Archive for glam rock

Great Rock Albums of 1985: Giuffira

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 12, 2018 by 80smetalman

A band that caught mine and many other people’s attention was Giuffria with their self titled debut album. The band was originally formed as a side project by keyboards player Greg Giuffria after he left his former band Angel. A band I had heard great things about back in the day but never got around to listening to. Back to Giuffria, their first single, “Call to the Heart” did get a lot of airplay and according to recorded history, number fifteen in the charts. It was one of those ballads that the ladies seemed to really like but it had some good progressive rock hooks as well as a guitar solo to grab the attention of men. If I’m honest, I liked the song but it really wasn’t heavy enough for me.

Everything that Giuffria was capable of doing can be found in the opening track of the album, “Do Me Right.” It starts with some classic 1970s sounding progressive rock via a great keyboard intro. Then the song carries on with some great vocals backed up by a more than capable rhythm section before guitarist Craig Goldy hammers out his best solo on the album. It’s definitely my favourite track.

The two hardest tracks on the album are “Don’t Tear Me Down” and “Dance” and it is probably a good thing that those two songs were back to back after the forementioned ballad. It proved to doubters that they could rock as much as anyone. Things go slightly softer and more melodic, bordering on commercial after that with the remainder of the songs, “Turn Me On” being the harder rocking exception. Goldy and Giuffria really cook with guitar and keyboard on that one. “The Awakening” is rather amusing, with the children’s choir and keyboards giving it that Saturday horror film feel. Saying that, the talent of this band pulls up the quality  of each song making them more enjoyable.

No matter what you think of the songs, you can’t deny that this was one talented band. David Glen Eisley had a voice that was as good as many lead singers in that day. The keyboard skills of Greg Giuffria show themselves in every song. Chuck Wright and Alan Krigger are very good rhythm section and as for the guitarist, Craig Goldy, his playing on the album leaves me to conclude that it was no wonder why he was head hunted to join Dio a year later.

Track Listing:

  1. Do Me Right
  2. Call to the Heart
  3. Don’t Tear Me Down
  4. Dance
  5. Lonely in Love
  6. Trouble Again
  7. Turn Me On
  8. Line of Fire
  9. The Awakening
  10. Out of the Blue

Giuffira

David Glen Eisley- lead vocals, keyboards, harmonica

Greg Giuffria- keyboards, backing vocals

Craig Goldy- guitar

Chuck Wright- bass, backing vocals

Alan Krigger- drums, percussion

While doing a bit of research for the post, I had one rumour from 1985 quashed. In said year, Giuffria went on tour supporting legends Deep Purple. The rumour was that Purple kicked them off the tour because Giuffria was blowing them away every night. I have always found that hard to believe, especially as I saw Deep Purple in this year and they were superb. From what I’ve read, Ritchie Blackmore was a bit of an a””hole towards the band. He cut their stage time from 45 minutes nearly in half to 25, forbade them to play any guitar solos and they had to play with the arena lights on. Therefore, they left the tour on their own accord and I don’t blame them. While I missed my chance to see them live, this album is a good fall back.

Next post: Don Henley- Building the Perfect Beast

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Great Metal Albums of 1985: Dokken- Tooth and Nail

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 21, 2018 by 80smetalman

Although released in 1984, it took a long time before Dokken’s “Tooth and Nail” album finally got some notice. For me, it couldn’t have come at a more opportune time. By March of 1985, heavy metal got little or no airplay on commercial radio of MTV save for two singles from this album. The first one, “Alone Again,” is number ten on my all time favourite power ballads list. I can’t describe it but the song just kicks ass.

It’s not just the power ballad that makes “Tooth and Nail” my all time favourite Dokken album. Just so happens that it also contains my all time favourite Dokken song, “You Just Got Lucky.” While they were being accused of becoming another glam metal band, this song proved to the world they could still play. I just love how George Lynch works his guitar magic on the song and Don Dokken does a straight forward clean vocal performance. While rumours of these two men totally hating each other were rife even then, this song shows how well they put their differences aside when it mattered.

“Tooth and Nail” has some other great metal tunes on it as well. The title cut is the closest thing to thrash the band will ever come to, a very powerful song. “Heartless Heart” doesn’t shy away from being a great metal tune although the harmonizing vocals begin to remind me of what they would do on future albums but fortunately, this time, I’m able to go back in my mind to 1985 and forget all that. “Don’t Close Your Eyes” offers up more of the same. Great power chords and vocals with some fine, fancy guitar work and that guitar work continues many-fold on “When Heaven Comes Down.” That’s a hard, grindy type of song with a cool guitar solo.

“Into the Fire” was the first single released from the album and thinking back to late 1984, I don’t remember hearing it on any commercial media. Maybe it was too heavy amid the backlash against heavy metal that was starting. What I know is that I like it and as much as I sing the praises of George’s guitar capabilities, I never fully appreciated how great he really was. After another great rocker, “Bullets to Spare,” comes the forementioned power ballad. The thing is that on my first few listens, I thought that maybe “Alone Again” should have been the closer but the way the actual closer, “Turn on the Action,” ends, there is no need to swap things around. The album is good as it is.

Track Listing:

  1. Without Warning
  2. Tooth and Nail
  3. You Just Got Lucky
  4. Heartless Heart
  5. Don’t Close Your Eyes
  6. When Heaven Comes Down
  7. Into the Fire
  8. Bullets to Spare
  9. Alone Again
  10. Turn on the Action

Dokken

Don Dokken- lead vocals

George Lynch- guitars

Jeff Pilson- bass, backing vocals

Mick Brown- drums

The “Tooth and Nail” album from Dokken brought a little sunshine to what was a dour early 1985, musically. While it’s always been my favourite Dokken album, I think I like it even more these days.

Next Music Post: Yngwie Malmsteen- Rising Force

There will be another excerpt from my story before that. Oh yes, I would love to read people’s thoughts on Puppy from the last post.

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Great Metal Albums of 1984: Hanoi Rocks- Two Steps From the Move

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 10, 2018 by 80smetalman

Coming to the final month in 1984, just when I thought that the year of metal might be coming to end, I get news of a band shown on MTV coming to a local club. That band just happend to be, yes you guessed it, Hanoi Rocks. Previous to their appearance, I did happen to catch the video to their single, a cover of the CCR classic, “Up Around the Bend.” The video impressed me enough to go to the club and to make a long story short, I was rather impressed. In fact, I sometimes wonder if I should have included that gig in “Rock and Roll Children.” My reason for not doing so was because KISS came to Philadelphia that evening and I concluded that the main characters would have gone to see KISS instead. However, I do mention in the story that Bob’s older brother Mitch goes to see Hanoi Rocks.

Hanoi Rocks’s performance on that memorable evening further motivated me to get their then latest release, “Two Steps From the Move.” Another decision I have never regretted because this album is very good. I would be lying if I didn’t say that “Up Around the Bend” is my favourite track on it. I had always liked the original version and what Hanoi Rocks did was take a great classic and totally metalize it. However, the album is full of great metal jams. The ones which stick out especially are: “I Can’t Get It,” “Underwater World, which has a good guitar solo and “Million Miles Away” is as good a power ballad as any. The hidden gem on the album has to be “Boulevard of Broken Dreams.” The energy on that song is simply phenomenal! Definitely one to blast driving with the window down and “Boiler” is quite amusing. On the other hand and as cliche as this sounds, all the songs really kick ass. If I were to nit pick, it would be that “Don’t You Ever Leave Me” should have been the closer of the album but that’s a tiny technicality.

Track Listing:

  1. Up Around the Bend
  2. High School
  3. I Can’t Get It
  4. Underwater World
  5. Don’t You Ever Leave Me
  6. Million Miles Away
  7. Boulevard of Broken Dreams
  8. Boiler (Me Boiler ‘n’ Me)
  9. Futurama
  10. Cutting Corners

Hanoi Rocks

Michael Monroe- lead vocals and saxophone

Andy McCoy- lead guitar, vocals

Nasty Suicide- guitar, vocals

Sam Yaffa- bass, vocals

Razzle- drums, vocals

In 1984, Hanoi Rocks were on the threshold of international stardom. Unfortunately, just a few short weeks after I saw them obliterate a small club in New Jersey, tragedy would strike the band which would lead to their eventual break up. While it’s no secret what that tragedy was, I thought it would be better to go into more detail next post. Right now, focus on the band’s happier times with this great album.

Next post: 1984 Ends in Metal Tragedy

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Great Rock Albums of 1984: TNT- Knights of New Thunder

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 21, 2018 by 80smetalman

You’ve probably guessed that I’ve been off from my main job the past several days or why else would I be able to post three days in a row? That all changes as I’m back in work tonight so before I go, I thought I’d leave it with a post about an album from whom I call my favourite Norwegian band, TNT. Leaves Eyes does come a close second though. I didn’t hear their second album, “Knights of New Thunder” until 1986 and I have to say that I was quite impressed when I did.

“Knights of New Thunder” was the first album to feature American born Tony Harnell, though for some reason, he is credited on the first few TNT albums as Hansen. Anyway, Tony’s fantastic vocal range completed what is essentially a great band. I can totally understand why my sister put him into her band of underrated musicians. Speaking of underrated, guitarist Ronni Le Tekro doesn’t get the true recognition he deserves either. He does hammer out some really amazing guitar solos on this album.

Things open on the album with probably the best known track on it, “Seven Seas.” It seems to be the one most people remember whenever it is mentioned. The reason for this is a no-brainer. Harnell’s vocals shine through straight away supported by Le Tekro’s guitar work. We must not forget the rhythm section of Morty Black and Diesel Dahl who are as tight as any on this album. While “Seven Seas” is the most well known track on “Knights of New Thunder,” the rest of the album is just as good. In fact, the only tracks that might be called filler are “USA” and “Deadly Metal” though I like both of these tracks too. On a personal note, the lyrics to “Break the Ice” were very important to me in late 1986. The title track ranks right up there with the best album closers.

There is one difference in the tracks on the US version and the European version of the album. Having the US one, I was treated to my favourite track on the album, “Eddie,” while Europeans had the track “Tor With the Hammer” which itself is a pretty good track. “Eddie” is a very good power ballad whose lyrics I found very amusing. I think the song is about a deranged dog but I have known humans who fit in quite nicely with the lyrics of the chorus.

“Eddie likes torture and pain;

And Eddie’s crying in the rain;

Eddie’s got a twisted brain;

And neighours think that he’s insane;

Eddie strikes again.” 

Track listing:

  1. Seven Seas
  2. Ready to Leave
  3. Klassik Romance
  4. Last Summer’s Evil
  5. Lost Without Your Love
  6. Break the Ice
  7. Tor With the Hammer
  8. USA
  9. Deadly Metal
  10. Knights of New Thunder
  11. Eddie (Track 6 on the US version)

TNT

Tony Harnell (Hansen in the credits)- lead vocals

Ronni Le Tekro- guitars, backing vocals

Morty Black- bass, backing vocals, synthesizer

Diesel Dahl- drums

Because of “Eddie,” there are two power ballads on the US version of “Knights of New Thunder.” While I prefer “Eddie” to “Lost Without Your Love,” I do think Le Tekro’s guitar solo on the song is amazing. It has been said that “Knights of New Thunder” would be TNT’s last pure metal album as they would go more glam after. My sister was always jealous of the band’s hair. While, I will explore that theory down the line, I will say for now to just kick back on enjoy the delights of this one.

Next post: Deep Purple- Perfect Strangers

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Great Metal Albums of 1984: KISS- Animalize

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 8, 2018 by 80smetalman

Since Queensryche supported KISS in late 1984, I thought it only appropriate for the next post to be KISS’s “Animalize” album. Unlike Queensryche, I was able to put more details of their performance on this tour in “Rock and Roll Children.” Although I didn’t actually see the concert, I did get the video of KISS concert for “Animalize,” so that helped me a lot. This was in spite of the fact that the concert on the video didn’t take place in Philadelphia, which was where I went to see all the concerts at the time.

“Animalize” was the second album by KISS without their make up, following on from their previous album, “Lick It Up.” Now, I know KISS themselves along with many others like to downplay this era of Kisstory. True, they were looking more and more like a glam band but then again, so were many bands. However, I don’t think this album was particularly bad, it has its good moments.

The opener, “I’ve Had Enough (Into the Fire)” opens with some metal sounding riffs, which I’ve always liked. The riffs alone make this song the best choice to open the album. Next comes the big single, “Heaven’s On Fire.” No arguments from me that this song was made for commercial radio and MTV. It is too similar to “Lick It Up” but then again, I don’t dislike it either. I just find myself amused at the similarities between the two singles.

“Burn Bitch Burn” is nothing more than a catchy title and a cool guitar solo. It does give weight to the belief that Gene was too sidetracked with other projects and not putting his full attention to KISS. Paul does succeed in making up for it with “Get All That You Can Take.” With all the “ooohs,” one could probably say it was Paul’s best vocal effort. It too has a cool guitar solo and throughout the years, I’ve wondered if Mark St John hasn’t been given the respect he deserves. Saying that, then future band member Bruce Kullick nails the guitar solo on the next track, “Lonely Is the Hunter” and makes me wonder if KISS should have had him play on the whole album. God, thinking about it can give a person a headache, almost. I will say that the track in question is a better effort from Gene, possibly his best on this album.

It seems that KISS tried to be more speed metal with “Under the Gun.” It is definitely the fastest song on the album and the best part is that Paul’s vocals fit the song. Maybe I’ve underestimated his vocal ability these many years. The song does open side two, if you have vinyl or cassette, very nicely and leads to my choice for hidden gem. I know that “Thrills in the Night” was released as the second single on the album but from what I’ve read, it failed to chart. That makes it a hidden gem in my opinion. It’s hard enough to please metalheads but with some good melody and Gene and Eric give great backing to Paul on the vocals and it has a cool guitar solo. Personally, I think the idea for the big single on their next album was taken from it. While I won’t call the remaining two songs, penned by Gene, filler, I won’t say they’re standout tracks. Just two good songs to end the album in the best way.

Track Listing:

  1. I’ve Had Enough (Into the Fire)
  2. Heaven’s On Fire
  3. Burn Bitch Burn
  4. Get All you Can Take
  5. Lonely is the Hunter
  6. Under the Gun
  7. Thrills in the Night
  8. While the City Sleeps
  9. Murder in High Heels

Paul Stanley- rhythm guitar, lead and backing vocals

Gene Simmons- bass, lead and backing vocals

Eric Carr- drums, backing vocals

Mark St John- lead guitar

Additional musicians

Bruce Kullick- lead guitar on “Lonely is the Night” and “Murder in High Heels”

Jean Beauvour (ex Plasmatics): bass on “Get All You Can Take,” “Thrills in the Night” and “Under the Gun”

Say what you want about KISS during their unmasked 1980s period, but I think that “Animalize” isn’t all that bad. It does have it’s good and amusing points but on the other hand, it never made me want to stop listening to “Destroyer.”

Next post: Whitesnake- Slide It In

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Great Rock Albums of 1984: Ratt- Out of the Cellar

Posted in 1980s, Books, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 14, 2017 by 80smetalman

Here’s a scene from “Rock and Roll Children.” One night, after unsuccessfully trying to get into bars, the four main characters decide to head to one of the group’s houses. While driving with the radio on, some power chords come blasting through the car’s speakers. Intently listening to whoever the mysterious artist is playing, these words coming ringing true.

“I knew right from the beginning

That you would end up winning,

I knew right from the start,

You’d put an arrow through my heart.”

The big single “Round and Round” brought Ratt into the homes of many Americans in the summer of 1984, with it being constantly played on radio and MTV. I can’t deny the fact that it is most likely my favourite Ratt song of all time although there are a couple of others that might come close. I can’t explain why this song is so good, not just to metalheads but many non-metalheads liked it too. That’s why it got to number 12 on the Billboard charts.

Like the big hit, one thing that many of the songs on Ratt’s debut album, “Out of the Cellar” have catchy intros that make your ears perk up and pay attention. True, some of the songs trail off a bit and end not as exciting as they begin but there isn’t a bad song on the album. Saying that, except for “Round and Round” the second half of the album is better than the first. It’s probably why the said single was put third on the album. A kind of high point on a more level ground. Furthermore and this is me totally nit picking here, I would have swapped “She Wants Money” as the opener and “Wanted Man” would have been fifth. The latter is a good song, I just think the former would have made a better opener.

Having heard “Out of the Cellar” on vinyl, flipping to side two, one is greeted with a great side opener in “Lack of Communication.” This song opens the doorway for the best to come. “Back For More” was the second single on the album and I liked it more than what the charts indicated. I think it only got to 27 but that never bothered me because it is a cool song. The acoustic intro makes a great change up to the album and I can’t fault Warren DeMartini’s guitar playing on it or on any song actually. However, after single number two comes the hidden gem on the album and the one to rival “Round and Round” for my affections. “The Morning After” is just a fantastic song. I love all the tempo changes in the guitars on it and how they kick in big time on the chorus. It’s hard to describe in words but even thirty three years on, I still don’t tire of this song. Shit, maybe I should call it number one.

The last two tracks are strong and solid ones. I sometimes wonder if “I’m Insane” applies to me. After all, I feel that way sometimes. “Scene of the Crime” isn’t the greatest album closer in history but it is probably the best song to close the album, especially with the intro.

Track Listing:

  1. Wanted Man
  2. You’re In Trouble
  3. Round and Round
  4. In Your Direction
  5. She Wants Money
  6. Lack of Communication
  7. Back for More
  8. The Morning After
  9. I’m Insane
  10. Scene of the Crime

Ratt

Stephen Pearcy- vocals

Warren De Martini- guitar, backing vocals

Robbin Crosby- guitar, backing vocals

Juan Crocier- bass, backing vocals

Bobby Blotzer- drums, percussion

When people talk of the metal explosion of 1984, Ratt always gets a mention. Though many would accuse them of being too much the same on later albums, there is no debate that “Out of the Cellar” album was something fresh, at least to me.

Next post: Twisted Sister- Stay Hungry

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Great Rock Albums of 1984: Honeymoon Suite

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 26, 2017 by 80smetalman

Now that Download is done and dusted, not that I didn’t enjoy posting about it because I totally did, I will go back to the great albums of 1984. One note, Teal, my stepson, was going to give Mastodon another chance after their lackluster performance last year at Bloodstock. He never saw them. I didn’t either because they were on at the same time as Suicidal Tendencies, so for me, there was no hard decision to make.

In 1984, I was totally impressed by a song I heard on MTV from a Canadian band called Honeymoon Suite. That song was “New Girl Now” and although it only reached 57 in the US charts, probably why I liked it so much, it did go gold in Canada. I just like that hard rock intro with the keyboards giving it the right amount of support to compliment the sound. While, I never have had any personal experience from the lyrics, I do like them. Besides, all those ingredients make the song very catchy and the guitar solo is well done. So there, I’ve broken down my all time favourite Honeymoon Suite song.

I have come to the conclusion that Honeymoon Suite did things ass backwards on their 1984 debut album. Listening to some of the other songs, you would have thought they would have been more successful as a single than “New Girl Now.” All of the first four tracks were released as singles and my fave was the only one to chart in the US. However, the other three songs have more of that 80s soft rock single feel to them. Especially, the fourth track, “Stay in the Light.” As for the second track, “Burning in Love,” I ask myself, “Are these guys trying to imitate Rush here?” The middle of the song goes very keyboards progressive rock, that’s all. Saying that, it is very well played.

After those four songs, the album goes more hard rock. “Now That You Got Me” doesn’t send me headbanging away but I do like it. The guitar talents of Derry Grehan show themselves more here and do so more on the remaining tracks. “Funny Business” is a real rocker. That one does get me headbanging away to it. However, it does sound that lead singer, Johnie Dee’s voice sometimes struggles to keep up with the song. But that criticism is swept away by another Grehan guitar solo. Each solo does seem to get better with each song from track five on. Dee’s voice is more suited for the track after, “Heart on Fire,” which is just as rocky as the predecessor, only there’s more of a keyboard accompaniment on it. “Turn My Head” is a bit of a paradox. It starts out as a rocker but goes 80s soft rock in the middle only to finish off hard again. “It’s Your Heart” is a total rocker but the album ends with a ballad, “Face to Face.” It’s nothing spectacular except that Grehan plays his best guitar solo on it and that’s a great way to end the album.

In short, Derry Grehan is a fantastic guitarist and I have to give credit where due to keyboards player, Ray Coburn. Furthermore, the rhythm section of Brian Brackstone and Dave Betts is sound. I don’t want to criticize lead singer Johnnie Dee, he does have a good voice but he wouldn’t have the range for a metal band. It seems that the rest of the band has to slow down for him on the harder songs. On the other hand, he does nail “New Girl Now” very well.

Track Listing:

  1. New Girl Now
  2. Burning in Love
  3. Wave Babies
  4. Stay in the Ligtht
  5. Now That You Got Me
  6. Funny Business
  7. Heart on Fire
  8. Turn My Head
  9. It’s Your Heart
  10. Face to Face

Honeymoon Suite

Derry Grehan- lead guitar, vocals

Johnnie Dee- lead vocals

Brian Bracksotne- bass

Ray Cobourn- keyboards, vocals

Dave Betts- drums

I have to admit, in 1984 I liked the song “New Girl Now” as much as I did many of the metal songs going around at the time. It is a great song and fortunately, the rest of the album is pretty cool too.

Next post: Scandal Featuring Patty Smyth- The Warrior

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