Archive for MTV

Great Rock Albums of 1984: Greg Kihn Band- Kihntagious

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Rock with tags , , , , , , , , on May 21, 2017 by 80smetalman

One of the biggest questions I have about 1984 is why did the Greg Kihn Band fade into oblivion in this year? The band was riding high on the wave of their very successful 1983 album, “Kihnspiracy,” which, in spite of the album having the ballad hit single “Jeopardy” on it, was a good rocking album. MTV seemed to like them as the video for the first single from the 1984 album, “Kihntagious,” “Reunited,” got a lot of play. I still think that it is a pretty good song. So I ask why did this band fade away so rapidly?

Could the answer be with “Kihntagious?” The already mentioned single leads off the album and gives it a promising start. Then comes the misleading “Rock,” the second single. This was released as a dance track and though there’s some good individual spots of musicianship on it, (Greg Douglass does some good lead guitar work on it), the dance vibe does sort of kills it for me. However, that is simply the weakest track on the album. “Stand Together” takes me back to their first album. It’s a good rocking track. “Confrontation Music” has a strong reggae vibe which I like quite a bit. Plus, Douglass probably plays his best guitar solo on this one. “Work, Work, Work” is a rocking closer that works on different levels.

Track Listing:

  1. Reunited
  2. Rock
  3. Make Up
  4. Stand Together
  5. Confrontation Music
  6. One Thing About Love
  7. Worst That Could Happen
  8. Trouble With the Girl
  9. Cheri Baby
  10. Hard Times
  11. Work, Work, Work

Greg Kihn Band

Greg Kihn- vocals, rhythm guitar

Greg Douglass- lead, slide guitars, backing vocals

Larry Lynch- drums, vocals

Steve Wright- bass, backing vocals

Gary Phillips- keyboards

Listening to “Kihntagious,” I can’t still fathom as to why the Greg Kihn Band slipped into obscurity after. I mean, this isn’t a bad album by any stretch of the imagination. I guess the answer is somewhere out there.

Next post: U2- The Unforgettable Fire

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 1984: Tony Carey- Some Tough City

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

Tony Carey was another great artist considered a one hit wonder by the MTV generation of the mid 1980s. In the spring and early summer of 1984, his biggest single, “A Fine Fine Day,” tore up the charts and eventually made it to number six or seven. It got tons of airplay on both radio and MTV. However, what these robots failed to understand that Tony had been rocking our world for many years before this. They didn’t know about his stint with the great Rainbow or even known that the year before, he had success with his band Planet P. Fortunately, I did and that information led me to procure his 1984 album, “Some Tough City.”

If I had been among the ignorant, the second single released from the album might have put me off buying the album. “The First Day of Summer” wasn’t bad, although there are much better tracks on “Some Tough City,” it’s just in the video for the song, he tries too hard to act like Joe Cool Rock Singer and that was a bit off putting. Now don’t get me wrong, Tony Carey has a good voice but he’s an even better musician as demonstrated on the album where he plays all the instruments. I know I have beaten the word ‘underrated’ to death on 80sMetalman but the term definitely applies to Tony.

“A Fine Fine Day” is not typical of the album. It’s a great song and it won my 1984 award for best non metal song of the year but it’s more progressive rock and Tony definitely demonstrates his keyboard skills on it. Most of the rest of the album has more of a hard rock edge to it, even “The First Day of Summer.” However, some of the more rockier songs like, “Eddie Goes Underground” and “A Lonely Life” really cook on here. A real paradox on the album is “Reach Out,” where it starts out like it’s going to be some 80s synth pop song and then really explodes into a rocker. The big surprise on it is the fact that Tony hammers out a decent guitar solo on it. He does the same, actually his guitar work is even better on the more progressive rock sounding “Tinseltown.” Let’s face it, Tony Carey is a brilliant all round musician and his talent has been ignored for far too long.

Track Listing:

  1. A Fine Fine Day
  2. A Lonely Life
  3. Eddie Goes Underground
  4. The First Day of Summer
  5. Reach Out
  6. Tinseltown
  7. Hungry
  8. I Can’t Stop the World
  9. Some Tough City
  10. She Can Bring Me Love

Tony Carey- vocals, keyboards, guitars, bass

Now my mind is going off to strange worlds from posting about “Some Tough City” by Tony Carey. I wonder if he and Ronnie James Dio ever hooked up again after Rainbow. That would have been mind blowing. It wouldn’t have been possible in 1984 because Tony was riding a huge wave of success as a result of the album and its top ten single. As for Ronnie, that will be all explained in a future post.

Jefferson Starship- Nuclear Furniture

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 1984: Duke Jupiter- White Knuckle Ride

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 4, 2017 by 80smetalman

Duke Jupiter was probably the best hidden gem of 1984. Some may have considered them one hit wonders on account of the fact that the single from the “White Knuckle Ride” album, “Little Lady,” got some airplay on MTV and radio. It even got to #68 in the singles charts. It has remained in my mind ever since because I have always thought it was a killer song. The video for “Little Lady” is easily accessible on Youtube and I will boldly declare that it’s worth a listen. This song really kicks ass.

Like so many others back then, I thought that Duke Jupiter, (it’s a band not a person), were newcomers to the rock scene when in fact, that had been around since 1975. They had a good number of albums before this one and went on tour in support of the likes of Toto, The Outlaws, B.B. King and John Lee Hooker. With a resume like that, it was never a case of if but when their efforts would finally gain notice.

While I never buy an album on account of one song, there was sufficient talk in certain circles that the “White Knuckle Ride” album was worth an investment. Trust me, it was. While it’s definitely an AOR album, it is done with the pure craftsmanship of the band. Marshall James Styler does most of the vocals and is quite adept at keyboards. Greg Walker is a very good guitarist and plays some really good solos on most of the songs here. Of course, we can’t take anything away from the rhythm section of David Corcoran and Rickey Ellis, they hold the album together with seemingly little effort.

“White Knuckle Ride” seems to move into three areas in regards to the tracks. The opener, “She’s So Hot,” the second single “Rescue Me” and “Don’t Turn Your Back” fall into the 80s AOR sound without question. They are all nicely done with Styler’s keyboards and Walker’s guitar solos. “Backfire,” “Work it Out” and of course “Little Lady” are definitely the more harder tracks on the album. Walker’s guitar really shines on these.  Plus his intro solo on “Me and Michelle” reminds me a lot of the Derek and the
Dominoes classic, “Layla.” The rest tend to be more progressive rock and “A Woman Like You” ventures into all three camps. In spite of the mixture, all of the tracks fit together very well and that’s why the album is so enjoyable.

Track Listing:

  1. She’s So Hot
  2. Rescue Me
  3. Don’t Turn Your Back
  4. Top of the Bay
  5. Backfire
  6. Little Lady
  7. A Woman Like You
  8. Work It Out
  9. Me and Michelle
  10.  (I’ve Got a) Little Black Book

Duke Jupiter

James Marshall Styler- keyboards, vocals

Greg Walker- guitar, vocals

Rickey Ellis- bass

David Corcoran- drums, percussion, vocals

Duke Jupiter came and went and have vanished into musical history. I bet my UK readers have been asking, “Who the hell’s he talking about?” Like many American one hit wonders or lesser known bands, they didn’t impact in Britain and were considered a flash in the pan in the US. In fact, I regret not giving them a mention in “Rock and Roll Children.” In spite of this, I have always remembered them and I will say that if you should listen to the “White Knuckle Ride” album, especially “Little Lady” and you’ll see why.

Next post: AC/DC – 74 Jailbreak

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great(ish) Rock Albums of 1984: Rod Stewart- Camouflage

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 27, 2017 by 80smetalman

Rod Stewart has always been a top forty artist in my book. He’s had a string of hits over the past four decades, some of them I actually liked, especially during the 1970s and 80s. I confessed to this fact when I visited his 1982 “Tonight I’m Yours” album some time ago. One of those singles I like happened to be the single, “Infatuation,” from the 1984 album, “Camouflage.” The song does venture  towards the new wave/hard rock borderland and even more so with the guitar solo by Jeff Beck. That brings me to the video for the song. Rod continues his string of cheesy videos that started with “Young Turks” where everyone is dancing on the hoods of cars and carries on with “Infatuation. In this video, Jeff Beck pops up in the hotel room from out of nowhere to play his solo. I understand that Mike LeBrain has had the same problem. Whenever he stays in a hotel room, Jeff Beck shows up. To quote a title from another song on “Camouflage,” some guys have all the luck.

After the opener, “Infatuation,” things go downhill pretty fast. While, I applaud Rod Stewart for a decent single at first, with the next track, I’m ready to place a bounty on his head for his act of sacrilege. He covers the Free classic “All Right Now” and it is a totally synthed out version. If he had kept to the script set down by Free, his voice would have carried the song but with all the synthesizers, I have to say, “No Rod!” But that’s not the only cover he has destroyed. On track four, he sings a cover of the Todd Rungren classic, “Can We Still Be Friends.” Like “All Right Now” there’s nothing wrong with his voice on the song but again, the synthesizers ruin it for me. While this sacrilege isn’t as bad, it’s still bad enough that even Jeff Beck’s guitar solo can’t save it.

Jeff does improve things with a solo on the track after, “Bad For You.” This one is more in line with the opener and sounds quite good. “Heart is On the Line” is one of those pop sounding songs that isn’t bad but it’s not one I want to listen to over and over. “The title track is much more sharper. Rod’s voice takes control of it and therefore the synths that appear on it are only in the background. Plus there’s a good use of horns adding a bit of diversity. Had Jeff belted out a solo on it, it might have been my favourite track. The closer, “Trouble” typifies how unbalanced “Camouflage” is. The keyboard intro makes you feel it’s going to be a cool prog rock song only to fade away into a ballad. Now, Rod has always been able to sing a good ballad and does so here but the intro leaves me disappointed with the rest of the song.

Track Listing:

  1. Infatuation
  2. All Right Now
  3. Some Guys Have All the Luck
  4. Can We Still Be Friends
  5. Bad For You
  6. Heart is On the Line
  7. Camouflage
  8. Trouble

Rod Stewart

Rod Stewart- vocals

Jeff Beck- guitar

Jim Cregan- guitar

Robin LeMesurier- guitar

Michael Landau- guitar

Jay Davis- bass

Tony Brock- drums

Kevin Savigar- keyboards

Michael Omartian- keyboards, percussion, backing vocals

Jimmy Zavala- harmonica

Gary Herbig- saxophone

Jerry Hey, Chuck Finley, Kim Hutchcroft, Charlie Loper, Gary Grant- horns

Was “Camouflage” great? I tend not to think so, however, it could have been so if there weren’t so many synth versions of classic rock songs. The songs that are good are but others let the album down. It seems here, he was comfortable being a top forty singer.

Next post: Roger Waters- The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking

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 1984: Peter Wolf- Lights Out

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 21, 2017 by 80smetalman

It’s funny how sometimes when a singer leaves a band, both that singer and the band, with their new singer, put out an album around the same time. Is it coincidence? Rivalry? Answers on a post card please. I guess we’ll never know. All I know is that in 1984, after singer Peter Wolf left the J Geils band, the band released the album I visited in the last post and Peter Wolf came out with his debut solo album, “Lights Out,” at the same time.

Listening to the opener, title cut and biggest single from the album, I am reminded why I probably stayed away from the album. The video for “Lights Out” got a fair amount of play on MTV at the time but it also got played a lot in dance clubs although that song was better than most of the stuff played in such places. That song never did anything for me and it still doesn’t.

Fortunately, there are far better songs on “Lights Out.” The very next track, “I Need You Tonight” has a more traditional J Geils Band sound and the succeeding track is a little of the same. Then there is the rather spooky sounding ballad, “Gloomy Sunday,” which has a 1940s feel to it. It does show that Peter’s voice has some versatility to it. A better single for me would have been “Baby Please Don’t Let Me Go.” This has a more catchy commercial vibe to it and I bet you could dance to it if you’re into such things.

One big question that arises from the album is: Was Peter Wolf in a competition with Randy Newman as to who could get the most big names to accompany on their album? You only need to see the list of people on this album to discover what I mean. Heck, he even gets Mick Jagger to duet with him on the track “Crazy” and it sounds good. Possibly my favourite track on the album. I don’t know who of the many guitarists on the album does the guitar solo but it’s well done. My guess is that it’s Adrian Belew but don’t quote me on that. It could be The Cars guitarist Elliot Easton but to me, it doesn’t sound like his style, I could be wrong and usually am.

Track Listing:

  1. Lights Out
  2. I Need You Tonight
  3. Oo Ee Diddley Bop
  4. Gloomy Sunday
  5. Baby Please Don’t Let Me Go
  6. Crazy
  7. Poor Girls Heart
  8. Here Comes That Hurt Again
  9. Pretty Lady
  10. Mars Needs Women
  11. Billy Bigtime

Peter Wolf

Peter Wolf- conga, vocals

Robin Beck- vocals

Mick Jagger- vocals

Adrian Belew- guitar

Peter Bliss- guitar, backing vocals

Tony ‘Rocks’ Cowan- guitar

Alan Dawson- percussion

Elliot Easton- guitar

Eddie Gorodetsky- vocals, narration

Yogi Horton- percussion

Michael Jozun- bass, flute, guitar, percussion, horns, keyboards, backing vocals

Will Lee- bass, vocals

Leon Mobley- conga, conductor

P-Funk Horns- horn section

Rick Peppers- guitar

Randy Ross- guitar

G E Smith- guitar

Maurice Starr- bass, guitar, vocals

Ed Stasium- guitar, percussion

Rusty the Toejammer- scratches

Gordon Worthy- bass, conga, keyboards, vocals

I think that the theme of Peter Wolf’s “Lights Out” album is versatility. No two songs are the same yet at the same time, the album seems to flow. Whether its the more commercial sound of “Poor Girls Heart” to the humourous “Mars Needs Women” to the more blues funk closer “Billy Bigtime” there’s something here that everyone will like.

Next post: Rush- Grace Under Pressure

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 1984: The Pretenders- Learning to Crawl

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 27, 2017 by 80smetalman

Normally, I tend to go off artists who have too many commercial radio hits, especially if they altered their sound in order to gain that commercial airplay. Fortunately, I can’t say the same for The Pretenders with their album, “Learning to Crawl.” There are a good number of songs on this album which I remember getting a good amount of play on radio and more so on MTV. Some even breached the Top 40! Do you know what the best part is? The Pretenders made little or no change to their sound. They simply did what they did so well on their first two albums and in my not so humble opinion, they did it better on “Learning to Crawl.”

Let’s start with the songs we do know. “Middle of the Road” was the first single I remember hearing when the album was released in January, 1984. At this stage in my life, I was becoming very politically aware and found myself seeking out music with political overtones. While The Pretenders aren’t really a politically motivated band, the lyrics of “Middle of the Road” did get my attention. Also the fact that it’s a good straight forward rocker and very worthy to be the opener.

Although it was released as a single in 1982, (see my posts on one hit wonders of 1982), “Back on the Chain Gang” was included on the album. Even more reason for me to like it and what’s more, they didn’t change the song for the album. It’s still my all time favourite Pretenders song of all time. I was surprised to see that the ballad like, “Thin Line Between Love and Hate” only reached 83 on the US charts. I did remember hearing it a lot at the time and it often gets used in romantic films.

One song that I can identify with more and more theses days is “My City Was Gone.” On this song, Chissie Hynde laments how her home town of Akron, Ohio has changed beyond recognition. I can feel for her on this one. Since I’ve been living in the UK, every time I return to New Jersey for a visit, I see that it has changed. At first, it was just less woodland and like in the song, more shopping malls. However, the arrow through my heart happened in 2001 when I went to my childhood stomping ground of Wildwood. All my favourite amusements, especially the walk through pirate ship, were gone and replaced by go-cart tracks. It was then I realized my childhood had died. During the same visit, I discovered the woods I used to build forts in, (that’s dens for my UK readers), was bulldozed down for new housing. So Chrissie, I can feel for you on that song.

Now for the non hits. I say non hits but there is a definite, I heard this before feel whenever I listen to “Time the Avenger” and “Show Me.” I’m talking about those songs themselves, I can’t remember hearing either one anywhere else but the album but they give me the feeling otherwise. The band goes a little country with “Thumbelina.” I was used to frequent a bar that had live country music back then because it was staggering distance from my house and that song wouldn’t have been out of place if had been played there. “I Hurt You” is a solid song and the closer, “2000 Miles,” does get some airplay around Christmas time.

Track Listing:

  1. Middle of the Road
  2. Back on the Chain Gang
  3. Time the Avenger
  4. Watching the Clothes
  5. Show Me
  6. Thumbelina
  7. My City Was Gone
  8. Thin Line Between Love and Hate
  9. I Hurt You
  10. 2000 Miles

The Pretenders

Chrissie Hynde- lead vocals, rhythm guitar, harmonica

Robbie McIntosh- lead guitar, backing vocals

Malcolm Foster- bass, backing vocals

Martin Chambers- drums, percussion, backing vocals

Additional Musicians

Billy Bremner- lead guitar on “Back on the Chain Gang” and “My City was Gone,” rhythm guitar on “Thin Line Between Love and Hate”

Tony Butler- bass on “Back on the Chain Gang” and “My City Was Gone

  • Andrew Bodnar- bass on “Thin Line Between Love and Hate”

Paul Carrack- piano, backing vocals on “Thin Line Between Love and Hate”

Three weeks into 1984 and things were starting off very well musically for this year. The “Learning to Crawl” album from The Pretenders was part of that.

Next post: The Go Gos- Talk Show

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 1984: The Alarm- Declaration

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 22, 2017 by 80smetalman

In very early months of 1984, when MTV was still playing lots of good music, one song definitely caught my attention. It wasn’t metal, not even hard rock. If I were to categorize it, something I don’t like doing, I would say it was post punk or new wave. Categories and labels a side, what I knew for sure was that I really liked the song “Sixty Eight Guns” by the Alarm. This song was a true anthem for me at the time and I still find myself singing it after all these years. The guitars were hard enough for my tastes but the way the chorus was belted out totally blew me away.

“Sixty Eight guns will never die

Sixty Eight guns our battle cry.”

As I’ve said many times, I will not buy an album on account of one song so you have to know that the rest of the album kicks just as much ass as the feature song. Most of the first half of “The Declaration” are straight ahead new wave rockers and really cook. I do detect a little Irish folk influence in the track “Where Were You Hiding When the Storm Broke.” Then again, when doing further research on the band, I discovered they were Welsh, so I’m not surprised at this. “We Are the Light” is an acoustic track but even that doesn’t limit the powerful vocals of lead singer Mike Peters. For years, I have underestimated his vocal ability, I’ll never do that again.

“Shout to the Devil” is not a Motley Crue cover but very intelligently combines the acoustic flavour of the previous track and the more powerful sounds of the previous songs. Again, it’s very catchy. “Blaze of Glory” is also a good anthem like “Sixty Eight Guns” and like that song, I found myself wanting to sing along to the chorus. Only the lyrics aren’t quite as straight forward as “68 Guns.” I can at least sing the first part over and over, “Going out in a blaze of glory.” I do like how they use the horns on it. “The Deceiver” has an eerie introduction before going into a fast acoustic track with some good harmonica played on it. In fact the second side, isn’t quite as hard rock as the first but that doesn’t diminish the quality of “The Declaration” in the slightest.

Track Listing:

  1. Declaration
  2. Marching On
  3. Where Were You Hiding When the Storm Broke
  4. Third Light
  5. Sixty Eight Guns
  6. We Are the Light
  7. Shout to the Devil
  8. Blaze of Glory
  9. Tell Me
  10. The Deceiver
  11. The Stand
  12. Howling Wind

The Alarm

Mike Peters- vocals, acoustic guitar, harmonica

Dave Sharp- acoustic and electric guitars, backing vocals

Eddie MacDonald- bass, guitar, backing vocals

Twist- drums, percussion, backing vocals

When I listen to “The Declaration” I wonder why The Alarm didn’t get more commercial success. Some misguided people did say that they were too much like U2 but I never thought so. They were unique enough to avoid that. So, I wonder if it’s down to the discovery I made about them in the early summer of 1984, they were born again Christians. True, Christian rock was getting more attention at this time, something I’ll talk about in a future post, but I don’t hear any obvious Jesus lyrics in any of the songs that would frighten off listeners. For me, The Alarm’s “The Declaration” defined the direction I was heading in 1984 and it’s still a great album.

Next post: The Pretenders- Learning to Crawl

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