Archive for Moving Pictures

Great Rock Albums of 1984: Rush- Grace Under Pressure

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 23, 2017 by 80smetalman

Nearly everyone and their sibling says that the “Grace Under Pressure” album was the beginning of Rush’s synthesizer period. In reality, the band had started to go in that direction with their previous album, “Signals.” What was popularly believed at the time was that as a result of my favourite Rush album, “Moving Pictures,” some misguided persons heard songs like “Tom Sawyer” and “Limelight” and called Rush a heavy metal band. Therefore, in reaction to that, they went for the more synthesizer sound to squash the stereotype. At first I believed it but now in my old age, I don’t really care if it was true at the time or not. I just like the album.

While Rush are not heavy metal, it doesn’t stop many metalheads like myself from liking them, a lot. In the opening pages of “Rock And Roll Children,” the main characters play “Grace Under Pressure” to mellow out a bit after an evening of heavy metal records. I have to admit, when I heard the first single, “Distant Early Warning,” I wasn’t too sure about them. Maybe they had sold out and gone commercial. I guess in my naivety, I expected them to continue in the same vein as my favourite Rush album. But believe me, “Grace Under Pressure” was no sell out and it was many levels above some of the other synthesizer music that was manifesting at the time.

What Rush did with “Grace Under Pressure” was take the emerging synth sound and made it into something of their own. I’ve said a number of times that all three members are talented musicians and together, they can create some fantastic music which all will enjoy no matter what camp you’re in. For me, sure I was slightly disappointed at first that the guitar takes a back seat on the album, but it doesn’t go away completely. You can clearly hear Liefson’s licks laying down the foundation along with Peart’s beat in support of Lee’s keyboard skills and vocals. I have always stated that Lee has been underrated as a keyboards player. As for Alex, he does nail solos on “The Body Electric”  and the closer, “Between the Wheels,” and I do like his intro on “The Enemy Within.” That has to be my favourite track on the album. Now, I won’t break down the album into individual songs because they all are good on their own and all compliment each other and that makes a good album.

Track Listing:

  1. Distant Early Warning
  2. Afterimage
  3. Red Sector A
  4. The Enemy Within
  5. The Body Electric
  6. Kid Gloves
  7. Red Lenses
  8. Between the Wheels

Rush

Geddy Lee- vocals, synthesizers, bass

Alex Liefson- guitars

Neil Peart- drums, percussion

I think that “Grace Under Pressure” achieves what Rick, Frankie, Jeff and Bob were going for in “Rock and Roll Children.” They were looking something to just kick back and listen to. The album allows you to do that because that’s when you begin to hear and appreciate all the small intricacies contained there in and that’s when you know how good it is.

Next post: Rod Stewart- Camouflage

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: Rush- Signals

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 9, 2015 by 80smetalman

220px-Rush_Signals

Rush’s 1982 album “Signals” is almost another album in that year that escaped my attention. Fortunately, there was somebody in my platoon who was a huge Rush fan so thanks to him, I got to listen to this album. My first reaction to “Signals” was that it wasn’t as hard rock as some of the songs on their previous “Moving Pictures” album but it was an enjoyable album nonetheless.

In the eyes of many, “Signals” marked the beginning of Rush’s turn towards more synthesizer oriented music. While I won’t dispute that belief, I can say that some of the old Rush is still present in some of the songs. You just have to listen carefully. Alex Leifson’s guitar is definitely there underneath the keyboards of Geddy Lee.  Together, they make a definite statement for progressive rock not long before it gave way to more synth pop later in the 80s were quality musicianship wouldn’t count for much. What is good is that every song on this album follows along in this formula although I can say that Liefson does hammer out great guitar solos on tracks 2, 3 and 4. That’s probably why those songs stand out for me even though it was “Subdivisions” and “New World Man” that got the most radio airplay at the time. Those two songs probably deserved it anyway. If I were to compare this album to anything, it would be the second side of the “Moving Pictures” album and that’s definitely a good thing.

Track Listing:

1. Subdivisions

2. The Analogue Kid

3. Chemistry

4. Digital Man

5. The Weapon

6. New World Man

7. Losing It

8. Countdown

Rush

Rush

Geddy Lee- vocals, bass, keyboards, Moog Taurus pedals

Alex Liefson- guitars, Moog Taurus pedals

Neil Peart- drums, percussion

Whether or not you liked Rush or thought they sold out during what was now commonly called, “their synthesizer period,” you can’t fault this album. “Signals” in my mind, will always be considered a great progressive rock album.

Next post: Michael Stanley Band- MSB

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 Metal Albums of 1981: Rainbow- Difficult to Cure

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 6, 2014 by 80smetalman

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Before I go into the meat of the post here, I think it’s best that I do a “then and now” brief. Nowadays, many young metalheads like my younger son don’t classify Rainbow as heavy metal and may even point to this very album as proof. There is plenty of evidence within the material on “Difficult To Cure” to back up that argument. However, before anyone gets the branding iron out, I think it’s only fair to mention the state of rock music back in the early 1980s. First of all, most anything that had a heavy guitar in the sound was considered heavy metal by radio stations and music magazines. That’s why Rush’s “Moving Pictures” album was considered heavy metal back then. More important is the fact that heavy metal was still in its youth. While great metal artists like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Ozzy Osbourne and so many others were stamping their mark on heavy metal, there was no definite definition of what heavy metal was and certainly no sub genres in the music. While Rainbow makes very good use of keyboards in their music, very evident on this album, they were certainly considered a heavy metal band back then, especially with a guitarist like Ritchie Blackmore and original vocalist Ronnie James Dio in the line up. With all that said, I’ll rest my case on the fact that I listed them as one of the great metal influences. If you want to trawl the archives, Rainbow was part eight in the series. God, with speeches like that, maybe I should go into politics.

Now to the album, I didn’t know until now that they had recorded an early version of their most successful hit, “I Surrender,” with Graham Bonnet before he left the band because he didn’t like the direction it was taking. Joe Lynn Turner was brought in to sing over the already recorded musical tracks and the result is obvious, “Difficult to Cure” is a very good album. As I have said several times before, I get a little nervous when the opening track to an album is the big single. However, the opening chords on “I Surrender” is attention grabbing and starts things off perfectly. But unlike one hit wonders who use their hit to open their album, the rest of “Difficult to Cure” can stand on its own. “Spotlight Kid” is definitely a good rocking song as is “Can’t Happen Here.” I knew there was something familiar about those two songs when I heard them and so I checked the “Anthology” album and found those two songs were on it. I shouldn’t have been surprised. “Magic”starts very progressively but Don Airey plays his keyboards masterfully on the song and Blackmore does his usual magic with the guitar, which superbly makes the song. “Freedom Fighter” is also a noteworthy rock song and the album finishes beautifully with the instrumental title track which was also Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. I’ve heard the live version of the song and it’s totally mind blowing but I won’t take anything away from the version on this album. “Difficult to Cure” is a fine outing from Rainbow

Track Listing:

1. I Surrender

2. Spotlight Kid

3. No Release

4. Magic

5. Vielleicht Das Nachste Mal (Maybe Next Time)

 6. Can’t Happen Here

7. Freedom Fighter

8. Mid Tunnel Vision

9. Difficult to Cure

rainbow-prog1981

Ritchie Blackmore- guitars

Roger Glover- bass

Joe Lynn Turner- vocals

Don Airey- keyboards

Bobby Rondinelli- drums

With “Difficult to Cure,” Rainbow proved that keyboards can work in heavy metal. They had an influence all their own on heavy metal in its early days and continue to influence many progressive metal bands today.

Next post: Def Leppard- High and Dry

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: Rush- Moving Pictures

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 4, 2014 by 80smetalman

moving

Sorry but I’m going to have to relate yet another experience from my military days to this album. Mess duty in the service involves long hours in sweaty conditions in order to feed marines who really don’t want to eat the military slop and are first to complain if you do anything wrong. I was on one of the serving lines during those five weeks of mess duty in 1981 and was in a constant struggle between those who complained that we weren’t giving them enough food and superiors who complained we gave them too much. No wonder I wanted to smash my head against the wall at times. Then one evening meal, the mess sergeant had the local radio station playing in the mess hall when the song “Tom Sawyer” came on.  I was hooked on it straight away and every time I heard it, I would be uplifted by the fast guitar and the drums after the guitar solo. Now, it would be untrue for me to say that “Tom Sawyer” got me through mess duty, I would have made it through anyhow. However, it did give me a massive boost and made a crap duty a little bearable.

Naturally, I went and bought the album. I was already taken by the opener to “Moving Pictures” so that was a bit of a given there. My worry back then (and I would get burned on this two years later) was that if I bought an album on account of one song and the rest of the album sucked, then I would be a little miffed at wasting my money. Needless to say, that is definitely not the case with my all time favourite Rush album. “Red Barchetta,” a song about an restored antique car is also a cool song with some great guitar riffs and I’ve always considered the instrumental “YYZ” a great song to have on in the car while on a long trip. The music in that song just brightens the journey up throughout its duration. “Limelight” is another great one for me and I can understand why after listening to these first four songs, some people back then thought Rush was heavy metal. They should have listened more to the last three songs. Side two, (since I mainly bought cassettes back then, is more of a progressive rock sound. Still, all three of those songs, especially “Witch Hunt,” are all good listeners.

Some of my favourite Rush lyrics appear on this album. Most songs have something for me.

Tom Sawyer- His mind is not for rent to any God or government

Red Barchetta- lyrics about cruising in an old car with your old uncle definitely work here.

Limelight- All the world should be a stage and we are merely players, performers and portrayers

Vital Signs- Everybody’s got mixed feelings on the function and the form, everybody must deviate from the norm

Witch Hunt- The entire song made perfect sense to me a few years later when the likes of the PMRC emerged. Did they foresee their coming with this song?

Track Listing:

1. Tom Sawyer

2. Red Barchetta

3. YYZ

4. Limelight

5. The Camera Eye

6. Witch Hunt

7. Vital Signs

Rush

Rush

Geddy Lee- vocals, bass, bass pedals, synthesisers

Alex Lifeson- all guitars, moog Taurus

Neil Peart- drums, percussion, all bells

“Moving Pictures” highlights the problem I had with people’s mind set throughout the 80s. This is the tendency to put music into nice, neat little categories and because of tracks like “Tom Sawyer” and “Limelight” on this album, people believed that Rush was heavy metal. I believe it is that categorising that influenced them into a more synthed out sound later on. So, when you dust this album off to play it again, (I know some of you haven’t stop listening to it and I don’t blame you) do so without trying to categorise. Just enjoy it for the great album it is and appreciate what fine musicians the members of Rush are.

Next post: Rory Gallagher- Stage Struck

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

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and at Foyles Book Shop in London