Archive for Freddie Mercury

Great Metal Albums of 1986: Billy Squier- Enough if Enough

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 10, 2020 by 80smetalman

Music media and even a few metal stars and metalheads should hang their heads in shame. After Billy Squier’s rather embarrassing video for his hit “Rock Me Tonight,” from his previous album, “Signs of Life,” it seemed that there was a collective ‘abandon ship’ in the music world in regards to Billy. Personally, that video never bothered me, so I think it was wrong for everyone to walk away from him on account of one misjudged video. Hell, even Rudy Schenker of the Scorpions said he couldn’t take Billy seriously after that video. Come on, it was one video! My point of all this is has been said that it was on account of that video as to why his next album, “Enough is Enough” didn’t do as well and that was a shame because I think the world missed out on a really good album.

Another offered reason for why “Enough is Enough” didn’t do as well was because of the changing tides of music in 1986. As I said in previous posts, in 1986, music was diverging in different directions, either towards plastic synth pop or hardcore thrash. For many, Billy was now becoming either too pop or too metal for people on the extremes. And here’s another amusing point with me. I have always considered Mr. Squier to be the best American artist not to have cracked Great Britain but I saw this album on sale at a record shop called “Shades” in Central London. Side note: the blogger “Every Record Tells a Story” once wrote a post on what I call in “Rock and Roll Children,” “an Aladdin’s cave of heavy metal records and accessories.”

From the very first song on the album, “Shot o’ Love,” it is easy to hear that Billy is at his usual best. This song is a clear reminder that he hasn’t lost any of the chops he did so well on albums like “Don’t Say No” and “Emotions in Motion.” The song sets the tone for the rest of the album. Following that up is the only single from the album, which was a minor hit for Billy, “Love is the Hero.” Freddie Mercury provides the backing vocals on it. It’s too bad that his career as a singles artist was practically over because it’s not a bad song. Freddie also gets a song writing credit on “Lady With a Tenor Sax.” This is a good jazz-rocker and again proves that Billy hadn’t lost anything in musical ability. It’s a second hidden gem on the album.

The first ballad on the album, “All We Have To Give” is okay but there is a better one further along. He then rocks out with “Come Home.” This is the best power rocker on the album, some great power chords and some of the best guitar soloing I’ve heard on any Billy Squier album. However, the rock doesn’t go away with “Break the Silence.” Again, some great power chords but there’s a more melodic soft part in the song. It’s creative but at the same time very catchy. Another cool guitar solo helps too. On “Powerhouse,” I get the impression that either Billy or the record company were going for a second single. There is some 80s style synthesizer work on it as well as some really hard power chords. The reason why it was never a single was the fact that people were going into different camps and a song that encompasses both, even when it was done as superbly as this one, isn’t going to attract attention. “Lonely One” starts out as if it’s going to be a ballad and then sounds like it’s going to be a pop single before some power chords and heavy drumming from guest drummer Steve Ferrone (Average White Band and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers). It also has what could be Billy’s best guitar solo for the album.

“Til It’s Over” is not only the second power ballad on the album but my choice for hidden gem. If I had ever gotten the chance to have seen him live, you can bet my cigarette lighter would have been held high in the air for this one. This is one of those ballads which make you want to bang your head while at the same time, cry in you beer. The acoustic parts on the intro and throughout the song give me goosebumps whenever I listen to it and the power chords are just mind blowing. Of course, it has a cool guitar solo. If it was the closer, then I would say that “Enough is Enough” would have ended on a great high. However, as for closers go, “Wink of an Eye” might not be as magnificent as the penultimate track but it is still a good way to end the album. It has that melodic, catchy feel to it that good closer should have but without losing the hard rock. It deserves to end the album.

Track Listing:

  1. Shot O’ Love
  2. Love is the Hero
  3. Lady With a Tenor Sax
  4. All We Have to Give
  5. Come Home
  6. Break the Silence
  7. Powerhouse
  8. Lonely One
  9. Til It’s Over
  10. Wink of an Eye
Billy Squier

Billy Squier- vocals, guitars, synthesizers

Jeff Golub- guitar

Robin Jeffrey- guitar

Jeff Bova- keyboards

David Frank- keyboards, synthesizers

Andy Richards- keyboards

Alan St John- keyboards, synthesizers, backing vocals

T.M. Stevens- bass

Jimmy Bralower- drums

Bobby Chouinard- drums

Steve Ferrone- drums on track 8

Jody Linscott- percussion

Freddie Mercury- backing vocals on track 2

Mitch Weissman- backing vocals

I’ll scream it again and again, I think the music world owes Billy Squier a big apology. Shunning him on account of one video was rather narrow-minded because the album, “Enough is Enough” is a very good one. Maybe you can help make amends by giving it a listen.

Next post: Slayer- Reign in Blood

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

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 Metal Albums of 1983: Billy Squier- Emotions in Motion

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 16, 2015 by 80smetalman

220px-Sqmot

Like I’ve probably said a million times on here, one of the greatest things about writing this blog is that it allows me to reminisce about some of the great albums of the time. Albums that I might not have listened to for nearly three decades or more! Not listening to an album for that extreme length of time, one forgets how great an album can be. Therefore, it is a pleasant surprise when you put such an album on and just realise that very thing. All of the above can be said for the “Emotions in Motion” album from Billy Squier. The reason why I haven’t listened to this one in such a long time was the fact that I never bought it because my sister had it and while she was away at college, I would sometimes borrow it and listen to it. Dawn, if you’re reading this, I hope you’re not too upset with me for borrowing this fine album without asking.

A year ago, when I visited Squier’s “Don’t Say No” album, I commented that Billy was the best American artist not to have cracked Great Britain. However, since I was in Okinawa when I first saw the video for the album’s single, “Everybody Wants You,” I can safely say that Billy Squier did make it in Japan. Listening to “Emotions in Motion” again after so many years, it’s easy to see why. I like this album even more than the more commercially successful “Don’t Say No.”

Billy_Squier_-_Don't_Say_No

First, like so many albums that were released in 1982, (this one didn’t come to my attention until 1983) it starts off with the single. “Everybody Wants You” is a good song and probably a good choice to be released as a single, especially with the catchy riff it contains, but it’s not the best song on the album. In fact, I’ve been having great difficulty in choosing such as all of the songs are that good here. Another fact I’ve forgotten about the album is that the title track is much harder than I remembered it being and that’s a good thing. Damn my Swiss cheese memory!

As I said, after the first two songs, the hit single and title track, “Emotions in Motion” continues to kick some serious ass. “Learn How To Live” suckers you in with an alluring acoustic intro before blasting you away with more powerful chords. Furthermore, the song is suited fine to Billy’s vocals and would not work with anyone else. “In Your Eyes” is a power ballad worthy to included with many of the others I’ve mentioned in so many posts. It nearly touches the bar set by April Wine in 1981. However, the rest of the album are all just simply great rockers, period. Another surprise after a 30 year non listening famine is that I had forgotten that Squier can play a guitar. The problem is that his best known songs, including “Everybody Wants You” don’t have noteworthy solos. Any doubts about his guitar ability is silenced once you hear him go to town on “Keep Me Satisfied” and his lead guitar intro on “One Good Woman” is quite impressive as well. There are others as well. In the end, I must say shame on me for neglecting such a great album for all of these years.

Track Listing:

  1. Everybody Wants You
  2. Emotions in Motion
  3. Learn How to Live
  4. In Your Eyes
  5. Keep Me Satisfied
  6. It Keeps You Rocking
  7. One Good Woman
  8. She’s a Runner
  9. Catch 22
  10. Listen to the Heartbeat

Billy Squier

Billy Squier

Billy Squier- lead vocals, lead guitar

Kevin Osborn- guitar

Jeff Golub- guitar

Allen St John- keyboards, synthesizers, backing vocals

Greg Lubahn- bass, backing vocals

Bobby Chouinard- drums

Freddie Mercury and Roger Taylor- backing vocals on “Everybody Wants You” and emotional support

While I admit that I have neglected many a fine album over the years, there hasn’t been one making me feel this guilty about it like “Emotions in Motion” from Billy Squier. I just had a thought and I hope my British friends will support this. Since he’s the best American not to have made it in Britain, maybe it’s time he does. So I urge all of my British friends, as well as the rest of you reading this, to go out and listen to this album. I know you won’t be disappointed. Hell, maybe I’ll go and put him on the wishlist for this year’s Bloodstock Festival.

Next post: The Plasmatics- Coup d’ Etat

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