Archive for George Harrison

Great Rock Albums of 1988: Traveling Wilburys- Vol. 1

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 25, 2022 by 80smetalman

It’s amazing what can happen! What started out as a B-side record turned into an album which went platinum worldwide. According to the story, George Harrison told Roy Orbison and Jeff Lynne over dinner that he needed a track recording for his new album and asked Jeff and Roy to help out, to which they agreed. On the way, George stopped at Tom Petty’s house to pick up a guitar he had left there and ended up having Tom come along. He also asked Bob Dylan if they could use his garage to record in. Originally, Bob was just going to be a host but he joined and contributed songs as well and thus the Traveling Wilburys was born.

It was agreed that they would all use the surname and make up first names for their own personas. (See below.) The first song which came out of the collaboration was “Handle With Care,” which was a huge hit. At least everywhere but the USA, where it only got to #45. “Handle With Care” sets the tone for the rest of the album. Light, melodic folk rock songs which definitely puts the easy into easy listening. While there is a similarity in all of the songs, you can hear each Wilbury’s unique stamp in the them. “Dirty World” is definitely Bob Dylan while there is no mistaking Tom Petty on “Last Night” and you get classic Roy Orbison on “Not Alone Anymore.” However, each of the others back one another up with backing or accompanying vocals. The result is fantastic.

One question I asked at the time and I’m sure many others did was how could all of these rock giants make an album together without the clash of egos? I’m sure there might have been disagreements during the song writing and recording, after all, friends have them all of the time. But there is no sound of any of that when the music starts playing. Like I said earlier, they all seem to compliment each other on the songs.

Now for standout tracks. Of course you get the big singles, “Handle With Care” and the closer, “End of the Line,” which was also a single and George led. While I can’t say there’s a filler track on the album, I did pick out a hidden gem, which happens to be “Tweeter and the Monkey Man.” It’s exclusively sung by Bob and from what I glean for the lyrics, it’s about two drug dealers on the run. It’s a dark song and the heavy guitar adds to the darkness. So does the chorus as the rest of the Wilburys sing “And the walls came down all the way to hell.” It’s brilliantly done.

Track Listing:

  1. Handle With Care
  2. Dirty World
  3. Rattled
  4. Last Night
  5. Not Alone Anymore
  6. Congratulations
  7. Heading for the Light
  8. Margarita
  9. Tweeter and the Monkey Man
  10. End of the Line
Traveling Wilburys

Nelson Wilbury (George Harrison)- lead and backing vocals, guitars, slide guitar

Otis Wilbury (Jeff Lynne)- lead and backing vocals, guitars, bass, drums and cowbell on “Handle With Care”

Charlie T. Wilbury Jr. (Tom Petty)- lead and backing vocals, acoustic guitar

Lefty Wilbury (Roy Orbison)- lead and backing vocals, acoustic guitar

Lucky Wilbury (Bob Dylan)- lead and backing vocals, acoustic guitar, harmonica

Additional Musicians:

Buster Sidebury (Jim Keltner)- drums, percussion

Jim Horn- saxophone

Ray Cooper- percussion

Ian Wallace- tom toms

Two months after the album’s release, tragedy struck when Roy passed away from a sudden heart attack. However, the album would go onto win many awards and achieve great things. As one critic put it: The Traveling Wilburys was the greatest commercial coup of the decade. It turns out the elders of rock could teach the younger upstarts a thing or two.

Next post: One Hit Wonders of 1988

If anyone’s interested, I’ve written another wrestling script which is available to buy and download. Go to https://promixedwrestling.com/ and look for “Eva vs. Loxleigh- Grudge Match.”

Action from Eva vs. Loxleigh

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Great Rock Albums of 1988: George Thorogood- Born to Be Bad

Posted in Uncategorized, 1980s, Music, Rock with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 18, 2022 by 80smetalman

Yet, another great American artist who didn’t quite make it over in the UK. Here, George Thorogood is most known for “Bad to the Bone” and that’s a shame because of what a great guitarist he is. On account of that, it would be several years down the line before I learned of his 1988 album, “Born to be Bad.”

Compared to his previous albums, George doesn’t go full blues rock. Don’t get me wrong, that sound is still there and many of the songs have his trademark opening riffs, like the opener, “Shake Your Money Maker,” originally recorded by Elmore James and covered by many other artists. George’s version does the song justice, especially how he nails the guitar solo.

A number of the songs have a 1950s vibe which would have made Jerry Lee Lewis proud. That sound comes in the form of “You Talk Too Much.” I can easily picture the characters of “Grease” jiving along to this one. Heck, maybe if this song was in the film, I would have enjoyed it more. However, Hank Carter is the star of this track as his sax solo is superb! But he goes back to traditional blues territory on “Highway 49.” His guitar licks are just super cool on here and give full credit to the rhythm section as well.

Things go back to the 50s vibe with the title track and it’s very catchy. Even George’s guitar solos is in the vein of that decade but it still sounds great. That vibe continues on the cover of Chuck Berry’s “You Can’t Catch Me.” Billy Blough’s bass line is what solidifies this song, it reminds me a little of Johnny Cash and of course, we get another cool guitar solo from you know who. And the 50’s party continues on with “I’m Ready,” which sounds like something out of “Happy Days.” While George and the Destroyers are jamming away on the song, I get visions of The Fonz riding past on his motorcycle. We also get another great sax solo from Hank.

If George had been around in the decade which seems to heavily influence this album, then I could definitely see him playing “Treat Her Right” on American Bandstand. The song would have been huge. It is an original from the band has another cool guitar solo. It was released as a single but failed to chart.

For the last three songs, the last two, the best on the album, George and his band go back to their more traditional blues roots. “I Really Like Girls” is a fast, fun jam. “Smokestack Lightning,” is slower but has a great blues sound to it, which even a no rhythm person like myself can follow along with. However, the best is saved for last as “I’m Movin’ On” is what I have liked about George Thorogood all of these years. A good blues number with a tight rhythm section, the best vocals on the album and some great guitar solos.

Track Listing:

  1. Shake Your Monemaker
  2. You Talk Too Much
  3. Highway 49
  4. Born to be Bad
  5. You Can’t Catch Me
  6. I’m Ready
  7. Treat Her Right
  8. I Really Live Girls
  9. Smokestack Lightning
  10. I’m Movin’ On
George Thorogood

George Thorogood- guitar, vocals

Hank Carter- saxophone, vocals

Billy Blough- bass

Jeff Simon- drums

Steve Chrismar- guitar

I have always wondered why George Thorogood wasn’t successful in the UK. He did bring a unique sound to music back in the 1980s and did very well in America. “Born to Be Bad” did hit #32 in the album charts, proving you don’t always need a good single to have a great album.

Next post: All About Eve

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Great Rock Albums of 1988: Weird Al Yankovic- Even Worse

Posted in 1980s, Humour, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 19, 2022 by 80smetalman

After the critical and commercial disappointment of his album, “Polka Party,” Weird Al thought his career might have been over. As a result, he took some time off before getting back into the studio. It seems that taking his little break paid multi-dividends as “Even Worse” has been his most successful album. Note here, it is typical of Weird Al to call his album “Even Worse” when it was such a good album. Of course, knowing him, Weird Al might have been in the mindframe that if you thought “Polka Party” was bad, maybe this album is even worse. Either way, it had the desired effect.

Track Listing:

  1. Fat- Weird Al was a little reluctant to use this song because he was already being known as that “Eat It Guy” and didn’t want to be accused of riding on Michael Jackson’s coat tails. However, Michael was a big Weird Al fan and encouraged him to record the song. The song is a total parody of Jackson’s iconic song, “Bad” and Michael also let him use the same recording studio to make the video. Only Weird Al used larger dancers in the video. While “Fat” continues to give me giggles whenever I listen to it, I don’t think it would be so successful into today’s ultra-sensitive world.
  2. Stuck in a Closet With Vanna White- This is a true Weird Al original. It doesn’t parody any singer’s song or style but it’s a bit of a rocker as well. I have to admit, guitarists Jim West and Rick Derringer, yes that Rick Derringer, rip a cool guitar solo trade off. The song is about having strange dreams where he’s bowling on the Starship Enterprise and getting pushed through a revolving door by a midget but always stuck in a closet with Vanna White. For those who don’t know, Vanna White is a presenter on the US version of the TV show “Wheel of Fortune.”
  3. (This Song’s Just) Six Words Long: A total parody of the George Harrison single, “Got My Mind Set On You.” Weird Al does try to keep to the spirit of his song as he repeats the lyrics over and over. Maybe that was the point he was trying to make.
  4. You Make Me- From the point of view of my Asperger’s mind, I can see the point Weird Al is trying to make here. Many of us know people who can drive you to wanting to do outrageous things. However, no one has ever made me want to build the Eiffel Tower out of Belgian waffles. Done in the style of Oingo Boingo, it is a bouncy synth pop song but very well done.
  5. I Think I’m a Clone Now- My favourite song on the entire album! It typifies Weird Al at his very best. It’s a total parody of one hit wonder Tiffany’s number one, “I Think We’re Alone Now.” He follows the style Tiffany recorded it but singing about clones is a real hoot. I say I giggle when I hear “Fat,” but I go into total hysterics when I hear this one.
  6. Lasagne- Another funny parody, only this time it’s the Los Lobos classic, “La Bamba” which gets the Weird Al treatment. I have always like how Al sticks to the original music as much as possible but adds his own hilarious lyrics to it. Anyone, like me, who loves good Italian food can appreciate the lyrics here.
  7. Melanie- Another original, “Melanie” is about a love struck teenager who stalks a girl who is not interested in him in the very least. However, if you pay attention to the lyrics, there is a dark message related to teenage mental health as the singer commits suicide at the end because the girl doesn’t want to know him. Some will balk that mental health is no laughing matter but if Weird Al can use his humourous lyrics to address a problem, then why not listen? Sorry, I’ll get off my soapbox now.
  8. Alimony- Weird Al goes live on this one where he parodies Billy Idol’s “Mony Mony.” If Weird Al sounds this good live, then I definitely regret never seeing him. Still, it’s a funny song about a money grabbing ex wife.
  9. Velvet Elvis- For me, this is probably the least strongest track on the album, though it’s not bad. Done in the style of The Police, it does have a good dig at Elvis Presley enthusiasts.
  10. Twister- Weird Al raps here in Beastie Boys style as he pays tribute to the game “Twister.” How many children’s parties have you gone to where they play Twister? It does show how versatile he can be and that he’s not afraid to venture into unknown territories. It also proves that nothing is safe from being a Weird Al parody.
  11. Good Old Days- The album ends with my vote for hidden gem. “Good Old Days” is done in the easy listening style of James Taylor and it’s about a young psychopath reminiscing about his younger days. He begins by torturing rats with a hacksaw and pulling the wings off of flies, then to burning down the local store and bashing in the owner’s head to finally, tying his date to the dance to a chair, shaving off her hair and leaving her in the desert. Only Weird Al can sing songs like that and leave you with a big grin on your face.
Vanna White
Weird Al Yankovic

Weird Al Yankovic- vocals, accordion, keyboards

Jim West- guitar, mandolin, backing vocals

Steve Jay- bass, banjo, backing vocals

Jon ‘Bermuda’ Schwartz- drums, percussion

Rick Derringer- guitar

I don’t think this was an official video for the song as “Attack of the Clones” came out 14 years after the song but I think Mike Ladano will get a kick out of the Star Wars reference.

Weird Al Yankovic was definitely back and on fine form in 1988 as “Even Worse” shows. His album is not only a bowl full of laughs but the musicianship on it is first rate as well.

Next post: Pat Benatar- Wide Awake in Dreamland

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Rest in Peace- Tom Petty

Posted in 1980s, Death, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 2, 2017 by 80smetalman

Tom Petty

It seems that 2017 is determined to suck as much as 2016 with another great rocker going to the great gig in the sky. Tom Petty entertained us with some great music for four decades whether it be with his band, Tom Petty and the Heartbrakers, solo material and a brief stint with the Travelling Willburys who included Bob Dylan, Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison and the late George Harrison.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/tom-petty-legendary-rocker-is-dead-at-66/

Not only was Tom a great musician, he was a great song writer and as someone pointed out to me recently, those skills were very underrated. So, I guess the best thing to do is to pull out any or all of his great albums, (my favourite has always been “Damn the Torpedoes”) and give them a listen to commemorate this great rocker.

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1981: Stevie Nicks- Bella Donna

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, television, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 29, 2014 by 80smetalman

220px-Bella_Donna_(album)

Stevie Nicks has one thing in common with George Harrison in a sense. I have already mentioned that George’s solo material his my favourite among The Beatles. Likewise, of the solo productions from the members of Fleetwood Mac, it is Stevie Nicks’s material that comes out number one for me. I have heard all of the comments about her having a voice like a sheep. In fact, I enjoyed South Park’s little parody about that. The thing is that I don’t care whether or not she sounds like a sheep, I like her voice and the music that accompanies it. The album “Bella Donna” being one of them.

snonsp

Thinking back to when the songs of this album were played on commercial radio, I am reminded why I don’t like it very much. Back in 1981, the two songs that seemed to get all of the air play were the two duets that appear on the album. One was done with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, okay not really a duet, but “Stop Dragging My Heart Around is a decent song. So is the other duet she performs with former Eagles drummer Don Henley, the mellower “Leather and Lace.” I heard this song played on radio several months back and at its conclusion, the deejay only attributed the song to Stevie Nicks. It made me quite cross the Henley didn’t get a mention in the credits, especially as it was a classic rock station and have played Eagles songs in the past. Okay, rant over.

The point I was wanting to make pre-rant was that while the two mentioned songs are decent and so are the other tracks on the album, one song stands head and shoulders above the rest. It is “Edge of Seventeen” that has me banging my head every time I hear it and that is quite often as it’s on one of my MP3s. For Stevie, this is a great rock tune and shows that she can sing rock with the best of them. It is also a song that I would love to hear covered by a metal band.

Track Listing:

1. Bella Donna

2. Kind of Woman

3. Stop Dragging My Heart Around

4. Think About It

5. After the Glitter Fades

6. Edge of Seventeen

7. How Still My Love

8. Leather and Lace

9. Outside the Rain

10. The Highway Man

Stevie Nicks

Stevie Nicks

Stevie Nicks- lead vocals

Lori Perry- backing vocals

Sharon Celani- backing vocals

Tom Petty- guitar, accompanying vocals (Track 3)

Michael Campbell- guitar

Don Felder- guitar

Benmont Trench- piano, organ, backing vocals

Stan Lynch- drums

Don Henley- drums, accompanying vocals (Track 8)

Fleetwood Mac may have been on a hiatus in 1981 but Stevie Nicks was tearing up the rock world with this great album. She showed that she was perfectly capable of making it on her own. Even if some people think she sounds like a sheep.

Next post: A New TV Station is Born

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

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1981: George Harrison- Somewhere in England

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 15, 2014 by 80smetalman

georgeh

Once again, I know that I’m repeating myself here because I did say this when I visited Mr Harrison’s self-titled 1979 album but I feel the strange need to say it again. Of all the solo work from the members of The Beatles, it’s George’s the I like the best. I did really like Paul McCartney with Wings in the early 70s but I felt he went too disco at the tail end of the decade. For the more astute, you may have realised that I never visited Wings’ 1979 “Back to the Egg” album, now you know why. However, George Harrison was consistent with his music throughout and didn’t bow to trends in music. While the 1976 album “33 1/3” remains my favourite of his albums, “Somewhere in England” has to rank up there as well.

Warning, this is not a bang your head rock album. George Harrison’s music has always appealed to my more mellower side and this album is no different. However, what comes through on most of the tracks is a subtle lead guitar in the background and for me, that makes most of the songs where it happens. Most notable is the opening track, “Teardrops” and “Unconciousness Rules.” Other tracks have this guitar sound on it as well and there are one or two tracks that make you think George is going to let loose, especially with some of the guitar intros on a couple of tracks but the song goes into the more melodic sound that I know him for. Even so, he makes it sound really good and since the album was released just a few months after former band mate John Lennon’s death, the single “All Those Years Ago” is not only a dedication to him, the other former band mates, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr appear on the song marking a true tribute to Lennon.

Track Listing:

  Blood From a Clone

Unconciousness Rules

Life Itself

All Those Years Ago

Baltimore Oriole

Teardrops

That Which I’ve Lost

Writing On the Wall

Hong Kong Blues

Save the World

George Harrison

George Harrison

George Harrison- Lead vocals, guitars, keyboards, synthesisers

Alla Rakha- tabla

Gary Brooker- keyboards, synthesisers

Al Kooper- keyboards, synthesisers

Mike Moran- keyboards, synthesisers

Neil Larsen- keyboards, synthesisers

Tom Scott-Lynicon- horns

Herbie Flowers- tuba, bass

Willie Weeks- bass

Ray Cooper- keyboards, synthesisers, percussion, drums

Jim Keltner- drums

Dave Mattacks- drums

 I probably appreciate this album much more these days as I’m mellowing with age, although play a Slayer or Amon Amarth song and I will be going full tilt. Over the years before his death, George Harrison put out some good light rock and “Somewhere In England” is one of the best.

Next post: Rick Springfield- Working Class Dog

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: George Harrison- George Harrison

Posted in 1979, Music, Rock with tags , , , , , , on July 28, 2012 by 80smetalman

For the more astute, I did say that this post would be George Harrison’s “Somewhere in England” album, however, as I began refreshing my knowledge in order to write this post, I discovered that that album wasn’t released until 1981. The album released in 1979, was the one named after him, George Harrison. I apologise for getting my rock facts wrong on this one and I will visit the “Somewhere in England album when I get to 1981.

When I was posting my “Great Rock Albums of the 70s” chapter, I had great internal debate on whether or not I should visit the George Harrison album “331/3.” I decided not to as the album was a real mellow out album although it does contain my all time favourite Harrison song, “Crackerbox Palace.” “George Harrison” is a little less mellow and in no way a hard rock album. I decided to include it because of the history of that time. See, in 1979 rock music was fighting off the disco invasion and some notable rock musicians, some whose albums I’ve included here, were experimenting with the whole disco thing. This album wasn’t disco and that was good enough for me. Furthermore and I’m going to say something that some Beatles fans may think blasphemous, musically George was my favourite Beatle. I’m not taking anything away from Lennon and McCartney, they are true geniuses, but I’ve always liked songs like “Here Comes the Sun,” “Something” and my fave, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”

Anyway, enough of the history lesson, (sorry once a teacher always a teacher) let’s get on to the subject of this album. “George Harrison” by the person of the same name is a good soft rock album. It begins with an introductory guitar solo from the legendary Eric Clapton on the first track, “Love Comes to Everyone” and carries through the album with a feel good factor throughout. There’s the top single “Blow Away” which, for those who take the singles charts seriously, made it  to number 14 in the US and 39 in the UK. The song “Faster” has a bit more of a rock feel to it, especially as it begins with motor racing sound effects.

Track Listing:

1. Love Comes to Everyone

2. Not Guilty

3. Here Comes the Moon

4. Soft Hearted Hanna

5. Blow Away

6. Faster

7. Dark Sweet Lady

8. Your Love is Forever

9. Soft Touch

10. If You Believe

George Harrison- vocals, guitars

Andy Newmark- drums

Willie Weeks- bass

Neil Larsen- keyboards, minimoog

Ray Cooper- percussion

Steve Winwood- polymoog

Emil Richards- marimba

Gayle Richards- harp

Eric Clapton- guitar intro

Gary Wright- oberheim

“George Harrison” for me was common ground for me and my then disco/plastic pop loving girlfriend at the time. Still it’s a good album to “mellow out” to. One I listen to on a lazy summer day, like today and shows why I’ve always said that Harrison’s work has always been underrated when compared to the other Beatles.

Next post: Bad Company- Desolation Angels

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