Archive for John Lennon

Great Rock Albums of 1984: David Gilmour- About Face

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

Like Lennon and McCartney after the Beatles split and Henley and Frey after the split of the Eagles, I wonder if Roger Waters and David Gilmour were entwined in some music one-upsmanship after the imagined Pink Floyd split following the last album with Waters, “The Final Cut.” Early in the year, we were treated to Roger’s album, “The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking,” which I’ve already posted about. In the months that followed, Pink Floyd guitarist, David Gilmour, released his solo album, “About Face.”

One thing I will never do is allow myself to be dragged into any debate as to which was the better album between Waters and Gilmour. Don’t even ask because even after thirty-three years, I couldn’t give an answer. I like both of them very much.

Some critic back then stated that “About Face” had a commercial feel that Pink Floyd were never bothered with. I would never call this album commercial, even if in a 2006 interview, Gilmour stated that he thought that it was too 80s. Well, maybe it was for him. In my not so humble opinion, I think that the album doesn’t go too far from the Pink Floyd formula. While I wouldn’t call the opening track typically Floyd, I do think “Until We Sleep” a cool space rock tune. I can easily listen to it while puffing the magic dragon and might have done so. However, the next two tracks are definitely Pink Floyd style tracks. The first of these, “Murder” was written in angry reaction to the senseless murder of John Lennon. On the track, Gilmour really vents that anger with a hair raising guitar solo. “Blue Light” has a funky jazz beat with the horns and this song is probably the farthest song from the traditional Pink Floyd trademark. I like it regardless.

“Out of the Blue” goes back to more familiar territory, nothing wrong with that either, but the track after, “All Lovers are Deranged” is a bit of a rocker. The lyrics were written by Who guitarist Peter Townsend and you can hear a bit of early Who in the song. It had to have been put on the album to give the listener a shock after being absorbed by the mellower track before it. “Don’t Turn You Back” starts out like a Floyd-esque song but there’s some interesting stuff going on in the middle of it with horns. If there was any track on the album that sounded commercial 80s, then it would be “Cruise.” I have always wondered why it never was released as a single. With its more easy listening style, the trendy top forty types might have liked it even if they didn’t know anything about David Gilmour or Pink Floyd. Some good organ work behind a reggae tint makes this song. Another interesting song is the instrumental that is “Let’s Get Metaphysical.” This goes from being spacey type Floyd to jazzy horns to some very good progressive sounds. The thing is that with all of this mixed together, David pulls it off. That must be a tribute to his genius. Then he ends things in what I call typical Pink Floyd fashion with “Near the End.” A long sounded space out track with some great Gilmour guitar licks. It is the best song to end with.

One thing consistent on every song is the guitar work of David Gilmour. He does let himself go more and while I always liked his guitar work with Pink Floyd, he outshines himself on “About Face.” It also helps that he put a great band together as well as some cool guest musicians to play with him.

Track Listing:

  1. Until We Sleep
  2. Murder
  3. Love On the Air
  4. Blue Light
  5. Out of the Blue
  6. All Lovers are Deranged
  7. Don’t Turn Your Back
  8. Cruise
  9. Let’s Get Metaphysical
  10. Near the End

David Gilmour

David Glimour- guitars, lead vocals, bass

Jeff Procraro- drums, percussion

Pino Palladino- bass

Ian Kewley- organ

Additional Musicians

Steve Winwood- organ on “Blue Light” and piano on “Love on the Air”

Jon Lord- synthesizer

Anne Dudley- synthesizer

Bob Ezrin- keyboards, orchestral arrangement

The Kick Horns- brass

Luis Jardim, Ray Cooper- percussion

Roy Harper, Sam Brown, Vicki Brown, Mickey Feat- vocals

The National Philharmonic Orchestra

David Gilmour popped out onto the music world of 1984 with a great solo album. Okay, it didn’t have the chart success even if Dave thought it was too 1980s. Many Pink Floyd fans do like it and so do some who weren’t. A great effort from a fine musician.

Next post: The Bangles- All Over the Place

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Great Pop Albums of 1984: Julian Lennon- Valotte

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 19, 2017 by 80smetalman

I’m taking a lead from a post from Rich and posting about one of my not guilty pleasures. By 1984, I was in full heavy metal mode and it might surprise some that I would even entertain a pop sounding album. My counter is that having been (and still am) a big fan of The Beatles, I thought an album by the son of the great John Lennon, whose life had been so tragically snuffed out just over three years prior, was worth a listen. To be frank, I do like Julian Lennon’s debut album, “Valotte.” While it’s called pop on Wikapedia, I have always and will continue to call it mellow out rock because that’s what it exactly is.

Julian’s old man’s influence can be heard straight away on the opening title track of the album and its head rises now and again throughout the album. My first reaction to the opening track was that he was trying to sound like his father and while there isn’t anything wrong with that, I was wondering on my first listen way back then that would there be any originality from the son. I can say there is. On the track, “On the Phone,” there is a venture near the waters of progressive rock and I do like the intro. The next track “Space” is an appropriate title for that song, It does sound rather spacey and goes even further into the prog rock zone.

“Well I Don’t Know” is for sure a pop tune but it does have the only true guitar solo I can discern on the album. (There is some lead guitar bridges in other songs but that’s all.) Unfortunately, as I am no longer in possession of the album and Wikapedia doesn’t say which guitarist plays the solo, we’ll never know. The next pop song is the big single from “Valotte” called “Too Late for Goodbyes,” which got a lot of play on radio and MTV at the time. Listening to it again after so many years, I do notice that he does walk the tightrope between sounding commercial pop and his father’s influences rather well. It is probably the best tune for a radio hit. But I much like better, songs like “Lonely” with the cool sax solo which is the highlight of this mellow tune. “Say You’re Wrong” goes more into 80s synth pop and while not terrible, is unspectacular. “Jesse” is the hardest track on “Valotte.” It’s not heavy, not even close, but there is an upbeat tempo and some cool guitar bridges on it. The closer, “Let Me Be” is interesting. It’s a kind of ragtime piano tune that’s only just over two minutes but it is the best way to close the album out. I think Julian might have been going for a non serious exit here.

Track Listing:

  1. Valotte
  2. O.K. for You
  3. On the Phone
  4. Space
  5. Well I Don’t Know
  6. Too Late for Goodbyes
  7. Lonely
  8. Say You’re Wrong
  9. Jesse
  10. Let Me Be

Julian Lennon

Julian Lennon- lead and backing vocals, bass, keyboards, drums

Justin Clayton- guitar

Carlton Morales- guitar

Barry Beckett- keyboards

David Lebolt- keyboards

Peter Wood- keyboards

Roger Hawkins- drums

Steve Holley- drums, percussion

David Hood- bass

Marcus Miller- bass

Carmine Rojas- bass

Robert Mac Donald- percussion

Rory Dodd- backing vocals

Eric Taylor- backing vocals

Jon Faddis- trumpet

Joe Shepley- trumpet

Michael Brecker- saxophone

George Young- saxophone

Lawrence Feldman- saxophone

Ron Cuber- saxophone

Guest Musicians

Jean ‘Toots’ Theilmans- harmonica on “Too Late For Goodbyes”

Martin Briley- guitar on “Too Late For Goodbyes”

Dennis Herring- guitar on “Jesse”

In one respect, Julian Lennon couldn’t win with the critics on “Valotte.” The either said he was trying to be too much like his father or not enough. While his father’s influence is there, he does have his own stamp on the album, even if it is a very mellow album. While I wouldn’t listen to it travelling to or from Bloodstock, if I was younger, I would use it in the same ways teenage boys used “Beth” by KISS in the 1970s or “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” in the late 80s. The album is all right.

Next post: The Alarm- Declaration

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 1983: Molly Hatchet- No Guts No Glory

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 22, 2016 by 80smetalman

No_Guts...No_Glory_(Molly_Hatchet_album_-_cover_art)

One Southern Rock band that did still get some attention up North in 1983 was the great Molly Hatchet. What excited many Hatchet fans north and south of the Mason-Dixon Line was the return of lead singer Danny Joe Brown to the band to record the “No Guts No Glory” album. For those who are new to 80smetalman, it might be a good idea to have a crash history lesson. Danny Joe Brown left Molly Hatchet after the magnificent “Flirtin’ With Disaster” album, actually he was kicked out because of his drinking, and replaced by lead singer Jimmy Farrar who sang on the next two albums, “Beatin’ the Odds” and “Take No Prisoners.” While there was nothing wrong with either of those albums and Jimmy Farrar is a very capable singer, there seemed to be something missing from those albums. It was hoped that Brown’s return would re-ignite the chemistry that brought them fame with “Flirtin’ With Disaster.”

The old chemistry certainly does return on the “No Guts No Glory” album from the very first song. Things definitely feel very upbeat on the first two songs and at the time, I wanted to scream, although I did inwardly, “Welcome back Danny!” While the first two tracks set the pace for the entire album, it is the third track that propels things into the ionosphere. “Sweet Dixie” is one of those Southern rock boogie tunes that has me bouncing in my chair whenever I hear it. Unless I’m walking, then it makes me quicken my step. Even when I returned north after I got out of the service, the lyrics reminded me of the good things about being down South.

“Just give me those stars and bars, Willie on the radio

A good cold beer and that rebel cheer

And man I’m ready to roll

That sweet sweet Dixie music really gets into my soul

So Mr Deejay won’t you play that Southern rock and roll.”

Of course the guitars of Dave Hlubeck, Duane Roland and Steve Holland are all over that song as well as the entire album but the song where they really shine is the best known song from the album, “Fall of the Peacemakers.” Written as a lament over the murder of John Lennon although I always saw it as an anti- war song, the three guitarists lay down some killer solos in the style of “Freebird” or “Highway Song” on the final five minutes of it. “Fall of the Peacemakers” has been said to have been Molly Hatchet’s own “Freebird.” The guitars are certainly good enough.

Having originally bought “No Guts No Glory” on vinyl, actually my first vinyl purchase upon leaving the service, the songs mentioned were side one. Side two is definitely not filler. There are five awesome tracks on it that keep the party going very well. Of those five, the standout for me is “Kinda Like Love.” They do throw in something a bit different at the end as the closer, “Both Sides,” is an instrumental. Some more great guitar work on it to end the album just right.

Other interesting facts about the album are the fact that this is the only Molly Hatchet album not to portray a Franzetta painting on the cover. Another is the use of keyboards. Danny Joe Brown was wise to bring John Galvin over from his Danny Joe Brown band to play on the album. The album also features a completely new rhythm section with Riff West on bass and Barry BB Borden on drums. They work very well here.

Track Listing:

  1. What Does it Matter
  2. Ain’t Even Close
  3. Sweet Dixie
  4. Fall of the Peacemakers
  5. What’s it Gonna Take
  6. Kinda Like Love
  7. Under the Gun
  8. On the Prowl
  9. Both Sides
Molly Hatchet

Molly Hatchet

Danny Joe Brown- vocals

Dave Hlubeck- guitars

Duane Roland- guitar

Steve Holland- guitar

Riff West- bass

Barry BB Borden- drums

Additional musicians:

John Galvin- keyboards

Jai Winding- keyboards

*Note- Steve Holland would leave the band during the tour for the album and John Galvin would replace him and become a permanent member

Thanks to the return of Danny Joe Brown, many would say that Molly Hatchet was back. I know they never really went anywhere but the “No Guts No Glory” album in my mind, returned them to former glory.

Next post: Talking Heads- Speaking in Tongues

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

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A Metal Tragedy: The Death of Randy Rhoads

Posted in 1980s, Death, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 26, 2015 by 80smetalman
Randy Rhoads

Randy Rhoads

Actually, I’m quite surprised that no one pointed this out when I posted my “Triumphs and Tragedies” post for 1982. While the death of John Belushi was certainly a tragic occurrence, for metalheads, the terrible loss of Randy Rhoads was a far bigger tragedy because on March 19, 1982, the world was robbed of a guitar god. That is why I felt that Rhoads’s death deserved its own post because for metalheads, his death overshadowed everything else in 1982 in the same way that John Lennon’s murder did for the world in 1980.

For any metalhead, it’s standard 101 to know that Randy Rhoads was killed in a plane crash on that tragic day in March, 1982 but it is only now that I have fully learned the full details behind the crash. The pilot had taken Randy and the band’s make up artist up in a small plane for a little bit of show boat flying. After making two successful attempts to fly close to the tour bus that was parked nearby, the pilot botched the third attempt, hitting the bus, severing the top of a pine tree before crashing into a garage of a nearby mansion. The contact with the bus forced Rhoads’s head to crash through the windscreen and then he was immediately incinerated when the plane exploded into a fireball after hitting the garage. While only God himself could have saved the three people in the plane, it still took over a half hour before the fire service arrived on the scene and then it was only one engine. This leads me to speculate two possible reasons for this. One was the fact that it was rural Florida and the local fire department would probably have been a volunteer one so there would have been a great delay in the response. The other, a result of me seeing anti- metal conspiracies all over the place, is the fact that the locals weren’t too bothered in responding quickly because it was a bunch of heavy metal people involved. In any case, heavy metal and the world lost a truly magnificent guitar player on that day.

Standard Metal knowledge 102 teaches that while Randy is no longer with us, his legacy will never die. From that fateful day, the tributes to Randy Rhodes and what he has done for music continue to pour in. His former band Quiet Riot dedicated a song to him on their next album and Ozzy Osbourne released a tribute album to Randy a few years after that and rest assured, I’ll be visiting both when the time comes. Young guitarists still study his guitar style and Jackson Guitars still sell a replica of the one he used to wow audiences with his playing. Randy might have only lived for 25 years (way too young) but his memory has lived on for the last 33 years and will go on forever. Here’s where I should urge everybody to go out and listen to some album where Randy appears. There’s really no need because I know that everybody reading this will have already done so in the recent past and will continue to do so well into the the future.

R.I.P. Randy Rhoads

Next post: Anvil- Metal on Metal

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Great Rock Albums of 1982: Glenn Frey- No Fun Aloud

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 10, 2015 by 80smetalman

nofunaloud

 It was often speculated back in the early 1980s if Glenn Frey and Don Henley were engaged in a rivalry after the Eagles split. Many thought the same thing a decade earlier with John Lennon and Paul McCartney after the Beatles broke up. The evidence in this case was the fact that in 1982, both Frey and Henley put out albums around the same time. Don Henley’s album was visited in the last post so this time, I’ll take a look at Glenn Frey’s debut album, “No Fun Aloud.”

One big similarity between the two albums from the former Eagles is Glenn Frey also uses a shit load of musicians to record the album. In fact, I recognised at least one name from the Don Henley album although Glenn doesn’t use any members from Toto on his album. Another big similarity is the fact that while Glenn Frey does add put his own stamp on the album, there are still plenty of hints from his Eagle days on “No Fun Aloud.”

Frey’s stamp is immediately put on the album with the two opening tracks, both of which are introduced with horns. Both, however, do the job in hooking your attention. The opener, “I Found Somebody” is a more bouncier tune while its successor, “The One You Love” is more of a slow jazz sound. The Eagles influence comes with the next song, “Party Town.” “Sea Cruise” comes from way out in left field because it wasn’t something I would have expected from Glenn. The song is more of a reggae, calypso sound but fair play, he makes it work. One song that sticks out for me is “That Girl,” which Glenn co wrote with Bob Seger. It is definitely Glenn’s style of song but you can hear Bob’s influence on it as well. It had me wondering out loud if these two did any more collaborations and saying it’s a shame if they hadn’t. Furthermore, I do like the lead guitar intro in “All Those Lies,” a classic Eagles type jam, kind of reminiscent of “One of These Nights.” The closer, “Don’t Give Up,” is the hardest rocker on the album. Some impressive guitar and a couple of solos make sure this album goes out on a high.

Track Listing:

1. I Found Somebody

2. The One You Love

3. Party Town

4. I Volunteer

5. I’ve Been Born Again

6. Sea Cruise

7. That Girl

8. All Those Lies

9. She Can’t Let Go

10. Don’t Give Up

Glenn Frey

Glenn Frey

Glenn Frey- vocals, guitar, organ, synthesizer, bass, keyboards, piano, clavinet

Wayne Perkins- acoustic guitar

Duncan Cameron- electric guitar

Danny Kootch Korchmar- lead guitar

Josh Leo- lead guitar

Roger Hawkins- bass, drums

Bryan Garofalo- bass

Bob Glaub- bass

David Hood- bass

Roberto Pinon- bass

Michael Huey- drums

John J.R. Robinson- drums

Allen Balzeck- keyboards

Clayton Ivey- piano

David Hawk Wallinsky- organ, synthesizer

Al Garth -tenor sax

Greg Smith- sax, backing vocals

William Bergman- saxophone

Harvey Thompson- saxophone

Jim Coiles- saxophone

Ronnie Eades- saxophone

Jim Horn- saxophone

Ernie Watts- saxophone

Lee Thornburg- trumpet

John Berry Jr- trumpet

Jim Ed Norman- strings

Steve Foreman- percussion

Heart Attack- horns

It’s hard to say for sure if there was any sort of rivalry between Glenn Frey and Don Henley or if Glenn had the dilemma that some artists have when they are/were in a group and record a solo album. All I know is that “No Fun Aloud” is a suitable solo debut album from Glenn Frey.

Next post: Styx- Kilroy Was Here

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Great Metal Albums of 1981: Billy Squier- Don’t Say No

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 13, 2014 by 80smetalman

Billy_Squier_-_Don't_Say_NoYou’ve all been waiting with baited breath for this, okay, maybe not but here it is. After all my ramblings about great British artists who never really made it in America, it’s time for the best American artist not to have made it in Britain. That’s right, the award goes to Billy Squier. I know from feedback from British readers of “Rock and Roll Children” that this is the case. Since one of his concerts appears early in the story, several British readers have said, that they never knew him or even heard of him. This is true, I never heard his name mentioned in UK metal circles, heard any of his songs on the radio or seen his videos on the Kerrang or Scuzz channels. His only real association with the UK is the fact that he played the 1982 Reading Rock Festival but other than that, very little. This is a shame because Squier is an excellent musician with several fine albums including this 1981 release: “Don’t Say No.”

For all my goings on about my paranoia about the singles being the opening song on the album, I must say that Billy Squier goes even further on “Don’t Say No” by having all three released singles as the first three tracks on the album. This is not a bad thing in this case. I continue to listen to “In the Dark” and his biggest hit, “The Stroke” which even got played on AM radio back in 1981 but the third single, “My Kinda Lover” got the memories flowing. Furthermore, it doesn’t matter about where you put the singles on the track list because the rest of the album is definitely not filler. “Lonely Is the Night” could also have been released as a single, especially as I like the intro in that one. “Too Daze Gone” and “Whadda You Want From Me” are also very strong tracks and his tribute to John Lennon, “Nobody Knows.” I do think his vocals are a bit too high on that song but that is offset by a cool guitar solo. The songs on here don’t disappoint so once again I find myself asking, Why wasn’t this album better received in the UK?

Track Listing:

1. In the Dark

2. The Stroke

3. My Kinda Lover

4. You Know What I Like

5. Too Daze Gone

6. Lonely Is the Night

7. Whadda You Want From Me

8. Nobody Knows

9. Need You

10. Don’t Say No

Billy Squier

Billy Squier

Billy Squier- vocals, guitar, piano, percussion

Cary Sharaf- guitars

Alan St John- keyboards

Mark Clark- bass

Bobby Chouinard- drums

What I am hoping is that everyone in the UK reading this will rush out and buy this album or at least listen to it on YouTube. That will go a long way in making up for an opportunity that was missed over thirty years ago. By all means, Americans take it out, dust it off and listen to it once more. Then remember what a great album “Don’t Say No” really was. I thought it was a great way to end the journey through 1981.

Next post: A Tribute to Some True Heroines

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Great Rock Albums of 1981: George Harrison- Somewhere in England

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 15, 2014 by 80smetalman

georgeh

Once again, I know that I’m repeating myself here because I did say this when I visited Mr Harrison’s self-titled 1979 album but I feel the strange need to say it again. Of all the solo work from the members of The Beatles, it’s George’s the I like the best. I did really like Paul McCartney with Wings in the early 70s but I felt he went too disco at the tail end of the decade. For the more astute, you may have realised that I never visited Wings’ 1979 “Back to the Egg” album, now you know why. However, George Harrison was consistent with his music throughout and didn’t bow to trends in music. While the 1976 album “33 1/3” remains my favourite of his albums, “Somewhere in England” has to rank up there as well.

Warning, this is not a bang your head rock album. George Harrison’s music has always appealed to my more mellower side and this album is no different. However, what comes through on most of the tracks is a subtle lead guitar in the background and for me, that makes most of the songs where it happens. Most notable is the opening track, “Teardrops” and “Unconciousness Rules.” Other tracks have this guitar sound on it as well and there are one or two tracks that make you think George is going to let loose, especially with some of the guitar intros on a couple of tracks but the song goes into the more melodic sound that I know him for. Even so, he makes it sound really good and since the album was released just a few months after former band mate John Lennon’s death, the single “All Those Years Ago” is not only a dedication to him, the other former band mates, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr appear on the song marking a true tribute to Lennon.

Track Listing:

  Blood From a Clone

Unconciousness Rules

Life Itself

All Those Years Ago

Baltimore Oriole

Teardrops

That Which I’ve Lost

Writing On the Wall

Hong Kong Blues

Save the World

George Harrison

George Harrison

George Harrison- Lead vocals, guitars, keyboards, synthesisers

Alla Rakha- tabla

Gary Brooker- keyboards, synthesisers

Al Kooper- keyboards, synthesisers

Mike Moran- keyboards, synthesisers

Neil Larsen- keyboards, synthesisers

Tom Scott-Lynicon- horns

Herbie Flowers- tuba, bass

Willie Weeks- bass

Ray Cooper- keyboards, synthesisers, percussion, drums

Jim Keltner- drums

Dave Mattacks- drums

 I probably appreciate this album much more these days as I’m mellowing with age, although play a Slayer or Amon Amarth song and I will be going full tilt. Over the years before his death, George Harrison put out some good light rock and “Somewhere In England” is one of the best.

Next post: Rick Springfield- Working Class Dog

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