Archive for Marc Bolan

Great? Rock Albums of 1985: The Power Station

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 30, 2018 by 80smetalman

If I had been writing this blog thirty years ago, as the albums were coming out, this one off album from The Power Station would not have been included. Thinking back to then, when I heard the first single, “Some Like It Hot,” I thought, “No thanks.” To me it was just another synth pop song, only this one had a cool guitar solo. What also didn’t help was that the band featured two members of Duran Duran. In 1985, metalheads and Duranies were at odds with one another, so this was another reason not to like this band. However, throughout the many years, The Power Station have slowly grown enough on me that I was willing to include them.

On the subject of Duran Duran, I didn’t want to admit it back then but they were all talented musicians, John and Andy Taylor especially. It was only very recently I learned that they weren’t actually brothers. I will not take the fact they are so talented away from them but that doesn’t change the fact that they music that didn’t appeal to me. Anyway, what the Taylors did here was to get with drummer Tony Thompson from the band Chic and a lead singer named Robert Palmer and together, they put out an album that wasn’t too bad.

Another criticism aimed at The Power Station by metalheads back in 1985 was to do with the second single, the cover of T-Rex’s “Get It On (Bang a Gong).” Metalheads argued that they had totally butchered a classic T-Rex song but was that assessment fair? In my view, there are portions of this version of said classic that would have Marc Bolan spinning in his grave. Especially that woo-hoo-hoo part at the beginning. However, they do remain true to the basics of the song. The guitar comes through very clear and while not as good as the original, it still has me bobbing away to it when it’s played. Furthermore, it does have me wanting to include John Taylor in that ever expanding list of underrated guitarists.

Most of the remainder of the album is still too synth pop for me, even after all these many years. There are a good number of keyboard and brass players who contribute which makes it possible. It does have some flashes of more heavier rock. I like the intro and the guitar solo on “Communication” and their cover of “Harvest for the World” is nicely done. I could call that track more soft rock. However, going against the grain of the rest of the album is the track “Murderess.” This is a hard rocker, well it is in terms of this band but it does make the hidden gem the best song on the album. In spite of the fact that I still am not a huge Power Station fan but I can’t fault their musicianship either. These guys, especially John, were serious about music and the playing on it was top notch, credit where it’s due there.

Track Listing:

  1. Some Like It Hot
  2. Murderess
  3. Lonely Tonight
  4. Communication
  5. Get It On (Bang a Gong)
  6. Go to Zero
  7. Harvest For the World
  8. Still In Your Heart

The Power Station

Robert Palmer- vocals

John Taylor- guitar

Andy Taylor- bass

Tony Thompson- drums

At first, I thought it was a case of me mellowing with age but while I am more open and accepting of the Power Station these days, this album still doesn’t quite do it for me. Saying that, there are some good moments and the musicianship on the album is first rate.

Next post: I’m away on a client holiday with work so the next post won’t be until next week. When it is, it will be: Night Ranger- Seven Wishes

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1538295806&sr=1-1&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Great Metal Albums of 1983: Girlschool- Play Dirty

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 7, 2017 by 80smetalman

220px-girlschool_play_dirty

During the torrent of new wave of British heavy metal, (NWOBHM), Girlschool were somewhere in the middle. They weren’t mentioned in the same breath as the giants of the time but they were better known than other bands like Diamond Head and Raven. True, their music didn’t get the airplay it deserved but most metalheads in 1983 knew who they were. I was fortunate on one occasion in the year to catch one of the few times the title track from the album, “Play Dirty,” got played on MTV.

“Play Dirty” marked a change in direction for Girlschool towards a more softer rock sound. Some would compare them to Def Leppard, really? However, the softer sound comes out with the first two tracks on the album. It is the first time, to my knowledge, that keyboards were ever used on a Girlschool album. Those tracks aren’t bad but they aren’t real headbangers either. Things do go much heavier with the third one, the title track. Even then, there are keyboards at the bridges on the song and though I have to admit, they compliment that part of the song well, it took me a couple of listens to get used to it. Besides, Kelly Johnson’s guitar solo on said song makes counters any keyboards.

Track four, a cover of T-Rex’s “20th Century Boy,” marks a definite return to more traditional ground. I get the feeling that the band had a lot of fun recording this cover because it sounds good. Marc Bolan would have been proud. Even if he’s not, “Play Dirty” goes even harder after that with “Breaking All the Rules.” Now this song sounds like the Girlschool I knew and love. Keyboards are used again on “Burning in the Heat” but only as a scary movie type introduction. Something I give Ozzy credit for starting but done by many metal bands then and now. After this introduction comes more traditional Girlschool. For me, it’s probably the best lesser known track on the album.

After wowing with those more harder songs, things go back to the sound of the opening tracks. Keyboards a plenty here for I get the feeling that on “Surrender” that they were trying for a Night Ranger or Journey type hit single. However, it wasn’t released as one so this is a paradox that baffles me. It’s still a cool song and Kelly nails another cool guitar solo. The keyboards die with that song because “Rock Me, Shock Me” is a true Girlschool anthem. They should have played that on the radio but that’s the good thing about buying albums. You get to play the best songs from them that radio won’t play to yourself. The closer is a good rocker and the title has me wondering. In Britain, knob is a slang term in the media so I wonder if they were attacking the media or at least some person in it.

Track Listing:

  1. Going Under
  2. High and Dry
  3. Play Dirty
  4. 20th Century Boy
  5. Breaking All the Rules
  6. Burning in the Heat
  7. Surrender
  8. Rock Me, Shock Me
  9. Running for Cover
  10. Breakout (Knob in the Media)
Girlschool

Girlschool

Kim McAuliffe- rhythm guitar, lead vocals tracks 3,5,7,8,9,10

Kelly Johnson- lead guitar, lead vocals tracks 1,2,4,6

Gil Weston- bass, backing vocals

Denise Dufort- drums

Additional backing vocals: Lemmy, Vicky Blue, Marc Haircut

Don Garbutt- keyboards

While I like the album, “Play Dirty” marked a downward turn in Girlschool’s fortunes. Kim McAuliffe would leave shortly after the release and the US tour would never materialize. Shame, I would have loved to have seen them. That wouldn’t come for another two years but still, even with the keyboards, “Play Dirty” is still a decent album.

Next post: Virgin Steele- Guardians of the Flame

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 the 70s: The Sweet- Desolation Boulevard

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 5, 2011 by 80smetalman

Long before the glam metal antics of Motley Crue and Ratt and even before the make up of KISS, there were the glam rock founders of Alice Cooper, Marc Bolan and of course, The Sweet. Way back in 1973 or early 74, the song “Little Willy” became my first official favourite song. I knew nothing about The Sweet, not even what they looked like, however, one thing I knew was that I liked that song, still do. Not long after, this great album was released and then I knew that The Sweet was one kick ass band, although I probably didn’t use those words back then, I was a good boy. (LOL)

Desolation Boulevard is one of The Sweet’s best known albums and was even included in Wayne’s World’s top ten list along with some great offerings from Aerosmith and Led Zepplin. But for me, I can still see myself skating around the roller rink silently jamming to such great tracks as “The Ballroom Blitz” and “Fox on the Run.” Even then, I knew that this was a killer album.

There are two versions of “Desolation Boulevard,” a US version and a UK version. Being brought up in the US, I am more familiar with the US version and probably would prefer it more because of “The Ballroom Blitz.”

Track Listing (UK)

1. The Six Teens

2. Solid Gold Brass

3. Turn It Down

4. Medusa

5. Lady Starlight

6. The Man With The Golden Arm

7. Fox on the Run

8. Breakdown

 9. My Generation

Track Listing (US)

1. The Ballroom Blitz

2. The Six Teens

3. No You Don’t

4. AC DC

5. I Wanna Be Committed

6. Sweet FA

7. Fox on the Run

8. Set Me Free

9. Into the Night

10. Solid Gold Brass

The Sweet

Brian Conelly- lead vocals

Steve Priest- bass, backing vocals

Andy Scott- guitar, backing vocals

Mick Tucker- drums

The Sweet were one of the kings of early glam metal and with albums like this one, they definitely had the sound to go with the look. I can safely say that they were a major influence on many of the hair and make up bands in the 80s.

Next post: AC/DC- Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap

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

Also available on Amazon, Froogle and Barnes & Noble

Other Great Metal Influences, Part 7- Thin Lizzy

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 6, 2011 by 80smetalman

Like T-Rex, Thin Lizzy was one of those great rock bands from the 70s which I didn’t fully appreciate until the 1980s. Sure, I loved the song “The Boys Are Back In Town” when I first heard it on the radio, back in 1977. Also, I would see their albums advertised, but think nothing more. But that was down to me and nothing to do with this great band.

For me, it seemed when I began to really expand my musical horizons in the early 80s, it seemed only natural that Thin Lizzy would be part of that. Their music seemed to fit right in with much of the metal going on at the time. I really began to get into their earlier material as well at that time. Therefore, it is no surprise that many of the metal acts of the 80s cite Thin Lizzy as one of their influences, with some acts even releasing covers of Thin Lizzy songs. I have heard Bon Jovi’s cover of “The Boys Are Back In Town” and only a few years ago, the great Metallica released a copy of “Whiskey In a Jar.” However, I am still waiting for a cover of my personal favourite Lizzy song, “Jailbreak” as long as they do the song justice.

An old friend of mine, (I haven’t seen him in over 27 years) saw Thin Lizzy play what was then to be their last ever gig back in 1983. My reaction to that is “You lucky ****.” Reports were, they were a great live act and not seeing them is a regret for me.

The death of Phil Lynott in 1986 marked an end of an era for Thin Lizzy fans. The way he died made many rock stars at the time rethink their life style and live cleaner. However, his spirit lives on in the music, just ask any true Thin Lizzy fan. Thin Lizzy was definitely a big influence on heavy metal.

Next post: Rainbow

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

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle

Other Great Metal Influences, Part 6, T-Rex

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 4, 2011 by 80smetalman

Last August, I drove to Bloodstock Open Air Festival for a great weekend of metal. For the two hour drive on the way, the in flight entertainment was provided first by a CD comprising of two bands fronted by former Yngwie Malmesteen vocalist Jeff Scott Soto, Kuni and Panther. That CD did a great job helping me through a traffic delay. The second CD was one I’ll be commenting on much further down the line, an album called “Rise” by a band called Hair of the Dog. It is one of my favourite metal CDs of the 2000+ era. Already riding on a high as I pulled up to the entrance to the car park, I was expecting the next CD to be Thunder’s first album “Backstreet Symphony.” Instead, I had inserted another CD into that slot on my 6 disc player. It was a compilation album whose first song was “Children of the Revolution” by Marc Bolan and T-Rex. I figured that it was the will of the gods of metal and drove into the car park with the song blasting through the speakers. It fit the mood perfectly.

T- Rex was one of those great bands from the 70s that influenced the metal of the 80s. Their hard rock style wowed a generation of rockers and the flamboyant style of Marc Bolan gave many acts since ideas about glam and make up.

The best thing about T-Rex was that any one of their songs could have been on my car stereo that evening and it would have had the same effect. From 1970 to 1976 when his life was tragically cut short in 1977, he  and T- Rex had a string of top twenty hits such as “20th Century Boy.”  One thing that no one can say about their music is that it’s dated. Many metal bands since T-Rex and a few non metal ones, (I remember the version of “Bang A Gong, Get It On” by Powerstation back in 1985) have recorded cover versions of many T-Rex songs.

Even though Marc Bolan has not been with us for over thirty years, T-Rex still continues to be a great memory to the music of today. In fact, after three days of rocking at Bloodstock, I hit the back button on the car CD player and listened to “Children of the Revolution” on the way out of the concert. I thought it was only fitting.

Next post: Thin Lizzy

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

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle