Archive for Joe Lynn Turner

Great Rock Albums of 1985: Joe Lynn Turner- Rescue You

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 9, 2019 by 80smetalman

220px-joelynnturner-rescue_you1

Not long ago, I heard an English friend of mine refer to Joe Lynn Turner as ‘that American pretty boy who replaced Graham Bonnet in Rainbow.’ True, Joe Lynn Turner is American and back in 1985, many ladies found him very fanciable, my sister was ga ga over him. However, the man also possesses a very good singing voice and it was only natural that after Ritchie Blackmore dissolved Rainbow to rejoin Deep Purple that Joe would put out a solo album. The result was his debut album, “Rescue You.”

Joe Lynn Turner was a victim of the 1985 belief that synthesizers were the way forward for music back then. Many of the songs on the album seem to be over dominated by it and on some of those things, I have always thought that they should have been turned down and the guitar turned up. Then the album would have been a real rocker. Don’t get me wrong, “Rescue You” is in no way an 80s synth pop album, there are some good rocking moments and on some tracks like the title track and the opener, “Losing You” you can definitely hear a bit of the old Rainbow on it. While the guitar on the title track is present, it is often obscured by the keyboard and for that song, I can’t help thinking how much I would be head banging away to it if the keyboards weren’t so dominant.

Being a typical wishy-washy Gemini, (I don’t really believe that zodiac stuff), I think there are some tracks where the keyboards do work. The prime example here is the big single from the album, “Endlessly,” which was good enough to get to 19 in the singles charts while at the same time having metalheads shaking their heads and accusing Joe of going too commercial. The keyboard intro also works on “Feel the Fire” but as the song progresses, I again think they should have taken a back seat because this is another song that could have been great if the guitars had been turned up more.

In spite of all my ramblings of too much keyboard, there are some tracks where Joe hasn’t lost touch with his hard rock roots. While the keyboards still exist on “Get Tough,” the song does rock and he also demonstrates that he has the pipes for such songs. This is another song that takes me back to his Rainbow days. In fact, the second half of the album is definitely more rock than the first. “Eyes of Love” is a fine example of this, it has a great guitar solo, but if you want concrete proof, the best track is the closer, “The Race is On.” This is the hidden gem because it just rocks with little interference from keyboards. With all my contradictions about guitars and keyboards on “Rescue You,” the one constant throughout the entire album is Joe Lynn Turner’s voice. Pretty boy or not, he has always had a great singing voice and deserves credit for it.

Track Listing:

  1. Losing You
  2. You Hearts
  3. Prelude
  4. Endlessly
  5. Rescue You
  6. Feel the Fire
  7. Get Tough
  8. Eyes of Love
  9. On the Run
  10. Soul Searcher
  11. The Race Is On

jlt

Joe Lynn Turner- vocals

Alan Greenwood- keyboards

Chuck Burgi- drums

Bobby Messano- guitar, bass, backing vocals

The problem in 1985 was that the music industry was convinced that music had to have synthesizers to be any good. This belief had an effect on “Rescue You” for Joe Lynn Turner. Despite his great singing voice and the good quality of the tracks on the album, I can’t help thinking how much better some of the tracks would have been if there was less keyboard and more guitar.

Next post: Phantom, Rocker and Slick

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556

 

 

 

Advertisements

Great Rock/Metal Albums of 1983: Rainbow- Bent Out of Shape

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 9, 2016 by 80smetalman

220px-bent_out_of_shape_rainbow

“Bent Out of Shape” would be the last album for Rainbow as we knew them. The band would break up after the tour for the album and members would go in different directions but that’s a story for further down the line of metal history. I have heard this album called lackluster and the final nail in Rainbow’s coffin but was it that bad? I’ll be the first to admit that “Bent Out of Shape” doesn’t come up to the level of the previous Rainbow album, “Straight Between the Eyes” but I don’t think it’s a bad album one bit.

With “Bent Out of Shape,” Rainbow go towards a more keyboard dominated sound meaning it’s less hard rock than what Rainbow fans were used to. Back in the 1980s, I could see how metalheads would have found that disappointing as many were distrustful of any band who incorporated keyboards in their sound. However, David Rosenthal had been with the band for several albums and had proven himself to be a more than capable keyboardist. Proof is his efforts on the intro to “Can’t Let You Go,” strictly superb and he does smoke on “Fire Dance.” The added bonus with that song is that Ritchie Blackmore still lets you know that he can still bend the six string to do his bidding. Rainbow has always been good at the keyboard-guitar solo trade off and “Fire Dance” shows that their ability to do so hadn’t gone away. If you want further proof, listen to the two instrumentals on the album. On “Anybody There” the keyboards play a support role for Ritchie to work his guitar magic and “Snowman” is a great piece of instrumental progressive rock!

It might have been that many metalheads were put off by the single, “Street of Dreams,” which got a considerable amount of airplay on MTV before it was supposedly banned for its hypnotic clip. It would later be accused of showing bondage but that again, is for a later post. It is a commercial track without argument but it’s not bad. In fact, it’s played well. “Desperate Heart” is more of a rocker, the second hardest on the album, with “Drinking With the Devil” being the hardest.  So not everything that Rainbow had stood for for nearly a decade went out the window on the album. Besides, the closer, “Make You Move” takes things out on a hard note very well. Overall, I won’t debate that “Bent Out of Shape” is more of a commercial AOR album but I didn’t hate it then and I appreciate more now.

Track Listing:

  1. Stranded
  2. Can’t Let You Go
  3. Fool For the Night
  4. Fire Dance
  5. Anybody There
  6. Desperate Heart
  7. Street of Dreams
  8. Drinking With the Devil
  9. Snowman
  10. Make Your Move
Rainbow

Rainbow

Ritchie Blackmore- guitar

Roger Glover- bass

Joe Lynn Turner- vocals

David Rosenthal- keyboards

Chuck Burgi- drums

In spite of whether “Ben Out of Shape” is a good album, Rainbow would disappear after the album. Roger Glover and Ritchie Blackmore would go and rejoin some band they were with back in the early 1970s, you might have heard of them. Not long after, lead singer, Joe Lynn Turner would reappear with his first solo album. One thing that “Bent Out of Shape” proves was that it didn’t end the careers of the talented members who made up Rainbow.

Next Post: Black Sabbath- Born Again

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Frooge and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Metal Albums of 1982: Rainbow- Straight Between the Eyes

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 1, 2015 by 80smetalman

220px-Straight_between_the_eyes

Here’s the paradox that is me. I have said many times that my favourite era of Rainbow was when Ronnie James Dio was at the mike and I will forever feel that way. However, my favourite Rainbow song of all times comes during the Joe Lynn Turner era and yep you guessed it, is from the 1982 album “Straight Between the Eyes.” That song is “Death Alley Driver.” When I heard it on the video screen at a rock bar on Okinawa, Japan, I thought, “This song kicks ass, totally.” It’s just a pure rocker and Blackmore plays possibly his best guitar solo of all time on it, pure magic.

Recently, I have been debating to myself whether or not to call “Straight Between the Eyes” a metal album. There are some songs on the album that would certainly qualify it as such like “Rock Fever” and “Power,” besides the big song I’ve already mentioned. However, there are other songs that are more progressive like the ballad like “Tearin’ Out My Heart” and keyboard oriented songs like “Stone Cold,” “Miss Mistreated,” which has a really cool keyboard intro. To add further confusion into the mix, Ritchie goes to town on the guitar on the songs here. Then there’s “Bring on the Night” that is definitely hard rock and includes more cool soloing. So, what I should be asking myself here is why the f*ck I’m worrying about what category I should or shouldn’t put this fine album in and simply appreciate it for the great album that it is. So I will.

While Ritchie Blackmore shines on the album, the rest of the band steps up just as much. Joe Lynn Turner’s vocals make those more progressive songs sound that much better but he can also belt our a rocker like “Death Alley Driver.” David Rosenthal proves a more than capable replacement for Don Airey on the keys. The intro on “Miss Mistreated” alone is proof of that. Roger Glover is the brilliant bass player that he’s always been and provides a strong rhythm section with Bobby Rondinelli. All of these elements combine well to make the album all that much better.

Track Listing:

  1. Death Alley Driver
  2. Stone Cold
  3. Bring on the Night (Dream Catcher)
  4. Tite Squeeze
  5. Tearin’ Out My Heart
  6. Power
  7. Miss Mistreated
  8. Rock Fever
  9. Eyes of Fire
Rainbow

Rainbow

Ritchie Blackmore- guitar

Roger Glover- bass

Joe Lynn Turner- vocals

David Rosenthal- keyboards

Bobby Rondinelli- drums

 Hence lies the danger of putting music into categories. One worries too much if a band is metal, hard rock, prog rock etc and don’t enjoy the music. “Straight Between the Eyes” from Rainbow is just simply good music.

Next post: Hanoi Rocks- Oriental Beat

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 Metal Albums of 1982: Michael Schenker Group- Assault Attack

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 12, 2015 by 80smetalman

220px-Msgassault

There is a story from back in the day in which this album is involved but not in a good way. In the closing weeks of 1982, I was stationed on Okinawa. On most Saturday nights, my friends and I would hit this rock club about 10 miles from the base. I won’t go into too many details about the club as that is reserved for a future post but I will say that they had video screens which were state of the art back then. One song that received a lot of play on those screens was “Cry for the Nations” by Michael Schenker Group. I liked the song enough to want to check out the album. During my search, I assumed that the song was current, so I looked up their most current album at the time, “Assault Attack.” However, seeing that the desired song wasn’t on this album, I put it down and continued my search. After all these years, and finally listening to the album, I see what a fool I’ve been. The worst part was that I can’t blame being in the service for missing it because I had this album in my hands! Anyway, what I have learned that this album totally kicks ass.

When I posted “Great Guitarists of the 70s,” an old friend of mine stated that he would have added Michael Schenker to the list. While I wasn’t totally naive to the guitar mastery of Mr Schenker, it took this album to agree that he possibly should have been included, at the very least, in the group of underrated guitarists because this guy can play. What amazes me most is his versatile style. He lays down some great blues based riffs on “Rock You to the Ground” but goes more straight ahead metal with the likes of “Assault Attack,” Samurai” and “Desert Song.” Then he shines in the spotlight with the instrumental “Ulcer.” Bad joke alert: I did not get one after hearing that track. Anyway, I humbly beg Michael Schenker’s forgiveness in ignoring his guitar talents and make a vow to rectify that.

Of the lead singers who fronted Rainbow over the years, I must say that Graham Bonnet was always my least favourite. While Ronnie James Dio will always be my favourite, I even put Joe Lynn Turner above Bonnet. After listening to his vocals on “Assault Attack,” I am now in the mind that my feelings about that era of Rainbow were nothing to do with Graham but more to do with the songs they put out at the time; too commercial for me. Listening to him with MSG, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read that he was the lead singer because his vocals are just superb on this album. One prime example is “Dancer” but he hits the notes on every song on the album. I have the feeling that I’m going to be eating a lot of humble pie after making this post because Graham, you rock here!

Track Listing:

1. Assault Attack

2. Rock You to the Ground

3. Dancer

4. Samurai

5. Desert Song

6. Broken Promises

7. Searching for a Reason

8. Ulcer

Michael Schenker Group

Michael Schenker Group

Michael Schenker- guitars

Graham Bonnet- vocals

Chris Glen- bass

Ted McKenna- drums

Tommy Eyre- keyboards

Cliched quotes like “all’s well that ends well” and “better late than never” are entering my mind in regards to this great album by the Michael Schenker Group. Unfortunately, none of them justify the fact that back in 1982, I literally let a fantastic album slip through my fingers. As for “Cry for the Nations,” I did find the song on a live album and that’s coming next.

Next post: Michael Schenker Group- One Night at Bukokan

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: Rainbow- Difficult to Cure

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 6, 2014 by 80smetalman

220px-Difficult_to_cure

Before I go into the meat of the post here, I think it’s best that I do a “then and now” brief. Nowadays, many young metalheads like my younger son don’t classify Rainbow as heavy metal and may even point to this very album as proof. There is plenty of evidence within the material on “Difficult To Cure” to back up that argument. However, before anyone gets the branding iron out, I think it’s only fair to mention the state of rock music back in the early 1980s. First of all, most anything that had a heavy guitar in the sound was considered heavy metal by radio stations and music magazines. That’s why Rush’s “Moving Pictures” album was considered heavy metal back then. More important is the fact that heavy metal was still in its youth. While great metal artists like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Ozzy Osbourne and so many others were stamping their mark on heavy metal, there was no definite definition of what heavy metal was and certainly no sub genres in the music. While Rainbow makes very good use of keyboards in their music, very evident on this album, they were certainly considered a heavy metal band back then, especially with a guitarist like Ritchie Blackmore and original vocalist Ronnie James Dio in the line up. With all that said, I’ll rest my case on the fact that I listed them as one of the great metal influences. If you want to trawl the archives, Rainbow was part eight in the series. God, with speeches like that, maybe I should go into politics.

Now to the album, I didn’t know until now that they had recorded an early version of their most successful hit, “I Surrender,” with Graham Bonnet before he left the band because he didn’t like the direction it was taking. Joe Lynn Turner was brought in to sing over the already recorded musical tracks and the result is obvious, “Difficult to Cure” is a very good album. As I have said several times before, I get a little nervous when the opening track to an album is the big single. However, the opening chords on “I Surrender” is attention grabbing and starts things off perfectly. But unlike one hit wonders who use their hit to open their album, the rest of “Difficult to Cure” can stand on its own. “Spotlight Kid” is definitely a good rocking song as is “Can’t Happen Here.” I knew there was something familiar about those two songs when I heard them and so I checked the “Anthology” album and found those two songs were on it. I shouldn’t have been surprised. “Magic”starts very progressively but Don Airey plays his keyboards masterfully on the song and Blackmore does his usual magic with the guitar, which superbly makes the song. “Freedom Fighter” is also a noteworthy rock song and the album finishes beautifully with the instrumental title track which was also Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. I’ve heard the live version of the song and it’s totally mind blowing but I won’t take anything away from the version on this album. “Difficult to Cure” is a fine outing from Rainbow

Track Listing:

1. I Surrender

2. Spotlight Kid

3. No Release

4. Magic

5. Vielleicht Das Nachste Mal (Maybe Next Time)

 6. Can’t Happen Here

7. Freedom Fighter

8. Mid Tunnel Vision

9. Difficult to Cure

rainbow-prog1981

Ritchie Blackmore- guitars

Roger Glover- bass

Joe Lynn Turner- vocals

Don Airey- keyboards

Bobby Rondinelli- drums

With “Difficult to Cure,” Rainbow proved that keyboards can work in heavy metal. They had an influence all their own on heavy metal in its early days and continue to influence many progressive metal bands today.

Next post: Def Leppard- High and Dry

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