Archive for Michael Jackson

Great Rock Albums of 1984: Weird Al Yankovic- In 3D

Posted in 1980s, Humour, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 6, 2017 by 80smetalman

Michael Jackson did two things in 1984 which rose him up a few points in my estimation, both of which were linked to his top selling song, “Beat It.” First, when accepting a Grammy for the song, he had the decency to include Eddie Van Halen in his list of thank yous. After all, it was Eddie’s guitar solo on the song the reason why metalheads, bought the single. The other act was to allow Weird Al Yankovic to record a parody of “Beat It” called “Eat It.” That would be Weird Al’s best known single and even charted in the UK and it helped his 1984 album, “In 3D” become his biggest album. In fact, he was allowed to use many of the same dancers Michael Jackson used in the “Beat It” video for “Eat It.”

Weird Al Yankovic has always been known for his parodies of other great songs and there are plenty of those on “In 3D.” His second single from the album, “I Lost on Jeopardy” is a parody of the Greg Kihn Band’s 1983 hit, “Jeopardy” as well as making fun of the TV game show of the same name. I do wonder how many people went on game shows and looked stupid on national television. Greg Kihn makes an appearance in the video for this song. “King of Suede” parodies the classic from The Police, “King of Pain” and is about a clothing store owner. “Rocky XIII” is a funny parody of Survivor’s hit from the film “Rocky III” “Eye of the Tiger” about how Rocky Balboa gives up boxing to be delicatessen owner. I love the lyrics: “It’s the rye or the kaiser, it’s the thrill of one bite.” A lesser known track but one of my favourite is “The Brady Bunch,” a parody of the Men Without Hats’s only hit, “Safety Dance.” It is believed that from the lyrics, Weird Al didn’t care too much for the 1970s American sit com his song is named after.

It’s not just famous songs that come under the comic roast of Weird Al. He parodies other subjects as well. The second track, “Midnight Star” takes the rip out of grocery store tabloids. However, some of the headlines he mentions for his tabloid, “Midnight Star” aren’t too far fetched in the real ones. I do remember headlines like, “They’re Keeping Hitler’s Brain Inside a Jar,” “Aliens From Outer Space are Sleeping in My Car” and “The Ghost of Elvis is Living in My Den.” Another of my favourites is “That Boy Could Dance” which is about a nerdy geeky loser who is a great dancer, so all his shortcomings are overlooked. Trust me, the song is much funnier that my attempt to explain it here. Then there is the Bob Marley influenced reggae track, “Buy Me a Condo” which is about a Jamaican boy who wants to come to America and live a middle class existence. Even my least favourite track on the album, Mr Popeil is funny. Probably because I remember all the Popeil adverts for things like the Ginsu Knife and the Pocket Fisherman.

In 1981, there were two singles called “Stars on 45” and “Stars on 45 II.” The former took Beatles’ songs and made a medley out of it. The latter did the same with Beach Boys songs. So what Weird Al did was to take classic rock songs and make a medley out of those but instead, set to polka music. Some great rock classics like “Smoke on the Water” and Jimi Hendrix’s “Hey Joe” get the polka treatment.

When I bought this album and saw the track listing, I thought the closer, “Nature Trail to Hell,” might be a parody of the AC/DC classic, “Highway to Hell.” Instead, it lambastes blood and gore horror films. “Nature Trail to Hell” to quote the song, is about “A homicidal maniac who finds a cub scout troop and hacks up two or three in every scene.” This was particularly relevant at the time because “Friday the 13th Part 4” was in the cinema then. You know, the one advertised as the film where Jason meets his grisly end. Well done by Al, it makes a fantastic closer.

Track Listing:

  1. Eat It
  2. Midnight Star
  3. The Brady Bunch
  4. Buy Me a Condo
  5. I Lost on Jeopardy
  6. Polkas on 45
  7. Mr Popeil
  8. King of Suede
  9. That Boy Could Dance
  10. Rocky XIII
  11. Nature Trail to Hell

Weird Al Yankovic

Weird Al Yankovic- vocals, synthesizer, accordion, piano

Jim West- guitar

Steve Jay- bass, banjo, talking drums

John ‘Bermuda’ Schwartz- drums, percussion

Rick Derringer- guitar, mandolin

Weird Al Yankovic hit the big time 1984 with this album, “In 3D.” I dare anyone to listen to this album and not laugh their heads off at least one song. For me, it’s nearly all of them. Anyone who doesn’t find any part of this album funny, then they have no sense of humour.

Next post: Randy Newman- Trouble in Paradise

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 1983: Aldo Nova

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 19, 2016 by 80smetalman

220px-aldonova

When my household finally caught up with the times in 1983 and got MTV, the video for the big single, “Fantasy,” from Canadian rocker Aldo Nova’s debut album received a fair amount of airplay. Okay, it may not have been played as much as Big Country’s “In a Big Country” or the full twenty minute video for Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” but I saw it a good few times. Naturally, I assumed that the song was current. It was only later that I discovered that the song and the album were actually released over a year earlier. Therefore, this was another great album that came out in 1982, which I missed on account of my commitments to the military back then. It is also the reason why I am still posting it for 1983. I guess I should be grateful to MTV or else I might have missed it all together.

Even before I first saw the video for “Fantasy,” Aldo Nova was making a name for himself in metal circles back then. He supported giants Rainbow and Blue Oyster Cult on two different tours and the reports I received from my friend and my sister was that he was pretty good. That, along with the single I heard, was enough grounds to explore the debut album and what a wise decision that turned out to be.

In typical 1982 fashion, the album opens with the big single but like so many other great rock and metal albums from that year, the rest of the album carries on very well. In the case of Aldo, the tracks “Hot Love” and “It’s Too Late” keep me headbanging away. Both are great rocking gems. Then comes the power ballad, “Ball and Chain” and it is this track that has forced me to put Aldo Nova into the category of deeply under appreciated guitarists. He really rips his solo here. “Ball and Chain” also has me pondering something else. This song, along with April Wine’s “Just Between You and Me” and the Killer Dwarfs’ “Fire In Your Eyes,” has me thinking that maybe Canadian bands are the best at power ballads. Something to debate anyway.

It would have been wrong of me to say that the album picks up after the power ballad because it never really slowed down. Still, “Heart to Heart” is a great song and in metal power, I put it between the power ballad and first three tracks. Following it is what sounds for me was a definitely intended AOR single, “Fooling Yourself.” However, the chorus is quite catchy so I don’t blame him for this one. Even more so because the next track, “Under the Gun” is the best rocking track on the album complete with another great guitar solo.

The album seems to slow down a great deal after that. I wouldn’t call “You’re My Love” and “Can’t Stop Lovin’ You” power ballads, just ballads although the latter has a cool guitar solo reminding me of why I added Aldo to my ever growing list of underrated guitarists. I would like to say that the album closes with a blinder but I really can’t say that about “See the Light.” The song reminds me of something you would hear from a nightclub band. It is done very well and sounds good despite being keyboard dominated but with all the harder tracks, I found myself straining in anticipation for a power chord that never comes. It’s only Aldo’s guitar solo that saves it for me and that gets me into the song at the end. While the last three songs may not measure up to the rest of the album in my view, those other seven songs are more than enough to make this album a great one.

Track Listing:

  1. Fantasy
  2. Hot Love
  3. It’s Too Late
  4. Ball and Chain
  5. Heart to Heart
  6. Fooling Yourself
  7. Under the Gun
  8. You’re My Love
  9. Can’t Stop Lovin’ You
  10. See the Light
Aldo Nova

Aldo Nova

Aldo Nova- vocals, guitars, bass, synthesizers, keyboards

Dennis Chartrand- piano

Michel Pelo- bass

Robert Biagioni- bass

Michael La Chapelle- drums, percussion

Terry Martel- drums, percussion

Daniel Barbe- backing vocals

Dwight Druck- backing vocals

Thank God for MTV is all I can say. While their playing of the video for “Fantasy” may have misled me as to when Aldo Nova’s first album came out, it did give me the opportunity to actually discover Aldo and listen to the album. Something I will always be glad about.

Next post: Aldo Nova- Subject Aldo Nova

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: Greg Kihn Band- Kihnspiracy

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on February 28, 2016 by 80smetalman

kihnspiracy

1983 was the most commercially successful year for the Greg Kihn Band. They’re best known hit “Jeopardy” went to number two in the singles charts and only “Beat It” by Michael Jackson kept it off the top spot. Maybe they should have gotten Eddie Van Halen to play a guitar solo on that song.

“Jeopardy” opens the 1983 album, “Kihnspiracy” and once the single is done and dusted, that’s when the album really kicks into gear. The very next track, “Fascination” begins with a great luring guitar intro and it is a rocker that really shapes the rest of the album. Likewise with the next track, “Tear Down the City” but only this begins with some cool lead guitar licks. Things go down a similar vein with the next couple of tracks. “You Can’t Love Them All” is a very amusing track and the guitar solos on it are first rate.

Having this on cassette, I can say that side two does eventually slow down. “I Fall to Pieces” isn’t as fast as any of the songs on side one, barring the big single but the hard guitars are strongly felt nonetheless. “Someday” is the song where keyboards are heard the most but it is still a rock song. Lead guitarist, Greg Douglass, who joined the band on the album shows he knows a little about how to play a guitar. “Curious” is the hardest song on the second side and then the album goes out with two slightly more softer songs, although “How Long” does have a cool, almost acoustic intro. Listening to the album after so many years, I think some of these songs would sound really cool if covered by a metal bands. A surprisingly good forgotten album.

Track Listing:

  1. Jeopardy
  2. Fascination
  3. Tear Down the City
  4. Talking to Myself
  5. You Can’t Love Them All
  6. I Fall to Pieces
  7. Someday
  8. Curious
  9. How Long
  10. Love Never Fails
Greg Kihn Band

Greg Kihn Band

Greg Kihn- lead vocals, rhythm guitar

Greg Douglass- lead/slide guitars, vocals

Larry Lynch- drums, vocals

Steve Wright- bass, vocals

Gary Phillips- keyboards

The tragic thing about the Greg Kihn band is that when people think of them and remember 1983, they will always be associated with their biggest single and not for the hard rocking album that “Kihnspiracy” is. That is a tragedy.

Next post: The Tubes- Outside Inside

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