

“Gold” marked an end of an era for Jefferson Starship. It put the final nail in the coffin that laid to rest the band’s reputation for mellow out love songs. After “Gold,” their sound would change forever and be the source of much debate that carries on to this day. As for the new sound, well you will have to stick around as I’m not going to tell about that til much further down the line.

Next post: Frank Zappa- Sheik Yourb0uti

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

Great Rock Albums of 1978: Jefferson Starship- Earth

Posted in Heavy Metal, Music with tags , , , , , on January 23, 2012 by 80smetalman

It was said that long ago, God created Jefferson Starship and then Jefferson Starship created Earth. At least that was what the television advert said back in 1978. This album was the follow up to their platinum 1976 album, “Spitfire” and it was one of the few Starship albums to feature the same line up on consecutive albums. Throughout, their turbulent history, the band have had so many changes, if all former members of Jefferson Airplane/Starship got together for a charity softball game, they would have enough people to fill both teams.

“Earth” was symbolic for the supposed mellow sound of Jefferson Starship through the mid to late seventies. Most notable were the chart hits “Count On Me” and “Runaway.” These songs, combined with most of the other keyboard dominated tracks do give the album a sort of mellow out feel. However, to me, they also showcase the keyboard skills of Pete Sears, who in my humble opinion, was one of the most underrated all around musicians in rock at the time.

Ok, you’re probably thinking, why is someone who is so heavy metal enriched, speaking about an album that is considered mellow? Well, “Earth” marked the end of Jefferson Starship’s mellow out period and would progress to a more harder sound. However, that will be mentioned in a future post. But in spite of the mellow nature of this album, there are some hints of a rocking sound in it. The track “Skateboard” bears witness to this and “Show Yourself” does have a rocky edge and features the political lyrics of the old Jefferson Airplane. However, the hidden gem is the supposed top 40 ballad “Runaway.” Yes it is what it says, however, “Runaway” contains a killer solo by guitarist Craig Chaquico. The solo makes the song for me. Finally, few albums have that final track that once you finish listening to it, leaves you with a feel good factor about the album. “All Night Long” is one of my favourite album ending songs of all time.

Track Listing:

1. Love Too Good

2. Count On Me

3. Take Your Time

4. Crazy Feeling

5. Skateboard

6. Fire

7. Show Yourself

8. Runaway

9. All Night Long

Jefferson Starship

Grace Slick- vocals, piano

Marty Balin- vocals

Paul Kantner- guitar

Craig Chaquico- lead guitar

Pete Sears- bass, keyboards

David Freiberg- bass, keyboards

John Barbata- drums

If you fancy a good mellow out trip down memory lane, give “Earth” a listen. It shows why Jefferson Starship were such a versatile band.

Next post: Warren Zevon- Excitable Boy

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Also availble on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle