Archive for Janis Joplin

The Runaways- The First True All Female Metal Band

Posted in Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 17, 2014 by 80smetalman

Janis Joplin and Grace Slick for the first queens of rock in the 60’s and in the 70’s came Ann and Nancy Wilson who were arguably the first modern rock chicks. In the later part of the 70’s and early 80’s we had such great ladies like Pat Benatar, Chrissie Hynde and Debbie Harry. All of these women were rock queens in the true sense and their contribution to music will always be remembered.

Janis Joplin

Janis Joplin

Grace Slick

Grace Slick

Debbie Harry

Debbie Harry

Pat Benatar

Pat Benatar

 

Heart

Heart

The Pretenders

The Pretenders

In 1981, two all female bands made their way into the spotlight, The Go-Gos and Girlschool. While the former had a more commercial rock sound, the latter was straight forward heavy metal and stood alongside of many of the NWOBHM acts that were coming out that year. However, these two weren’t the all female bands who could blow speakers with great power chords. Before them came The Runaways.

The Go Go's

The Go Go’s

Girlschool

Girlschool

I had heard of The Runaways even before the film that came out a few years ago. Even at the tender (small chuckle here) age of sixteen, I was enamoured with these fine ladies who played such aggressive music. I did listen to their debut album and liked it. Likewise, I wanted to listen to their second one “Queens of Noise” but never got the chance. Must rectify that in the future. While, I never heard any of their songs on that cheap AM radio I had back then, they toured extensively and played many sell out concerts in the US and Japan. Furthermore, the likes of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Cheap Trick and Van Halen supported them. Unfortunately, accusations of mismanagement, rows over money and direction plus several personnel changes lead to break up of the band.

Albums:

The Runaways- 1976

Queens of Noise- 1977

Waitin’ for the Night- 1977

Live in Japan- 1977

And Now, The Runaways- 1978

The Runaways

The Runaways

Cherrie Currie- vocals

Joan Jett- guitar, vocals

Lita Ford- guitar

Jackie Fox- bass

Sandy West- drums

*Vicki Blue and Laurie McAllister also played bass during The Runaways reign

While The Runaways may be no longer, the members are still around and making themselves known. One of them would dethrone Pat Benatar as the queen of rock in 1982 and possibly become the first metal queen. That one is up for debate. Another ex Runaway would also make a huge splash in heavy metal circles nor would some of the other former members remain completely silent. Almost silently, these ladies would go onto to be an influence on heavy metal and I think the all female metal bands that would spring up less than a decade later can look to them for inspiration. Don’t take my word for it, watch the film and listen to their music for yourself.

Next post: 1982- The Floodgates Are Open

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 Metal Albums of 1981: The Plasmatics- Metal Priestess

Posted in 1980s, Death, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 12, 2014 by 80smetalman

220px-Metalpriestess

Before I launch into this great mini LP or EP or whatever you want to call it from The Plasmatics, I must give forewarning that I might not be posting very much over the next three or four weeks due to family problems. My father in law passed away last week and the funeral is on Wednesday which means we will make the 200 mile trip to Grimsby on the Tuesday. I know for Americans, that distance is just a Sunday drive. The following week, I’m off to the States to visit my mother who I haven’t seen in eight years and hasn’t been well since her accident Christmas time. I know, I’ll get plenty of time to hang with old friends and my brother and sister but I can’t be sure of how much computer time I will get. I have always endeavored to post twice a week here but please bear with me if I can’t post that many times over the next few weeks. Thank you.

The best way to bring us out of the melancholy feeling I’ve just produced is to look at an album that has been left out of the spotlight for so many years. “Metal Priestess” was made because of the success with The Plasmatics’ previous album “Beyond the Valley of the 1984.” The producer, Dan Hartman, (you may have heard of him) thought that the band should have something to build on that success and since a full length album wasn’t on the cards at the time, the six song “Metal Priestess” was made. There may have been only six songs on the album but wow! What great six songs they are proving that quality is sometimes better than quantity. Each song is an explosion of pure metal mania. Things begin with an impressive guitar opening in “Lunacy” and those guitars dominate but it’s the voice of Wendy O. Williams that gives it the extra edge. Her sinister sounding vocals give meaning to the title of the song. That combination works equally as well on the track “Black Leather Monster” and I love the beginning of “Twelve Noon” as well. It too is a brilliant song and the live recording of “Masterplan” as the closer was stroke of genius for this LP. If you want a pure metal album from 1981 and that’s exactly what this album is, pure metal, there are few which are better than “Metal Priestess.”

In the past and even more so in the future, I have paid and will pay tribute to rock goddesses and metal queens. I have already mentioned such important ladies as Pat Benatar, Debbie Harry, Ann and Nancy Wilson, Grace Slick and even the first true queen of rock Janis Joplin. Future posts will include lovely ladies like Lee Aaron, Lita Ford and Doro Pesch. However, when any of these queens are mentioned, the name Wendy O. Williams seems to be missed out and to me that is a travesty. Speaking as red blooded male, Wendy is just as hot as any of the ladies I’ve just mentioned, hell, look at the album cover. And vocally she’s no less talented. So let’s give Wendy to adoration she so richly deserves when we talk about the great females who have contributed so greatly to our beloved genre of music.

Track Listing:

1. Lunacy

2. Doom Song

3. Sex Junkie

4. Black Leather Monster

5. Twelve Noon

6. Master Plan

The Plasmatics

The Plasmatics

Wendy O. Williams- vocals

Richie Stotts- lead guitars

Wes Beach- rhythm guitars

Jean Bouvoir- bass

Neal Smith- drums

Proof that sometimes less if more, the six songs on “Metal Priestess” can all be counted as great metal tunes. I rocked out to each one of them when I listened to it. Another album from a band that didn’t last longer into the 80s and this album as the previous has me asking why. Maybe I’ll get the answer further down the line.

Next post: TBA

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: Sammy Hagar- Standing Hampton

Posted in 1980s, films, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, soundtracks, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on August 24, 2014 by 80smetalman

220px-Sammystanding

According to Wikipedia, “Standing Hampton” by Sammy Hagar was released in 1982 but other sources state it was actually 1981. I always thought the latter because I remember hearing some of the songs on it in that year. One of these was definitely the track “Heavy Metal” which appears on the soundtrack for the film of the same name, which I covered a few weeks back. Fair dues to the film makers, when they pieced together the songs for the soundtrack, they took them straight from the album and that is a good thing, especially with Sammy’s song. Wikipedia says that it is a different version but I am beginning to doubt a lot of what they say because it doesn’t sound different to me. Either way, “Heavy Metal” is definitely a mind blowing anthem.

True, “Standing Hampton” starts off with the more airplay oriented “I Fall in Love Again,” which isn’t a bad song but not as heavy as the others on the album. After the opener, the rest of the album kicks into gear with “There’s Only One Way to Rock” and that is definitely heavier and goes on throughout rest of the album, including the heaviest song mentioned above. Great heavy tracks like “Baby It’s You,” Baby’s On Fire” and “Can’t Get Loose” go together very well to stamp Sammy firmly on the page of heavy metal. Now, one might think “Sweet Hitchhiker” would make a fantastic closer to a great album and it is a fine song but Sammy goes on better and ends things with a magnificent cover of the famous Janis Joplin jam “Piece of My Heart.” I’m sure Janis would be proud of Hagar’s efforts on the song.

Track Listing

1. I Fall In Love Again

2. There’s Only One Way to Rock

3. Baby’s On Fire

4. Can’t Get Loose

5. Heavy Metal

6. Baby It’s You

7. Surrender

8. Inside Looking In

9. Sweet Hitchhiker

10. Piece of My Heart

Sammy Hagar

Sammy Hagar

Sammy Hagar- lead vocals, lead guitar

Gary Pihl- guitar, backing vocals

Bill Church- bass, backing vocals

David Lauser- drums, backing vocals

One of the things I really enjoy about writing this blog is the opportunity to go back in time and fully appreciate artists I didn’t fully appreciate at the time. It would be another album before I really got listening to Sammy Hagar so in my view, his best was yet to come. “Standing Hampton” was a great stepping stone for him towards greater glory.

Next Post: Anvil- Hard and Heavy

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 Soundtracks of 1981: American Pop

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

220px-American_pop_soundtrack_album

Whilst I was on leave after my first deployment overseas, the animated film “American Pop” was at the cinemas. The fact that they used the spot where Jimi Hendrix plays “Purple Haze” was enough to make me want to go see it. The movie itself was all right but what was even better was the soundtrack. It had some of the great artists from the 60s and 70s on it and those songs together make this soundtrack very cool to listen to.

Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix

It has been many years since I have seen this film or listened to the soundtrack but for those who may not be familiar with it, I’ll go through a very quick synopsis of the movie. “American Pop” is about 4 generations of musicians. It begins in the early 20th Century and focuses on the character Zamwe who is a child star. However, is throat is injured while singing for the troops on World War One so he never gets to be a star. He also falls foul of the mafia. The story then goes to his son Benny who is an accomplished pianist in a jazz band. He is on the road to fame when World War Two breaks out. Unfortunately, he is shot in the back while playing a piano in a bombed out bar in France. However, Benny’s seed is passed on through Tony. Now in the 60s, Tony’s mother has remarried and has more kids making him an outcast. He goes on the road taking odd jobs where he meets a rock band and becomes their song writer. However, he gets involved with the female lead singer and also gets hooked on drugs ending his brief brush with success. Several years later, Tony is a down and out and his companion is a young street kid named Pete. Tony disappears after giving Pete a load of drugs telling him not to sell it all in one place. Several years more and Pete is a big time drug dealer and is selling to rock stars. One day, he asks the band he is selling to to hear one of his songs. The band refuse at first but relent when Pete threatens to withdraw his business. Pete plays his song and the result is he becomes a big rock star, the end.

Tony and Pete

Tony and Pete

At the time, this film was slated by a lot of people. The problem was that some people tried to take the film too literally. For instance, the girl singer comes across like Grace Slick, (the rest of the band does resemble Jefferson Airplane a little) but turns into Janis Joplin. Okay, those two 60s rock queens may have been fused together to create the character but I say good on them. The other one was at the end. It turns out that Pete’s song is none other than “Night Moves” by and I know I’ve said it before, the unsung hero of 70s rock, Bob Seger. The Pete character was never meant to be Bob, they just use his song. Besides, I did a little research and didn’t find any evidence that Bob Seger was a drug dealer. If I were to go back to that time, I would tell those people to lighten up because if you don’t try to look at things that aren’t really there, the film is quite enjoyable. Of course it is the soundtrack that really makes this movie.

Do they resemble Jefferson Airplane to you?

Do they resemble Jefferson Airplane to you?

Official Track Listing:

1. Pat Benatar- Hell is for Children

2. Big Brother and the Holding Company- Summertime

3. The Mamas and the Papas- California Dreamin’

4. Peter, Paul and Mary- This Train

5. Jefferson Airplane- Somebody to Love

6. Jimi Hendrix- Purple Haze

7. The Dave Brubeck Quartet- Take Five

8. Sam Cooke- You Send Me

9. Fabian- Turn Me Loose

10. The Doors- People are Strange

Songs in the film not on the Soundtrack

Bob Seger- Night Moves

Lynyrd Skynyrd- Freebird

Bob Seger

Bob Seger

Just from looking at this list of songs, it is obvious that I do not need to go into more detail about them. A great array of songs from several decades brought together to make one hell of a soundtrack and you can’t debate that whatever you think of the film.

Next post: The Soundtrack to Heavy Metal

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 1979: The Rose- Soundtrack

Posted in 1979, films, Music, Rock, soundtracks, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on January 18, 2013 by 80smetalman

Therose

This 1979 film starring Bette Midler is a great film about a female rock star in the late sixties. Many have said that the film was based on Janis Joplin and that’s not a bad thing. After all, Janis was the primitive archetype of what the modern rock chick is today. It is also the reason why I enjoyed the film so much when I first saw it. It was a real experience when Bette Midler, in character, rushed onto the stage during one of the concert scenes and shouted to the audience, “Hey you mother fuckers!” It was also the first time I heard the terms sex, drugs and rock and roll used together. From then on, its been that for me all the way.

Janis Joplin

Janis Joplin

Not only was it a cool film, but the soundtrack is very good. There are some real good rocking tracks on it like “Sold My Soul to Rock and Roll” and “Keep On Rockin,” the latter co-written by Sammy Hagar. It also reminded me that if done right, a horn section can go very well with some straight ahead rock and roll. Of course, there is the more tender moments like the song the bears the title of the film and soundtrack, obviously made for the top 40 singles charts at the time. And although this sounds morbid, I do like the song “Let Me Call You Sweetheart” where the character dies in the film while singing it on stage. Nonetheless, this soundtrack for me rivals the soundtrack to “The Warriors” for best film soundtrack for the year.

Track Listing:

1. Who’s Side Are You On

2. Midnight in Memphis

3. Concert Monologue

4. When A Man Loves A Woman

5. Sold My Soul to Rock and Roll

6. Keep on Rockin’

7. Love Me With A Feeling

8. Camellia

9. Homecoming Monologue

10. Stay With Me

11. Let Me Call You Sweetheart

12. The Rose

Bette Midler as The Rose

Bette Midler as The Rose

Bette Midler- Lead Vocals

Danny Weis- guitar

Steve Hunter- guitar

Mark Leonard- bass

Robbie Buchanan- keyboards

Pentti “Whitey” Glan- drums

Norton Buffalo- harmonica and trombone, background vocals

Jerry Jumonville- saxophone

Mark Underwood- trumpet

Billy Champlin- background vocals

Donny Gerrard- background vocals

Visiting this soundtrack makes me want to see the film again, I haven’t seen it in about twenty years so I’m about due. This is a great film with a great soundtrack and you should like both.

Next post: Jefferson Starship- Freedom At Point Zero

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