Archive for Michael D. LeFevre

Great Rock Albums of the 70s: The Sex Pistols- Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols

Posted in Heavy Metal, Music with tags , , , , , on December 2, 2011 by 80smetalman

If any one band can be associated with punk, then that band would have to be the Sex Pistols. Throughout the late 70s these icons of punk sang, played and spat their way to the top of the punk scene in Britain. In the US, they quickly came to the attention of the religious right who made calls to ban them. Therefore, it is only fitting that their most popular album gets visited here.

“Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols” caused a stir as soon as it was released. The title itself became the subject of a court case and was only allowed to remain on the album when it was proved that the word “bollocks” was originally a legitimate old English term referring to a priest. More contraversy was caused with the lyrics of classic Sex Pistols songs “God Save the Queen” and “Anarchy in the UK” probably the most well known tracks on the album. Being contraversial, however, doesn’t take away from the fact that this is a damn good album.

Track Listing:

1. Holidays in the Sun

2. Liar

3. No Feelings

4. God Save the Queen

5. Problems

6. Seventeen

7. Anarchy in the UK

8. Bodies

9. Pretty Vacant

10. New York

11. EMI

The Sex Pistols

Johnny Rotten- vocals

Sid Vicious- bass

Steve Jones- guitar

Paul Cook- drums

Since punk and heavy metal have similar roots, it is easy to see why this album has inspired metal bands and why it is a favourite among metalheads as well as punks. God save the Queen!

Next post: Foreigner

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

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Great Rock Albums of the 70s: Talking Heads- 77

Posted in 1980s, Music with tags , , , , , on November 27, 2011 by 80smetalman

In the mid to late 70s, a genre of rock called punk was establishing itself on both sides of the Atlantic. In Britain, bands like The Sex Pistols and The Jam to name two were gaining a following which would later immortalise them. In the US, the punk scene was gaining notoriety at a New York club called CBGB’s where bands like The New York Dolls and the Talking Heads were delighting the audiences.

Back in those days, I viewed the punk scene with outside regard only. Like anything new and foreign in America, punk was viewed with suspicion and branded evil by the religious right. I remember a preaching denouncing punk rock stating that it encouraged violence. He said that once they heard the music, everyone would start beating one another up and then destroy the place. Being an impressionable teen, I believed this, however, I suggested that my high school American football team listen to some punk before every game to give them that killer instinct. I now know this is a myth because I played some before a street hockey game in the hopes it would make me more violent, boy was I stupid.

The album “77” from the Talking Heads never made me vi0lent either, even though the top single from the album is called “Psycho Killer.” What I like about this album is that it had a sound that I hadn’t heard before. It wasn’t full power chords, but the music has something about it that makes me look up and take notice. The amusing lyrics behind the songs give it another level and prove to me that David Byrne is an underrated genius.

Track Listing:

1. Uh Oh, Love Has Come to Town

2. New Feeling

3. Tenative Decisions

4. Happy Day

5. Who Is it?

6. No Compassion

7. The Book I Read

8. Don’t Worry About the Government

9. First Week/Last Week…Care Free

10. Psycho Killer

11. Pulled Up

Talking Heads

David Byrne- vocals, guitar

Jerry Harrison- guitar, keyboards, vocals

Chris Frantz- drums

Tina Weymouth- bass

The Talking Heads would go on to be accepted in more mainstream music in the early 80s and would eventually start experimenting in funk. But, it’s this, their debut alubm which will always have the highest place for them in my mind.

Next post: The Sex Pistols- Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols

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

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Great Rock Albums of 70s: David Bowie- The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and Spiders from Mars

Posted in Heavy Metal, Music with tags , , , , , , on November 14, 2011 by 80smetalman

I thought I was ready to move onto the next chapter of this tour through heavy metal history, but as what has been always happening to me, another great rock album from the 70s has sprouted to mind. I came upon this one while listening to my MP3 the other day which contains my two favourite Bowie songs of all time; “Space Oddity” and “Ziggy Stardust.” I know that the album “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and Spiders from Mars” only contains one of those songs, but I have decided to visit the album anyway.

The best reason for visiting the album is quite simple, for an ageing metalhead like me, it takes me back to a time of pure rock. Great tracks like the “Ziggy Stardust,” “Starman” and “Suffragette City” are true rock anthems which helped laid a foundation to the metal we know and love today. For me, this was a time when I thought David Bowie was good before he settled for being popular. Sorry, I just couldn’t get into that “Let’s Dance” stuff in the mid 80s. But Metallica should take note.

Track Listing:

1. Five Years

2. Soul Love

3. Moonage Daydream

4. Starman

5. It Ain’t Easy

6. Lady Stardust

7. Star

8. Hang On In To Yourself

9. Ziggy Stardust

10. Suffragette City

11. Rock And Roll Suicide

David Bowie- vocals, piano, accoustic guitar, harpsichord

Mick Ronson- guitars, piano, backing vocals

Trevor Bolder- bass

Mick Woodmansey- drums

The other thing David Bowie can take credit for is being a key player in the glam rock of the early 1970s. Bowie along with Alice Cooper, The Sweet and later KISS would create an image which would influence a good many metal bands a decade later. If you fancy listening to a classic rock album, then try this one.

Next Post: Judas Priest- Sad Wings of Destiny

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Great Rock Albums of the 70s: Kansas: Point of Know Return

Posted in Heavy Metal, Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 11, 2011 by 80smetalman

 Have you seen the episode of Family Guy where Brian advices Peter to walk through the streets in deep contemplation with the song “Dust in the Wind” playing in the background? Better yet, whenever you needed a walk to think things over have this song come to mind or listen to it on a MP3 or walkman? I have. “Dust in the Wind” by Kansas from the album “Point of Know Return” is one of the greatest accoustic ballads of all time. The funny thing is that it was only written when Kerry Livgren’s wife suggested he add lyrics to a piece he had written as a finger excercise and he wasn’t sure whether or not the band would like it as Kansas was not known for accoustic ballads. Needless to say, the song was written and recorded and you could say, the rest is history.

 However, “Dust in the Wind” isn’t the only good song on this album. There are some great rock tunes like “Lightning’s Hand” and song cool instrumental solos like “Paradox.” Furthermore, the title track is also a very good track. These are all reasons why this album proved to be an excellent follow up to the previous Kansas album, “Leftoverture.” The album also helped to establish Kansas as a great live act.

Track Listing:

1. Point of Know Return

2. Paradox

3. The Spider

4. Portrait (He Knew)

5. Closet Chronicles

6. Lightning’s Hand

7. Dust in the Wind

8. Sparks of the Tempest

9. Nobody’s Home

10. Hopelessly Human

Kansas

Kerry Livgren- guitar, keyboards

Phild Ehart- drums

David Hope- bass

Robby Steinhardt- violin, vocals

Steve Walsh- keyboards, vocals

Rick Williams- electric and accoustic guitars

“Point of Know Return” was released in late 1977 and helped the waters of rock along its way to overflowing its banks a year later. This I have no doubt.

Great Rock Albums of the 70s: Foghat- Live

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

I had never heard of Foghat before until I saw them advertised as the headliner at the Philadelphia Spectrum one evening in June 1978. I didn’t go to the concert as I was heading across the street to Veterans Stadium to watch the Phillies play the Dodgers. Obviously, I missed what probably was a memorable concert, but the band’s name stuck in my mind. Fast forward a few months later when my cousin took out this live album and played it to me. After hearing this great live album, I can say that things changed for the better for me in a musical sense.

As I said before and will probably say many times more, there are many good album and show opening tunes out there, but there are smaller number of those which are truly great. These songs are the ones that grab you by the throat and say, “You’re going to listen to us and like it!” Two posts ago, I included “Back in the Saddle” by Aerosmith and on this album, the opening track, “Fool for the City,” is also one of those songs. Whenever I hear it, I can’t stop to quicken my step and headbang away. “Fool for the City” sets the tone for the rest of the album. There are other great tracks which carry on the good vibe of Foghat “Live” from where “Fool for the City” leaves off. Two tracks that definitely stand out are “Slow Ride” and their version of “I Just Want to Make Love to You.” Both are great party songs and I’m speaking from first hand experience here. The rest of the album supports these and it is what makes this album one of the best live albums of all time.

Track listing:

1. Fool for the City

 2. Home in My Mind

3. I Just Want To Make Love To You

4. Road Fever

 5. Honey Hush

6. Slow Ride

Foghat

Dave Peverett – rhythm guitar, vocals

 Rod Price – lead guitar, slide guitar

 Craig MacGregor – bass

Roger Earl – drums

I realise that I am in great danger of calling every live album I visit, one of the greatest live albums of all time. However, for Foghat- “Live,” I can say that the shoe definitely fits on this one.

 Next Post: Kansas- Point of Know Return

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Great Rock Albums of the 70s: Aerosmith- Rocks

Posted in Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music with tags , , , , , , , , on October 30, 2011 by 80smetalman

Aerosmith could not have put out a better album to follow up on the highly successful and popular “Toys in the Attic” album. “Rocks” does exactly what it says on the label, it rocks! Many albums have what I call great opening tracks and this is definitely with the opener here. “Back in the Saddle” can be listed as one of those first tracks that say “You’re gonna listen to this album and like it.” Of course, the other tracks on the album like “Last Child” and “Nobody’s Fault” along with all of the others back up the first track and make “Rocks” a truly memorable album.

One track which also must be mentioned here is “Rats in the Cellar” for two reasons. As with the rest of the album it is a great track, but not only that, Tom Hamilton states that it was originally written as a counterpart to the title track “Toys in the Attic.” I can see a little bit of humour on this. But more importantly for me, Hamilton says the track was inspired by the death of the band’s drug dealer. This, to me, is kind of ironic because it has been said that after “Rocks,” Aerosmith began their descent from musicians dabbling in drugs to druggies dabbling in music and began, to quote Joe Perry, “Make albums in order to pay their dealers.”

Track Listing:

1. Back in the Saddle

2. Last Child

3. Rats in the Cellar

4. Combination

5. Sick as a Dog

6. Nobody’s Fault

7. Get the Lead Out

8. Lick and a Promise

9. Home Tonight

Aerosmith

Steven Tyler- vocals

Joe Perry- lead guitar

Brad Whitford- guitar

Tom Hamilton- bass

Joey Kramer- drums

Many great metal acts from the 80s and since have sited Aerosmith’s “Rocks” album was one of their greatest influences. Acts from Metallica to Kurt Cobain to Slash and more all pay homage to this great offering in music. Furthermore, many tracks, especially “Nobody’s Fault” has been covered by many times. As great classic rock albums go, this is one of the best.

Next post: Aerosmith- Draw the Line

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Great Rock Albums of the 70s: Ted Nugent- Cat Scratch Fever

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music with tags , , , , , , , , on October 27, 2011 by 80smetalman

Growing up as a teen in the late 70s, I did not own one of those bulky home entertainment centers like my friend did. Instead, I had to rely on an antique radio that only got AM and had a limited range. As a result, I only got to hear a rock song if it got into the top 40. So, immagine my surprise when listening to my relic when one day the song “Cat Scratch Fever” by Ted Nugent came blasting through it. I’m surprised that that old radio didn’t explode upon the heavy riffs which were blasting out of it. That song would change me in more ways than I could have immagined back then.

When I said top 40 earlier, I didn’t mention that back in 1977 when this great album was unleashed, that the charts were full of disco. Back then, we had to contend with the “Saturday Night Fever” onslaught, so it was a welcome relief to hear a true rock song on the radio. For me, it was “Cat Scratch Fever” that got me to join the “Death Before Disco” club.

Like the “Hair of the Dog” album by Nazereth a few years earlier, the “Cat Scratch Fever” album could also be cited as a model on what future heavy metal albums were to sound like. When I eventually heard the album in its entirety, I was impressed that it was full on kick ass rock from start to finish. I was mesmeried by the full power of it and even then, I regarded Ted Nugent as a guitar god who could wail away with the best of them.

Track Listing:

1. Cat Scratch Fever

2. Wang Dang Sweet Poontang

3. Death by Misadventure

4. Live It Up

5. Homebound

6. Working Hard

7. Sweet Sally

8. A Thousand Knives

9. Fist Fighting Son of a Gun

10. Out of Control

Ted Nugent- vocals, lead guitar

Cliff Davies- drums, vocals

Derek St Holmes- rhythm guitar, vocals

Rob Grange- bass

When I did finally get to see this guitar god live, I was impressed with how he played “Cat Scratch Fever” and then followed it on with “Wang Dang Sweet Poontang” although I would have preferred to hear the first song played in it’s entirety. Both concerts are mentioned in “Rock and Roll Children.” “Cat Scratch Fever” will forever go down in the annals of heavy metal history as one of the great albums of all time.

Next Post: Aerosmith- Rocks

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

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Great Rock Albums of the 70s: Rush- Farewell to Kings

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 24, 2011 by 80smetalman

It is said that it is difficult to follow up on a great album, however, the “Farewell to Kings” album from Rush does exactly that. Following on from 2112, this album proves to be the next step which would eventually lead to the band’s domination of rock in the late 70s to early 80s.

For me, “Farewell to Kings” proves the band’s versatility. I immediately start headbanging away to the title track and then get caught up in the eleven minute long “Xanadu” where I just want to sit down with a beer and just get into the vibe. Far from being an album of long concept songs, the second side hits you with some short sharp songs starting with the classic “Closer to the Heart” before finishing up with another 10 minute long track that just gets you to wind down. From start to finish, this album is a real gem.

Track Listing

1. Farewell to Kings

2. Xanadu

3. Closer to the Heart

4. Cinderella Man

5. Madrigal

6. Cygnus X- 1 Book 1- The Voyage

Rush:

Geddy Lee- voclas, bass, 12 string guitar, mini moog, bass pedal synthesiser

Alex Liefson- guitars- bass pedal synthesiser

Neil Peart- drums, percussion

Rush fans have been debating for three and a half decades which is the better album between “2112” and “Farewell to Kings” and this argument will probably go on for three and a half decades more. These are both truly great albums.

Next post: Ted Nugent- Cat Scratch Fever

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

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Great Rock Albums of the 70s: Rush- 2112

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 20, 2011 by 80smetalman

I didn’t know much about Rush until I joined the marines in 1979 where a couple of buddies there introduced me to them. It was an introduction that I have been forever grateful for, otherwise, I would never have heard some of the great music that Rush has treated us to for more than three decades, this album being one of them.

2112 has been listed as one of the albums you must listen to before you die. I have listened to it but that was such I long time ago that I think I need to listen to it again and definitely long before I die. I know several die hard Rush fans and a good percentage of them say that this was their greatest album. I’m not sure about that but it does definitely rank up there for me.

What I like about this album is the title track concept 2112. It’s a 20 minute long song which is broken down into several parts. It tells of a future where the planets are ruled by the Red Star of the Solar Federation and bey2112, the world is ruled by the priest of the Temple of Syrinx who dictate everything including music. A man discovers a guitar which gets destroyed and as a result, goes into hiding and ends up committing suicide. A planetary battle begins resulting in an ambiguous ending. However, it is a great case of rock music meeting science fiction and it’s a great listen as is the rest of the album.

Track Listing:

1. 2112

i. Overture

ii. Temple of Syrinx

iii. Presentation

iv. Discovery

v. Oracle: The Dreamer

vi. Sililoquy

vii. Grand Finale

2. Passage to Bankok

3. Twilight Zone

4. Lessons

5. Tears

6. Something for Nothing

Rush

Geddy Lee- bass, vocals, synthesiser

Alex Liefson- guitars

Neil Peart- drums, percussion

As far as concept albums go, this is one of the best. There are some great moments on 2112 and I can see why some call it their best.

Next Post: Rush- Farewell to Kings

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Great Rock Albums of the 70s: Bruce Springsteen- Born to Run

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 17, 2011 by 80smetalman

Growing up in New Jersey in the 70s, it would have been an act of betrayal if I didn’t include this classic from Bruce Springsteen. While “The Boss” was still making a name for himself throughout the rest of the world, he was loved as a local boy who was making it good. Therefore not many people living in my neck of the woods were surprised when “Born to Run” sprinboarded Springsteen to fame.

One thing I notice about a lot of metal bands who haven’t quite made the big time, (yes I know Bruce Springsteen isn’t heavy metal) is that they are hungry and that hunger is reflected in the music. I can say the exact same thing about the “Born to Run” album. There is a definite hunger reflected in the tracks of this album and it is why many Springsteen officianados say that it is his best of all time.

Track Listing:

1. Thunder Road

2. Tenth Avenue Freeze Out

3. Night

4. Backstreets

5. Born to Run

6. She’s th One

7. Meeting Across the River

8. Jungleland

The E-Street Band

Bruce Springsteen- lead vocals, guitars, harmonica and percussion

Roy Bittan- piano, backing vocals

Ernest “Boom” Carter- drums on “Born to Run”

Clarenece Clemmons- saxophone, tambourine, backing vocals

Danny Federici- organ

Suki Lahav- violin on “Jungleland”

David Sancious- piano, organ on “Born to Run”

Gary W. Tallent- bass

Steven Van Zandt- backing vocals, horn arrangement

Max Weinberg- drums

 “Born to Run” is one of those classics that even hardcore metal heads like me proudly say they love. Besides it can be said that the album did have an influence on heavy metal. Bruce Springsteen’s famous saxophonist, the late Clarence Clemmons, plays on the Twisted Sister song “Be Cruel to Your School,” which I will be looking at more in the distant future. I only wish I posessed hindsight so I could have made more of it in “Rock And Roll Children.”

 Next Post: Rush 2112

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