Archive for Keith Emerson

Great???? Rock Albums of 1985: Starship- Knee Deep in the Hoopla

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 17, 2018 by 80smetalman

Originally, I wasn’t going to post about this album. When I first heard tracks from the newly named Starship, (formerly Jefferson Starship) I thought, “OMG, how the mighty have fallen.” You see, from 1976-84, Jefferson Starship was my favourite band. Their albums during those years charted my own personal musical journey. The early albums from the mid to late 1970s, “Red Octopus,” “Spitfire” and “Earth” were much more progressive and considered by many to be mellow out rock. I never disagreed with this. However, there were even occasions on those albums, especially “Spitfire,” where they demonstrated they could rock out. That thought followed me into 1979 and then the early 80s where their albums, “Freedom At Point Zero,” “Modern Times” and “Winds of Change” were much more hard rock and I fully embraced the new sound as my own musical tastes were going harder.

Looking back to the past, some might argue that the 1984 “Nuclear Furniture” album was a sign of things to come with the Starship. It went back away from the total hard rock sound of the previous three albums but not as progressive as their 1970s ones. It had a more emerging 80s synth pop sound on some of the songs but not enough for me not to like it. Besides, the lyrics of many of the songs were more politically aware, something else I was getting into, so that album was okay. However, it was at this time rhythm guitarist and founding member Paul Kantner left the band and that would change the total dynamics of the band, starting with a law suit over the Jefferson moniker. If you remember when I posted about Paul’s passing, I stated that it was usually the songs he penned I liked the most on the albums.

In 1985, Starship appeared with the “Knee Deep in the Hoopla” album. I was curious and then I heard the first single, “We Built This City” on the radio and that was it. The lyrics might sing, “We built this city on rock and roll” but to me, a more accurate line would have been, “We built this city on top 40.” That song, established Starship as a top forty band with that song soaring in the charts. The second single, “Sarah,” was little better. The only thing that redeems it is Craig Chaquico hammers out a tidy guitar solo on it. But for the most part, I came to the conclusion in 1985 that Starship had sold out! Now, that label got banded about quite a lot back then and we can debate the semantics of it forever but what I did know was that I did not like their new sound.

Examining “Knee Deep in the Hoopla” further, it continues to be a top forty oriented synth pop album. Definitely not for me in 1985 and though I might have mellowed with age, it still doesn’t do it for me. The only songs which capture any interest for me are three of the middle ones, “Rock Myself to Sleep,” “Desperate Hearts” and “Private Room.” Kevin DuBrow from Quiet Riot fame sings backing vocals on “Rock Myself to Sleep” and that is the best song on the album for me. “Private Room isn’t too far behind but the rest of the album, with the possible exception of “Hearts of the World (Will Understand), doesn’t do it for me, even with Craig’s guitar solos.

What really angered me at the time and still does now is the reduction of Pete Sears to bass only. On those three early progressive albums, Pete shows his wizardry with the keyboards. I even equated him to the likes of Keith Emerson and Rick Wakeman back in the late 1970s. For further clarification, listen to the tracks, “Love Too Good” off the “Earth” album and “Sandalphon” from “Red Octopus” and I think you’ll be convinced. So, why in the hell did they relegate him to bass. Peter Wolf who plays keys on the album doesn’t hold a candle to Pete.

Track Listing:

  1. We Built This City
  2. Sarah
  3. Tomorrow Doesn’t Matter Tonight
  4. Rock Myself to Sleep
  5. Desperate Heart
  6. Private Room
  7. Before I Go
  8. Hearts of the World (Will Understand)
  9. Love Rusts

Starship

Mickey Thomas- lead vocals

Grace Slick- lead vocals

Craig Chaquico- guitar

Pete Sears- bass

Donny Baldwin- drums

Additional Musicians

Peter Wolf- keyboards

Les Garland- DJ voice on “We Built This City”

Kevin Dubrow- backing vocals on “Rock Myself to Sleep”

Another occurrence which annoyed the shit out of me back then was when I heard a Starship concert broadcast on the radio. During the concert, they played their classic hit “Find Your Way Back” from the “Modern Times” album. That song possesses the band’s greatest guitar intro of all times. However, when they played it at this concert, that great intro was all synthed out. For me, that was the final nail in the coffin and while I will always have great memories of Jefferson Starship, Starship can be left on the shelf.

Next post: Pat Benatar- Tropico

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

 

 

 

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Compilation Album for 2016

Posted in 1980s, Death, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 1, 2017 by 80smetalman

Recently on Twitter, I commented that with all the great musical stars who passed on in 2016, that I wouldn’t put it past some morbid record producer to make a compilation album featuring all of them. One of my friends replied that with so many, it would have to be a box set and he’s probably right. Normally, I ‘m not a morbid person but I then thought, “Why don’t I come out with my own ideas for such an album?” Besides, if it was in the hands of some corporate record executive, their idea for the album would be totally different than mine, especially if the metal hating UK newspaper, The Sun, had anything to do with it.

In compiling such an album, I fear that had things been left to record execs, Jimmy Bain and Sandy Pearlman would have been left out totally. Jimmy would have been because he was only a bass player despite the fact that he played on all the greatest Dio albums. Sandy was simply a producer but without him, we would not have had some of the great albums delivered by both Blue Oyster Cult and The Clash. Use of semantics, the fact that Lemmy actually died in 2015, would have been used as an excuse to keep him off the album. I don’t do that because Lemmy’s death was the snowball at the top of the mountain which started the avalanche. Paul Kantner would have definitely been left out if the record producer was British but might have been included if they were American. After all, he did have a minor song writing credit on Jefferson Starship’s best known single, “Jane.”

Of course, I am tempted to exclude some too. I was never a big Prince fan. However, I didn’t hate his music. Whenever his songs came on the radio, I didn’t turn the volume up or down, nor did I change the channel. But credit where due, on the song I really like, he does shred a guitar fairly well and I remember in 1984, I fully endorsed his desire to play the role of Jimi Hendrix in a film about the guitar god.

George Michael is another problem. See, The Sun and other media have already been blubbering over how great an 80s icon he was. I can’t refute that. However, he wasn’t entirely the 1980s and the whole point of writing “Rock and Roll Children” and this blog was to rebut the belief that 80s music was entirely Wham, Michael Jackson and Boy George. We all know it wasn’t but George Michael stands as a symbol of my antagonism towards this warped view of the Golden Decade of Heavy Metal. So, I hope one can understand why I would be tempted to exclude him from my album. However, I am a better person than those at The Sun and not a corporate record executive, so I will allow one GM song onto my album. This song came out after his 1998 arrest in Los Angeles and was the springboard for a rather rude but funny joke.

Tribute Album to Musician’s Who Died in 2016

Lemmy

Lemmy

Motorhead

Motorhead

  1. Ace of Spades
  2. Killed By Death
  3. Iron Fist

175px-David-Bowie_Early

David Bowie

  1. Space Oddity
  2. Ziggy Stardust
  3. Mott the Hoople- All the Young Dudes
The Eagles

The Eagles

Glen Frey- The Eagles

Glen Frey- The Eagles

  1. Take it Easy
  2. Heartache Tonight
  3. New Kid in Town
  4. From Glenn Frey’s solo stuff:
  5. Smuggler’s Blues
  6. Sexy Girl
Jimmy Bain

Jimmy Bain

Dio

Dio

  1. Rainbow in the Dark
  2. The Last in Line
  3. Mystery
  4. Sacred Heart
  5. Sunset Superman

js

Paul Kantner- Jefferson Starship

Paul Kantner- Jefferson Starship

  1. Ride the Tiger
  2. Dance With the Dragon
  3. Stairway to Cleveland
  4. Planet Earth Rock and Roll Orchestra (Paul Kantner solo)
I never saw them but  Emerson Lake and Palmer were said to be amazing live!

I never saw them but Emerson Lake and Palmer were said to be amazing live!

  1. Lucky Man
  2. Fanfare for the Common Man
Sandy Pearlman

Sandy Pearlman

Blue Oyster Cult

Blue Oyster Cult

  1. Don’t Fear the Reaper
  2. Dancing in the Ruins
The Clash

The Clash

English Civil War

Prince

Prince

Let’s Go Crazy

George Michael

George Michael

Outside

Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen

Hallelujah

(I thought Leonard’s song would be the best closer)

True, my list would definitely be more metal oriented. That’s because most metal and rock acts would be passed over by a corporate record producer. Opinions will vary here and I know other songs would be chosen in place of the ones I have here, but if I had my choice. This is what it would be.

Happy New Year to all! Have a great 2017.

Next post: Suicidal Tendencies

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: Berlin- Pleasure Victim

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 13, 2016 by 80smetalman

220px-Berlin_pleasure

Everybody forget all about the 1986 single, “Take My Breath Away” for a moment, well actually, you can forget about it all together for all I care. Three years earlier, the artists behind that single didn’t sound very much like that. In 1983, when new wave was mentioned, Berlin was the second name that came to mind after Missing Persons. They too, incorporated everything I associated about the new wave genre back then.

Berlin came to my attention in said year when I heard their first single, “Sex, (I’m A)” on the radio. It was the lyrics to the song that caught my ear. Hearing “I’m a bitch, I’m a slave, I’m a Goddess, I’m a little girl when we make love together” amused me very much. Note: I know the above isn’t in the correct order of the song but all those lyrics appear in it. Still it’s a cool song. The rest of the album, “Pleasure Victim,” follows in what I call the new wave vein. While keyboards and synthesizers dominate the songs, they are used very well and not played in the dumb choppy way that synth pop bands would later use. There is a hint of guitar in them as well, especially in the hardest song, “Masquerade,” which is my number one on the album. “The Metro” is also a good tune, probably because I remember it as their second single from the album. Though, I’m not impressed with the last two songs on “Pleasure Victim,” the other songs are good enough to carry the album. Listening to it again after so many years, I remember why I liked the new wave sound in 1983.

Let’s talk about ladies for a moment. In this case, it’s Berlin’s lead singer Terri Nunn. She has a great voice, as good as any of the female singers around at the time. Both her and Dale Bozzio were every bit as good as the one female singer who got most of the accolades throughout the mid 1980s. Fifty 80smetalman points if you can guess who I’m referring to here. Anyway, Terri Nunn didn’t get the respect she deserved back then both as a singer and as a beautiful woman. I don’t remember seeing any Terri Nunn posters around at the time. Thinking about her and Dale Bozzio, there is little to choose from in physical beauty or vocal ability.

Terri Nunn

Terri Nunn

Track Listing:

  1. Tell My Why
  2. Pleasure Victim
  3. Sex (I’m A)
  4. Masquerade
  5. The Metro
  6. World of Smiles
  7. Torture
Berlin

Berlin

Terri Nunn- vocals

Chris Ruiz-Velasco- guitar

David Diamond- synthesizers, backing vocals, guitar

John Crawford- bass, co-lead vocals on “Sex (I’m A),” synthesizer

Daniel Van Patten- drums, percussion

Reflecting back to 1983, I think the year was a reckoning for the two bands I will forever associate with new wave. A year later, Missing Persons would continue to go in the new wave direction and their album would commercially flop, though I still intend to visit it. For Berlin, they would essentially become a top forty band but that’s further down the road. For now, “Pleasure Victim” was a cool new wave album that was different to all that was around at the time.

Some personal notes here: Another thing that softened the blow of not being able to see Hell’s Bells this weekend is the fact that my Bloodstock tickets came this week. I’ll be going for all three days, so look out come August! The other was that I got a ‘like’ on Twitter from none other than David Gilmour of Pink Floyd fame for my post reporting the passing of Keith Emerson. To me, that’s a huge honour.

Next post: Peter Gabriel

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

 

Rest in Peace- Keith Emerson

Posted in Death, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on March 12, 2016 by 80smetalman
Keith Emerson

Keith Emerson

Apologies for opening my big mouth or actually typing fingers. When mikeledano posted about the death of Beatles producer George Martin, I commented that I hoped that March wasn’t going to be a repeat of January when we had so many rock legends taken from us. Well, it looks like March is going to follow January because just days after Martin’s passing, I was very saddened to read about the passing of 1970s progressive rock legend, Keith Emerson. According to internet reports, Keith died, aged 71, from a self inflicted gunshot wound at his home in California.

Keith Emerson was one third of the great progressive rock band, Emerson, Lake and Palmer. For many of us who lived in the 70s, they were the chosen gods of progressive rock. Great hits like, “Fanfare for the Common Man” and “Lucky Man” are still fondly remembered. Keith played keyboards and many would agree with me that he was a true wizard at his chosen instrument. Just listen to “Fanfare for the Common Man” and you’ll see what I mean. In the 80s, he reunited with Greg Lake and with drummer Cozy Powell, formed ELP. I’ll definitely be visiting those albums.

I never saw them but  Emerson Lake and Palmer were said to be amazing live!

I never saw them but Emerson Lake and Palmer were said to be amazing live!

Tributes are already pouring in for Keith, including those by both former band mates. Thus, it only leaves me to say Rest in Peace, Keith and thank you for your great skills and contribution to music over the years.