Archive for Guitarists

Great Rock Hit Wonders of 1984 and Another Significant Songs

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

Its that time again where I look at some of the one hit wonders of the year I am visiting. There were some interesting ones in 1984 with others who were wrongly considered such by the so called mainstream public. Some great heavy metal acts fell under this misbelief. So without further ado, let’s start with what was the most successful hit, “Missing You” by John Waite.

John Waite

What I couldn’t believe was that after doing a bit of research, that John Waite had a pretty impressive discography. However, the only song I and many others will remember him for would be this great soft rock ballad that went to number one. Although many metalheads wouldn’t admit it back then, they did like it. It can be found on quite a few soft rock compilation albums.

Dwight Twilley

The next one comes from American songwriter Dwight Twilley. He had been around for years as I have learned but he is best known for his 1984 top 20 hit “Girls.” This mid tempo rock tune takes me back to the time when the build up to the metal explosion in 1984 was just about to happen. I haven’t heard this song for years but listening to it for the purposes of research was very pleasant. I wonder if this one is on any compilation albums.

Dog Police

In 1984, MTV had a monthly segment called “Basement Video.” The premise was six videos from unsigned artists would be played and the winner would go onto the grand final. In January, a video from a Memphis Tennessee outfit called Dog Police won with their self titled single. I even phone up and voted for it. What I remember about them was that upon the introduction to the video it was said that Dog Police wanted to become the Frank Zappa of music video. Unfortunately, that never happened and they only finished fourth in the grand final. Still, it’s a great video and song.

Rick Derringer

All I know for sure with this next one was that I first heard the song  “I Play Guitar” by Rick Derringer in 1984 when I saw the video for said song. I loved it straight away! Now, I’m not sure if this song actually came out in this year but because 84 was when I first heard it, I’m including it here just because it’s such a kick ass song. Before this, I had only heard how great a guitarist Rick was but this song proved it. And because I can’t find the official MTV video on Youtube, you get this really cool live version.

Naff song of 1984

Tracey Ulman

In the eyes of most of the world, Tracey Ulman is a brilliant comedy actress. I love her wit. But in 1984, she put an album and MTV treated the world to the single from it, “They Don’t Know.” I had the misfortune of hearing it on the car radio a couple of months ago. The song is totally naff, with a 1960s pop feel and even the guitar solo sounds naff. Don’t worry, I won’t inflict it upon you, my readers, but rest assured, I am glad that she stuck to comedy. The rest of the world is probably glad too. However, I can identify with her sense of humour with the title of her album “You Broke My Heart in 17 Places.” I have this habit of picking out numbers like that.

Next post: Music News of 1984

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.com/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1504721323&sr=8-8&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Great Rock Albums of 1984: REO Speedwagon- Wheels Are Turnin’

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 3, 2017 by 80smetalman

With the explosion of heavy metal onto commercial airwaves in 1984, it is not surprising that there would be casualties left in its wake. For me, my love for the music of REO Speedwagon would come to an end in this year. In my eyes and ears, their 1984 album, “Wheels Are Turnin’,” was a sell out and I came to the conclusion that the band had abandoned their more hard rock roots and had become a top forty band. The exact phrase I used at the time was “They went from being good and settled for being popular.” Thinking back, was my assessment of them and this album accurate? It is now, thirty years on, that I am revisiting “Wheels Are Turnin'” with a fresh set of ears and a much more open mind.

My very first impression at the time was that they had stayed true to their roots with their first single, “I Do’ Wanna Know.” This lively track is classic REO Speedwagon as I had always known them. It’s a fast hard track where lead guitarist Gary Richrath and keyboardist Neil Doughty show their musical talents off. In fact, if I were to compile a list of my favourite REO songs, “I Do’ Wanna Know” would most certainly be in the top five. Unfortunately for me, came their second single, their ultra successful mega hit, “Can’t Fight This Feeling.” While I have come to appreciate this song more in my mellowing old age, in 1984, I thought that the band where just trying to recapture the success they had with a previous successful song, “Keep on Loving You” from the “Hi Infidelity” album. At the time, that was a big turnoff for me.

The two singles after that were even bigger turnoffs to me. “One Lonely Night” didn’t fire me up in any way nor did “Live Every Moment.” It was here that I went off REO Speedwagon and found myself content to listen to their earlier classics, especially my all time favourite of theirs, “Nine Lives.” As I write this, I am feeling a little bit like a hypocrite. I have said on countless posts of albums that I don’t judge them by their singles, so why did I here? I think the reason was that on so many of their albums, including my fave, the singles from them were some of my favourite songs. I know that sounds a bit weak and that’s why I am asking if anyone knows where I time machine is located so I can got back to 1984 and tell my 23 year old self to give the “Wheels Are Turnin'” album a chance.

Unlike those other albums, some of the best tracks aren’t the singles, “I Do’ Wanna Know” being the exception. That will always be the best track on the album for me. However, with some of the other songs, they do go back more to their harder rock roots. “Thru the Window” and “Gotta Feel More” are great examples of this as is the title track at the end. However, on these songs and even the singles, the guitar talents of Gary Richrath aren’t ignored as he does wail on many of them. “Gotta Feel More” is probably Gary at his best on this album.

Gary Richrath

Track Listing:

  1. I Do’ Wanna Know
  2. One Lonely Night
  3. Thru the Window
  4. Rock N’ Roll Star
  5. Live Every Moment
  6. Can’t Fight This Feeling
  7. Gotta Feel More
  8. Break This Spell
  9. Wheels Are Turnin’

REO Speedwagon

Kevin Cronin- lead vocals, rhythm guitar

Gary Richrath- lead guitar

Neil Doughty- keyboards

Bruce Hall- bass, backing vocals

Alan Gratzer- drums, percussion, backing vocals

So the big question here is did REO Speedwagon sell out with the “Wheels Are Turnin'” album? My answer is possibly. They did have four singles from this album and only one of them I truly liked. However, there is plenty of evidence on the album to show that they hadn’t fully turned away from their harder past. My conclusion is that while I enjoy this album more in my older age, it still doesn’t match up to classics like “Nine Lives,” “Hi Infidelity,” “You Can Tune a Piano But You Can’t Tuna Fish” or “Good Trouble.” For me, those are the greatest REO albums of all time.

Next post: Great Rock One Hit Wonders of 1984

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.com/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1504429543&sr=8-8&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A New Great Metal Album: Greywind- Afterthoughts

Posted in Concerts, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 5, 2017 by 80smetalman

Apologies for all of those who were expecting to be reading my thoughts on the “Fugazi” album from Marillion. Trust me, that will be coming very soon. What has thrown a metal spanner in the works was my getting and listening to the debut album, “Afterthoughts” by Greywind after seeing them dominate the Avalanche Stage on the Saturday and Download. Now, that I’ve had a couple of listens to it, I am even more impressed and now want to spread the word about this band.

Greywind making their mark at Download

At first listen, one might be tempted to compare Greywind to Paramore and there are similarities in the sound beyond the fact that both are fronted by female lead singers. Only similarities though, as I find Greywind to be much more in your face than what Paramore ever was, no disrespect to that band. There is some powerful forces at work on “Afterthoughts” in between some flashes of prog metal. The best example of this is on the tracks “Circle” and “The Lake.” The latter uses a piano in a very seductive way that lures you into a possible mellow out before belting you ear drums with more guitars. However, those aren’t my favourite tracks on the album. The title track is a definite candidate as well as being a great opener for the album. I also like the track “Desolate” for its start like a ballad before ripping your head off power chords and then going back and forth between the two and “Car Spins” is a very interesting track to say indeed.

One thing I learned after purchasing the album was that Greywind are actually a brother and sister act fronted by guitarist Paul O’Sullivan and singer Stephanie O’Sullivan. The rhythm section get a mention in the Special Thanks part on the label as they should. Mark Chapman and Adam Perry make a very good one here. Guitarist Paul is a very good guitarist which is paradoxical for me. I usually like ones who do blistering solos ala Van Halen, Nugent, Blackmore, Iommi, Page etc. I had to stop there before I got carried away naming all the great axemen. He does play some intricate little riffs throughout the songs that don’t escape your attention.

For me though, it’s the dominating voice of Steph that makes this album for me. In comparison to Paramore, Hayley Williams’ vocals don’t even come close! Steph O’Sullivan can do it all. She can sing soft or belt you with her raw power vocal chords. She did that at Download and she does it here on the album.

Track Listing:

  1. Afterthoughts
  2. Forest Ablaze
  3. Circle
  4. Safe Haven
  5. The Lake
  6. Car Spin
  7. Stitch On My Wings
  8. Desolate
  9. In Autumn
  10. Wander

Stephanie O’Sullivan giving it her all.

Stephanie O’Sullivan- vocals

Paul O’Sullivan- guitars

Mark Chapman- bass

Adam Perry- drums

The whole point of my writing “Rock and Roll Children” and starting 80sMetalman was to get everyone to get out their old albums and listen to them again. I know a lot of you never stopped listening to them. In this case, I’m hoping that you will give a new band a chance and listen to their debut album because I think it’s worth it.

To buy Rock And Roll Children go to: https://www.amazon.com/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1499276423&sr=8-8&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1984: Tony Carey- Some Tough City

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 14, 2017 by 80smetalman

Tony Carey was another great artist considered a one hit wonder by the MTV generation of the mid 1980s. In the spring and early summer of 1984, his biggest single, “A Fine Fine Day,” tore up the charts and eventually made it to number six or seven. It got tons of airplay on both radio and MTV. However, what these robots failed to understand that Tony had been rocking our world for many years before this. They didn’t know about his stint with the great Rainbow or even known that the year before, he had success with his band Planet P. Fortunately, I did and that information led me to procure his 1984 album, “Some Tough City.”

If I had been among the ignorant, the second single released from the album might have put me off buying the album. “The First Day of Summer” wasn’t bad, although there are much better tracks on “Some Tough City,” it’s just in the video for the song, he tries too hard to act like Joe Cool Rock Singer and that was a bit off putting. Now don’t get me wrong, Tony Carey has a good voice but he’s an even better musician as demonstrated on the album where he plays all the instruments. I know I have beaten the word ‘underrated’ to death on 80sMetalman but the term definitely applies to Tony.

“A Fine Fine Day” is not typical of the album. It’s a great song and it won my 1984 award for best non metal song of the year but it’s more progressive rock and Tony definitely demonstrates his keyboard skills on it. Most of the rest of the album has more of a hard rock edge to it, even “The First Day of Summer.” However, some of the more rockier songs like, “Eddie Goes Underground” and “A Lonely Life” really cook on here. A real paradox on the album is “Reach Out,” where it starts out like it’s going to be some 80s synth pop song and then really explodes into a rocker. The big surprise on it is the fact that Tony hammers out a decent guitar solo on it. He does the same, actually his guitar work is even better on the more progressive rock sounding “Tinseltown.” Let’s face it, Tony Carey is a brilliant all round musician and his talent has been ignored for far too long.

Track Listing:

  1. A Fine Fine Day
  2. A Lonely Life
  3. Eddie Goes Underground
  4. The First Day of Summer
  5. Reach Out
  6. Tinseltown
  7. Hungry
  8. I Can’t Stop the World
  9. Some Tough City
  10. She Can Bring Me Love

Tony Carey- vocals, keyboards, guitars, bass

Now my mind is going off to strange worlds from posting about “Some Tough City” by Tony Carey. I wonder if he and Ronnie James Dio ever hooked up again after Rainbow. That would have been mind blowing. It wouldn’t have been possible in 1984 because Tony was riding a huge wave of success as a result of the album and its top ten single. As for Ronnie, that will be all explained in a future post.

Jefferson Starship- Nuclear Furniture

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: Roger Waters- The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 30, 2017 by 80smetalman

Proof how sometimes initial impressions can be misguided. While Pink Floyd have continued on strong since Roger Waters departed the band and it’s been said that Roger’s career hasn’t exactly flourished, (that’s a matter for debate), things seemed a lot different in 1984. There was little or no mention of Pink Floyd in this year but Roger Waters delivered a killer solo album in the form of “The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking.” Roger hadn’t left the band yet and it turns out that way back in the late 1970s, he brought the concept for this album to the band along with that for “The Wall.” He told them the band would make the one and the other concept he would do as a solo album. History can tell you which concept was chosen by the band leaving “The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking” for Roger to do as a solo album.

The similarities between the two albums come through immediately. Like “The Wall” and even “Dark Side of the Moon” the songs sometimes blend together where you have to listen very carefully or at least have the album cover with you so you can pinpoint where one track ends and the next one begins. Then again, like many a Pink Floyd album, this album can be best appreciated whilst mellowed out in a room and smoking things. It joins a great line of albums to space out to. Also like Pink Floyd’s famous album, it tells a story. The concept is about the thoughts of a man who is driving through California and how he would like to commit adultery with the female hitchhiker he picks up. It’s an interesting theme set to the music.

One thing that I noticed the very first time I ever listened to the album was that the guitarist can really wail. Teach me to read the credits before putting an album on because that was an absolute no brainer. The guitarist was Eric Clapton and he does what he always does with the guitar. There are some really cool solos throughout the album, I really like the one he lays down on “Sexual Revolution” but his presence his felt very strongly all through the album. Roger definitely achieved a major coup by having Eric play on the album but he orchestrates other instruments very effectively too. The horns and the backing vocals are prime examples.

Since it was hearing the title track on the radio that alerted me to the album, that has always been my favourite track on it. Clapton plays a killer solo on it as well and all the other elements I’ve previously discussed are there too. Saying that, the way the album is laid out, it is easy for such a song to stand out although I do like the near seven minute “Go Fishing.” After listening to the “Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking” after so many years, I’m as excited about it now as I was then.

Track Listing:

  1. Apparently They Were Travelling Abroad
  2. Running Shoes
  3. Arabs With Knives and West German Skies
  4. For the First Time Today Part 2
  5. Sexual Revolution
  6. The Remains of Our Love
  7. Go Fishing
  8. For the First Time Today Part 1
  9. Dunroamin, Duncarin, Dunlivin
  10. The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking
  11. Every Stranger’s Eyes
  12. The Moment of Clarity

Roger Waters

Roger Waters- bass, lead vocals, rhythm guitar

Eric Clapton- lead guitar

Ray Cooper- percussion

Andy Newmark- drums, percussion

David Sanbourn- saxophone

Michael Kamen- piano

Andy Brown- organ, 12 string guitar

Madeline Bell, Katie Kissoon, Doreen Chanter- backing vocals

Raphael Ravenscroft, Kevin Flanagan, Vic Sullivan- horns

When Roger Waters did leave Pink Floyd in 1985, I wasn’t worried that we had seen the last of him. After all, he had put out a great solo album a year earlier. While not different from the material he did with the band, it’s still a great one to enjoy.

Next post: Duke Jupiter- White Knuckle Ride

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(ish) Rock Albums of 1984: Rod Stewart- Camouflage

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 27, 2017 by 80smetalman

Rod Stewart has always been a top forty artist in my book. He’s had a string of hits over the past four decades, some of them I actually liked, especially during the 1970s and 80s. I confessed to this fact when I visited his 1982 “Tonight I’m Yours” album some time ago. One of those singles I like happened to be the single, “Infatuation,” from the 1984 album, “Camouflage.” The song does venture  towards the new wave/hard rock borderland and even more so with the guitar solo by Jeff Beck. That brings me to the video for the song. Rod continues his string of cheesy videos that started with “Young Turks” where everyone is dancing on the hoods of cars and carries on with “Infatuation. In this video, Jeff Beck pops up in the hotel room from out of nowhere to play his solo. I understand that Mike LeBrain has had the same problem. Whenever he stays in a hotel room, Jeff Beck shows up. To quote a title from another song on “Camouflage,” some guys have all the luck.

After the opener, “Infatuation,” things go downhill pretty fast. While, I applaud Rod Stewart for a decent single at first, with the next track, I’m ready to place a bounty on his head for his act of sacrilege. He covers the Free classic “All Right Now” and it is a totally synthed out version. If he had kept to the script set down by Free, his voice would have carried the song but with all the synthesizers, I have to say, “No Rod!” But that’s not the only cover he has destroyed. On track four, he sings a cover of the Todd Rungren classic, “Can We Still Be Friends.” Like “All Right Now” there’s nothing wrong with his voice on the song but again, the synthesizers ruin it for me. While this sacrilege isn’t as bad, it’s still bad enough that even Jeff Beck’s guitar solo can’t save it.

Jeff does improve things with a solo on the track after, “Bad For You.” This one is more in line with the opener and sounds quite good. “Heart is On the Line” is one of those pop sounding songs that isn’t bad but it’s not one I want to listen to over and over. “The title track is much more sharper. Rod’s voice takes control of it and therefore the synths that appear on it are only in the background. Plus there’s a good use of horns adding a bit of diversity. Had Jeff belted out a solo on it, it might have been my favourite track. The closer, “Trouble” typifies how unbalanced “Camouflage” is. The keyboard intro makes you feel it’s going to be a cool prog rock song only to fade away into a ballad. Now, Rod has always been able to sing a good ballad and does so here but the intro leaves me disappointed with the rest of the song.

Track Listing:

  1. Infatuation
  2. All Right Now
  3. Some Guys Have All the Luck
  4. Can We Still Be Friends
  5. Bad For You
  6. Heart is On the Line
  7. Camouflage
  8. Trouble

Rod Stewart

Rod Stewart- vocals

Jeff Beck- guitar

Jim Cregan- guitar

Robin LeMesurier- guitar

Michael Landau- guitar

Jay Davis- bass

Tony Brock- drums

Kevin Savigar- keyboards

Michael Omartian- keyboards, percussion, backing vocals

Jimmy Zavala- harmonica

Gary Herbig- saxophone

Jerry Hey, Chuck Finley, Kim Hutchcroft, Charlie Loper, Gary Grant- horns

Was “Camouflage” great? I tend not to think so, however, it could have been so if there weren’t so many synth versions of classic rock songs. The songs that are good are but others let the album down. It seems here, he was comfortable being a top forty singer.

Next post: Roger Waters- The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking

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 1984: Van Halen- 1984

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 12, 2017 by 80smetalman

History is the reason why I am beginning the journey through 1984 with Van Halen’s sixth album, which is also named after this same year. Going back to in time, minutes after the bells rang in 1984 as the new year, MTV started the year by playing the first single from the album, “Jump.” Like many a metalhead at the time, I wasn’t too sure about the large amount of keyboards used in the song. However, I didn’t think the song was bad and Eddie proved he knew his way around a keyboards almost as well as he does his guitar. That’s how the year started for me. I then proceeded to get rather sloppy drunk as you do on the new year.

After “Jump,” things go back to more traditional Van Halen territory, with one exception, which I’ll get to. “Panama” was also released as a single and I definitely like it more than “Jump.” Eddie works his magic with the guitar and David Lee Roth uses his mouth in the only way he knows. I’m not just talking about his singing either. I’ve always liked his talking bit in the middle of “Panama.” “I reached down and put the seat back.” It doesn’t translate well here in print but if you listen to the song, you’ll see what I mean.

“Top Jimmy” and “Drop Dead Legs” are both good songs and I like the little guitar bits done on both songs. However, whenever I hear “Drop Dead Legs,” my mind immediately goes to when I heard the song used in an episode of “Family Guy.” For those who don’t know, it’s the episode where Brian and Stewie travel to a parallel universe and find a world where Meg is hot.

Drop Dead Legs played to this scene

Another good thing about both of those songs is that they lead beautifully to my favourite song on the album, “Hot for Teacher.” Every thing you loved about Van Halen is found on this song. Roth’s little quips between the verses and don’t forget, he can sing some too. Eddie plays the longest solo of all the songs on the album and very well too and of course we can never forget the rhythm section of Michael Anthony and Alex Van Halen. While these two remain tight on the whole album, they seem especially so on “Hot forTeacher.”

After my favourite song comes the other exception. “I’ll Wait” is another keyboard dominated song but I never disliked it. If Van Halen had been making albums in the 1970s, many people would have used this song to label them a progressive rock band. Still, Eddie plays a decent solo on it. “I’ll Wait” leads the way for the album to go out on the good foot. I do like the intro on “Girl Gone Bad” and “House of Pain” is a suitable closer. For me, though I hadn’t listened to “Diver Down” at the time, I still drew the conclusion that “1984” was three steps up from it. Now that I have listened to that album, I will stay say that this one is the better album.

Track Listing:

  1. 1984
  2. Jump
  3. Panama
  4. Top Jimmy
  5. Drop Dead Legs
  6. Hot for Teacher
  7. I’ll Wait
  8. Girl Gone Bad
  9. House of Pain

Van Halen

David Lee Roth- lead vocals

Eddie Van Halen- guitar, keyboards, backing vocals

Michael Anthony- bass, backing vocals

Alex Van Halen- drums, backing vocals

This was how my 1984 began. There aren’t too many better ways to ring in a new year but what I do know now is that Van Halen’s “1984” opened the port hole to all the great music that would come our way in this year.

Next post: U2- Under a Blood Red Sky

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