Archive for October

Great Rock Albums of 1984: U2- Under a Blood Red Sky

Posted in Concerts, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 15, 2017 by 80smetalman

Maybe U2 were trying to follow in the lead of Blackfoot in the sense that after three albums, release a live album. The difference here is that the three Blackfoot albums are all considered classics while the same can’t be said for the three U2 albums. Now don’t get me wrong, I like all three of these albums, “Boy,” “October” and “War.” However, the first two didn’t propel them to stardom the way “War” did. “Boy” turned my head in their direction but when I mentioned U2 to others, I mostly got blank stares. “October,” on the other hand, is U2’s best kept secret. Not a lot of people seem to know too much about the album but I’ve always liked it. “War” goes without saying, it made the band a worldwide name. It is on the back of “War” that the live “Under a Blood Red Sky” album was released.

When most people think of this live album, they automatically assume it’s from the filmed concert “U2 Live at Red Rocks: Under a Blood Red Sky,” it’s not. The songs are live but recorded separately from concerts in Colorado, Boston and Germany. Furthermore, the filmed concert is nearly and hour and a half long while the album consists of just eight songs and is just over thirty-five minutes.

Ironically, the album starts with the best known song from the “October” album, “Gloria.” Probably a good opener as any for U2 at this stage of their career. What’s more, the next two songs are off the “Boy” album but then, “I Will Follow” is my all time favourite U2 song and it’s played very well. The crowd really get into it and if I had been there, I would have too. The fourth song, “Party Girl,” doesn’t appear on any of the albums but it’s still okay. Remember, back in 1983, U2 were still hungry and making their mark on the music world and all of the songs reflect that on the album.

It’s not until song five we get anything from the “War” album and that is the phenomenal “Sunday Bloody Sunday.” My second favourite U2 song and the way it’s played here is pure magic. Next is another good song from the debut album in the form of “The Electric Co.” For me, it’s played just as well live as when I hear it on the “Boy” album. Were there studio fixes here?  I can’t say. The last two songs from “War” take the album out brilliantly. First is the fantastic “New Year’s Day” and there is no better song for them to close a concert with than “40.” When I saw them in 1985, they would close the show with that song and it was mind blowing. I have to say that “Under a Blood Red Sky” takes me back to another time and almost seemingly another U2 because they were actually good but it hadn’t gone to their heads yet.

Track Listing:

  1. Gloria
  2. 11 O’Clock Tick Tock
  3. I Will Follow
  4. Party Girl
  5. Sunday Bloody Sunday
  6. The Electric Co
  7. New Year’s Day
  8. 40

U2

Bono- lead vocals, guitar

The Edge- guitar, keyboards, backing vocals, bass on “40”

Adam Clayton- bass, guitar on “40”

Larry Mullen Jr- drums

“Under a Blood Red Sky” may not go down as one of the greatest live albums in history but it’s still a good album. Especially if you like U2 when they were more hungry and less with the ego.

Next post: Julian Lennon- Valotte

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Great Rock Albums of 1983: U2- War

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 17, 2016 by 80smetalman

220px-U2_War_album_cover

My original intention was to post U2’s breakthrough album “War” in succession with Todd Rundgren and Bryan Adams. However, with the death of David Bowie, I felt the need to abandon that intention in order to pay proper homage to a true rock icon. The idea for my original intention came about because back in 1983, there was a chance to see Todd Rundgren, U2 and Bryan Adams together. They were playing a concert in Charlotte, North Carolina and the local radio station in Jacksonville, where I was stationed, was running a bus to it. I would have loved to have gone but unfortunately, the Marine Corps stuck me on duty that day so I couldn’t. It’s no wonder why I didn’t re-enlist.

Like I said a second again, u2’s third album, “War” was the album where they finally got the attention they deserved in the US. In 1983 and I’ve probably said this before, commercial radio didn’t totally suck, so when the monster hits, “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and “New Year’s Day,” blew me away when they got played, I naturally had to get a hold of the album. Especially, having heard their first two albums, “Boy” and “October.” U2 was one of those bands where I could tell the johnny come lately’s that I was listening to them before they got famous.

What I have always liked about War is that, at least in my ears, it’s not much different to their first two albums. They didn’t have to change to get accepted, (something they would forget in the years to follow.) U2 brought a different sound to the table which many people liked when they got to hear it. The fascinating thing about “War” is that the album has been enjoyed by both metalheads and Duranies (people who worshiped Duran Duran) alike. In fact, they have often been labelled ‘punk’ mainly because there was no other category in which to put them.

So many great things have been said about the “War” album, I would just be repeating them and even now, I find it difficult to find my own words. I know I just really like this album. The two singles already mentioned are my joint second favourite U2 songs of all time, “I Will Follow” takes the top slot. However, I was more than slightly disappointed when they didn’t play the third single from the album, “Two Hearts Beat as One” when I finally got to see them live in 1985. While all of the songs are good, I would have to pick “Surrender” as my favourite of the lesser known songs on “War.”

Track Listing:

  1. Sunday Bloody Sunday
  2. Seconds
  3. New Year’s Day
  4. Like a Song
  5. Drowning Man
  6. The Refugee
  7. Two Hearts Beat as One
  8. Red Light
  9. Surrender
  10. 40
U2

U2

Bono- lead vocals, additional guitar

The Edge- guitars, piano, backing vocals, lead vocal on “Seconds”

Adam Clayton- bass

Larry Mullen Jr- drums

In 1983, U2 finally broke into the big time with a fantastic album “War.” This album was a milestone for the band and fans like me in so many ways. In fact, often times I think that the band should go back and listen to this album and remember what got them to where they are.

Next post: Supertramp- Famous Last Words

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 1982: U2- October

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on December 2, 2014 by 80smetalman

220px-U2_October

 

U2’s second album “October actually came to my attention at the tail end of 1981 when I saw it at a record store. However, I was still listening to their debut album “Boy,” so I wasn’t quite ready for their new album. That all changed while I was early into my second deployment to the Mediterranean and Indian Ocean when a fellow marine played the album opener “Gloria” that was on his self made cassette of punk tunes. Fact: believe it or not, back in 1981 and 2, U2 were considered punk by the mainstream. I’ve said this before and I know I’ll say it again, back then, anything new or that mainstream commercial radio just didn’t get was classed as punk.

Whether or not U2 were ever punk was not really an issue for me, all I know was that they were quickly growing on me. One reason why was that if I were to choose another name for “October,” I would call it “Boy II” because to me, the second album sounds very much like the first. That’s not a particularly bad thing by the way. Like “Boy,” “October” begins with the best know single from that particular album. I won’t make comparisons because “I Will Follow” will always be my favourite U2 song. Therefore I will not take anything away from the opener here. “I Fall Down” is a good follow on and I’m not sure what to make of “I Threw a Brick Through a Window” but it does stand out in the sense that I didn’t hear anything like it on “Boy.” For me, the album goes down the same road as its predecessor and you could argue “If it ain’t broke then don’t fix it.” Even the end of the album slows down in the same way the closer on “Boy,” “Shadows in Tall Trees” does. While I won’t go as far as saying the two albums are completely identical, they are quite similar.

Track Listing:

1. Gloria

2. I Fall Down

3. I Threw a Brick Through a Window

4. Rejoice

5. Fire

6. Tomorrow

7. October

8. With a Shout (Jerusalem)

9. Stranger in a Strange Land

10. Scarlet

11. Is That All

U2

U2

Bono- lead vocals

The Edge- guitar, piano, backing vocals

Adam Clayton- bass

Larry Mullen Jr- drums

As I said earlier, if it’s not broke, don’t fix it. What U2 did with “October” is take their first album as a blueprint and made another album along the same vein. However, it is done in a way that doesn’t put the listener off. “October” would prove to be a small stepping stone towards the next album which would lead them to ultimate greatness in the golden decade. One thing I have always said about U2 was the fact that they were one band that metalheads and trendies both liked.

Next post: Loverboy- Get Lucky

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