Archive for John Lennon

Great Rock Albums of 1981: John Lennon- Double Fantasy

Posted in 1980s, Death, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on December 18, 2013 by 80smetalman

220px-JohnLennon-albums-doublefantasy

Like every year so far, I begin with albums that were actually released in the previous year but didn’t come to my attention until the new year. In 1981 I had a good excuse. I spent the first two months of the year sailing around the Mediterranean on a ship. As it was the end of the deployment, there weren’t many port calls although there was a field operation in Tunisia. Therefore, news of new record releases were very slow in making their way to my attention.

It is only fitting that since 1980 ended with the tragic murder of John Lennon, I begin 1981 with the album he released just before his death. It has been said in secret whispers that if John hadn’t died so tragically, this album wouldn’t have had the acclaim that it received. I am not going to argue one way or the other here. It’s not the rockiest album I’ve heard, even from him and if it were up to me, all of the songs Yoko Ono sings would be removed from the album. In the same way Linda McCartney had over Paul, Yoko had a definite hold over John and that is why she appears so much on this album. The songs he does make the album for me. My favourite song has always been “Watching the Wheels” especially as I can relate it to what I was going through at the time. I would come to the halfway point of my enlistment and I was getting really fed up with the military bullshit. So, I would sing this song only changing the lyrics to “I’m just waiting for my EAS to come around.” For those wondering, EAS means expiration of active service.

Another song that really stands out for me on the album is “Clean Up Time.” This is probably the closest to a real rocker on the album. “Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)” is amusing and there are the two other singles, “Just Like Starting Over” and “Woman.” Both are decent songs but better to listen to when in a more mellow mood.

Track Listing:

1. Just Like Starting Over

2. Kiss Kiss Kiss

3. Clean Up Time

4. Give Me Something

5. I’m Losing You

6. I’m Moving On

7. Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)

8. Watching the Wheels

9. Yes I’m Your Angel

10. Woman

11. Beautiful Boys

12. Dear Yoko

13. Every Man Has a Woman Who Loves Him

14. Hard Times Are Over

John Lennon

John Lennon

It has been suggested that the reason behind the mellow feel and soppy love songs that incorporate most of the “Double Fantasy” album is that John was repenting for his chauvinistic attitudes in the 1960s. Maybe so and if it is the case, then he can say he left the world paying back that debt because this album is in no way chauvinistic. It pours out his love for Yoko and his son and I don’t think anyone should begrudge him that.

Next post: The Police: Zenyatta Mondatta

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

 

 

1980 Ends In Tragedy

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Death, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 5, 2013 by 80smetalman
John Lennon

John Lennon

In spite of all of the great rock and metal happenings, the kick ass albums from the likes of Black Sabbath, Judas Priest and AC/DC to name just a tiny few, triumphant events like the first ever Donington Festival and even tragic departures in the form of John Bonham and Bon Scott; all of them were over shadowed by an event that not only shocked the music world but the world in general, the murder of John Lennon. Like other infamous tragedies such as Pearl Harbour, the assassination of JFK and 911, many people can remember exactly where they were when they first heard the news that John Lennon and been shot and killed. Personally, I was on the USS Saipan and we had just returned through the Suez Canal and was on our way to Italy when the ship news service told us of the murder. Naturally, we were all shocked and some of my comrades in arms thought it was a joke. However, when we realised the truth, there was much mourning and sympathy, even from those who would have not listened to Lennon’s music and it caused what had been a landmark year in music to end on a tearful note.

John Lennon’s murder was as unnecessary as it was tragic. If it had been any ordinary Joe or Josephine, I would still say that the way in which he was shot down was completely wrong. Even after all these years, I still fail to see any reasoning behind Mark Chapman’s actions other than he simply wanted his fifteen minutes. Now, I am one of the biggest hippy liberals going but I have always maintained that if anyone callously and maliciously takes the life of another human being, then they should forfeit their own. Originally, Chapman was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison and I do feel a slight touch of relief after reading that he has been denied parole seven times.

The Fab Four

The Fab Four

I know I’m once again preaching to the choir and stating the obvious, but influence that John Lennon and The Beatles had on music, even heavy metal,  lives on over thirty years after his death. For proof, listen to the Beatles song “Helter Skelter” and then look up the hard rock and metal bands who have recorded covers of said song. I know of at least one metal artist whose album I’ll be visiting in the tour of 1981 had a song in tribute to Lennon. I’m sure I’ll find others and more will re-emerge from the wastelands of my distant memories. So, in conclusion, as this coming Sunday marks the thirty-third anniversary of the tragedy, take a moment to remember this superstar. But also, as I close the door on the rock and metal of 1980, also remember the great musical triumphs from the year too. I’m not a psychic, but I think that’s what John would have wanted us to do.

Next post: Tribute to Blues Guitarists

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

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

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1979: George Harrison- George Harrison

Posted in 1979, Music, Rock with tags , , , , , , on July 28, 2012 by 80smetalman

For the more astute, I did say that this post would be George Harrison’s “Somewhere in England” album, however, as I began refreshing my knowledge in order to write this post, I discovered that that album wasn’t released until 1981. The album released in 1979, was the one named after him, George Harrison. I apologise for getting my rock facts wrong on this one and I will visit the “Somewhere in England album when I get to 1981.

When I was posting my “Great Rock Albums of the 70s” chapter, I had great internal debate on whether or not I should visit the George Harrison album “331/3.” I decided not to as the album was a real mellow out album although it does contain my all time favourite Harrison song, “Crackerbox Palace.” “George Harrison” is a little less mellow and in no way a hard rock album. I decided to include it because of the history of that time. See, in 1979 rock music was fighting off the disco invasion and some notable rock musicians, some whose albums I’ve included here, were experimenting with the whole disco thing. This album wasn’t disco and that was good enough for me. Furthermore and I’m going to say something that some Beatles fans may think blasphemous, musically George was my favourite Beatle. I’m not taking anything away from Lennon and McCartney, they are true geniuses, but I’ve always liked songs like “Here Comes the Sun,” “Something” and my fave, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”

Anyway, enough of the history lesson, (sorry once a teacher always a teacher) let’s get on to the subject of this album. “George Harrison” by the person of the same name is a good soft rock album. It begins with an introductory guitar solo from the legendary Eric Clapton on the first track, “Love Comes to Everyone” and carries through the album with a feel good factor throughout. There’s the top single “Blow Away” which, for those who take the singles charts seriously, made it  to number 14 in the US and 39 in the UK. The song “Faster” has a bit more of a rock feel to it, especially as it begins with motor racing sound effects.

Track Listing:

1. Love Comes to Everyone

2. Not Guilty

3. Here Comes the Moon

4. Soft Hearted Hanna

5. Blow Away

6. Faster

7. Dark Sweet Lady

8. Your Love is Forever

9. Soft Touch

10. If You Believe

George Harrison- vocals, guitars

Andy Newmark- drums

Willie Weeks- bass

Neil Larsen- keyboards, minimoog

Ray Cooper- percussion

Steve Winwood- polymoog

Emil Richards- marimba

Gayle Richards- harp

Eric Clapton- guitar intro

Gary Wright- oberheim

“George Harrison” for me was common ground for me and my then disco/plastic pop loving girlfriend at the time. Still it’s a good album to “mellow out” to. One I listen to on a lazy summer day, like today and shows why I’ve always said that Harrison’s work has always been underrated when compared to the other Beatles.

Next post: Bad Company- Desolation Angels

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