Archive for Greg Kihn Band

Great Rock Albums of 1984: U2- The Unforgettable Fire

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 25, 2017 by 80smetalman

Unlike the Greg Kihn Band, after their successful 1983 album, “War,” followed by a successful live album, U2 didn’t vanish into obscurity. Maybe Greg Kihn should have released a live album. That’s all hindsight anyway. What is history is the fact that U2 followed up their success with the really cool album, “The Unforgettable Fire.”

I don’t think I’ve said this in previous posts about U2 but the one thing their music definitely did was appeal to Metalhead and Duranie alike. For those who don’t know, a Duranie is someone who was into Duran Duran and similar type music. Those people listened to U2 and did not feel that they were going too weird in their music tastes while Metalheads could do the same without any feeling of selling out and going mainstream. “The Unforgettable Fire” album continues this trend for the band as both of those groups bought this album up.

Reading the history behind the making of the album, the band has said that they were trying to steer a different direction with it as they didn’t want to be labeled as another arena rock band. Let me be totally honest here, I have never heard anything different in the sound of “The Unforgettable Fire” than what they had accomplished with their previous three studio albums. What U2 had been able to do very well with all four of their albums to date was make different sounding songs without having to change their overall style. I have always believed it was a case of more of this with the fourth album.

With “The Unforgettable Fire” the hits come out straight away, probably because I heard the first single, “Pride in the Name of Love” on the radio before I bought the album. History states that the single was released first so that’s probably why. Still, it ranks up their among my favourite U2 songs of all time. The second single, “Bad” is the second single released and that stands out as well while at the same time, you know it’s a good U2 song. I could never fathom why the title track never charted in North America as it’s a really cool track as well. If anything, I would rate it above “Bad.” But if you know me by now, albums aren’t about the singles on them and there has to be some hidden gem in the album. For me, that track is “Wire.” If I had my way, that would have been released as a single. I like the little guitar lick The Edge uses at the beginning before it goes into a good rocking song. In fact, The Edge shows his guitar skills all through the song. Actually, “Indian Summer Sky” is a really good song and that’s what you need for a good album.

The other thing which definitely appealed to me back in 1984 was U2’s use of politics in their music. This continues with this album, especially as two songs are dedicated to the late Martin Luther King Jr, one of them being the first single. “Bad” was about heroin addiction and the idea for the title track came when the band was visiting the war museum in Hiroshima, Japan. Put these things in with the music on the album and it’s no wonder why I liked it so much.

Track Listing:

  1. A Sort of Homecoming
  2. Pride in the Name of Love
  3. Wire
  4. The Unforgettable Fire
  5. Promenade
  6. 4th of July
  7. Bad
  8. Indian Summer Sky
  9. Elvis Presley and America
  10. MLK

U2

Bono- lead vocals,

The Edge- guitars, keyboards, backing vocals

Adam Clayton- bass

Larry Mullen Jr- drums

New feature: Seeing what has been done on other blogs and now that I know that I don’t have to pay WordPress ridiculous amounts of money for the privilege, with every album post, I will include a track from said album. Typical me, last on the bandwagon. In this case, since I have sung the praises of the track “Wire,” it will be featured here.

Heavy metal was going strong in 1984, so was U2. This album is clear evidence of that fact.

Next post: Steve Perry- Street Talk

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Great Rock Albums of 1984: Greg Kihn Band- Kihntagious

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Rock with tags , , , , , , , , on May 21, 2017 by 80smetalman

One of the biggest questions I have about 1984 is why did the Greg Kihn Band fade into oblivion in this year? The band was riding high on the wave of their very successful 1983 album, “Kihnspiracy,” which, in spite of the album having the ballad hit single “Jeopardy” on it, was a good rocking album. MTV seemed to like them as the video for the first single from the 1984 album, “Kihntagious,” “Reunited,” got a lot of play. I still think that it is a pretty good song. So I ask why did this band fade away so rapidly?

Could the answer be with “Kihntagious?” The already mentioned single leads off the album and gives it a promising start. Then comes the misleading “Rock,” the second single. This was released as a dance track and though there’s some good individual spots of musicianship on it, (Greg Douglass does some good lead guitar work on it), the dance vibe does sort of kills it for me. However, that is simply the weakest track on the album. “Stand Together” takes me back to their first album. It’s a good rocking track. “Confrontation Music” has a strong reggae vibe which I like quite a bit. Plus, Douglass probably plays his best guitar solo on this one. “Work, Work, Work” is a rocking closer that works on different levels.

Track Listing:

  1. Reunited
  2. Rock
  3. Make Up
  4. Stand Together
  5. Confrontation Music
  6. One Thing About Love
  7. Worst That Could Happen
  8. Trouble With the Girl
  9. Cheri Baby
  10. Hard Times
  11. Work, Work, Work

Greg Kihn Band

Greg Kihn- vocals, rhythm guitar

Greg Douglass- lead, slide guitars, backing vocals

Larry Lynch- drums, vocals

Steve Wright- bass, backing vocals

Gary Phillips- keyboards

Listening to “Kihntagious,” I can’t still fathom as to why the Greg Kihn Band slipped into obscurity after. I mean, this isn’t a bad album by any stretch of the imagination. I guess the answer is somewhere out there.

Next post: U2- The Unforgettable Fire

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 1984: Weird Al Yankovic- In 3D

Posted in 1980s, Humour, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 6, 2017 by 80smetalman

Michael Jackson did two things in 1984 which rose him up a few points in my estimation, both of which were linked to his top selling song, “Beat It.” First, when accepting a Grammy for the song, he had the decency to include Eddie Van Halen in his list of thank yous. After all, it was Eddie’s guitar solo on the song the reason why metalheads, bought the single. The other act was to allow Weird Al Yankovic to record a parody of “Beat It” called “Eat It.” That would be Weird Al’s best known single and even charted in the UK and it helped his 1984 album, “In 3D” become his biggest album. In fact, he was allowed to use many of the same dancers Michael Jackson used in the “Beat It” video for “Eat It.”

Weird Al Yankovic has always been known for his parodies of other great songs and there are plenty of those on “In 3D.” His second single from the album, “I Lost on Jeopardy” is a parody of the Greg Kihn Band’s 1983 hit, “Jeopardy” as well as making fun of the TV game show of the same name. I do wonder how many people went on game shows and looked stupid on national television. Greg Kihn makes an appearance in the video for this song. “King of Suede” parodies the classic from The Police, “King of Pain” and is about a clothing store owner. “Rocky XIII” is a funny parody of Survivor’s hit from the film “Rocky III” “Eye of the Tiger” about how Rocky Balboa gives up boxing to be delicatessen owner. I love the lyrics: “It’s the rye or the kaiser, it’s the thrill of one bite.” A lesser known track but one of my favourite is “The Brady Bunch,” a parody of the Men Without Hats’s only hit, “Safety Dance.” It is believed that from the lyrics, Weird Al didn’t care too much for the 1970s American sit com his song is named after.

It’s not just famous songs that come under the comic roast of Weird Al. He parodies other subjects as well. The second track, “Midnight Star” takes the rip out of grocery store tabloids. However, some of the headlines he mentions for his tabloid, “Midnight Star” aren’t too far fetched in the real ones. I do remember headlines like, “They’re Keeping Hitler’s Brain Inside a Jar,” “Aliens From Outer Space are Sleeping in My Car” and “The Ghost of Elvis is Living in My Den.” Another of my favourites is “That Boy Could Dance” which is about a nerdy geeky loser who is a great dancer, so all his shortcomings are overlooked. Trust me, the song is much funnier that my attempt to explain it here. Then there is the Bob Marley influenced reggae track, “Buy Me a Condo” which is about a Jamaican boy who wants to come to America and live a middle class existence. Even my least favourite track on the album, Mr Popeil is funny. Probably because I remember all the Popeil adverts for things like the Ginsu Knife and the Pocket Fisherman.

In 1981, there were two singles called “Stars on 45” and “Stars on 45 II.” The former took Beatles’ songs and made a medley out of it. The latter did the same with Beach Boys songs. So what Weird Al did was to take classic rock songs and make a medley out of those but instead, set to polka music. Some great rock classics like “Smoke on the Water” and Jimi Hendrix’s “Hey Joe” get the polka treatment.

When I bought this album and saw the track listing, I thought the closer, “Nature Trail to Hell,” might be a parody of the AC/DC classic, “Highway to Hell.” Instead, it lambastes blood and gore horror films. “Nature Trail to Hell” to quote the song, is about “A homicidal maniac who finds a cub scout troop and hacks up two or three in every scene.” This was particularly relevant at the time because “Friday the 13th Part 4” was in the cinema then. You know, the one advertised as the film where Jason meets his grisly end. Well done by Al, it makes a fantastic closer.

Track Listing:

  1. Eat It
  2. Midnight Star
  3. The Brady Bunch
  4. Buy Me a Condo
  5. I Lost on Jeopardy
  6. Polkas on 45
  7. Mr Popeil
  8. King of Suede
  9. That Boy Could Dance
  10. Rocky XIII
  11. Nature Trail to Hell

Weird Al Yankovic

Weird Al Yankovic- vocals, synthesizer, accordion, piano

Jim West- guitar

Steve Jay- bass, banjo, talking drums

John ‘Bermuda’ Schwartz- drums, percussion

Rick Derringer- guitar, mandolin

Weird Al Yankovic hit the big time 1984 with this album, “In 3D.” I dare anyone to listen to this album and not laugh their heads off at least one song. For me, it’s nearly all of them. Anyone who doesn’t find any part of this album funny, then they have no sense of humour.

Next post: Randy Newman- Trouble in Paradise

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: Greg Kihn Band- Kihnspiracy

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on February 28, 2016 by 80smetalman

kihnspiracy

1983 was the most commercially successful year for the Greg Kihn Band. They’re best known hit “Jeopardy” went to number two in the singles charts and only “Beat It” by Michael Jackson kept it off the top spot. Maybe they should have gotten Eddie Van Halen to play a guitar solo on that song.

“Jeopardy” opens the 1983 album, “Kihnspiracy” and once the single is done and dusted, that’s when the album really kicks into gear. The very next track, “Fascination” begins with a great luring guitar intro and it is a rocker that really shapes the rest of the album. Likewise with the next track, “Tear Down the City” but only this begins with some cool lead guitar licks. Things go down a similar vein with the next couple of tracks. “You Can’t Love Them All” is a very amusing track and the guitar solos on it are first rate.

Having this on cassette, I can say that side two does eventually slow down. “I Fall to Pieces” isn’t as fast as any of the songs on side one, barring the big single but the hard guitars are strongly felt nonetheless. “Someday” is the song where keyboards are heard the most but it is still a rock song. Lead guitarist, Greg Douglass, who joined the band on the album shows he knows a little about how to play a guitar. “Curious” is the hardest song on the second side and then the album goes out with two slightly more softer songs, although “How Long” does have a cool, almost acoustic intro. Listening to the album after so many years, I think some of these songs would sound really cool if covered by a metal bands. A surprisingly good forgotten album.

Track Listing:

  1. Jeopardy
  2. Fascination
  3. Tear Down the City
  4. Talking to Myself
  5. You Can’t Love Them All
  6. I Fall to Pieces
  7. Someday
  8. Curious
  9. How Long
  10. Love Never Fails
Greg Kihn Band

Greg Kihn Band

Greg Kihn- lead vocals, rhythm guitar

Greg Douglass- lead/slide guitars, vocals

Larry Lynch- drums, vocals

Steve Wright- bass, vocals

Gary Phillips- keyboards

The tragic thing about the Greg Kihn band is that when people think of them and remember 1983, they will always be associated with their biggest single and not for the hard rocking album that “Kihnspiracy” is. That is a tragedy.

Next post: The Tubes- Outside Inside

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: Greg Kihn Band- RocKihnRoll

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on February 17, 2014 by 80smetalman

 

Rockihnroll

“Tom Sawyer” by Rush lifted my spirits while I was on mess duty in 1981. In the summer of that year, “The Break Up Song” by the Greg Kihn Band made air alert more bearable. For those who never served in the military, when a marine battalion is placed on air alert, that means the president at any time can order them to go where he needs them to. In 1980, President Carter ordered my battalion to Key West Florida to deal with the influx of Cuban refugees (actually it was Castro emptying his prisons.) In 1981, Regan never ordered us to go anywhere but that didn’t stop the top brass from playing (sorry but I have to use the real term here so I apologise to any who might be offended) fuck fuck games with us. Things like getting us up at two in the morning and putting us on trucks to drive forty miles to the air base just for someone to say, “Good job boys.” We couldn’t go more than fifteen miles from the base and had to let the duty NCO know where we were at all times. Of course, because we were limited to where we could go, we went to the field a lot. So it’s no wonder I needed something to raise the spirits a little and “The Break Up Song” was it.

I think what first caught my eye to the song was the guitar sound along with those famous lyrics “ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah.” Although at the time, I thought each of those “ah’s” started with a “b.” It was another three years before I learned I was actually singing the wrong thing. Saying that, I did mentally compose my own x rated version but I won’t go there. The rest of the “RocKihnRoll” album goes along the same vein. Like the big single, the great majority of the songs on the album have that catchy guitar intro that turns your head to it and makes it worth a listen. While the rock doesn’t go too heavy, it’s there and you definitely notice it. Even the ballad “Sheila” which starts with a keyboard, suddenly goes into a hard rock moment. I found it difficult to pick tracks other than “The Break Up Song” that stand out and that isn’t a bad thing for this album. However, I would vote for “Womankind” and “Trouble in Paradise” as other songs of note. The Greg Kihn band shows that they were a good tight band here.

Track Listing:

1. Valerie

2. The Break Up Song (They Don’t Write’ Em)

3. Womankind

4. Can’t Stop Hurtin’ Myself

5. Trouble in Paradise

6. Sheila

7. Nothing’s Gonna Change

8. The Girl Most Likely

9. When The Music Starts

10. True Confessions

Greg Kihn Band
Greg Kihn Band

Greg Kihn- vocals, guitar

Dave Carpender- guitar, vocals

Larry Lynch- drums, vocals

Steve Wright- bass, vocals

Gary Phillips- keyboards, vocals

In my quest to list guitarists who may not have had the respect they possibly deserve, I must add Dave Carpender. Watching the live performance of the album closer “True Confessions,” I must say that he can bend the six string a little bit. That only adds to what a good album this is. It was just what was needed back in 1981, not only for me, but I think for music in general.

Next post: The Who- Face Dances

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