Archive for Pat Benatar

Great Rock Albums of 1985: Pat Benatar- Tropico

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 21, 2018 by 80smetalman

Some of the same accusations I hurled at Starship on their “Knee Deep in the Hoopla” album were also hurled at Pat Benatar when her “Tropico” album came out. Those accusations were that she had abandoned her hard rock roots and sold out and became a top 40 artist. Like I said last post, the label ‘sold out’ was banded about quite a lot back in 1985 against many artists both fairly and unfairly. The question here is: Did it apply to Pat Benatar?

Honestly, at first, I was in agreement that she had. Then again, I was one of those who banded the phrase about quite liberally. After all, I had grown up and rocked out to her first four hard rocking albums. Then to hear the softer, more keyboard oriented “Tropico” album, I was rather disappointed. Like so many, I expected Pat to go rocking on forever. But was this album a sell out? Returning to it over the years with a much more informed and open mind, my answer is an emphatic “NO!”

First of all, while this album is certainly much softer than its predecessors, it is in no way 80s top 40 synth pop. If anything, Pat goes more progressive rock here with the keyboards tastefully done. Full marks should be given to Charlie Giordano here, he does a masterful job on the keys throughout the album. While there are no real power chords on the album, Neil Giraldo still works his guitar magic on the album. Most of the guitars sound acoustic and the even the electric guitars are toned down but Neil still lets you know he hasn’t gone away. My only lamentation was that there isn’t any of his great guitar solos on it and that in my opinion, causes the album to suffer a little. However, what is omnipresent throughout is the unmistakable voice of Pat. Yes, “Tropic” may not be as musically fierce as her other offerings but her voice still shines on each and every track. Then again, she could sing any form of music and make it sound great.

As for the songs, I didn’t want to admit it back then but I have always kind of liked the first single, “We Belong.” It’s is anthem type song that although not a rocker, is still cool. However, I still can’t take to the second single, “Ooh Ooh Song.” Then there’s the hidden gem on the album. That honour goes to “The Outlaw Blues.” That song is the closest Pat comes to her previous material but it’s not a rocker. Just a good song. “Love in the Ice Age” and “Suburban King”  are good songs too.

Track Listing:

  1. Diamond Field
  2. We Belong
  3. Painted Desert
  4. Temporary Heroes
  5. Love in the Ice Age
  6. Ooh Ooh Song
  7. The Outlaw Blues
  8. Suburban King
  9. A Crazy World Like This
  10. Takin’ It Back

Pat Benatar

Pat Benatar- vocals

Neil Giraldo- guitars, harmonica, percussion

Charlie Giordano- keyboards, percussion

Donnie Nossov- bass, backing vocals

Myron Grombacker- drums, percussion

A long time ago, I took back all the things I said about Pat Benatar selling out on the the “Tropico” album. Yes, it’s different and I still prefer her earlier hard rock albums but this one is still good.

Next post: Van Zant

To download Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://fkidshelves.ml/print/free-download-rock-and-roll-children-by-michael-d-lefevre-pdf.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Great Rock/Metal Albums of 1983: Joan Jett and the Blackhearts- Album

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 26, 2016 by 80smetalman

220px-joan_jett__the_blackhearts_-_album

In 1982, Joan Jett had established herself as the queen of rock. However, her grip on the throne was not at all secure. The former queen whom she deposed in, if we were talking medieval times, would be described as a bloody coup, was still around and would jump at any chance to get that throne back. That former queen, Pat Benatar, did put out a cool live album in 1983, which I’ve already posted about. So, what Joan Jett and the Blackhearts needed was a great follow up to the 1982, “I Love Rock and Roll,” which established them. So, the question was, would “Album” be enough for Joan to retain her crown?

If you were take the opener and first single “Album” as an answer, then it would be a definite no. “Fake Friends” as a single put many people off the album and I too wasn’t impressed and thought that possibly the band had fumbled the ball here. Fortunately for me, especially after the Chris DeBurgh experience, I don’t let one song dictate an album for me. In fact, even after more than thirty years of hearing this album, I remain convinced that “Fake Friends” should not only have not been released as a single, it shouldn’t even be on the album!

As for the rest of the album, the songs are much better. Track two would have been a much better opener than “Fake Friends.” It starts off with the appropriate riff and goes strong from there. The follow up single, “Everyday People,” was much better as a single than the one already mentioned, however, even that is nowhere near the best track on this album. What I like about “Album,” is that it seems that every track improves as the album progresses. ” Hundred Feet Away,” “The French Song” and their take on the 1950’s Bobby Lewis classic, “Tossin’ and Turnin'” are all good rocking tunes. The only exception is the band’s attempt at a power ballad. “Why Can’t We Be Happy” isn’t a bad song, it’s just that I feel that Joan’s voice isn’t suited to ballads. However, she more than makes up with the next two songs, which in my view, are the two best on the album, with the latter being better than the former. “Coney Island Whitefish” torpedoes a hole in the theory about penultimate songs on albums being filler or just not as good. I love the chants of “scumbag”in the chorus. The closer, “Had Enough,” ends the album on a very aggressive note.

Track Listing:

  1. Fake Friends
  2. Handyman
  3. Everyday People
  4. A Hundred Feet Away
  5. Secret Love
  6. The French Song
  7. Tossin’ and Turnin’
  8. Why Can’t We Be Happy
  9. I Love Playing With Fire
  10. Coney Island Whitefish
  11. Had Enough
Joan Jett and the Blackhearts

Joan Jett and the Blackhearts

Joan Jett- vocals, guitar

Ricky Bird- guitar

Gary Ryan- bass

Lee Crystal- drums

Additional Musicians

Kenny Laguna- keyboards

The Uptown Horns

The Ross Levinson Strings

So the question is: Was “Album” good enough to secure Joan Jett’s place as the queen of rock. The answer is complicated. The album was good enough to keep her on the throne but not enough to keep her there securely. Even if you were to take “Fake Friends” out of it. There were several young metal maidens lurking in the shadows who would emerge to challenge and as the decade would prove, we wouldn’t see the last of Pat Benatar. But forget all that and just enjoy this album.

Next post: Ozzy Osbourne- Speak of the Devil

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: Pat Benatar- Live From Earth

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on June 13, 2016 by 80smetalman

Live_from_Earth_(Pat_Benatar_album_-_cover_art)

For many artists, it is almost natural that after making four great studio albums that they put out a live album. That’s exactly what Pat Benatar did in 1983 with “Live From Earth.” All of the great classics from her previous albums are all on here and all are done with such intensity, it has left me regretting the fact that I have never seen her live. Listening to the album and viewing some of the concert footage on YouTube, I know Pat would have been amazing. If any of you at there have seen Pat Benatar in concert, I would love to read about your experiences.

“Live From Earth” was recorded in California and France during her sold out tour for the “Get Nervous” album and has the two tracks “I Want Out” and “Looking For a Stranger” and both sound fantastic live. The strange phenomena is the fact that the two best known tracks “Shadows of the Night” and “Anxiety” are absent on the record, although they both appear on the VHS version released two years later. Still, those tracks not being there doesn’t spoil the rest of the record. I mean how could it with such great Benatar classics like “Heartbreaker,” “Hit Me With Your Best Shot,” “Fire and Ice,” need I go on?

In spite of “Live From Earth” being a great hard rocking live album, some have pointed to it as the turning point for her move away from the heavy rock albums that made her the queen of rock from 1980-2. I’m talking about the single “Love is a Battlefield.” To be honest, I’ve never hated this song but is completely different from what I had heard from her in the past. It is definitely a typical 1980s synthesizer pop song in some respects but with Pat’s voice, I found it impossible to dislike.

Track Listing:

  1. Fire and Ice
  2. Looking For a Stranger
  3. I Want Out
  4. We Live For Love
  5. Hell is for Children
  6. Hit Me With Your Best Shot
  7. Promises in the Dark
  8. Heartbreaker
  9. Love is a Battlefield
  10. Lipstick Lies
Pat Benatar

Pat Benatar

Pat Benatar- lead vocals

Neil Giraldo- guitar, backing vocals

Charlie Giordano- keyboards

Roger Capps- bass, backing vocals

Myron Grombacher- drums

The question remains: Did “Live From Earth” mark the turning point for Pat Benatar from being a feisty hard rocking rock queen to a trendy top 40 performer? Possibly but after listening to this incredible live album, I don’t really care. I just prefer to sit back and hear all the great Benatar rock classics played so well live and have a small regret of never having been to one of these concerts.

Next post: Loverboy- Keep It Up

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/Metal Albums of 1982: Joan Jett and the Blackhearts- I Love Rock and Roll

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 15, 2015 by 80smetalman

I_love_rock_n'_roll_-_joan_jett_(album_cover)

Not long ago when I visited Pat Benatar’s “Get Nervous” album, I ended the post by saying that in 1982, someone would come along and usurp Pat’s throne as the queen of rock. Yes, I know I’ve just given it away, the usurper would be Joan Jett. Unlike Pat’s bloodless ascension to the throne in 1980, Joan’s would be a very bloody one in regards to music because as evidenced by the “Get Nervous” album, Pat Benatar was not going to give up the throne without a fight. So if we were to look at this coup, not in rock terms but in terms of medieval fantasy, which I love, it would have unfolded in two ways. If both ladies amassed armies, there would be lots of casualties, ransacked castles and burning villages on both sides. In the second scenario, if both ladies chose to forego the armies and engage in single combat, both would have had serious wounds inflicted on them by the other. However, the end result would have been the same, a victorious Joan Jett standing over a vanquished Pat Benatar.

This is what a clash of rock armies might have looked like

This is what a clash of rock armies might have looked like

And if they engaged in single combat

And if they engaged in single combat

Putting my love for fantasy aside, fortunately, there was no actual bloodshed. The reason why Joan Jett would usurp the crown as Queen of Rock is simply down to the fact that her album “I Love Rock and Roll” is just brilliant. I first heard about the album when my lieutenant shot it down saying the band only played two chords. If that’s true, then they were the right two chords. My first induction to the album was once I returned to the US, the title track was dominating the juke boxes in just about every bar I went to and the second single, “Crimson and Clover” an old number by Tommy James and the Shondells got a considerable amount of play too. Furthermore, this would be the first and probably only album that had two songs that were common favourites of different dancers at the Driftwood. A dancer named Angie really knew how to move to “I Love Rock and Roll.” She made that song come to life almost. “Crimson and Clover” was finely manipulated by a dancer named Mary. Trust me, watching her work her magic to that song was something else. It is little wonder why I have fond memories of both of these songs.

Because the two hit singles from the album were classics written by others in another era, it has been surmised by some that Joan’s song writing is not up to much. When I listen to the other songs, I disagree. What those songs do is set an interesting vibe for the rest of the album. If I could give this album a theme, it would be “The early rock and roll years transformed to metal.” Many of the songs do have a vibe like they could have been written in the 1950s or early 60s but that hard guitar sound blows everything out of the water. Joan Jett writes the other ones that make the album for me like “(I’m Gonna) Run Away,” “Love is Pain” and “Victim of Circumstance” and while she didn’t write “Nag,” I’m going to mention it here anyway, I like it. How Joan Jett and the Blackhearts version of “Little Drummer Boy” missed my favourite Christmas song list, I’ll never know.

While it’s easy to sing the praises of Joan Jett, you can’t take anything away from her band. Along with Joan, who should have been included in my list of great rhythm guitarists, Gary Ryan and Lee Crystal provide a solid rhythm section and while I don’t know which guitarist does which solos but I am impressed by Rick Byrd and Irvan Arifin Harahap. These boys definitely played a key role in Joan’s ascension to the rock throne.

Track Listing:

1. I Love Rock and Roll

2. (I’m Gonna) Run Away

3. Love is Pain

4. Nag

5. Crimson and Clover

6. Victim of Circumstance

7. Bits and Pieces

8. Be Straight

9. You’re Too Possessive

10. Little Drummer Boy

Joan Jett and the Blackhearts

Joan Jett and the Blackhearts

Joan Jett- lead vocals, guitar

Gary Ryan- bass, backing vocals

Irvan Arifin Harahap- guitar, vocals

Lee Crystal- drums

Rick Byrd- guitar

That is the story how Joan Jett became the new Queen of Rock in 1982 and arguably the first Queen of Metal. It is hard to fault it with a great album like “I Love Rock and Roll.”

Next post: Blue Oyster Cult- Extra Terrestrial Live

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: Pat Benatar- Get Nervous

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 4, 2015 by 80smetalman

Get_nervous

Pat Benatar entered 1982 as the undisputed queen of rock. Yes, I know some regarded Chrissie Hynde as queen but it was Pat who had my full allegiance from 1980. By the end of 1981, she had released three very kick ass rock albums to firmly cement her on the throne and it is evidenced by her 1982 album, “Get Nervous,” she wasn’t going to give up her throne without a fight.

“Get Nervous” was the first Pat Benatar album to incorporate keyboards. However, this did not make her sound any softer or really any more commercial. There was still plenty of hard rock left in her and her band and while I would agree that “Get Nervous” may not have been quite as good as her previous three albums, (“Crimes of Passion” is my favourite) it was still a good album from her.

Keeping in the 1982 tradition, the album opens with the hit single, “Shadows of the Night.” When I first heard the song and saw the video at a bar on Okinawa, I simply thought that this was another cool song from her, I still do. Still new to music video, I thought the World War 2 theme for the video was pretty cool as well. I could hear the keyboards but thought they complimented the song very well. The rest of the album, with one exception, follows one in this way. There are some great rocking tracks on “Get Nervous.” The ones which stick out for me are “The Victim,” “A Little Too Late,”  “I’ll Do It” and “Tell It To Her.” I must also give a shout to “Fight It Out” which reminds me a lot of “Hell is for Children” but is in no way a carbon copy of the classic.

One criticism aimed at Pat Benatar about this album back in the day was that it sounded too much like her previous three and her sound was getting tiring. I never agreed with this theory and that is where I bring in the one exception into evidence. “Anxiety (Get Nervous)” goes to more of a new wave sound but still Pat makes it work. It does throw something different into the mix and while you may not hear power chords or a blistering solo from Giraldo, the song is still enjoyable. It proves that while Pat was willing to bend, she still was not ready to give up her throne.

Track Listing:

1. Shadows of the Night

2. Looking For a Stranger

3. Anxiety (Get Nervous)

4. Fight It Out

5. The Victim

6. A Little Too Late

7. I’ll Do It

8. I Want Out

9. Tell It to Her

10. Silent Partner

Pat Benatar

Pat Benatar

Pat Benatar- lead vocals

Neil Giraldo- guitars, backing vocals

Charlie Giordano- keyboards

Roger Capps- bass, backing vocals

Myron Grombacher- drums

Unfortunately for Pat, in spite of having a great album, her throne as queen of rock would be usurped in 1982. Another queen, purely through her sheer power to rock would come and steal the throne away. Who that is will be revealed in the not too distant future. However, that in no way shadows what a good album “Get Nervous” was.

Next post: Don Henley- I Can’t Stand Still

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

 

 

The Runaways- The First True All Female Metal Band

Posted in Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 17, 2014 by 80smetalman

Janis Joplin and Grace Slick for the first queens of rock in the 60’s and in the 70’s came Ann and Nancy Wilson who were arguably the first modern rock chicks. In the later part of the 70’s and early 80’s we had such great ladies like Pat Benatar, Chrissie Hynde and Debbie Harry. All of these women were rock queens in the true sense and their contribution to music will always be remembered.

Janis Joplin

Janis Joplin

Grace Slick

Grace Slick

Debbie Harry

Debbie Harry

Pat Benatar

Pat Benatar

 

Heart

Heart

The Pretenders

The Pretenders

In 1981, two all female bands made their way into the spotlight, The Go-Gos and Girlschool. While the former had a more commercial rock sound, the latter was straight forward heavy metal and stood alongside of many of the NWOBHM acts that were coming out that year. However, these two weren’t the all female bands who could blow speakers with great power chords. Before them came The Runaways.

The Go Go's

The Go Go’s

Girlschool

Girlschool

I had heard of The Runaways even before the film that came out a few years ago. Even at the tender (small chuckle here) age of sixteen, I was enamoured with these fine ladies who played such aggressive music. I did listen to their debut album and liked it. Likewise, I wanted to listen to their second one “Queens of Noise” but never got the chance. Must rectify that in the future. While, I never heard any of their songs on that cheap AM radio I had back then, they toured extensively and played many sell out concerts in the US and Japan. Furthermore, the likes of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Cheap Trick and Van Halen supported them. Unfortunately, accusations of mismanagement, rows over money and direction plus several personnel changes lead to break up of the band.

Albums:

The Runaways- 1976

Queens of Noise- 1977

Waitin’ for the Night- 1977

Live in Japan- 1977

And Now, The Runaways- 1978

The Runaways

The Runaways

Cherrie Currie- vocals

Joan Jett- guitar, vocals

Lita Ford- guitar

Jackie Fox- bass

Sandy West- drums

*Vicki Blue and Laurie McAllister also played bass during The Runaways reign

While The Runaways may be no longer, the members are still around and making themselves known. One of them would dethrone Pat Benatar as the queen of rock in 1982 and possibly become the first metal queen. That one is up for debate. Another ex Runaway would also make a huge splash in heavy metal circles nor would some of the other former members remain completely silent. Almost silently, these ladies would go onto to be an influence on heavy metal and I think the all female metal bands that would spring up less than a decade later can look to them for inspiration. Don’t take my word for it, watch the film and listen to their music for yourself.

Next post: 1982- The Floodgates Are Open

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 1981: The Plasmatics- Metal Priestess

Posted in 1980s, Death, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 12, 2014 by 80smetalman

220px-Metalpriestess

Before I launch into this great mini LP or EP or whatever you want to call it from The Plasmatics, I must give forewarning that I might not be posting very much over the next three or four weeks due to family problems. My father in law passed away last week and the funeral is on Wednesday which means we will make the 200 mile trip to Grimsby on the Tuesday. I know for Americans, that distance is just a Sunday drive. The following week, I’m off to the States to visit my mother who I haven’t seen in eight years and hasn’t been well since her accident Christmas time. I know, I’ll get plenty of time to hang with old friends and my brother and sister but I can’t be sure of how much computer time I will get. I have always endeavored to post twice a week here but please bear with me if I can’t post that many times over the next few weeks. Thank you.

The best way to bring us out of the melancholy feeling I’ve just produced is to look at an album that has been left out of the spotlight for so many years. “Metal Priestess” was made because of the success with The Plasmatics’ previous album “Beyond the Valley of the 1984.” The producer, Dan Hartman, (you may have heard of him) thought that the band should have something to build on that success and since a full length album wasn’t on the cards at the time, the six song “Metal Priestess” was made. There may have been only six songs on the album but wow! What great six songs they are proving that quality is sometimes better than quantity. Each song is an explosion of pure metal mania. Things begin with an impressive guitar opening in “Lunacy” and those guitars dominate but it’s the voice of Wendy O. Williams that gives it the extra edge. Her sinister sounding vocals give meaning to the title of the song. That combination works equally as well on the track “Black Leather Monster” and I love the beginning of “Twelve Noon” as well. It too is a brilliant song and the live recording of “Masterplan” as the closer was stroke of genius for this LP. If you want a pure metal album from 1981 and that’s exactly what this album is, pure metal, there are few which are better than “Metal Priestess.”

In the past and even more so in the future, I have paid and will pay tribute to rock goddesses and metal queens. I have already mentioned such important ladies as Pat Benatar, Debbie Harry, Ann and Nancy Wilson, Grace Slick and even the first true queen of rock Janis Joplin. Future posts will include lovely ladies like Lee Aaron, Lita Ford and Doro Pesch. However, when any of these queens are mentioned, the name Wendy O. Williams seems to be missed out and to me that is a travesty. Speaking as red blooded male, Wendy is just as hot as any of the ladies I’ve just mentioned, hell, look at the album cover. And vocally she’s no less talented. So let’s give Wendy to adoration she so richly deserves when we talk about the great females who have contributed so greatly to our beloved genre of music.

Track Listing:

1. Lunacy

2. Doom Song

3. Sex Junkie

4. Black Leather Monster

5. Twelve Noon

6. Master Plan

The Plasmatics

The Plasmatics

Wendy O. Williams- vocals

Richie Stotts- lead guitars

Wes Beach- rhythm guitars

Jean Bouvoir- bass

Neal Smith- drums

Proof that sometimes less if more, the six songs on “Metal Priestess” can all be counted as great metal tunes. I rocked out to each one of them when I listened to it. Another album from a band that didn’t last longer into the 80s and this album as the previous has me asking why. Maybe I’ll get the answer further down the line.

Next post: TBA

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