Archive for glam rock

Great Metal Albums of 1983: Hanoi Rocks- Back to Mystery City

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 6, 2016 by 80smetalman

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It took me a couple of listens before I finally was able to get into Hanoi Rocks’ 1983 release, “Back to Mystery City.” At the time, I hadn’t heard of them and it would be another year before I actually did when they played a small club in New Jersey. On the other hand, it’s been fun delving into their backlog of albums, even this one. It might have taken a couple of listens but I can say now, “I like it.”

The weird thing was that Youtube has this album backwards. The actual first track on the album is the last one on Youtube and vice versa. So, I ask myself, would my listening experience have been different if I had listened to the album in the correct order? My answer: I don’t think so. The order doesn’t matter here. The short instrumental opening, “Strange Boys Play Weird Openings” could have been called “Strange Boys Play Weird Closings.” it’s inter-changeable.

Before I get further obsessed with the order of the songs, let’s look at the songs themselves. There are a number of good ones so I’ll start with the one I’m least impressed with, “Lick Summer Love.” It’s not a terrible song, nor even a bad one but it doesn’t move me either. Hanoi Rocks tries to introduce a calypso feel to the song but it doesn’t quite work. Again, I don’t hate the song but it is at a level below the others on “Back to Mystery City.” Then again, Michael Monroe wrote the song when he was seventeen and has since said that he hated the lyrics.

Now let’s go to the positives and there are many. I can’t say a bad thing about the rest of the album and it has been difficult for me to pick a favourite track. Each one seems as good as the last one. For example, after riding the mid tempo “Until I Get You” which has been said to typify the band’s seventies glam rock style, I get pounded with “Sailing Down the Tears.” Now that I have had a moment to think, if I have to pick a favourite, it’s going to be “Tooting Bec Wreck.” This is more up tempo for me and works on so many levels. Maybe it’s me but I do hear a slight influence of the famous Sweet song, “Ballroom Blitz” on it. Plus it’s the best song for appreciating Sam Yaffa’s bass skills. Then there’s the one single from the album, “Malibu Beach Nightmare,” which Andy McCoy wrote while smoking hashish. Maybe certain drugs can influence creativity, lol. It was originally recorded in calypso fashion as a joke but the band decided to record it as a rock song, good decision in retrospect. “Mental Beat” is quite a cool song too.

Track Listing:

  1. Strange Boys Play Weird Openings
  2. Malibu Beach Nightmare
  3. Mental Beat
  4. Tooting Bec Wreck
  5. Until I Get You
  6. Sailing Down the Tears
  7. Lick Summer Love
  8. Beating Gets Faster
  9. Ice Cream Summer
  10. Back to Mystery City
Hanoi Rocks

Hanoi Rocks

Michael Monroe- lead vocals, saxophone, harmonica

Andy McCoy- lead guitar

Nasty Suicide- rhythm guitar

Sam Yaffa- bass

Razzle- drums

Hanoi Rocks were putting out solid albums in rapid succession and beginning to find more commercial success in 1983. “Back to Mystery City” was a good stepping stone in that direction.

Next post: Riot- Born in America

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 Metal Albums of 1983: Kix- Cool Kids

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 3, 2016 by 80smetalman

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In some circles, it’s been said that American rockers, Kix, were the first of the glam rock, hair metal movement. While I won’t enter that debate, I do remember that when I first saw their photo in 1983, I wanted to grow my hair like them after having to wear a crew cut during my four years of service to my country. However, I heard their music before I saw what they looked like in the form of the single from the 1983, “Cool Kids” album, “Body Talk.” It got enough radio play to catch my interest although I’m glad I don’t recall seeing the cheesy video for it where the band cavorts with ladies in full workout garb.

“Body Talk” isn’t the best song on the album and apparently, Kix only recorded the song to appease their label. However, the rest of “Cool Kids” is better. Even the first two tracks, which sounds in similar mode to the single are better and the title track is better of those two. “Love Pollution” is the first true metal song on the album in my view but it’s sandwiched between songs that are not. “Body Talk” follows right after and even after thirty-three years, I still don’t know what to make of “Loco-Emotion.”

The second half of “Cool Kids” makes up for the faults of the first half. “Mighty Mouth” is a good rocking tune that starts off with a scream from lead singer, Steve Whiteman, which I don’t know how seriously I should take. Still the song does rock! It also turns the album up a gear and progresses throughout the remainder of the album. “Nice on the Ice” and “Get Your Monkeys Out” are both good tracks. I do smile at the opening line to “Get Your Monkeys Out,” which goes: “I live in the jungle” and the line from the chorus, “You got to let your monkeys out.” Then things go slower with a country sounding ballad, “For Shame.” This song is so country sounding that I found an acoustic version of this song on Youtube. I even want to do a “Yee hah!” during the guitar solo on it. However, I don’t think the band is serious on the song. Fortunately, things return to more metal pastures with the closer, “Restless Blood,” which sounds to me like fore runner to one of Kix’s best know songs, “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah.” Maybe it’s the “hey, hey, hey” that’s sung several times in the song that makes me think that. Still, “Restless Blood” does conclude things on a positive note, even with the slow down part in the middle of the song because that’s rapidly followed by the best guitar solo on the album. A great way to end!

Track Listing:

  1. Burning Love
  2. Cool Kids
  3. Love Pollution
  4. Body Talk
  5. Loco-Emotion
  6. Mighty Mouth
  7. Nice on Ice
  8. Get Your Monkeys Out
  9. For Shame
  10. Restless Blood
Kix

Kix

Steve Whitemann- lead vocals, harmonica, saxophone

Brad Divens- guitar, backing vocals, talk box

Brian ‘Damage’ Forsythe- guitars

Donnie Purnell- bass, backing vocals, keyboards

Jimmy ‘Chocolate’ Chalfant- drums, percussion, backing vocals, co-lead vocal on “Body Talk”

Kix got my attention in 1983 and though I can’t say that I’ve always been a die hard fan, I know that the “Cool Kids” album is cool. Although I did try, I couldn’t quite grow my hair like any of them.

Next post: Hanoi Rocks- Back to Mystery 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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1983: David Bowie- Let’s Dance

Posted in 1980s, Death, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 13, 2016 by 80smetalman

David-bowie-lets-dance (1)

So far, the new year isn’t starting off very well for rock and metal. Two weeks ago, we lose Lemmy to cancer and then two days ago, cancer claims David Bowie. Right now is a time for tragedy and great morning.

One observation I have made goes back to that metal hating newspaper, The Sun. At Lemmy’s passing, the paper devoted pages 14 and 15 to talk about his life and contribution to music. However, yesterday’s Sun put David Bowie on the front cover and dedicated about eight pages, at least, to him. Now, I know the argument that Bowie was more well known than Lemmy and sold more records and had many more Top 40 hits. But still, the difference in the amount of coverage by the paper is way out of proportion.

When I began to assemble my list for albums of 1983, I was in two minds on whether or not to include Bowie’s 1983 “Let’s Dance” album. For me, it’s not his best album. It’s a long way down from classics like “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and Spiders From Mars,” an album I visited many eons ago. However, being an open minded person and having mellowed a little with old age, I thought it fair that I give it another listen. My opinion of “Let’s Dance” has improved but only a little bit. To me, it still sounds too 80s mainstream pop.

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Here’s the good news. When I first heard the title cut all those years ago, I was put off by the domineering bass in the song. I thought he was trying to go for a dance record with it. Hearing it again, I realise now that “Let’s Dance” has a real killer guitar solo. Naturally, I had to look up to discover who played this great solo and very much to my surprise, I have learned that the guitar virtuoso was none other than guitar great Stevie Ray Vaughan. Better yet, not only does he shine on the title cut but his talents explode all over this album. So, I ask myself, “How could have I missed out this great guitar work over thirty years ago?” My only answer is that the mainstream 8os sound put me off so much, that I missed the great guitar solos.

Stevie Ray Vaughan

Stevie Ray Vaughan

Another point to make is that there is absolutely nothing wrong with Bowie’s vocals anywhere on the album. When you listen to each song, you know without a shadow of a doubt that it’s the Starman singing. His unique voice was as good as ever. This leads me to alter my original verdict on “Let’s Dance” to state that Bowie’s vocals and Vaughan’s guitar work save the album. Like with many albums, I did find a lesser known good track on this one. That track is “Cat People (Putting Out Fire)” and that even takes the top spot from the former fave, “Modern Love.”

Track Listing:

  1. Modern Love
  2. China Girl
  3. Let’s Dance
  4. Without You
  5. Ricochet
  6. Criminal World
  7. Cat People (Putting Out Fire)
  8. Shake It
David Bowie

David Bowie

David Bowie- vocals

Carmine Rojas- bass

Omar Hakim, Tony Thompson- drums

Nile Rodgers- guitar, horn arrangements

Stevie Ray Vaughan- lead guitar

Rob Sabino- keyboards

Mac Gallehon- trumpet

Robert Aaron, Lenny Pickett, Stan Harrison- tenor saxophone, flute

Steve Elson- baritone saxophone, flute

Sammy Figueroa- percussion

Frank Simms, George Simms, David Spinner- backing vocals

175px-David-Bowie_Early

R.I.P. David Bowie

While “Let’s Dance” is better than what I remember from over thirty years ago, after I listened to it, I did listen to “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and Spiders From Mars” again. That album is more my style. Whichever album you from David Bowie you prefer, you can’t the fault the contribution this great singer made to music for over forty years.

Next Post: U2- War  (Unless someone else who put out an album in 1983 dies)

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Great Metal Albums of 1982: Hanoi Rocks- Self Destruction Blues

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 14, 2015 by 80smetalman

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First of all, no one spotted the mistake in my last post. Boppinsblog came close as he pointed out that “Live At Budokan” was a Cheap Trick album, so one 80smetalman gold star awarded there. But that wasn’t the mistake I was referring to. Boppinsblog was close though because the mistake had to do with the quote from Wayne’s World. See, the quote I used on the last post was from Wayne’s World 1 while the photo below it was from Wayne’s World 2. I’m afraid that no one gets the grand prize this time.

Now onto the second album in 1982 from Finnish glam metallers, Hanoi Rocks. When I visited the predecessor, “Oriental Beat,” I commented on what a great feel good, party album it was and I stick by that. I won’t be so flowery about the second album, “Self Destruction Blues.” The album just simply bloody rocks!

Just about every track on this album is an absolute corker and one thing that it has in common with its predecessor is that each songs seems to improve as the album progresses. Except for maybe “Whispers in the Dark,” that’s not quite as good as the others. However, putting it first wouldn’t be a good idea because “Love’s an Injection” is such a great opener. If you think that “Problem Child” was a cover of the AC/DC classic, it is nothing of the sort. It’s still a cool song.

What I find about most of the songs on this album is that the titles of the songs hardly appear in their song. “Desperado,” my favourite track, is only sung once. If I didn’t have the title in front of me, I would have thought it was called “Ten Thousand Heartaches.” Nevertheless, the song is just brilliant so full marks to the band for that little twist. The same can be said for such other cool tracks like “Beer and a Cigarette” and “Kill City Kills.” Again both are great tracks. The title track is actually done in a blues fashion and it’s good to hear Michael Monroe’s voice stretching out a bit. Full marks to the band again. The closer, “Dead by Xmas,” in my mind is a case of Bon Jovi meets The Clash. I mean the piano sounds very similar to that on the first Bon Jovi single “Runaway.” Then when the song kicks in, it sounds very much like The Clash but it’s well done. In fact, I think the humour that went into the album, along with some fine songs, make “Self Destruction Blues” a fantastic album.

Track Listing:

  1. Love’s an Injection
  2. I Want You
  3. Cafe Avenue
  4. Nothing New
  5. Kill City Kills
  6. Self Destruction Blues
  7. Beer and a Cigarette
  8. Whispers in the Dark
  9. Taxi Driver
  10. Desperado
  11. Problem Child
  12. Dead by Xmas
Hanoi Rocks

Hanoi Rocks

Michael Monroe- lead vocals

Andy McCoy- guitar

Nasty Suicide- guitar

Sam Yaffa- bass

Gyp Casino- drums

After the recording of the album, Gyp Casino would leave the band and be replaced by Razzle

Another fun hard rocking album from Hanoi Rocks in 1982. Had I been more aware of this band in the year, I would have concluded that Finland must be a place to rock because albums like this one certainly give that impression.

Next Post: Saxon- The Eagle Has Landed

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 Metal Albums of 1981: Motley Crue- Too Fast for Love

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 9, 2014 by 80smetalman

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Back in 1981, I thought I did a great job keeping up with all the music that was going around at the time, especially considering the fact that I was a bit hampered by serving in the military back then. However, the more I explore this year in music, not only have a drawn the conclusion that 1981 was a killer year for music, I feel slightly sick at my discovery of how many great albums that went past me unnoticed, including this debut album from Motley Crue.

I did hear the album in retrospect after hearing the great follow up to it and I did like it then but hearing it again after such a long lay off, I like it even more. There are some killer jams laid down on this one. The first five songs on this album really get things going here. All of them can be metal classics so I find myself asking “Why aren’t they?” Maybe I will find the answer as I continue the journey through the golden age of heavy metal. Actually, I should say the first six songs because “Piece of the Action” was quite a good belter as well. Again, I don’t take anything away from the rest of the album as they too are decent songs and the title track quite rightly can stand along side the first six. What I conclude was that in 1981, Motley Crue were definitely hungry and that hunger shown in the intensity of “Too Fast For Love.”

Another issue from listening to the album has also surfaced here. I now offer an official apology to Crue guitarist Mick Mars. See, I always had him written down as the worst guitarist in metal but now I withdraw that branding from Mick. Getting things in perspective, I am not going the other way and start comparing him with the likes of Van Halen, Nugent, Rhodes or even Iommi, but “Too Fast For Love,” proves to me that he’s not as bad as I first figured. Mick, if you’re reading this, my most humble apologies.

Track Listing:

1. Live Wire

2. Come and Dance

3. Public Enemy #1

4. Merry Go Round

5. Take Me to the Top

6. Piece of the Action

7. Starry Eyes

8. Too Fast for Love

9. On With the Sh0w

Motley Crue

Motley Crue

Vince Neil- vocals

Nikki Sixx- bass

Mick Mars- guitars

Tommy Lee- drums

“Too Fast For Love” shows Motley Crue at a time when they were hungry and just wanted to create some good in your face heavy metal. As we will see further on down the line, something changed but we can leave that til another day. In the mean time, lets celebrate what has become for me, one of the biggest surprise albums from 1981.

Next post: The Plasmatics- Metal Priestess

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 1981: Johnny Van Zant Band- Round Two

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 31, 2014 by 80smetalman

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Whether it was the glam metal scene in LA or the thrash scene in San Francisco back in the 1980s, of all the bands from those areas who gained world wide popularity, there were many bands who were just as good but never fully broke out of the local scene. The same thing can be said of Southern rock in the earlier part of the decade. I was fortunate to have been stationed in North Carolina during this time, so I was fully able to appreciate it when Southern Rock was at the height of its glory. It gave me a good feeling whenever I trotted back across the Mason-Dixon Line to New Jersey, that many of my friends were listening to Blackfoot, Molly Hatchet, The Outlaws and 38 Special. Unfortunately, not so many people heard of Johnny Van Zant when I mentioned them up north. They were mainly well known just in the south.

As all my British friends would say, this was a bloody shame because the Johnny Van Zant Band were a very good band and their second album, “Round Two” bears witness to this fact. There is a definitely influence from Johnny’s older brother on this album because I can detect some Lynyrd Skynyrd sounds here. But in no way does this band simply rip off the great Skynyrd. They bring their own brand of hard rock to tracks like “(Who’s) Right or Wrong,” “Shot Down” and “Standing in the Falling Rain.” Lead guitarists Robbie Gay and Eric Lundgren  know how to play on these songs as well as others. They also do a very hard version of the Beatles classic “Drive My Car.” The album does have a ballad in the form of “Yesterday’ Gone.” I must declare that of all the Van Zant boys, Johnny’s vocals are the most attuned for singing ballads. Not that he can’t sing harder songs just as well, maybe better. It’s just too bad “Round Two” has been allowed to lay dormant for so many years.

Track Listing:

1. (Who’s) Right or Wrong

2. Standing in the Falling Rain

3. Yesterday’s Gone

4. Let There Be Music

5. Keep Our Love Alive

6. Night Time Lady

7. Drive My Car

8. Shot Down

9. Cold Hearted Woman

10. Play My Music

Johnny Van Zant Band

Johnny Van Zant Band

Johnny Van Zant- vocals

Robbie Gay- lead guitar

Erik- Lundgren- lead guitar

Danny Clausman- bass

Robbie Morris- drums

As I progress through hard rock and metal history, I am discovering albums and bands that I took little notice of or missed completely. I can’t say that I missed the Johnny Van Zant Band because I saw them live in 1982 but that’s another story. I do regret not listening to this album more back in the time and I wish more people did as well. Here’s everyone’s chance to rectify that now.

Next post: Nantucket- Long Way to the Top

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 1978: The Sweet- Level Headed

Posted in 1978, Humour with tags , , , , , on May 25, 2012 by 80smetalman

I’ve said this before, The Sweet were one of the great, hidden influences of many metal bands, both for their sound and the make up. They, along with Marc Bolan, personified glam rock back in the seventies and was one of the reasons I included them in the section of “Other Great Metal Influences” on here. For further imput, go back and read that posting.

This brings me to the 1978 album, “Level Headed,” which has been said by many to be the last great album by The Sweet. One of the reasons for this belief is that “Level Headed” contains their last big single, “Love is Like Oxygen.” I remember this being another cool rock song that came blasting through the speaker of that little AM clock radio of mine in the early summer of that year. When I first heard this song however, I thought it was ELO due to the vocals. It was only when the deejay announced it was The Sweet, that I knew different. But that didn’t change my view, it is still a good song. Of course there some other great tracks on this album ranging from the mellow sounding “Dream On” to the more traditional Sweet sounding ditties like “California Nights” and “Silverbird.”

Track Listing: (US version)

1. California Nights

2. Silver Bird

3. Dream On

4. Fountain

5. Love is Like Oxygen

6. Anthem N0 I (Lady of the Lake)

7. Strong Love

8. Letters D’ Amour

9. Anthem No II (Instrumental)

10. Air on “A” Tape Roof

The Sweet

Brian Conolly- lead and backing vocals

Andy Scott- guitar, synthesiser, backing vocals, lead vocals on “Dream On” and “Fountain”

Mick Tucker- drums, percussion, backing vocals

Steve Priest- bass, backing vocals, lead vocals on “California Nights”

US album cover

This would be the last album that would feature The Sweet as a foursome. Brian Conolly later left the band to persue a solo career and some say that this contributed to their decline after this album. I’m not sure about that, but I know this is a good album and is one of the reasons why The Sweet deserve their place in rock history.

Next post: Rainbow- Long Live Rock And Roll

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

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