Archive for MTV

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

 

 

 

 

 

Great Metal Albums of 1984: Van Halen- 1984

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 12, 2017 by 80smetalman

History is the reason why I am beginning the journey through 1984 with Van Halen’s sixth album, which is also named after this same year. Going back to in time, minutes after the bells rang in 1984 as the new year, MTV started the year by playing the first single from the album, “Jump.” Like many a metalhead at the time, I wasn’t too sure about the large amount of keyboards used in the song. However, I didn’t think the song was bad and Eddie proved he knew his way around a keyboards almost as well as he does his guitar. That’s how the year started for me. I then proceeded to get rather sloppy drunk as you do on the new year.

After “Jump,” things go back to more traditional Van Halen territory, with one exception, which I’ll get to. “Panama” was also released as a single and I definitely like it more than “Jump.” Eddie works his magic with the guitar and David Lee Roth uses his mouth in the only way he knows. I’m not just talking about his singing either. I’ve always liked his talking bit in the middle of “Panama.” “I reached down and put the seat back.” It doesn’t translate well here in print but if you listen to the song, you’ll see what I mean.

“Top Jimmy” and “Drop Dead Legs” are both good songs and I like the little guitar bits done on both songs. However, whenever I hear “Drop Dead Legs,” my mind immediately goes to when I heard the song used in an episode of “Family Guy.” For those who don’t know, it’s the episode where Brian and Stewie travel to a parallel universe and find a world where Meg is hot.

Drop Dead Legs played to this scene

Another good thing about both of those songs is that they lead beautifully to my favourite song on the album, “Hot for Teacher.” Every thing you loved about Van Halen is found on this song. Roth’s little quips between the verses and don’t forget, he can sing some too. Eddie plays the longest solo of all the songs on the album and very well too and of course we can never forget the rhythm section of Michael Anthony and Alex Van Halen. While these two remain tight on the whole album, they seem especially so on “Hot forTeacher.”

After my favourite song comes the other exception. “I’ll Wait” is another keyboard dominated song but I never disliked it. If Van Halen had been making albums in the 1970s, many people would have used this song to label them a progressive rock band. Still, Eddie plays a decent solo on it. “I’ll Wait” leads the way for the album to go out on the good foot. I do like the intro on “Girl Gone Bad” and “House of Pain” is a suitable closer. For me, though I hadn’t listened to “Diver Down” at the time, I still drew the conclusion that “1984” was three steps up from it. Now that I have listened to that album, I will stay say that this one is the better album.

Track Listing:

  1. 1984
  2. Jump
  3. Panama
  4. Top Jimmy
  5. Drop Dead Legs
  6. Hot for Teacher
  7. I’ll Wait
  8. Girl Gone Bad
  9. House of Pain

Van Halen

David Lee Roth- lead vocals

Eddie Van Halen- guitar, keyboards, backing vocals

Michael Anthony- bass, backing vocals

Alex Van Halen- drums, backing vocals

This was how my 1984 began. There aren’t too many better ways to ring in a new year but what I do know now is that Van Halen’s “1984” opened the port hole to all the great music that would come our way in this year.

Next post: U2- Under a Blood Red Sky

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1984: The Golden Year of the Golden Decade

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on March 8, 2017 by 80smetalman

The 1980s was the golden decade of heavy metal but if there was any one year that stood out above all others in that decade, it was 1984. Why did this particular year stand out? Well let me answer this by quoting Dee Snider when I saw Twisted Sister in concert in the August of this year. “They’re even playing heavy metal on the radio.” I’m not sure if Dee used an expletive when he said it. He was known for using them quite liberally when he was on stage but I don’t recall him using it when he said that. I digress but he was right. Heavy metal did get played on the radio quite a lot in 1984 and even more so on MTV. That alone makes 1984 the golden year of heavy metal.

Twisted Sister come out and play, taken at Bloodstock 2016

Obviously not every metal band got airplay on radio or MTV but you might be surprised at some of the ones who did. They didn’t play any Slayer. That didn’t stop these bands from unleashing some kick ass albums onto our delicate ears. This is also the reason why I begin “Rock And Roll Children” in this same year. Warning, I will make even more references to the book in future posts. However, one can’t avoid the fact that there was so much great metal and some cool rock as well and I hope that my journey through the golden year will do the albums justice.

Next post: Van Halen- 1984

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 1983: Heaven- Where Angels Fear to Tread

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

heaven_waftt

When my household finally got MTV in the final month of 1983, one video I remember seeing getting a good amount of airplay was the one for the song, “Rock School” by Australian rockers, Heaven. The song itself was okay although at the time, I wasn’t too sure about the horns in it. What I did enjoy was the actual video. It cast the band as your typical high school hoods causing havoc at their school. My favourite part was when they whip the high school football team in a rumble. I think that was the highlight for many metalheads at the time.

Now, I am not anti- American football or school sports. After all, I officiate the game here in the UK and when I went to the states two and a half years ago, had the opportunity to officiate a high school junior varsity game. What I am opposed to is the mentality in schools that a boy isn’t anything unless he plays football and that football prepares a young man for life. It was around this time in the US that schools began pushing sports over learning and treating the jocks as mollycoddled gods. There is an instance in “Rock and Roll Children” about this when two football players try to pick on one of the character’s friends and a fight starts. When the smoke clears, the teachers, the PE teacher especially, seem to be more sympathetic to the football players’ side of the story. The PE teacher simply wants to dismiss the metalheads’ story and only a more fair minded teacher stops him. Trust me, things like this happened in school back then and probably still do so now. So, it would have amused many a metalhead in 83 to see one of their bands duffing up some football players.

Scenes from the video for "Rock School."

Scenes from the video for “Rock School.”

As for the rest of the album, “Where Angels Fear to Tread,” let me say that it is pretty much a good rocking album. The single, “Rock School” blends in well with the rest of the album. The opener and title track is quite good and the second track, “Love Child” pretty much goes hand in hand with the same hard, feel good vibe. Without a doubt though, my favourite track on the album has to be “Hard Life.” This is just a great standard rocker! Heaven just goes all out on it and it has the best guitar solo on it so double bonus points there. The closer, “Sleeping Dogs,” is a powerful rocker too and I don’t think it should be the closer. Maybe one of the two before it would have been better but who’s to say. “Where Angels Fear to Tread” is damn fine album.

Track Listing:

  1. Where Angels Fear to Tread
  2. Love Child
  3. Scream for Me
  4. Don’t Mean Nothing
  5. Rock School
  6. Madness
  7. Hard Life
  8. She Stole My Heart
  9. You
  10. Sleeping Dogs

heaven_b

Allan ‘Eddie’ Fryer- vocals

Kelly- lead guitar

Laurie Marlow- bass

Mick Cocks- rhythm guitar

Joe Turtur- drums

I wonder how many people who were living in 1983 actually remember seeing the “Rock School” video on MTV. Believe me, it was on quite a lot then and some people probably have Heaven down for one hit wonders. The “Where Angels Fear to Tread” album makes them much more than that.

Next post: Ozzy Osbourne- Bark at the Moon

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 1983: Motley Crue- Shout at the Devil

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 17, 2017 by 80smetalman

220px-shoutatthedevil

I believe I’m not the only one who thinks “Shout at the Devil” is Motley Crue’s best album. It would be after that Motley Crue would be more into posing instead of the quality of their music. The band’s image with that album was darker, to the point they would be accused of Satanism. Then again, I’ve always said that being accused of that was the mark of a metal band’s success.

They first came to my attention courtesy of MTV where I saw the video for the album’s first single, “Looks That Kill.” You know the one where the band traps a bunch of scantly clad women in a steel fence only to be rescued by some Valkyrie type warrior. In 1983, I found that video to be cool but having watched it again recently, I just laugh at it. Furthermore, nowadays, I agree with anyone who says that video is sexist. Still, I do like the song, probably my favourite Crue song of all time.

Let me be blunt here, I have always thought that Motley Crue weren’t the most talented musicians to get together and call themselves a band. However, on “Shout at the Devil,” they definitely play to their strengths. There are some good songs on it too. True, beginnings like they way Motley Crue start the album off with “In the Beginning,” which sounds like a sermon before crashing headlong into the title track seem more common these days but it was a good attention grabber. “Bastard” is a decent song and the instrumental “God Bless the Children of the Beast” convinces me that Mick Mars is not the worst guitarist in metal. Like Pat Benatar and Vow Wow and quite a few other bands, they have their own cover of the Beatles classic, “Helter Skelter.” Probably the most, covered Beatles song in heavy metal. Other bands have produced better covers of it but Motley Crue’s isn’t bad.

Side two of “Shout at the Devil” isn’t quite as good as the first side. The only real standout song is their second single, “Too Young to Fall in Love.” However, what they do well is to stick to the basic formula of heavy metal and it works well for them. Then again, I do like some of the riffs on “Knock’em Dead Kid” and Mars’s guitar solo on “Ten Seconds to Love” is rather cool. In reference to what said about four of the last five songs not standing out, they do keep the album ticking over to an interesting closer in “Danger.”

Track Listing:

  1. In the Beginning
  2. Shout at the Devil
  3. Looks That Kill
  4. Bastard
  5. God Bless the Children of the Beast
  6. Helter Skelter
  7. Red Hot
  8. Too Young to Fall in Love
  9. Knock’Em Dead Kid
  10. Ten Seconds to Love
  11. Danger
Motley Crue

Motley Crue

Vince Neil- vocals

Mick Mars- guitars

Nikki Sixx- bass

Tommy Lee- drums

“Shout at the Devil,” will always remain for me, Motley Crue’s best album. However, it seem when they broke through with it, the abandoned some of the things that this album helped gain them that commercial success.

Next post: Dokken- Breaking the Chains

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 1983: Girlschool- Play Dirty

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 7, 2017 by 80smetalman

220px-girlschool_play_dirty

During the torrent of new wave of British heavy metal, (NWOBHM), Girlschool were somewhere in the middle. They weren’t mentioned in the same breath as the giants of the time but they were better known than other bands like Diamond Head and Raven. True, their music didn’t get the airplay it deserved but most metalheads in 1983 knew who they were. I was fortunate on one occasion in the year to catch one of the few times the title track from the album, “Play Dirty,” got played on MTV.

“Play Dirty” marked a change in direction for Girlschool towards a more softer rock sound. Some would compare them to Def Leppard, really? However, the softer sound comes out with the first two tracks on the album. It is the first time, to my knowledge, that keyboards were ever used on a Girlschool album. Those tracks aren’t bad but they aren’t real headbangers either. Things do go much heavier with the third one, the title track. Even then, there are keyboards at the bridges on the song and though I have to admit, they compliment that part of the song well, it took me a couple of listens to get used to it. Besides, Kelly Johnson’s guitar solo on said song makes counters any keyboards.

Track four, a cover of T-Rex’s “20th Century Boy,” marks a definite return to more traditional ground. I get the feeling that the band had a lot of fun recording this cover because it sounds good. Marc Bolan would have been proud. Even if he’s not, “Play Dirty” goes even harder after that with “Breaking All the Rules.” Now this song sounds like the Girlschool I knew and love. Keyboards are used again on “Burning in the Heat” but only as a scary movie type introduction. Something I give Ozzy credit for starting but done by many metal bands then and now. After this introduction comes more traditional Girlschool. For me, it’s probably the best lesser known track on the album.

After wowing with those more harder songs, things go back to the sound of the opening tracks. Keyboards a plenty here for I get the feeling that on “Surrender” that they were trying for a Night Ranger or Journey type hit single. However, it wasn’t released as one so this is a paradox that baffles me. It’s still a cool song and Kelly nails another cool guitar solo. The keyboards die with that song because “Rock Me, Shock Me” is a true Girlschool anthem. They should have played that on the radio but that’s the good thing about buying albums. You get to play the best songs from them that radio won’t play to yourself. The closer is a good rocker and the title has me wondering. In Britain, knob is a slang term in the media so I wonder if they were attacking the media or at least some person in it.

Track Listing:

  1. Going Under
  2. High and Dry
  3. Play Dirty
  4. 20th Century Boy
  5. Breaking All the Rules
  6. Burning in the Heat
  7. Surrender
  8. Rock Me, Shock Me
  9. Running for Cover
  10. Breakout (Knob in the Media)
Girlschool

Girlschool

Kim McAuliffe- rhythm guitar, lead vocals tracks 3,5,7,8,9,10

Kelly Johnson- lead guitar, lead vocals tracks 1,2,4,6

Gil Weston- bass, backing vocals

Denise Dufort- drums

Additional backing vocals: Lemmy, Vicky Blue, Marc Haircut

Don Garbutt- keyboards

While I like the album, “Play Dirty” marked a downward turn in Girlschool’s fortunes. Kim McAuliffe would leave shortly after the release and the US tour would never materialize. Shame, I would have loved to have seen them. That wouldn’t come for another two years but still, even with the keyboards, “Play Dirty” is still a decent album.

Next post: Virgin Steele- Guardians of the Flame

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 1983: Vandenberg- Heading For a Storm

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 28, 2016 by 80smetalman

220px-vandenberg_heading_for_a_storm

I hope everyone out there had a great holiday break and that Santa brought them everything they wanted. I did even though I had to work the Christmas Night/Boxing Day shift. Boxing Day isn’t celebrated in the US, they have Wrestling Day instead. Sorry, it’s a tradition I make that joke at least once during the festive season. However, on the advice of keepsmealive, I did get to sample some of The Trooper- Red and Black, very nice I tell you.

Thinking back in the annals of history, one might be inclined to believe that 1983 might have been a pivotal year for Dutch bands. First Golden Earring proved they weren’t one hit wonders with their “Cut” album which featured the hit, “Twilight Zone.” Then later on that year, I stumbled into my local bar just in time to see this band called Vandenberg on MTV. I can’t say that I was totally blown away by them but I did very much like what I saw and heard and it compelled me to investigate more. A friend of my sister ranted about their album “Heading For a Storm” and I would later learn that Vandenberg supported Ozzy Osbourne on tour. What further incentive was needed?

“Heading For a Storm” is yet further proof that in 1983, the dam had truly burst and heavy metal was flooding the world whether it liked it or not. The album starts out with three straight ahead rockers. “Friday Night” might sound cliche these days but it’s still a good opener and the next two tracks get progressively better. “Different Worlds” is a typical power ballad but you can’t fault it one bit. Besides after that comes my pick for the album, This is War.” On this song, lead singer Bert Heerink is at his best on the vocals backed up with some great harmonizing from his band mates. But what makes this song and the album as a whole is the guitar work from Adrian Vandenberg. If anyone has any questions as to why he was picked to join Whitesnake four years after this, then have a listen to the album and the track, “This is War,” in particular.

AV’s guitar work doesn’t end with that song. Afterwards, the album holds that level my favourite track takes it to. I really love the opening metal riffs on the title track and after some more good harmonizing, Adrian nails another great guitar solo. “Rock On” sounds a bit new wave with its opening chords but it goes more metal with AV putting in some cool guitar breaks during the verses and the song has a cool chorus. All of that takes the album out fine with the closing track.

Track Listing:

  1. Friday Night
  2. Welcome to the Club
  3. Time Will Tell
  4. Different Worlds
  5. This is War
  6. I’m on Fire
  7. Heading For a Storm
  8. Rock On
  9. Waiting For the Night
Vandenberg

Vandenberg

Adrian Vandenberg- guitar, backing vocals, also designed the album cover

Bert Heernik- lead vocals

Dick Kemper- bass, pedals, backing vocals

Jos Zoomer- drums, backing vocals

 Let me say one thing here! While I might gush over the guitar greatness of Adrian Vandenberg, the unsung hero of the album is Bert Heernik. I have always had tons of respect for any singer who sings in English when it’s not their first language. On “Heading For a Storm,” he does a grand job and credit should be given where due. After all, “Heading For a Storm” is an album that definitely deserves accolades.

Next post: My 2016 Compilation Album

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