Archive for Elvis Presley

Great Rock Albums of 1988: Cheap Trick- Lap of Luxury

Posted in 1980s, Rock, soundtracks, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 5, 2022 by 80smetalman

Today’s post comes compliments of 2Loud. The reason for this is because by 1988, I thought Cheap Trick had disappeared into obscurity and I was left to simply enjoy memories of classic albums such as “Dream Police” and “Cheap Trick At Budokan,” Fortunately, 2Loud’s recent series on Cheap Trick alerted me to the many albums I had missed after the 1982 “One on One” album. After reading, 2Loud’s post on the 1988 “Lap of Luxury” album and how successful it was in the US, I had to put it on my list.

Memories of Cheap Trick came flooding back with opening riffs of “Let Go.” Hearing that gave me reassurance that they hadn’t gone anywhere and had not lost their touch. While I try not to let other reviews on albums effect my own, I can’t help agreeing with 2Loud’s point that they were (probably under the record label’s direction) trying to adapt to the pop of the 1980s. That comes through on the second track, “No Mercy.” It’s obvious to me that it’s still Cheap Trick playing the song, Robin’s vocals are too unique, the drums seem to be turned up to synth pop level and while this is no intent against what a great drummer Bun E. Carlos is, it does detract from the song a bit.

Another reason why the album passed me by is that I was already established in England by this time and the album made no headway there. Case in point, the band’s only number one single, “The Flame.” It only reached number 77 in the UK charts and therefore went pretty much unnoticed. That was a damn shame because even though it’s a ballad, Rick Neilsen shows he still can bend the six string to his will with a cool acoustic guitar intro followed by a his best guitar solo on the album. For me, this is the best song on the album.

“Space” sounds very 80s to me with the keyboards but there is the drone of the guitar in the back to make it hard rocking enough. There is another good guitar solo from Rick and I like the backing vocals on it. However, the singles seem to be the best songs on the album because “Never Had a Lot to Lose” is a traditional Cheap Trick rocker. It has the harder guitar with the new wave melody. Robin’s diverse vocal style definitely makes the song but it might have been better if Rick had more of a guitar solo on it but that’s up to debate.

On the other hand, while I can understand why they might have wanted to release the cover of the Elvis classic, “Don’t Be Cruel.” as a single, I wonder if it should be on the album, let alone released as a single. Don’t get me wrong, I like Cheap Trick’s spin on it but in comparison to the rest of the album, it feels a little out of place. Saying that, it’s growing on me a little. Things do go back to normal with “Wrong Side of Love” where I love Tom Petersson’s bass work on it and I’m glad that he rejoined the band when I hear him. Rick’s guitar work is great as well and together, they make “Wrong Side of Love” the hidden gem.

Here’s my one thought of a flaw on the album. It’s simply a case of song order. I think that tracks eight and ten should have been swapped around. To my ears, “All We Need is a Dream,” would have been a better closer. It’s a ballad but the intro stomps it’s authority in a way that tells me that this is the end of the album. Robin’s vocals assist on this point and the way the band all seems to come together on the song just screams “Closer!” All Wound Up” is a good song too but it would have been better placed anywhere from tracks 2-8. Penultimate track “Ghost Town” is best left where it is as it does serve as a great set up to whichever song is going to be the closer. It’s a ballad and Robin nails it with vocals and there’s nothing wrong with an album finishing with two ballads had they swapped those tracks around.

Track Listing:

  1. Let Go
  2. No Mercy
  3. The Flame
  4. Space
  5. Never Had a Lot to Lose
  6. Don’t Be Cruel
  7. Wrong Side of Love
  8. All We Need is a Dream
  9. Ghost Town
  10. All Wound Up
Cheap Trick

Robin Zander- lead vocals, rhythm guitar, synthesizer

Rick Neilsen- lead guitar, backing vocals

Tom Petersson- bass, backing vocals

Bun E. Carlos- drums, percussion

“Lap of Luxury” was the first album where outside songwriters were used. In the case of this album, it worked, at least in the US. I can say that while “Lap of Luxury” will not make me put away all those classic albums from the late 1970s, it’s still a good album and it was great to see that the band was still chugging away.

Next post: Tracy Chapman

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

Note: I have been told that “Rock and Roll Children” is available as an e-book but this hasn’t been made known to me.

To sign the petition to give Bruce Dickinson a knighthood, click the link; https://www.change.org/p/special-honours-committees-for-knighthoods-a-knighthood-for-bruce-dickinson

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Motley Crue- Girls, Girls, Girls

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 31, 2022 by 80smetalman

Motley Crue have been referred to as a band of musicians with limited talent. Even I used to think that Mick Mars was the worst guitarist in metal, I’ve since apologized to him for that wrong assumption. The question back in 1987 was: If Motley Crue were second rate musicians, why was their album, “Girls, Girls, Girls” so successful going multi-platinum? My sister, in her article in her college newspaper, said the answer was in the title. Motley Crue appealed to teenage girls who were more into the good looks of the band rather than the music. There might have been truth in that but what about the boys who bought the album? I really can’t say that Motley Crue were like Bon Jovi in the sense that boys listened to them because their girlfriends did. No, boys bought this album on the own accord because Crue were capable of putting out good music.

For me, “Girls, Girls, Girls” opens with the best track on the album, “Wild Side.” The band really bring it musically here, I can’t fault the song in any way. It also helped that the track also appears on the soundtrack to the film “Rock Star.” However, the title track was definitely meant to be a single, which it was. It did it’s job producing a hit for the band but for me, it’s not nearly the best song on the album. The next two are much better. They bring the hard rocking on “Dancing on Glass” and I do like Tommy Lee’s piano chops in the back ground. With “Bad Boy Boogie,” they bring a bit of blues swagger. There is a ZZ Top vibe to this song and Mick’s guitar work makes me even more ashamed of calling him the worst guitarist. His hooks and solo here are just simply top notch! This is the hidden gem on the album.

The second half of the album dips in quality in comparison to the first. The thankfully very short “Nona” is just filler and if I can borrow a line from 2Loud, I would delete it. It shouldn’t be on the album. Fortunately, things go back on track with “Five Years Dead.” It’s not a bad track but it sounds too much like the title track and therefore lacks originality. Things continue to improve with “All in the Name Of.” Tommy’s drumming is key here and Mick and Nikki are great in support. It’s a faster paced metal song and it doesn’t bother me that it’s about getting with under aged girls.

Mick’s best guitar performance on the album heralds in “Sumthin’ for Nuthin’.” While the chorus might be a little bland, the song has an infectious hook that you can’t resist bobbing your head along to. Then we come to the other single on the album, the power ballad, “You’re All I Need.” Being a neo-officianado on power ballads, this one is okay. The fact that the video was banned from MTV for its supposedly violent theme is reason for this non-conformist to like it. A live recording of the Elvis hit, “Jailhouse Rock,” closes the album. I remember they closed their show with it when I saw them on the “Theatre of Pain” tour and it works as a closer here.

Track Listing:

  1. Wild Side
  2. Girls, Girls, Girls
  3. Dancing on Glass
  4. Bad Boy Boogie
  5. Nona
  6. Five Years Dead
  7. All in the Name Of
  8. Sumthin’ for Nuthin’
  9. You’re All I Need
  10. Jailhouse Rock
Motley Crue

Vince Neil- vocals

Mick Mars- guitar

Nikki Sixx- bass

Tommy Lee- drums

Additional backing vocals:

Bob Carlisle, Dave Amato, John Purdell, Pat Torpey, Phyllis St James, Tommy Funderbuck

I highly doubt that thirty-five years on, my sister’s attitude towards Motley Crue and this album, “Girls, Girls, Girls,” has changed. She will still say they are second rate musicians who only teenage girls can like. I see her point but there is just something about this album that makes me like it, a lot.

Next post: Agent Steel- Unstoppable Force

To buy Rock and Roll Children email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

To sign my petition to have Bruce Dickinson knighted, click the link: https://www.change.org/p/special-honours-committees-for-knighthoods-a-knighthood-for-bruce-dickinson

Great Rock Albums of 1985: Weird Al Yankovic- Dare To Be Stupid

Posted in 1980s, Humour, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 16, 2018 by 80smetalman

After the big success of his 1984 album, “In 3D,” it was only expected that the King of Parody, Weird Al Yankovic, release an album in 1985. Therefore, many people like me eagerly awaited and grabbed “Dare to be Stupid” as soon as it came out. Even though some critics said that the new album wasn’t as good as its predecessor, (what do they know?), I still really like this album.

First let us start with the parodies. Opening the album is what has been said one of his best songs, “Like a Surgeon,” which is a parody of the then Madonna classic, “Like a Virgin.” For all the things I might say about Madonna, I have to give her credit here. Not  only did she give Weird Al her blessing to make a take off on her song, she collaborated on “Like a Surgeon.” Reportedly, this was the only time that he used ideas from outside artists on any of his songs. Whatever the case,  the song is a hoot and so is the video for it.

Other artists who gets the parody treatment are Huey Lewis and the News, the Kinks and Cyndi Lauper. The Huey Lewis song which gets it is “I Want a New Drug” in the form of “I Want a New Duck” and the song is actually about a duck. Listen to the lyrics and you’ll be rolling around in laughter but that’s what Weird Al does best. Back in 1985, some Star Wars fans took offense at his parody of the Kinks classic, “Lola” with “Yoda.” The song shows that at least he saw the film. No 80smetalman points for guessing which Cyndi Lauper song he would parody. Thinking about it, “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” was probably to golden of an opportunity for him and “Girls Just Wanna Have Lunch” is a great send off. It sounds like he’s singing off key on the song but I think that’s just the weird in Weird Al.

Something which always gets overlooked in regards to Weird Al is the fact that he does have musical talent. All of his parodies sound like the original. “I Want a New Duck” and “Yoda” sound almost exactly as they could have been done by the original artists. It’s his seemingly non parodies where his talent can be seen more. I shouldn’t call some of these non-parodies because they are parodies in a different way. The style in which the title track is that of Devo and the very funny “One More Minute” sounds like an Elvis Presley ballad. However, the lyrics in that song will crack you up. Staying with that one, it sounds like a lamentation of a guy who has been dumped by his girl but in typical Weird Al style, he goes above and beyond. Sure, I’ve been dumped but I never considered burning down the malt shop we went to because it reminded me of her.

If his songs aren’t spoofing an artist’s song or musical style, they’re doing it to aspects of life. “This Is the Life” is a send off on rich people’s life style and “Slime Creatures From Outer Space” pays hilarious tribute to 1950s Sci-Fi films. However, my favourite in this category is “Cable TV” which by 1985 was becoming a nationwide household phenomenon. Nowadays, most Americans have hundreds of channels but often times still nothing to watch. There’s also a cover of the theme song to the cartoon “George of the Jungle,” I like it and like “In 3D” he puts popular contemporary at the time songs to polka music. ZZ Top and Twisted Sister along with many others get the polka treatment. Only this time, it closes the album and probably the most appropriate song to do so.

Track Listing:

  1. Like a Surgeon
  2. Dare to be Stupid
  3. I Want a New Duck
  4. One More Minute
  5. Yoda
  6. George of the Jungle
  7. Slime Creatures From Outer Space
  8. Girls Just Wanna Have Lunch
  9. This is the Life
  10. Cable TV
  11. Hooked on Polkas

Weird Al Yankovic

Weird Al Yankovic- lead vocals, accordion, keyboards

Rick Derringer- guitar, production

Steve Jay- bass, banjo, backing vocals

Jim West- guitar, backing vocals

John ‘Bermuda’ Schwartz- drums percussion

Ignore the critics, to me “Dare To Be Stupid” is just as zany and well done as any of Weird Al’s other albums. While songs will have you in stitches, try to appreciate just how musically talented he really is.

Next post: Petra- Beat the System

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1537086656&sr=1-1&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1985: The Backlash Begins

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 1, 2018 by 80smetalman

Ever since the days of Elvis, there has always been a backlash against rock music and the backlash against heavy metal in particular has always been many folds greater. Whether it be religious fanatics, parents or just trendy top forty followers who just didn’t like the genre, there have been people dead set against heavy metal music. This backlash had been slowly building up throughout the early 1980s but the fact that heavy metal had gotten mainstream attention in 1984 was enough to blow the powder keg in 1985.

The first instance that turned my attention to this backlash was reading letters to MTV citing that they were either playing too much heavy metal or not enough. It would appear that in or around March of 1985, the anti heavy metal brigade won out as MTV made a statement that it would be playing less metal on the air. Now, it’s easy to think that there were that many more anti than pro metal people writing to MTV and if anyone says that it was because metalheads are too stupid to write, me and many of my followers here will be over to your house to kick the crap out of you! Once again I digress but my theory was that by the end of the previous year, MTV was already becoming nothing more than a glorified commercial radio station. Some Dead Kennedys lyrics come to mind here and I’ll reveal those when I visit their “Frankenchrist” album which came out in said year. Oops, digressing again but less and less metal was being played on MTV or the radio.

Dead Kennedys

As 1985 progressed, I began to notice it in more ways. There wasn’t just a backlash against heavy metal but persecution of metalheads as well. One thing I was criticized for in “Rock And Roll Children,” though I don’t regret it one bit, was over pounding the point of how metalheads were discriminated against back then. Truth was they were! I simply pointed this out. Example, based on my own experiences: in 1984, I went to a McDonald’s after the Dio/Twisted Sister concert and had no problems, nor did the many other metalheads who hit up the place after the show. One year later, my friends and I hit the same McDonald’s after the Motley Crue/Loudness concert and upon entry, were greeted by all sorts of negative comments. Also, like in the story, there was an off duty cop in the store pontificating how no one did anything like that in his day and how he busts punks like us for drugs all the time. While, there were no arrests that night, one month later, after seeing Dio, we hit the same McDonald’s and this time, it was like a policeman’s convention. This brings me to another point, while I never saw it happen, there were tales in 1985 of police getting warrants and going into pre-concert parties and busting metalheads. However, they didn’t do that at the Wham concert where I heard eyewitness accounts of 12 year old kids getting falling down, sickly drunk. It was definitely war on metalheads in 1985.

Of course, the more astute of you will recall that in the closing months of the year, the backlash against rock music and especially heavy metal became the subject of a congressional hearing and lead to the formation of the Parents Music Resource Center, (PMRC). Even after more than thirty years, I tend to laugh at this if it wasn’t so pathetic and there will be a post dedicated to that.

In spite of all the doom and gloom, the backlash achieved very little. Great albums were still being made and you’ll get to read about a lot of them. There were other great events and concerts including the most famous one, Live Aid. So, sit back and get ready for another roller coaster year in the golden decade of metal.

Next post: Glenn Frey- The Allnighter

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rest In Peace: Anne Bradshaw

Posted in Death, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on March 16, 2018 by 80smetalman

Of all the deaths which have occurred in the past two years, both musical and non-musical, none of those have effected me much as the recent passing of my mother. What has made it an even bigger hammer blow for my wife Tina and me was the fact that our mothers have died within two and a half months of one another. A memorial service was held for her last night and it was great to see so many people out to pay respects to her. This included a man I never met but dated my mother some 27 years ago. It was also good for me to see relatives I hadn’t seen in over thirty years. Plus, it was good to know that she was loved in two countries as I conveyed all the good wishes and feelings from my family in the UK.

My mother wasn’t the music buff her eldest son and daughter were to become. Her teenage years were in the 1950s where she was into Elvis and American Bandstand. One of her amusing tales was that she had a dance with local Bandstand favourite, Jerry Blavat. If you live outside of the Delaware Valley, you probably have never heard of him and she was very impressed by him either. In the 80s, she often gave me grief about my dressing in the heavy metal fashion but nowadays, I understand that it more out of concern over the crap metalheads had to endure at the time. She was just trying to look out for me and not see me get hurt.

In 1986, my sister did take her to see Loverboy and Dokken in concert because they were playing at a racetrack and my mother liked a Loverboy song. I believe it was the ballad like, “This Could be the Night.” However, as I’m not completely sure, I won’t feature it here. I am sure she would have liked the song I’m going to feature instead. She would have appreciated Danny Vaughn for his outstanding vocal ability and would have liked some of Tyketto’s songs. Therefore, I ask that you listen to the song and pay tribute to a great lady who was responsible for bringing me into the world and was loved by many.

 

 

Rest in peace Mom.