Archive for MTV

Great Rock Albums of 1985: David Lee Roth- Crazy From the Heat

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 29, 2018 by 80smetalman

Here’s a thought, I wonder if David Lee Roth had some sort of deal with MTV back in 1984 and 85. The first video shown on the channel in 1984 was  the debut video for Van Halen’s “Jump.” One year later, the first video shown in the new year for 1985 was from the video from David’s solo album, “Crazy From the Heat,” the Beach Boys’ classic, “California Girls.” This seems too much of a coincidence for me and I wonder if David did have some sort of deal with MTV.

The first noticeable thing about “California Girls” is that it sounds nothing like the Beach Boys nor Van Halen. David puts his own spin on the song and I think he does a very good job on it. That is if you cast aside the predictable girls in bikinis video for the song. He sings very well on not just this but all songs even if sometimes one can’t take him seriously. On the other three songs on this four song EP, he departs even further from what he did with Van Halen and heavy metal in general.

With two of the remaining three songs, David tries to be a 1940s era type big band singer. Always being more the showman as opposed to the singer, his personality does burst through more than his vocal ability but he does sing very well on it. Full credit, he’s a more versatile singer than what he was often given credit for back then or even today. As for the final song, “Coconut Grove” I have always had trouble getting into that one but the reason is not down to David. Three of the four songs are good for me and it doesn’t matter that the entire EP is less than fourteen minutes.

Track Listing:

  1. Easy Street
  2. Medley: Just a Gigolo/I Ain’t Got Nobody
  3. California Girls
  4. Coconut Grove

David Lee Roth

David Lee Roth- vocals

Dean Parks- guitar on “Coconut Grove”

Eddie Martinez, Sid McGinnis- guitars

Willie Weeks- bass

John Robinson- drums

Sammy Figueroa- percussion

James Newton Howard- keyboards on “Coconut Grove”

Edgar Winter- keyboards, saxophone, backing vocals on tracks 1&2

Brian Mann- keyboards

Carl Wilson, Christopher Cross- backing vocals on “California Girls”

David Lee Roth’s debut solo album sparked a lot of rumours in regards to his relationship with Van Halen. It has been said that the success of “Crazy From the Heat” inspired him to go solo. Maybe it did. All I know that this is a cool little album.

Next post: The Firm

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Great Metal Albums of 1985: Dokken- Tooth and Nail

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 21, 2018 by 80smetalman

Although released in 1984, it took a long time before Dokken’s “Tooth and Nail” album finally got some notice. For me, it couldn’t have come at a more opportune time. By March of 1985, heavy metal got little or no airplay on commercial radio of MTV save for two singles from this album. The first one, “Alone Again,” is number ten on my all time favourite power ballads list. I can’t describe it but the song just kicks ass.

It’s not just the power ballad that makes “Tooth and Nail” my all time favourite Dokken album. Just so happens that it also contains my all time favourite Dokken song, “You Just Got Lucky.” While they were being accused of becoming another glam metal band, this song proved to the world they could still play. I just love how George Lynch works his guitar magic on the song and Don Dokken does a straight forward clean vocal performance. While rumours of these two men totally hating each other were rife even then, this song shows how well they put their differences aside when it mattered.

“Tooth and Nail” has some other great metal tunes on it as well. The title cut is the closest thing to thrash the band will ever come to, a very powerful song. “Heartless Heart” doesn’t shy away from being a great metal tune although the harmonizing vocals begin to remind me of what they would do on future albums but fortunately, this time, I’m able to go back in my mind to 1985 and forget all that. “Don’t Close Your Eyes” offers up more of the same. Great power chords and vocals with some fine, fancy guitar work and that guitar work continues many-fold on “When Heaven Comes Down.” That’s a hard, grindy type of song with a cool guitar solo.

“Into the Fire” was the first single released from the album and thinking back to late 1984, I don’t remember hearing it on any commercial media. Maybe it was too heavy amid the backlash against heavy metal that was starting. What I know is that I like it and as much as I sing the praises of George’s guitar capabilities, I never fully appreciated how great he really was. After another great rocker, “Bullets to Spare,” comes the forementioned power ballad. The thing is that on my first few listens, I thought that maybe “Alone Again” should have been the closer but the way the actual closer, “Turn on the Action,” ends, there is no need to swap things around. The album is good as it is.

Track Listing:

  1. Without Warning
  2. Tooth and Nail
  3. You Just Got Lucky
  4. Heartless Heart
  5. Don’t Close Your Eyes
  6. When Heaven Comes Down
  7. Into the Fire
  8. Bullets to Spare
  9. Alone Again
  10. Turn on the Action

Dokken

Don Dokken- lead vocals

George Lynch- guitars

Jeff Pilson- bass, backing vocals

Mick Brown- drums

The “Tooth and Nail” album from Dokken brought a little sunshine to what was a dour early 1985, musically. While it’s always been my favourite Dokken album, I think I like it even more these days.

Next Music Post: Yngwie Malmsteen- Rising Force

There will be another excerpt from my story before that. Oh yes, I would love to read people’s thoughts on Puppy from the last post.

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1985: The Backlash Begins

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 1, 2018 by 80smetalman

Ever since the days of Elvis, there has always been a backlash against rock music and the backlash against heavy metal in particular has always been many folds greater. Whether it be religious fanatics, parents or just trendy top forty followers who just didn’t like the genre, there have been people dead set against heavy metal music. This backlash had been slowly building up throughout the early 1980s but the fact that heavy metal had gotten mainstream attention in 1984 was enough to blow the powder keg in 1985.

The first instance that turned my attention to this backlash was reading letters to MTV citing that they were either playing too much heavy metal or not enough. It would appear that in or around March of 1985, the anti heavy metal brigade won out as MTV made a statement that it would be playing less metal on the air. Now, it’s easy to think that there were that many more anti than pro metal people writing to MTV and if anyone says that it was because metalheads are too stupid to write, me and many of my followers here will be over to your house to kick the crap out of you! Once again I digress but my theory was that by the end of the previous year, MTV was already becoming nothing more than a glorified commercial radio station. Some Dead Kennedys lyrics come to mind here and I’ll reveal those when I visit their “Frankenchrist” album which came out in said year. Oops, digressing again but less and less metal was being played on MTV or the radio.

Dead Kennedys

As 1985 progressed, I began to notice it in more ways. There wasn’t just a backlash against heavy metal but persecution of metalheads as well. One thing I was criticized for in “Rock And Roll Children,” though I don’t regret it one bit, was over pounding the point of how metalheads were discriminated against back then. Truth was they were! I simply pointed this out. Example, based on my own experiences: in 1984, I went to a McDonald’s after the Dio/Twisted Sister concert and had no problems, nor did the many other metalheads who hit up the place after the show. One year later, my friends and I hit the same McDonald’s after the Motley Crue/Loudness concert and upon entry, were greeted by all sorts of negative comments. Also, like in the story, there was an off duty cop in the store pontificating how no one did anything like that in his day and how he busts punks like us for drugs all the time. While, there were no arrests that night, one month later, after seeing Dio, we hit the same McDonald’s and this time, it was like a policeman’s convention. This brings me to another point, while I never saw it happen, there were tales in 1985 of police getting warrants and going into pre-concert parties and busting metalheads. However, they didn’t do that at the Wham concert where I heard eyewitness accounts of 12 year old kids getting falling down, sickly drunk. It was definitely war on metalheads in 1985.

Of course, the more astute of you will recall that in the closing months of the year, the backlash against rock music and especially heavy metal became the subject of a congressional hearing and lead to the formation of the Parents Music Resource Center, (PMRC). Even after more than thirty years, I tend to laugh at this if it wasn’t so pathetic and there will be a post dedicated to that.

In spite of all the doom and gloom, the backlash achieved very little. Great albums were still being made and you’ll get to read about a lot of them. There were other great events and concerts including the most famous one, Live Aid. So, sit back and get ready for another roller coaster year in the golden decade of metal.

Next post: Glenn Frey- The Allnighter

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Great Metal Albums of 1984: Hanoi Rocks- Two Steps From the Move

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 10, 2018 by 80smetalman

Coming to the final month in 1984, just when I thought that the year of metal might be coming to end, I get news of a band shown on MTV coming to a local club. That band just happend to be, yes you guessed it, Hanoi Rocks. Previous to their appearance, I did happen to catch the video to their single, a cover of the CCR classic, “Up Around the Bend.” The video impressed me enough to go to the club and to make a long story short, I was rather impressed. In fact, I sometimes wonder if I should have included that gig in “Rock and Roll Children.” My reason for not doing so was because KISS came to Philadelphia that evening and I concluded that the main characters would have gone to see KISS instead. However, I do mention in the story that Bob’s older brother Mitch goes to see Hanoi Rocks.

Hanoi Rocks’s performance on that memorable evening further motivated me to get their then latest release, “Two Steps From the Move.” Another decision I have never regretted because this album is very good. I would be lying if I didn’t say that “Up Around the Bend” is my favourite track on it. I had always liked the original version and what Hanoi Rocks did was take a great classic and totally metalize it. However, the album is full of great metal jams. The ones which stick out especially are: “I Can’t Get It,” “Underwater World, which has a good guitar solo and “Million Miles Away” is as good a power ballad as any. The hidden gem on the album has to be “Boulevard of Broken Dreams.” The energy on that song is simply phenomenal! Definitely one to blast driving with the window down and “Boiler” is quite amusing. On the other hand and as cliche as this sounds, all the songs really kick ass. If I were to nit pick, it would be that “Don’t You Ever Leave Me” should have been the closer of the album but that’s a tiny technicality.

Track Listing:

  1. Up Around the Bend
  2. High School
  3. I Can’t Get It
  4. Underwater World
  5. Don’t You Ever Leave Me
  6. Million Miles Away
  7. Boulevard of Broken Dreams
  8. Boiler (Me Boiler ‘n’ Me)
  9. Futurama
  10. Cutting Corners

Hanoi Rocks

Michael Monroe- lead vocals and saxophone

Andy McCoy- lead guitar, vocals

Nasty Suicide- guitar, vocals

Sam Yaffa- bass, vocals

Razzle- drums, vocals

In 1984, Hanoi Rocks were on the threshold of international stardom. Unfortunately, just a few short weeks after I saw them obliterate a small club in New Jersey, tragedy would strike the band which would lead to their eventual break up. While it’s no secret what that tragedy was, I thought it would be better to go into more detail next post. Right now, focus on the band’s happier times with this great album.

Next post: 1984 Ends in Metal Tragedy

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Great Metal Albums of 1984: Triumph- Thunder Seven

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 7, 2018 by 80smetalman

Just when I thought that 1984 was becoming all metaled out towards the very end of the year, along comes a great album from Canadian greats, Triumph, to continue the metal mayhem that was that year. By then, both commercial radio and MTV was starting to suck, so when the first single, “Spellbound” came blasting over the airwaves on Thanksgiving Day, I was truly psyched. I was already a Triumph convert by then thanks to their previous albums, “Never Surrender” and “Allied Forces” so I welcomed the new “Thunder Seven” album with open arms and ears.

“Spellbound” is my second favourite Triumph song of all time. I just love how Rik Emmett uses his guitar on the song and the harmonizing on the chorus, just great. There are keyboards but unlike the trend in the 1980s, they simply support and not take over the song. Full marks to Mike Levine, he does a good job with them. With the keyboards in that great song, one might be tempted to think that Triumph had gone the same way as their fellow Canadians, Rush, had done earlier in this year. Trust me, they don’t.

Not many songs do what they say in the title but the second song does “Rock Out and Rock On!” Not really much more I can say about it than that, except it’s a cool track. Then, I really do like the cowboy type vibe on “Cool Down.” I don’t know if the song really is about cowboys but what I do know and like is how Rik lays down some really cool guitar work on it. “Follow Your Heart” was the second single from “Thunder Seven” and everything about the song says “single.” It’s a slightly lighter than the other songs but you can still feel Triumph’s energy with it.

The rockingest song and my vote for hidden gem is definitely “Time Goes By.” While this song is harder than “Spellbound,” there is some great harmonizing vocals on it as well. Another song that has Triumph being at their best, especially Emmett’s guitar solo. Following “Time Goes By” are two songs which are less than two minutes, the first one being an acoustic instrumental, done well. The second, sounds like a church choir but it does show the vocal ability of Rik Emmett and Gil Moore in a different light. Their vocal abilities also come through very well on the next track, the ballad, “Killing Time.” However, things pick up with the penultimate rocker, “Stranger in a Strange Land” before going out an a mega high with the blues based instrumental, “Little Boy Blues,” where once again, Rik shows his guitar prowess.

Track Listing

  1. Spellbound
  2. Rock on Rock Out
  3. Cool Down
  4. Follow Your Heart
  5. Time Goes By
  6. Midsummer’s Daydream
  7. Time Cannon
  8. Killing Time
  9. Stranger in a Strange Land
  10. Little Boy Blues

Triumph

Rik Emmett- guitar, vocals, synthesizers, bass pedals

Gil Moore- drums, vocals, percussion,

Mike Levine- bass, keyboards, synthesizers, bass pedals, organ, clavinet

It was great to see that when people thought that metal was fizzling out in 1984, Triumph kept things going with this great album.

Next post: Hanoi Rocks: Two Steps From the Move

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Great Rock Albums of 1984: David Bowie- Tonight

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 14, 2018 by 80smetalman

Every year through the journey through the golden age of heavy metal, there is no doubt in my mind that I missed an album or two that was considered a great album in that year. One I nearly missed was the “Tonight” album from the legendary David Bowie. My (poor) excuse for this was the fact that I was so caught up in posting about all the great metal albums that this one nearly past me by.

Thinking back to said year, I remember when the single, “Blue Jean,” from the album first appeared on MTV, my reaction to the song was, “Hey, David has gone back to his more traditional roots that brought him fame, no pun intended, in the 1970s.” “Blue Jean” is considered a light rocker in my eyes and it is the best song on the album. Back then, it persuaded me that “Tonight” would be better than his previous album, “Let’s Dance,” so I went out an procured it. After a listen, I came to the conclusion that “Tonight” was better than “Let’s Dance,” but not that much better.

For the first few songs, “Tonight” sounds like it was it was preformed by a late 1970s lounge act. Everything that comprises such a thing is present in these songs. It’s definitely music to mellow out to, however, I can not fault the first rate musicianship on the songs. It is why I can say that while theses songs aren’t exactly my cup of tea, they still provide good listening to if you are in the right mood. Two prime examples are the seven minute long opener, “Loving the Alien” and his mellowed cover of the Beach Boys classic, “God Only Knows.”

For those who have “Tonight” on vinyl or cassette, side two goes in a more harder rock direction starting with “Neighbourhood Threat.” This is a decent rocker and even more harder than the single “Blue Jean” and precisely the reason why it’s the hidden gem on the album. The single comes next and things pretty much carry on from there, although the remainder of the songs aren’t quite as hard rock as these two. Saying that, I do like the horns sound in “I Keep Forgettin.'” The second side is definitely the better side for me.

Track Listing:

  1. Loving the Alien
  2. Don’t Look Down
  3. God Only Knows
  4. Tonight
  5. Neighbourhood Threat
  6. Blue Jean
  7. Tumble and Twirl
  8. I Keep Forgettin’
  9. Dancing With the Big Boys

David Bowie

David Bowie- lead vocals

Derek Bramble- guitar, synthesizers, bass, backing vocals

Carlos Alomar- guitar

Omar Hakim- drums

Carmine Rojas- bass

Mark King- bass on “Tumble and Twirl”

Rob Yale- CMI on “Loving the Alien,” “Tonight” and “God Only Knows”

Guy St Ange-marimba

Sammy Figueroa- percussion

Tina Turner- vocals on “Tonight”

Iggy Pop- backing vocals on “Dancing With the Big Boys”

Robin Clark, George Simms, Curtis King- backing vocals

The Borneo Horns:

Stanley Harrison- alto and tenor saxophones

Lenny Pickett- tenor sax, clarinet

Steve Elson- baritone saxophone

Arif Mardison- string arrangements, synthesizers

Okay, David Bowie’s 1984 album “Tonight” doesn’t make me stop wanting to listen to “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and Spiders From Mars” but it is, at least in my opinion, better than his more commercial album, “Let’s Dance.” While it’s not something I would want to listen to in conjunction with any metal album, it is still a good album to lay back, mellow out and appreciate the fine playing on it.

Next post: Tank- Honour & Blood

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Great Metal Albums of 1984: KISS- Animalize

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 8, 2018 by 80smetalman

Since Queensryche supported KISS in late 1984, I thought it only appropriate for the next post to be KISS’s “Animalize” album. Unlike Queensryche, I was able to put more details of their performance on this tour in “Rock and Roll Children.” Although I didn’t actually see the concert, I did get the video of KISS concert for “Animalize,” so that helped me a lot. This was in spite of the fact that the concert on the video didn’t take place in Philadelphia, which was where I went to see all the concerts at the time.

“Animalize” was the second album by KISS without their make up, following on from their previous album, “Lick It Up.” Now, I know KISS themselves along with many others like to downplay this era of Kisstory. True, they were looking more and more like a glam band but then again, so were many bands. However, I don’t think this album was particularly bad, it has its good moments.

The opener, “I’ve Had Enough (Into the Fire)” opens with some metal sounding riffs, which I’ve always liked. The riffs alone make this song the best choice to open the album. Next comes the big single, “Heaven’s On Fire.” No arguments from me that this song was made for commercial radio and MTV. It is too similar to “Lick It Up” but then again, I don’t dislike it either. I just find myself amused at the similarities between the two singles.

“Burn Bitch Burn” is nothing more than a catchy title and a cool guitar solo. It does give weight to the belief that Gene was too sidetracked with other projects and not putting his full attention to KISS. Paul does succeed in making up for it with “Get All That You Can Take.” With all the “ooohs,” one could probably say it was Paul’s best vocal effort. It too has a cool guitar solo and throughout the years, I’ve wondered if Mark St John hasn’t been given the respect he deserves. Saying that, then future band member Bruce Kullick nails the guitar solo on the next track, “Lonely Is the Hunter” and makes me wonder if KISS should have had him play on the whole album. God, thinking about it can give a person a headache, almost. I will say that the track in question is a better effort from Gene, possibly his best on this album.

It seems that KISS tried to be more speed metal with “Under the Gun.” It is definitely the fastest song on the album and the best part is that Paul’s vocals fit the song. Maybe I’ve underestimated his vocal ability these many years. The song does open side two, if you have vinyl or cassette, very nicely and leads to my choice for hidden gem. I know that “Thrills in the Night” was released as the second single on the album but from what I’ve read, it failed to chart. That makes it a hidden gem in my opinion. It’s hard enough to please metalheads but with some good melody and Gene and Eric give great backing to Paul on the vocals and it has a cool guitar solo. Personally, I think the idea for the big single on their next album was taken from it. While I won’t call the remaining two songs, penned by Gene, filler, I won’t say they’re standout tracks. Just two good songs to end the album in the best way.

Track Listing:

  1. I’ve Had Enough (Into the Fire)
  2. Heaven’s On Fire
  3. Burn Bitch Burn
  4. Get All you Can Take
  5. Lonely is the Hunter
  6. Under the Gun
  7. Thrills in the Night
  8. While the City Sleeps
  9. Murder in High Heels

Paul Stanley- rhythm guitar, lead and backing vocals

Gene Simmons- bass, lead and backing vocals

Eric Carr- drums, backing vocals

Mark St John- lead guitar

Additional musicians

Bruce Kullick- lead guitar on “Lonely is the Night” and “Murder in High Heels”

Jean Beauvour (ex Plasmatics): bass on “Get All You Can Take,” “Thrills in the Night” and “Under the Gun”

Say what you want about KISS during their unmasked 1980s period, but I think that “Animalize” isn’t all that bad. It does have it’s good and amusing points but on the other hand, it never made me want to stop listening to “Destroyer.”

Next post: Whitesnake- Slide It In

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