Archive for hard rock

Great Rock Albums of 1984: Rush- Grace Under Pressure

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 23, 2017 by 80smetalman

Nearly everyone and their sibling says that the “Grace Under Pressure” album was the beginning of Rush’s synthesizer period. In reality, the band had started to go in that direction with their previous album, “Signals.” What was popularly believed at the time was that as a result of my favourite Rush album, “Moving Pictures,” some misguided persons heard songs like “Tom Sawyer” and “Limelight” and called Rush a heavy metal band. Therefore, in reaction to that, they went for the more synthesizer sound to squash the stereotype. At first I believed it but now in my old age, I don’t really care if it was true at the time or not. I just like the album.

While Rush are not heavy metal, it doesn’t stop many metalheads like myself from liking them, a lot. In the opening pages of “Rock And Roll Children,” the main characters play “Grace Under Pressure” to mellow out a bit after an evening of heavy metal records. I have to admit, when I heard the first single, “Distant Early Warning,” I wasn’t too sure about them. Maybe they had sold out and gone commercial. I guess in my naivety, I expected them to continue in the same vein as my favourite Rush album. But believe me, “Grace Under Pressure” was no sell out and it was many levels above some of the other synthesizer music that was manifesting at the time.

What Rush did with “Grace Under Pressure” was take the emerging synth sound and made it into something of their own. I’ve said a number of times that all three members are talented musicians and together, they can create some fantastic music which all will enjoy no matter what camp you’re in. For me, sure I was slightly disappointed at first that the guitar takes a back seat on the album, but it doesn’t go away completely. You can clearly hear Liefson’s licks laying down the foundation along with Peart’s beat in support of Lee’s keyboard skills and vocals. I have always stated that Lee has been underrated as a keyboards player. As for Alex, he does nail solos on “The Body Electric” ¬†and the closer, “Between the Wheels,” and I do like his intro on “The Enemy Within.” That has to be my favourite track on the album. Now, I won’t break down the album into individual songs because they all are good on their own and all compliment each other and that makes a good album.

Track Listing:

  1. Distant Early Warning
  2. Afterimage
  3. Red Sector A
  4. The Enemy Within
  5. The Body Electric
  6. Kid Gloves
  7. Red Lenses
  8. Between the Wheels

Rush

Geddy Lee- vocals, synthesizers, bass

Alex Liefson- guitars

Neil Peart- drums, percussion

I think that “Grace Under Pressure” achieves what Rick, Frankie, Jeff and Bob were going for in “Rock and Roll Children.” They were looking something to just kick back and listen to. The album allows you to do that because that’s when you begin to hear and appreciate all the small intricacies contained there in and that’s when you know how good it is.

Next post: Rod Stewart- Camouflage

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rest in Peace Matt Holt

Posted in Death, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on April 20, 2017 by 80smetalman

matt-holt

Another week, another passing in music. This time it is former Nothingface lead singer Matt Holt, who passed away at the age of 39. I have to confess that I know nothing of Nothingface or Matt Holt but from the song on the blog I have just read, I could easily get into them. I post this link for all of you.

http://www.metalsucks.net/2017/04/19/former-nothingface-vocalist-matt-holt-passes-away-at-age-39/

R.I.P. Matt Holt

Great Rock Albums of 1984: J Geils Band- You’re Gettin’ Even While I’m Gettin’ Odd

Posted in 1980s, Death, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 17, 2017 by 80smetalman

Back when I posted about the J Geils Band’s “Freeze Frame” album, I mentioned that in the UK, the band have always been considered one hit wonders in the UK, “Centerfold” being that one hit. I still find that hard to fathom. Anyway, the video for said hit featured on a UK music station during a segment called “One Hit Wonders Weekend.” While showing the video, someone thought it would be clever to have an arrow pointing out lead singer, Peter Wolf, with the caption, “This is not J Geils.” A few seconds later, the same arrow pointed to the guitar player with the caption, “This is J Geils.” It’s funny how the death of someone can make you remember things like that about them. What it also did was help me remember that the band put out an album in 1984, otherwise it would have passed me by.

Why I never bought “You’re Gettin’ Even While I’m Gettin’ Odd” is a mystery even to me. Could it be the fact that the album never produced a major hit? The only single, “Concealed Weapons,” only made it to 63 in the charts. No, that never stopped me nor the fact that Peter Wolf had left the band before its release. Now that I remember, I think he had a solo album in this year. Was it because I had become fully absorbed in metal by then? No, because I have always kept an ear out for all music I might like. So, I’m afraid I can’t answer the question.

Thanks to Youtube, I have been able to listen to the album and ask myself again why I didn’t buy it. It’s a pretty good album, different from what the J Geils band had put out in the past and certainly not heavy metal. I did keep my promise to check out some of the band’s pre “Love Stinks” material. “You’re Gettin’ Even While I’m Gettin’ Odd” is a fusion of jazz and new wave. There is a heavy use of horns on the album and while I’m usually wary of horns in rock, it works very well on the album. However, there is some very interesting sounds with the keyboards that make it sound new wave. I call as evidence, the track “Wasted Youth” and the cool intro to “Heavy Petting.” Yet even there, the horns come in making the marriage of the two genres a sweet one. “Heavy Petting” is one of the stand out tracks for me but the one which stands out the most is “Californicatin.'” They should have released that one as the single, it might have done better in the charts. Then again, “Concealed Weapons” does remind me a little of the Dead Kennedys. I like the faster pace with the song with the short sharp horns and background vocals. The only J Geils guitar solo appears on “The Bite From Inside” which saves a lackluster song.

Track Listing:

  1. Concealed Weapons
  2. Heavy Petting
  3. Wasted Youth
  4. Eenie, Meenie, Minie, Moe
  5. Tell’ Em Jonesy
  6. You’re Gettin’ Even While I’m Gettin’ Odd
  7. The Bite From Inside
  8. Californicatin’
  9. I Will Carry You Home

The J Geils Band

Note: I couldn’t find a picture of the band without Peter Wolf in it so I used this one

Seth Justman- keyboards, vocals

J Geils- guitar

Magic Dick- harmonica

Danny Klein- bass

Stephen Bladd- drums

“You’re Gettin’ Even While I’m Gettin’ Odd” was the last album from the J Geils Band. Maybe the departure from their traditional sound was too different for the average listener or that Seth Justman lacked the charisma of Peter Wolf. It’s hard to say but I’ve heard a lot of last albums from bands that weren’t as good as this one.

Next post: Peter Wolf- Lights Out (It seems he did have an album out in 1984)

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: The Cars- Heartbeat City

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

Way back in the early days, when I posted about The Cars’ 1978 self titled debut album, Stone from Metalodyssey commented that The Cars were ahead of their time. I totally agree with this and will add to it by stating that they continued to be ahead of their time with their albums from the early 1980s. However, by 1984 time had caught up with them and what they were doing wasn’t so advanced. It seemed that many bands were influenced by them and were copying what they were doing. But no matter what other bands were trying to do, there will only be one band called The Cars and to paraphrase a quote at the time by former WWE manager, Lou Albano, they were “often imitated but never duplicated.” Proof in the pudding is their 1984 album, “Heartbeat City.”

‘Captain’ Lou Albano

What is so great about this album is while others may have been trying to copy The Cars, they didn’t do anything different from what they had done before. Yet, “Heartbeat City” still manages to sound fresh. Some will point to the biggest hit from the album, “Drive” and say that they did change. A few misguided individuals, who know not this band, have labelled them one hit wonders, WTF? My rebuttal comes with my favourite track on the album, “You Might Think” which was also a top ten hit for the band. For me to like a song that makes it into the top ten singles chart is saying something.

“Heartbeat City” is another successful marriage of hard rock and more synthesizer oriented sounds of the early 1980s performed by the band. A great example is the hidden gem that is “Stranger Eyes.” That is a song which is a foundation for the union I have just described. Then there are other tracks, some of them were even released as singles like “Magic” and “It’s Not the Night.” I do love Greg Hawkes keyboard work on the latter of the two although the I like the more hard rock on the former. Am I being wishy washy? Most probably but when an album can be so diversified and still catch and hold my attention, then it must be said that The Cars did something very right on this album.

Track Listing:

  1. Hello Again
  2. It’s Not the Night
  3. Magic
  4. Drive
  5. Stranger Eyes
  6. You Might Think
  7. I’s Not the Night
  8. Why Can’t I Have You
  9. I Refuse
  10. Heartbeat City

The Cars

Ric Ocasek- rhythm guitar, lead and backing vocals

Ben Orr- bass, backing vocals, lead vocals on tracks 4, 5 and 7

Elliot Easton- lead guitar, backing vocals

Greg Hawkes- keyboards, backing vocals

David Robinson- drums, percussion

Time might have caught up with The Cars but that didn’t stop them from doing what they did best and putting out a great album in “Heartbeat City.” Some have said that this was their best album, though I’ve always been partial to their first. However, I wouldn’t enter into any debate about it.

Next post: J Geils Band- You’re Gettin’ Even While I’m Gettin’ Odd

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

R.I.P. J Geils

Posted in 1980s, Death, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on April 13, 2017 by 80smetalman

J Geils

2017 continues to suck as much as 2016 as another rock icon goes to the great gig in the sky. J Geils who’s band bears his name passed away today, aged 71, from what is believed to be natural causes. While the world best knows his band for the great hit, “Centerfold,” the J Geils band had a series of cool blues rock albums throughout the 1970s. The bands commercial breakthrough came in 1980 with the album that bears the title of my all time favourite J Geils band song, “Love Stinks.”

The J Geils Band

Another sad day for rock, all we can say is rest in peace, J Geils. I have always wanted to delve more into their earlier stuff, so that’s what I’ll do to pay my respects.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An 80smetalman Poll: Which Metal Artist Would Best Cover the Song Yummy, Yummy, Yummy?

Posted in Heavy Metal, Humour, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 2, 2017 by 80smetalman

In a post featured by Danica who writes the blog, “Living a Beautiful Life,” I have been inspired and encouraged by her to make up a poll. Danica featured the only hit from 1960s band, Ohio Express, “Yummy, Yummy, Yummy.” That song took me way back as I remember listening to it on the radio when I was seven and would sing along with the words. After all, they weren’t that difficult. What I picked up on when I listened to it a couple of days ago after oh so many years was there was a bit of a crunching beat to it. This led me to conclude that the song would sound pretty good if metalized. When I brought the subject up to Danica, she put forward two acts she thought would do a good job with it and I countered with three.

Danica’s Choices:

Rammstein

Now For My Choices:

Krokus

Anthrax

Ozzy Osbourne

Obviously, the choices aren’t limited to these. I’m sure there are many of you out there who have their own opinion as to who could best give “Yummy, Yummy, Yummy” a metal spin. If so, Danica and I would love to hear your thoughts.

Next post: Weird Al Yankovic- In 3D

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: The Go Go’s- Talk Show

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 31, 2017 by 80smetalman

Cause and effect here: From what I remember, the third album from The Go Go’s received hardly any radio airplay although the first single, “Head Over Heels” got a decent video play on MTV. That is the effect, the cause was because I think “Talk Show” is the best of their three albums in the early 1980s. They had matured as a band by this album and while the music is still in the pop-rock, new wave vein, their playing had really improved and why it’s my favourite Go Go’s album.

Of all five ladies who comprised the band, the one whose musicianship really struck me was that of lead guitarist Charlotte Caffey. I’ll be the first to admit that she doesn’t hold a candle to Girlschool’s Kelly Johnson in the female lead guitarist sweepstakes, she does some okay solos on the tracks. “Turn to You,” “Beneath the Blue Sky” and “You Thought.” She also plays keyboards and her best efforts if probably on “Head Over Heels.” Fair play, Caffey is a very underrated musician for sure. Speaking about underrated, I think that drummer Gina Schock is much better drummer than what she’s given credit for. All drummers reading this are welcome to comment here.

Actually, I think “Talk Show” is heavier than their previous albums, “Beauty and the Beat” and “Vacation.” The songs I mentioned in the previous paragraph are all fairly hard. Not metal but they are hard enough to be a step up, “Turn to You” especially. “I’m the Only One” is even harder though. It almost explodes onto you at the beginning and that is kept up throughout the song making it the hardest rock song on the album. Plus, it has Caffey’s best guitar solo. Okay, it’s my favourite track on the album. “Capture the Light” is pretty good as well and “Mercenary” is a cool closer that gives further support to my feelings in Gina Schock’s drumming.

Track Listing:

  1. Head Over Heels
  2. Turn to You
  3. You Thought
  4. Beneath the Blue Sky
  5. Forget That Day
  6. I’m the Only One
  7. Yes or No
  8. Capture the Light
  9. I’m With You
  10. Mercenary

The Go Go’s

Belinda Carlisle- lead vocals

Charlotte Caffey- lead guitar, keyboards, backing vocals

Jane Wiedlin- rhythm guitar, backing vocals

Kathy Valentine- bass, backing vocals

Gina Schock- drums, percussion, backing vocals

It is possible that “Talk Show” being my favourite Go Go’s album was why they broke up after it. I hope it’s not the case but after 1984, the Go Go’s would be no more. Lead singer, Belinda Carlisle would have a successful solo career towards the end of the decade, (I’ll cover those albums in due time) and Jane Wiedlin would have a couple of hits but for me, she’ll always be Joan of Arc in “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.” Still, the end of the road for a band that was just discovering how good they could be.

Next post: A Poll

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