Archive for metalodyssey

Great Rock Albums of 1984: The Cars- Heartbeat City

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 14, 2017 by 80smetalman

Way back in the early days, when I posted about The Cars’ 1978 self titled debut album, Stone from Metalodyssey commented that The Cars were ahead of their time. I totally agree with this and will add to it by stating that they continued to be ahead of their time with their albums from the early 1980s. However, by 1984 time had caught up with them and what they were doing wasn’t so advanced. It seemed that many bands were influenced by them and were copying what they were doing. But no matter what other bands were trying to do, there will only be one band called The Cars and to paraphrase a quote at the time by former WWE manager, Lou Albano, they were “often imitated but never duplicated.” Proof in the pudding is their 1984 album, “Heartbeat City.”

‘Captain’ Lou Albano

What is so great about this album is while others may have been trying to copy The Cars, they didn’t do anything different from what they had done before. Yet, “Heartbeat City” still manages to sound fresh. Some will point to the biggest hit from the album, “Drive” and say that they did change. A few misguided individuals, who know not this band, have labelled them one hit wonders, WTF? My rebuttal comes with my favourite track on the album, “You Might Think” which was also a top ten hit for the band. For me to like a song that makes it into the top ten singles chart is saying something.

“Heartbeat City” is another successful marriage of hard rock and more synthesizer oriented sounds of the early 1980s performed by the band. A great example is the hidden gem that is “Stranger Eyes.” That is a song which is a foundation for the union I have just described. Then there are other tracks, some of them were even released as singles like “Magic” and “It’s Not the Night.” I do love Greg Hawkes keyboard work on the latter of the two although the I like the more hard rock on the former. Am I being wishy washy? Most probably but when an album can be so diversified and still catch and hold my attention, then it must be said that The Cars did something very right on this album.

Track Listing:

  1. Hello Again
  2. It’s Not the Night
  3. Magic
  4. Drive
  5. Stranger Eyes
  6. You Might Think
  7. I’s Not the Night
  8. Why Can’t I Have You
  9. I Refuse
  10. Heartbeat City

The Cars

Ric Ocasek- rhythm guitar, lead and backing vocals

Ben Orr- bass, backing vocals, lead vocals on tracks 4, 5 and 7

Elliot Easton- lead guitar, backing vocals

Greg Hawkes- keyboards, backing vocals

David Robinson- drums, percussion

Time might have caught up with The Cars but that didn’t stop them from doing what they did best and putting out a great album in “Heartbeat City.” Some have said that this was their best album, though I’ve always been partial to their first. However, I wouldn’t enter into any debate about it.

Next post: J Geils Band- You’re Gettin’ Even While I’m Gettin’ Odd

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Great Rock Albums of 1982: The Jam- The Gift

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 29, 2014 by 80smetalman

The_Jam_-_The_Gift

I hope that everyone had a very nice Christmas and will have a Happy New Year and that Santa brought you all the music you wanted. He did bring me the new AC/DC album like I asked and I enjoyed it first listen. Being a parent or step parent in this case, I got to see my stepson open his Christmas card and discover two tickets to see Amon Amarth, Huntress and Savage Messiah in Bristol on January 18. I must thank Stone at Metalodyssey. His post alerted me to the upcoming concert and I would have missed it if I hadn’t seen it in one of his posts. Thank you Stone and I will be posting about that gig after I see it.

My stepson Teal holding his concert tickets

My stepson Teal holding his concert tickets

Now onto The Jam’s 1982 album “The Gift.” If I had been listening to The Jam back in the day and heard this album when it came out after listening to their previous albums, I would have immediately accused them of selling out. “The Gift” marks a departure from the hard, aggressive punk sound that they had been known for. I mean the opener for instance, “Happy Together” sounds more like a happy top 40 song then a traditional Jam punk anthem. However, the song does break with the precedent set by the other albums I have covered for 1982 and is not the hit single. Surprisingly enough, the big single from the album and probably their most successful song, “A Town Called Malice” is probably the closest song to The Jam of old on the entire album and probably why it’s a good song. At least they tried to keep to their traditional roots somewhat. The rest of the album, although not bad lacks that kick I liked about their previous albums. Paul Weller was trying to stretch out a little and you got to respect that but for me, it just doesn’t excite me the way the earlier Jam material did.

Track Listing:

1. Happy Together

2. Ghosts

3. Precious

4. Just Who is the Five O’Clock Hero

5. Trans Global Express

6. Running on the Spot

7. Circus

8. The Planner’s Dream Goes Wrong

9. Carnation

10. A Town Called Malice

11. The Gift

The Jam

The Jam

Paul Weller- guitar, lead vocals

Bruce Foxton- bass, backing vocals

Rick Buckler- drums

While “The Gift” would go to number one, it would also lead to the break up of the band. Bruce Foxton and Rick Buckler wanted to stick to the more punk sound while Weller wanted to branch out more. It appears that this disagreement might have shone through on the album because while it goes to new places, it does so without the angry conviction that had gotten The Jam to where they were in the first place.

Next post: Toto- IV

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/Metal Albums of 1981: KISS- Music From The Elder

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 3, 2014 by 80smetalman

220px-The_elder_album_cover

Of the four albums I have visited in this rock/metal segment, this 1981 offering from the legendary KISS totally passed me by in the year. I can’t even blame it on being in the marines. The reason this album not only passed me by but many others as well was due to the fact it disappeared almost as soon as it was released. According to history, it was reviled by many fans and although it did receive some positive feedback from the critics, “Music From The Elder” was voted the 44th worst album of all time by Q Magazine and 6th in the category “When great rock bands lost the plot.” Nevertheless, being a fair minded bloke, I thought I would give the album a listen and decide for myself. Still, I would welcome any comments, especially from fellow metal blogger and self confessed KISS-a-holic, Stone from Metal Odyssey fame.

Let me be totally frank, “Music From the Elder” is nowhere near a patch on great KISS albums like “Destroyer,” “Love Gun,” “Alive” or even some of the albums they made following this one like “Creatures of the Night.” However, the album isn’t as terrible as I feared it was going to be. The opener, “The Oath” was an attempt to create the earlier KISS sound at least as far back as “Dynasty” anyway and it is a notable effort on their part. Then came the instrumental “Fanfare” which had me thinking “WTF?” Fortunately, things return to normal, well sort of. I am sure that with “Just a Boy,” that KISS are trying to sound like The Who here and while not a bad song, it doesn’t leave me thinking, “Okay, cool.” Ace Frehley and Gene Simmons manage to rescue things a bit with the tracks “Dark Light,” “Only You” and “Under the Rose” but then comes the ballad “A World Without Heroes” and I am left saying to myself “No” and that if I was listening this back in 1981, I would say, “Leave the ballads to Peter Criss.” “Dr Blackwell” does go a good long way to redeem things and I do like the guitar solo on this song. Then after another instrumental which isn’t too bad, they try to be creative with “Odyssey.” Not sure if it works though. At the end, barring a very short instrumental which perhaps shouldn’t be on there was a pleasant surprise for me. I have heard the the track “I” before. It wasn’t recorded by KISS but covered in 2000 by the band Hair of the Dog on their album “Rise.” For them, “I” was a great closer for a great metal album and there is little comparison to it and the version done by KISS on this album. I think that the song was good enough for Hair of the Dog to record it just like the way it is done here. That song should have been the closer.

hotdrise

I guess I should mention that “Music From the Elder” was the first KISS album to fully feature new drummer Eric Carr who replaced Peter Criss when he left the band a year earlier. Most of you probably already knew that.

Track Listing:

1. The Oath

2. Fanfare

3. Just a Boy

4. Dark Light

5. Only You

6. Under the Rose

7. A World Without Heroes

8. Dr Blackwell

9. Escape From the Island

10. Odyssey

11. I

12. Finale

KISS

KISS

Paul Stanley- rhythm guitar,vocals

Gene Simmons- bass, vocals

Ace Frehley- lead guitar, vocals

Eric Carr- drums, percussion, backing vocals

My final verdict here is that if KISS had remained more true to their hard rocking roots, I think “Music From the Elder” would have been a much better album. I have no problem with an album telling a story through its songs, King Diamond”s “Abigail” does that beautifully. It doesn’t mean a band has to go all progressive to do so and that’s where this album falls down. The other thing I can see with the album, with the aid of hindsight, that KISS were beginning to move away from Gene Simmons’ 1980 boast that KISS were four guys equally covering for each other towards simply becoming Paul and Gene’s band.

Next post: Ozzy Osbourne- The Blizzard of Oz

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 1981: Journey- Escape

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, soundtracks, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 11, 2014 by 80smetalman

journeyescape

“Escape” by Journey is probably one of the best known albums of 1981. I remember in the final months of that year, there always seemed to be a song from the album playing on the radio, whether it was “Who’s Crying Now,” “Open Arms” or the now very popular thanks to the TV show “Glee,” “Don’t Stop Believing.” It is also the reason that many people site this album as the turning point in Journey’s sound from their more traditional progressive hard rock sound towards the more commercial sound of their next album “Frontiers.” Either way, it was a very important album in 1981 in many ways for a lot of people, including me.

Looking beyond “Don’t Stop Believing” which is still a good song in spite of how it has been used recently. The piano intro by Jonathan Cain is still very unique and even though it is a top forty tune, Neil Schon still hammers out a decent guitar solo. Similar things can be said about the second single on the album, “Who’s Crying Now,” which comes right after track number two “Stone In Love.” I wonder if that song was written for one my fellow metal bloggers here, tee hee. Anyway, back to “Who’s Crying Now.” There is a mysterious vibe to the song and it ends with some more fantastic guitar work from Schon. That leads perfectly to the harder sounding “Keep On Running” and hearing that, the listener can be assured that Journey have not departed from their hard rock roots. The title track bears some great progressive sounds and the next few songs feed well off it. Then another rocker, “Mother, Father” and more impressive Schon guitar licks before the closer, “Open Arms.” I liked that song back then but it holds a more special meaning for me these days. It was mine and Mrs 80smetalman’s first dance song at our wedding.

Track Listing:

1. Don’t Stop Believing

2. Stone In Love

3. Who’s Crying Now

4. Keep on Running

5. Still They Ride

6. Escape

7. Lay It Down

8. Dead or Alive

9. Mother, Father

10. Open Arms

Journey

Journey

Steve Perry- vocals

Neil Schon- guitars

Ross Valory- bass

Steve Smith- drums

Jonathan Cain- keyboards

I must make a confession here. The first dance song wasn’t taken from the “Escape” album but from a soundtrack to a 1981 film, which I will be visiting down the line. Still, it goes to show just how big this album was in the year.

Next post: George Harrison- Somewhere in England

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 1980: The Cars- Panorama

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on August 25, 2013 by 80smetalman

220px-Cars_-_Panorama

We’ve established that bands whose second albums don’t match their debut one is the sophomore jinx but what about a band’s third album? Does that make it the junior jinx? Those who went to high school in North America will know what I’m talking about here. Some people may put that branding on the third album by The Cars since many consider it not as good as their first two albums. I’m inclined to agree with that. “Panorama” isn’t quite as good as the self titled debut nor “Candy O.” Still, this in no way makes it a bad album, in fact, I very much enjoyed listening to it.

Why do people consider “Panorama” to be not as good. I explanation I can offer (and I whole heartedly agree with Stone over at Metal Odyssey with this) was that in the last two years of the 70’s, The Cars were ahead of their time. The problem was that by 1980, time was catching up with them. Many rock artists had a listen to them and thought, “These guys got something here.” Therefore, in 1980, many started to copy their unique sound. So when the third album wasn’t anything totally different, the reception wasn’t as great. However, a more simpler reason is that it’s hard enough following up one great album, it’s even harder to follow two. BTW, The Cars weren’t the only ones to experience this in 1980, but you will have to stay tuned for the other one.

“Panorama” starts off well with the title track and goes quickly to the song “Touch and Go” which I know from having their greatest hits album. I’ll admit that it’s not the greatest of their greatest hits, but it’s still a good song and the next two songs “Give Me Some Slack” and “Don’t Tell Me No” carry the album through fairly well. Then comes track five, “Getting Through” that really grabbed my attention and kicked things into gear, a very good song to say the least. “Misfit Kid” is a good bridge to the next really memorable track, “Down Boys.” This to made me stop what I was doing and listen more closely, I especially liked the introduction. The next track, “You Wear Those Eyes,” didn’t impress me at first, then came a very interesting guitar bridge and that turned my opinion on the song. As I said before, Elliot Easton isn’t a great guitarist all the time but he definitely shines when he’s needed to. The final two tracks do their job in taking the album home. So all in all, there is absolutely nothing wrong with “Panorama,” it’s a good solid album from a group that doesn’t disappoint.

Track Listing:

1. Panorama

2. Touch and Go

3. Give Me Some Slack

4. Don’t Tell Me No

5. Getting Through

6. Misfit Kid

7. Down Boys

8. You Wear Those Eyes

9. Running to You

10. Up and Down

The Cars

The Cars

 

Ric Ocasek- rhythm guitar, lead vocals on tracks 1,2,3,5,6,8,10

Elliot Easton- lead guitar, backing vocals

Benjamin Orr- bass, lead vocals on tracks 4,7,8,9

Greg Hawkes- keyboards, backing vocals

David Robinson- drums, percussion

The rest of the rock world might have caught up with The Cars in 1980, but that doesn’t make “Panorama” a bad album. It was an enjoyable listen but then again, people tried to duplicate them but The Cars are the original thing.

Next post: Warren Zevon- Bad Luck Streak in Dancing School

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

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Great Rock Albums of 1978: Molly Hatchet

Posted in 1978, Heavy Metal, Music with tags , , , , , , , on March 30, 2012 by 80smetalman

Before 1978, the term Southern Rock was attributed to bands such as The Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Charlie Daniels Band. However, in 1978, a new force came out of the Jacksonville Florida area and it was called Molly Hatchet. Molly Hatchet, supposedly named after an axe murderess, brought a fresh southern boogie hard rock sound to music and it became a favourite among rockers and later metalheads.

For many years, I thought that their debut album was actually called “Bounty Hunter” after the first track on the album and most well known one. I now know that its actually self titled and I know further that it completely kicks ass. It’s not just the music either. The album cover was a painting by Frank Franzetta and it was the first of at least four Molly Hatchet albums to use Franzetta paintings on the covers. I was so impressed with these paintings, that when I was teaching at a school seven or eight years ago, I tried to get the art teacher to teach my class about Franzetta’s work.

Track Listing:

1. Bounty Hunter

2. Gator Country

3. Big Apple

4. The Creeper

5. The Price You Pay

6. Dreams I’ll Never See

7. I’ll Be Running

8. Cheatin’ Woman

9. Trust Your Old Friend

Molly Hatchet

Danny Joe Brown- vocals

Dave Hlubeck- guitar

Duane Roland- guitar

Steve Holland- guitar

Banner Thomas- bass

Bruce Crump- drums

A metal buddy of mine once said that Molly Hatchet was one of those bands metalheads hid under their leather when they bought their albums. I never did, I didn’t care who saw that I was buying a Molly Hatchet album. The first album from them would set the stage for better things to come as they would establish themselves as the new kings of southern rock.

Next post: Bob Seger- Stranger in Town

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

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle

 

Great Rock Albums of the 70s: Lynyrd Skynyrd- Street Survivors

Posted in 1980s, Music with tags , , , , , , , , on November 23, 2011 by 80smetalman

I thought I was ready to move onto the next part of my tour through metal history when as luck would have it, more classic rock albums come to mind and these are ones I feel I can’t ignore. This album came to mind courtesy of my metal buddy Metalodyssey who recently posted an upcoming benefit concert performed by none other than Lynyrd Skynyrd. Then I realised that I had left out the album “Street Survivors” and felt it was only fair to visit it here.

Picture the scene, October 1977, radio was bombarding us with disco and most of the music world hadn’t gotten over the recent death of Elvis Presley two months earlier. On the evening of the 20th, I had been at work knocking doors trying to get people to subscribe to the local evening newspaper without much success. I got into my boss’s car for the drive home when he tells me that Lynyrd Skynyrd was killed in a plane crash. The tragic crash which took the lives of Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines and Cassie Gaines left a big hole in the rock world at that time and to some, it still does.

“Street Survivors” was released just three days before the plane crash and let me be one to stomp on any myth that the album only did so well becasue of the tragedy. Yes, I was more interested in hearing the album because of it, but I firmly believe that this album would have still stood out, crash or no crash. The tracks show case the unique southern boogie- rock style that the band was famous for and proved to be a show case for the newest member, the multi talented Steve Gaines.

Track Listing:

1. What’s Your Name

2. That Smell

3. One More Time

4. I Know a Little

5. You Got That Right

6. I Never Dreamed

7. Honky Tonk Night Time Man

8. Ain’t No Good Life

Lynyrd Skynyrd

Ronnie Van Zant- vocals

Steve Gaines- guitar, backing vocals, lead vocal on “Ain’t No Good Life”

Gary Rossington- guitar

Allen Collins- guitar

Billy Powell- piano

Leon Wilkeson- bass

Artimus Pyle- drums

When listening to the album, it is easy to see why “Street Survivors” is counted as one of Skynyrd’s best. Great rocking tracks like “You Got That Right” and “What’s Your Name” combined with some gutsy blues based guitar work in songs like “That Smell” and “I Know a Little” make it that way. Even more than three decades after the plane crash, the freebird continues to fly on.

Next post: Talking Heads- 77

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