Archive for JIm Steinman

Great Rock/Metal Albums of 1984: Billy Squier- Signs of Life

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 29, 2018 by 80smetalman

With all the great metal artists, old and new, releasing stellar albums in 1984, it was only natural that the best American artist not to have cracked the UK put an album out as well. Billy Squier’s “Signs of Life” album came out in the summer of that year and would go platinum. However, I have always been reluctant to call “Signs of Life” a metal album because Billy tries to mesh his hard rock style with what was the current techno sound of the time. He uses a lot more synthesizers on the album and though they don’t make the album suck, I still like it a lot, I do prefer “Emotions in Motion” and “Don’t Say No” to this one.

Everybody identifies “Signs of Life” with Squier’s best selling single, “Rock Me Tonight,” which is on it. Before I got into that, I would like to mention the other tracks that appear here. On the opening riffs of the first track, “All Night Long,” you are led to believe that this is going to be a total Squier metal fest. It is one of the harder tracks on the album and has a pretty cool guitar solo. “Eyes on You” which follows the hit single, goes more into the vein I was talking about. The synths are there but you the hard rock roots which brought Billy Squier to the top still are present. Less keyboards appear on “Take a Look Behind Ya” and the guitars dominate. I do think it would have sounded better if the guitars were turned up a little more. Then it would have been an even cooler rocker, especially the way it ends on a guitar solo.

When I wrote about the Billy Squier concert in “Rock and Roll Children,” I had to pick my sister’s brains as she saw it and I didn’t. During the playing of “Reach For the Sky” she said he used lights that flipped up. Listening to the song, I can imagine that this combination would have been amazing to see and hear. He couldn’t have picked a better song to do this to. However, playing  live, he wouldn’t have had Brian May on stage with him to do the guitar solo on “(Another) 1984” and Mr May does work his magic here. Oh well, I guess you can’t have everything.

On “Fall for Love,” the keyboards are done very well to mix with the music. This is a more mellower song and the keyboards as well as the guitar suit it nicely. On the other hand, “Can’t Get Next to You” is one of the best rockers on the album. The keys are used to compliment the music and are done so sparingly. Again, I think they should have turned up the guitars a little more but that’s me. I think producer Jim Steinman must have had other ideas. Except for Brian’s efforts on “(Another) 1984,” this song has the best guitar solo on it and I sometimes think that this would have made a better closer than “Sweet Release.” I stress, sometimes!

Now onto the single, “Rock Me Tonight.” To be right to the point, I have always liked this song. It’s my fourth favourite Squier song behind “In the Dark,” “Everybody Wants You” and “The Stroke.” See, Billy was great at putting out singles I liked. Back in 1984, I didn’t really clock the effeminate nature behind the video to it. I was too busy rocking out to the song. However, this video is believed to have destroyed his career as a singles artist. It is said to have alienated him from hard rocking males and made him appear ‘gay.’ Unfortunately, this was more down to the narrow minded attitudes of people in 80’s Reagan America than anything else. For me, video or not, I will always like “Rock Me Tonight.”

Track Listing:

  1. All Night Long
  2. Rock Me Tonight
  3. Eyes On You
  4. Take a Look Behind Ya
  5. Reach for the Sky
  6. (Another) 1984
  7. Fall For Love
  8. Can’t Get Next to You
  9. Hand Me Downs
  10. Sweet Release

Billy Squier

Billy Squier- lead vocals, guitars, synthesizers

Jeff Goulb- guitar, slide guitar

Alan St John-keyboards, synthesizers

Doug Lubahn- bass, backing vocals

Bobby Chouinard- drums

Brian May- guitar solo on (Another) 1984

I’ll let you watch the video for “Rock Me Tonight” and make up your own mind.

When I wrote “Rock And Roll Children,” I did so with the intention of showing how narrow minded and intolerant people were back in 80s Reagan America, especially towards metal and metalheads. The fact that everyone stopped taking Billy Squier seriously on account of one video proves my point. People seem to forget that he made three great albums and “Signs of Life” just happened to be one of them.

Next post: Iron Maiden- Powerslave

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://book-fm.cf/print/free-download-rock-and-roll-children-by-michael-d-lefevre-pdf.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Great Rock Albums of 1981: Meat Loaf- Dead Ringer

Posted in 1980s, films, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on April 24, 2014 by 80smetalman

220px-MeatLoafDeadRinger

By 1981, many people, myself included, were beginning to write Meat Loaf off as a one album wonder. While many of us were still enjoying the delights served up on his famous 1978 “Bat Out of Hell” album, its regularlarity of play was beginning to rapidly wane as newer albums were coming to the forefront. It could have been down to the fact that he had appeared in a couple of films in 1980, “Roadie” and “Scavenger Hunt” and was thinking of an acting career but it was certain that his music career looked to be going downhill fast. Then what seemed from out of nowhere, “Dead Ringer” was released.

It is very difficult to follow up a colossal album. Though some bands have managed to do this, there are many others who haven’t. I have to put this album in with the latter. I would have thought that after a more than three year layoff, Meat Loaf was meticulously planning a great album to follow on from “Bat Out of Hell.”  Unfortunately, “Dead Ringer” does not live up to the expectations that were set upon it. Saying that, the album doesn’t suck either. There are some really good tracks on it including one of my favourite Meat Loaf songs, “Dead Ringer For Love,” which he performs a duet with Cher. I have also forgotten some of other decent tracks that make up the album like “I’m Gonna Love Her For Both of Us” and “Read ‘Em and Weep.” “I’ll Kill You If You Don’t Come Back” is rather good and funny and I forgot how much I liked “Peel Out” back in the day. So, while the album didn’t live up to the hype, it wasn’t one for the scrap heap either.

Meat Loaf and Cher singing "Dead Ringer for Love"

Meat Loaf and Cher singing “Dead Ringer for Love”

 Track Listing

1. Peel Out

2. I’m Gonna Love Her For Both of Us

3. More Than You Deserve

4. I’ll Kill You If You Don’t Come Back

5. Read ‘Em and Weep

6. Nocturnal Pleasure

7. Dead Ringer for Love

8. Everything is Permitted

Meat Loaf

Meat Loaf

Meat Loaf- lead vocals

Davey Johnstone- guitars

Mick Ronson- guitars

Joe DeAngelis- acoustic guitars

Steve Buslowe- bass

Roy Bittan- piano

Nicky Hopkins- piano

Larry Fast- synthesiser

Lou Del Gatto- horns

Lou Marini- horns

Tom Malone- horns

Alan Rubin- horns

Max Weinberg- drums

Liberty DeVitto- drums

Jimmy Maelen- percussion

Jim Steinman- spoken word on “Nocturnal Pleasure”

Cher- guest vocals on “Dead Ringer for Love”

It has always been my slightly biased belief as to why “Dead Ringer” wasn’t as good as “Bat Out of Hell” was the fact that Todd Rundgren didn’t produce it. However Jim Steinman doesn’t do a bad job making the album a worthwhile listen.

Next post: Gillan- Future Shock

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishingroup.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: Jim Steinman- Bad For Good

Posted in films, Music, Rock, soundtracks, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on January 23, 2014 by 80smetalman

220px-JSteinman_Bad

They say that you should never judge a book by a cover and I think that also applies to record albums too; fortunately, not to this one by Jim Steinman. For those who aren’t so familiar with the name, Jim Steinman has worked as a record producer for many years and is responsible for producing some of the greats, including Meatloaf as well as the soundtrack to “Shrek 2.” In 1981, he tried his hand at cutting his own album, “Bad For Good” and it was pretty much a success for him. At first, I was attracted to the album by this rather cool looking at the time album cover. However, the music inside isn’t too bad except for one rather important detail: When I first listened to the album and even now, my first impression in my mind is, “This could have been Meatloaf.”

There is a definite resemblance to “Bat Out of Hell” throughout this album. Each and every song has that feel to it, especially the duet with Karla DeVito on “Dance In My Pants.” The style of the song bears strong connections to the famous “Paradise By The Dashboard Light.” However, what this song has that the Meatloaf classic doesn’t is a killer guitar solo. That’s part of what makes the album as good as it is in the first place. Steinman’s vocal range is limited but he does have some powerful musicians behind him playing on the songs. Most notably, there is Todd Rundgren along with his band mates from Utopia who pop in and out on several songs. What results is a good rock sound that somehow straddles the line between FM commercialability and hard rock. Therefore, all can listen to it and not worry about going across the imaginary line. Still, only three tracks really stand out for me, the first of which I’ve already mentioned. The second is the single, “Rock And Roll Dreams Come Through,” which I have on a compilation CD. The third is “Life and Death of an American Guitar,” which gets covered by the already mentioned Meatloaf on his “Bat Out of Hell 2” album. Speaking of that song, I don’t hear any difference between the two versions.

Track Listing:

1. Bad For Good

2. Lost Boys and Golden Girls

3.  The Life and Death of An American Guitar

4. Stark Raving Love

5. Out of the Frying Pan (And Into the Fire)

6. Surf’s Up

7. Dance in My Pants

8. Left in the Dark

Extra EP

1. The Storm

2. Rock And Roll Dreams Come Through

Jim Steinman

Jim Steinman

Jim Steinman- lead vocals, keyboards, spoken word

Rory Dodd- lead vocals on “Surf’s Up,” “Rock And Roll Dreams Come Through” and “Lost Boys and Golden Girls”

Karla DeVito- lead vocals on “Dance In My Pants”

Todd Rundgren- guitars

Davey Johnstone- guitars

Kasim Sultan- bass

Steve Buslowe- bass

Neal Jason- bass

Roy Bittan- piano

Steven Margoshes- piano

Roger Powell- synthesiser

Larry ‘Synergy’ Fast- synthesiser

Max Weinberg- drums

Alan Schwartzberg- drums

Joe Stefko- drums

Jimmy Maelen- percussion

Alan Rubin- trumpet

Tom Malone- horn arrangements and trombone

Lou Marini- tenor sax

Lew Del Gatto- baritone sax

Ellen Foley- backing vocals

Eric Troyer- backing vocals

What surprised me after doing a bit of homework on “Bad For Good” was how well it actually did commercially. In spite of many criticisms from the rock magazines at the time, it went to 62 in the US, 14 in Sweden and even broke into the top ten in the UK. With that success and an album that I actually liked, I remain surprised as to why Mr Steinman never has cut another album.

Next post: Grace Slick- Welcome to the Wrecking Ball

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