Archive for new wave

Great Rock Albums of 1984: The Cars- Heartbeat City

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

Way back in the early days, when I posted about The Cars’ 1978 self titled debut album, Stone from Metalodyssey commented that The Cars were ahead of their time. I totally agree with this and will add to it by stating that they continued to be ahead of their time with their albums from the early 1980s. However, by 1984 time had caught up with them and what they were doing wasn’t so advanced. It seemed that many bands were influenced by them and were copying what they were doing. But no matter what other bands were trying to do, there will only be one band called The Cars and to paraphrase a quote at the time by former WWE manager, Lou Albano, they were “often imitated but never duplicated.” Proof in the pudding is their 1984 album, “Heartbeat City.”

‘Captain’ Lou Albano

What is so great about this album is while others may have been trying to copy The Cars, they didn’t do anything different from what they had done before. Yet, “Heartbeat City” still manages to sound fresh. Some will point to the biggest hit from the album, “Drive” and say that they did change. A few misguided individuals, who know not this band, have labelled them one hit wonders, WTF? My rebuttal comes with my favourite track on the album, “You Might Think” which was also a top ten hit for the band. For me to like a song that makes it into the top ten singles chart is saying something.

“Heartbeat City” is another successful marriage of hard rock and more synthesizer oriented sounds of the early 1980s performed by the band. A great example is the hidden gem that is “Stranger Eyes.” That is a song which is a foundation for the union I have just described. Then there are other tracks, some of them were even released as singles like “Magic” and “It’s Not the Night.” I do love Greg Hawkes keyboard work on the latter of the two although the I like the more hard rock on the former. Am I being wishy washy? Most probably but when an album can be so diversified and still catch and hold my attention, then it must be said that The Cars did something very right on this album.

Track Listing:

  1. Hello Again
  2. It’s Not the Night
  3. Magic
  4. Drive
  5. Stranger Eyes
  6. You Might Think
  7. I’s Not the Night
  8. Why Can’t I Have You
  9. I Refuse
  10. Heartbeat City

The Cars

Ric Ocasek- rhythm guitar, lead and backing vocals

Ben Orr- bass, backing vocals, lead vocals on tracks 4, 5 and 7

Elliot Easton- lead guitar, backing vocals

Greg Hawkes- keyboards, backing vocals

David Robinson- drums, percussion

Time might have caught up with The Cars but that didn’t stop them from doing what they did best and putting out a great album in “Heartbeat City.” Some have said that this was their best album, though I’ve always been partial to their first. However, I wouldn’t enter into any debate about it.

Next post: J Geils Band- You’re Gettin’ Even While I’m Gettin’ Odd

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 Go Go’s- Talk Show

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 31, 2017 by 80smetalman

Cause and effect here: From what I remember, the third album from The Go Go’s received hardly any radio airplay although the first single, “Head Over Heels” got a decent video play on MTV. That is the effect, the cause was because I think “Talk Show” is the best of their three albums in the early 1980s. They had matured as a band by this album and while the music is still in the pop-rock, new wave vein, their playing had really improved and why it’s my favourite Go Go’s album.

Of all five ladies who comprised the band, the one whose musicianship really struck me was that of lead guitarist Charlotte Caffey. I’ll be the first to admit that she doesn’t hold a candle to Girlschool’s Kelly Johnson in the female lead guitarist sweepstakes, she does some okay solos on the tracks. “Turn to You,” “Beneath the Blue Sky” and “You Thought.” She also plays keyboards and her best efforts if probably on “Head Over Heels.” Fair play, Caffey is a very underrated musician for sure. Speaking about underrated, I think that drummer Gina Schock is much better drummer than what she’s given credit for. All drummers reading this are welcome to comment here.

Actually, I think “Talk Show” is heavier than their previous albums, “Beauty and the Beat” and “Vacation.” The songs I mentioned in the previous paragraph are all fairly hard. Not metal but they are hard enough to be a step up, “Turn to You” especially. “I’m the Only One” is even harder though. It almost explodes onto you at the beginning and that is kept up throughout the song making it the hardest rock song on the album. Plus, it has Caffey’s best guitar solo. Okay, it’s my favourite track on the album. “Capture the Light” is pretty good as well and “Mercenary” is a cool closer that gives further support to my feelings in Gina Schock’s drumming.

Track Listing:

  1. Head Over Heels
  2. Turn to You
  3. You Thought
  4. Beneath the Blue Sky
  5. Forget That Day
  6. I’m the Only One
  7. Yes or No
  8. Capture the Light
  9. I’m With You
  10. Mercenary

The Go Go’s

Belinda Carlisle- lead vocals

Charlotte Caffey- lead guitar, keyboards, backing vocals

Jane Wiedlin- rhythm guitar, backing vocals

Kathy Valentine- bass, backing vocals

Gina Schock- drums, percussion, backing vocals

It is possible that “Talk Show” being my favourite Go Go’s album was why they broke up after it. I hope it’s not the case but after 1984, the Go Go’s would be no more. Lead singer, Belinda Carlisle would have a successful solo career towards the end of the decade, (I’ll cover those albums in due time) and Jane Wiedlin would have a couple of hits but for me, she’ll always be Joan of Arc in “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.” Still, the end of the road for a band that was just discovering how good they could be.

Next post: A Poll

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

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1983: Billy Idol- Rebel Yell

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 3, 2017 by 80smetalman

billyidolrebelyell

Not sure if history would agree with me but thirty years ago, I thought that 1983 was Billy Idol’s year. After all, he made my Spring and my final weeks in the service bearable with “White Wedding” from his first album, which was cool in itself. Then, at the end of the same year, he released the follow up, “Rebel Yell.” While I thought, actually I still do think it, that the first single and title track wasn’t quite as good as “White Wedding” or even “Dancing with Myself,” I still thought it was an all right song.

“Rebel Yell” is more of a new wave album than its predecessor. Billy uses more keyboards on the songs although unlike the emerging synth pop that was manifesting itself at the time, they don’t dominate them. On the title track, the keyboards help to usher in the start of the song but it goes more traditional hard rock for the rest of it. The same sort of thing happens with the tracks “Crank Call” and “(Do Not) Stand in the Shadows” and both songs are enjoyable. In fact, the hardest song on the album for me is “Blue Highway” and probably why it’s my favourite.

There are some more slower songs on here like “Eyes Without a Face” which did score as a big hit for him in the singles charts. That song marked a move away from punk to a more new wave sound. The same can be said for “Flesh For Fantasy,” but I like that one a little more. It did take me a few careful listens before I fully appreciated “Daytime Drama.” That’s because if you listen closely, there is some good guitar work in support. However, unlike hardcore punk or metal, it doesn’t come out and hit you in the face. I have to now concur with 1537’s assertion that Steve Stevens is a really good guitar player. Therefore, while I still don’t think that “Rebel Yell” quite hits the level of Idol’s self titled album, it’s still a good album.

Track Listing:

  1. Rebel Yell
  2. Daytime Drama
  3. Eyes Without a Face
  4. Blue Highway
  5. Flesh for Fantasy
  6. Catch My Fall
  7. Crank Call
  8. (Do Not) Stand in the Shadows
  9. The Dead Next Door
Billy Idol

Billy Idol

Billy Idol- guitar, vocals

Steve Stevens- guitar, bass, keyboards, synthesizer

Phil Feit- bass on Rebel Yell

Sal Cuevas- bass on Eyes Without a Face

Steve Webster- bass

Judi Dozier- keyboards

Jack Waldman- keyboards

Thommy Price- drums

Greg Gerson- drums on Rebel Yell and Do Not Stand in the Shadows

Mars Williams- saxophone on Catch My Fall

Perri Lister- backing vocals on Eyes Without a Face

The more I think back, the more convinced I become that 1983 was Billy Idol’s year. Two albums and four big singles prove that point. It is also why I thought that “Rebel Yell” would be the best way to end the tour of 1983.

Next post: Great Albums Killed by the Cassette Player

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Will Trump’s Presidency Usher in a New Wave of Heavy Metal?

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 24, 2017 by 80smetalman
Donald Trump

Donald Trump

I read a post on a blog, which my buddy 1537 reminded me of in his post last night, that the Presidency of the newly elected Donald Trump may usher in a new wave of heavy metal. With his ultra conservative politics, there will be a lot of angry musicians out there who will be inspired to write a lot of songs about Trump and the political/social climate that might generate from it. From that, a resurgence in heavy metal might just come about. Plus history can back it up.

Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan

Let’s begin by going back to the 198os when the US President was another ultra conservative, Ronald Reagan. During the decade, for which he was in office for most of, there was a heavy metal explosion. First there was the new wave of British heavy metal, (NWOBHM), which filled the early part of that decade. Inspired by that, many American metal bands emerged, I don’t feel I have to name them all. Towards the end of Ronnie’s presidency, we had the onslaught of thrash, a custom blend of punk and heavy metal. Even the PMRC, who operated with Reagan’s behind the scenes positive nod, failed to stop the heavy metal onslaught. It could also be why the 80s was the golden age of heavy metal. It also gave me good amount of inspiration when I wrote “Rock and Roll Children.”

Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton

Reagan’s successor, George HW Bush was a liberal Republican and that coincided with a downward trend in heavy metal. That continued well into the presidency of the more liberal Bill Clinton. We had the grunge period and a lot of great 80s metal acts kind of drifted into near obscurity during the 1990s. I say near but not total, I do remember some great metal from old and new acts but metal was definitely stuck in a rut during this decade. In fact, I heard former Dead Kennedys lead singer Jello Biafra once say that many members of hardcore punk bands in the 80s, in the 90s, went back to California, got computer jobs and started driving BMW’s. Maybe, there wasn’t anything to be angry about during Clinton’s presidency.

George W Bush

George W Bush

That all changed with the election of George W Bush in 2000. A new wave of ultra conservative politics brought on a new wave of heavy metal. The fragmented factions of metal, whether it by nu metal, Viking metal, black metal etc, established themselves back on the world music stage. They seemed to put aside their differences and come together for the common metal good. Furthermore, gaining inspiration from their 1980s elders, many of the bands from the golden decade also made a comeback. Again, we see right wing politics ushering in a new surge in heavy metal.

Barrack Obama

Barrack Obama

Obama’s presidency did bring the heavy metal surge to a more calming trickle. Fortunately, the lessons of the 1990s were learned and heavy metal didn’t go underground. While no new ground has been gained during the more liberal years of Obama, none has been lost either. What may have happened is that metal had become insular with metalheads finding sanctuary with each other. Metal now rests upon a springboard, ready to jump into any direction. If the person, I voted for, Green Party candidate Jill Stein, had been elected, metal would have gone in a more artsy direction. Not much chance of that happening.

Now we have Trump, who many believe to be extremely right wing, racist, sexist and a few other ists as well. So the question to be asked is “Will Trump’s presidency lead to a new resurgence in heavy metal? The answer will soon be made known to us. Things are promising to heat up in the heavy metal world and I am very excited to see what will become of it.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1983- Triumphs and Tragedies

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 27, 2016 by 80smetalman
The Alamo

The Alamo

The only tragedy I remember from 1983 actually happened the year before. Due to my military service, I didn’t find out about it until 83 when I read about all the fallout from it. I’m talking about when Ozzy Osbourne pissed on the Alamo. He claims he was drunk as a skunk, (I’ve never seen a drunk skunk so I have nothing to compare it to.) Ozzy also said he didn’t know it was such a national shrine, well it is in Texas. The result of his action got him banned from the city of San Antonio for ten years, although that was lifted a few years later when he made a large donation to the Alamo charity.

Ozzy Osbourne

Ozzy Osbourne

Ozzy was already getting himself a reputation outside the heavy metal world for the wrong reasons. His infamous biting the head off a bat was making its rounds. Of course, the religious element in America embellished things further. There were rumours he blew up goats on stage and at one show, he supposedly threw a puppy into the crowd and said he wouldn’t sing anymore until the audience killed the puppy. While this was all untrue hype, it didn’t help Ozzy when he actually did something for real. So for Ozzy and somewhat in the metal world, this was a bit of a tragedy because it overshadowed the two albums he released in the year. I’ll be covering those soon enough.

Now for the triumphs. It seems that 1983 was a cool year for festivals. I got to go to two of them. The first one, I mentioned when I posted about the Nantucket and Doc Holliday albums a few months ago. Those two bands topped the bill at the Mayfair Festival at Jacksonville, North Carolina. The other five bands remain pretty much unheard of with the bottom three being cover bands. So, I thought I’d include them in this little piece of history. They were Skeet Kelly, Roxy, Avalanche- who did a great cover of Sammy Hagar’s “Heavy Metal,” Peer Pressure- who did a reasonably decent cover of John Cougar’s “Hurt So Good” and Eraxle- who closed their set with a fantastic cover of Van Halen’s “Ice Cream Man.” I consumed loads of alcohol and there were some interesting events between the bands like a wet t-shirt and a men’s ugly legs competition. A fine day from what I remember.

Nantucket

Nantucket

Military commitments kept me from attending this festival but my sister went. I tried to pick her brains but she didn’t remember much. In the June, Journey headlined in Philadelphia and with them were John Cougar, Sammy Hagar, The Tubes and Bryan Adams. From what she can remember, my sister says that Journey sounded great and had a fantastic light show. John Cougar and Bryan Adams were both very good as was Sammy Hagar despite his red spandex. Unfortunately, The Tubes weren’t up to the rest of those who played that day. If this line up played in more cities than Philly, I would love to hear your account of the day.

Journey Live

Journey Live

It didn’t matter that I was in the military for this one, I couldn’t have gone to the US Festival because it was 3000 miles away in California. The US Festival was a three day festival where the first day consisted of new wave bands, the second day’s line up was heavy metal and the third day’s was a rock line up. From what I heard, all three days were fantastic although I do recall an interview with a local sheriff saying that he was going to try to ban such events following the festival. I didn’t think about it then, but that was the first salvo fired at music in the 1980s. I think the best thing to do is just to let you look at the line up for the three days and I’m sure you will be just as awestruck as I was.

Us Festival Showbill

Us Festival Showbill

I did get to the final festival in 1983. This was my first Donington Festival as I happened to be in England at the time. From my memory, I can recall that Diamond Head were all right and Dio were very good. I didn’t twig on who the lead singer was until they played “Heaven and Hell” but that was okay. They were brilliant. Then came Twisted Sister. I can still remember Dee Snider’s quip: “We’re not Culture Club or any of those gay boys or Duran Duran nor any of those other wimps. We’re Twisted Sister and we play heavy metal rock and roll!” Of course I knew there must of been something about them when they were introduced as Twisted Fuckin’ Sister. Their music was great too.

For me, ZZ Top took the concert. They played a magnificent combination of old and new material during their time on stage. Of course it helped that they played my two favourite ZZ Top tunes, “Jesus Just Left Chicago” and “La Grange.” They also played quite a few songs off their new “Eliminator” album so they basically rocked. The big let down after ZZ Top was Meatloaf. I was not impressed, he just sounded terrible that day. Worse, my friend’s English girlfriend didn’t realize that they ran a special train after the concert so out of fear of getting stuck, we left early and missed headliners, Whitesnake. I remain gutted but overall, Donington 1983 was a kick ass day and proved that Great Britain could rock.

donfest83

 

That was 1983 in a nutshell. The only real tragedy was Ozzy pissing on a national shrine but all the great concert festivals more than compensated for it. Just posting about it has me psyched for Bloodstock in two weeks. It was no wonder I was super excited when I got out of the marines that year.

Next post: Great Soundtracks

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