Archive for Pat Benatar

Great Soundtracks of 1981: American Pop

Posted in 1980s, films, Music, Rock, soundtracks, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 17, 2014 by 80smetalman

220px-American_pop_soundtrack_album

Whilst I was on leave after my first deployment overseas, the animated film “American Pop” was at the cinemas. The fact that they used the spot where Jimi Hendrix plays “Purple Haze” was enough to make me want to go see it. The movie itself was all right but what was even better was the soundtrack. It had some of the great artists from the 60s and 70s on it and those songs together make this soundtrack very cool to listen to.

Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix

It has been many years since I have seen this film or listened to the soundtrack but for those who may not be familiar with it, I’ll go through a very quick synopsis of the movie. “American Pop” is about 4 generations of musicians. It begins in the early 20th Century and focuses on the character Zamwe who is a child star. However, is throat is injured while singing for the troops on World War One so he never gets to be a star. He also falls foul of the mafia. The story then goes to his son Benny who is an accomplished pianist in a jazz band. He is on the road to fame when World War Two breaks out. Unfortunately, he is shot in the back while playing a piano in a bombed out bar in France. However, Benny’s seed is passed on through Tony. Now in the 60s, Tony’s mother has remarried and has more kids making him an outcast. He goes on the road taking odd jobs where he meets a rock band and becomes their song writer. However, he gets involved with the female lead singer and also gets hooked on drugs ending his brief brush with success. Several years later, Tony is a down and out and his companion is a young street kid named Pete. Tony disappears after giving Pete a load of drugs telling him not to sell it all in one place. Several years more and Pete is a big time drug dealer and is selling to rock stars. One day, he asks the band he is selling to to hear one of his songs. The band refuse at first but relent when Pete threatens to withdraw his business. Pete plays his song and the result is he becomes a big rock star, the end.

Tony and Pete

Tony and Pete

At the time, this film was slated by a lot of people. The problem was that some people tried to take the film too literally. For instance, the girl singer comes across like Grace Slick, (the rest of the band does resemble Jefferson Airplane a little) but turns into Janis Joplin. Okay, those two 60s rock queens may have been fused together to create the character but I say good on them. The other one was at the end. It turns out that Pete’s song is none other than “Night Moves” by and I know I’ve said it before, the unsung hero of 70s rock, Bob Seger. The Pete character was never meant to be Bob, they just use his song. Besides, I did a little research and didn’t find any evidence that Bob Seger was a drug dealer. If I were to go back to that time, I would tell those people to lighten up because if you don’t try to look at things that aren’t really there, the film is quite enjoyable. Of course it is the soundtrack that really makes this movie.

Do they resemble Jefferson Airplane to you?

Do they resemble Jefferson Airplane to you?

Official Track Listing:

1. Pat Benatar- Hell is for Children

2. Big Brother and the Holding Company- Summertime

3. The Mamas and the Papas- California Dreamin’

4. Peter, Paul and Mary- This Train

5. Jefferson Airplane- Somebody to Love

6. Jimi Hendrix- Purple Haze

7. The Dave Brubeck Quartet- Take Five

8. Sam Cooke- You Send Me

9. Fabian- Turn Me Loose

10. The Doors- People are Strange

Songs in the film not on the Soundtrack

Bob Seger- Night Moves

Lynyrd Skynyrd- Freebird

Bob Seger

Bob Seger

Just from looking at this list of songs, it is obvious that I do not need to go into more detail about them. A great array of songs from several decades brought together to make one hell of a soundtrack and you can’t debate that whatever you think of the film.

Next post: The Soundtrack to Heavy Metal

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

Advertisements

Great Rock One Hit Wonders of 1981

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Humour, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 11, 2014 by 80smetalman

Originally, this post was going to be a promotion for an unsigned band whose demo has happened to come into my possession. When I told the band I was going to write about them, they were going to send me a picture of themselves but since that hasn’t happened yet, I’m afraid it will have to wait till next time. So instead I will post about the one hit wonders that graced us in 1981.

Joe Dolce

Joe Dolce

NO this isn’t a wind up! I am including “Shaddap You Face” by Joe Dolce among the one hit wonders. Yes, the song was a total wind up but Mr Dolce was probably laughing all the way to the bank. Besides, I have a more mercenary reason for putting it here. See, my ex wife was a big fan of Ultravox back in the 80s and in 1981, their hit “Vienna” was destined for the number in the UK charts. However, this strange song by Joe came along and usurped the top spot. My ex has never forgiven him for that and although we’re on amicable terms now,  the thought does bring a sinister smile to my face.

pacman

This might seem a wind up too but if you were around in 1981, you will remember Pac Man. This was the game to play at video arcades and it caught on so much that a group named Buckner and Garcia made a song about it. “Pac Man Fever” was very cheesy to say the least, the lyrics prove that. So, why am I including it here? The answer is that, “Pac Man Fever” gets my vote for being the worst song with a cool guitar solo. That’s the only reason why I liked it. After all, I never played Pac Man that much; instead I was getting my initials down on the top ten lists on Bezerk.

Bezerk

Bezerk

Climax Blues Band

Climax Blues Band

My British readers are now jumping up and down in sheer anger for calling the Climax Blues Band one hit wonders. I know they had much more success in the UK and were still going strong ten years after their only US hit “I Love You” was in the charts. Back in 1991-2, I used to work at a factory down the road from the famous Royal Standard pub in Walthamstow, London and I would see the band posted on the board outside for a Saturday night gig on several occasions. But, “I Love You” was the only song I would remember them for, especially as it’s one I can associate with yet another dancer at The Driftwood. I can never remember her name though.

Quarterflash

Quarterflash

Now it’s the turn of American readers to blow a gasket, especially those in the Northwest but I have always considered Quarterflash to be one hit wonders. After a little research, I saw that they had some other hits but that was in early 1982 and I was on my second tour overseas. Other songs didn’t make it across the Atlantic and like the Rolling Stones’ “Waiting on a Friend,” Quarterflash’s greatest hit, “Harden My Heart” was also blasting out of juke boxes in cafes in Toulon, France. This is the best of the songs I have mentioned so far, it is a true rock song. Back then, some were calling lead singer Rindy Ross, the next Pat Benatar. I wouldn’t go that far but Ross did have an excellent voice.

Kim Carnes

Kim Carnes

Always sounding like she had a frog in her throat, Kim Carnes dominated the US and other countries’ singles charts with her most famous hit, “Bette Davis Eyes.” Like Quarterflash and the Climax Blues Band, there is much scope for debate as whether or not she should be a one hit wonder. She has many song writing credits to her name including songs for David Cassidy, Kenny Rogers and Barbra Streisand, I know not real rockers. That’s why I was glad that this song tended to be slightly more rock.

We can sum up that the songs from one hit wonders in 1981 went from the ridiculous to the serious. Two of the ones mentioned here evoke the John McEnroe, “You can’t be serious” approach but the the ones that were are definitely good songs in their own right.

Next post: Hopefully- Another Band That Should be Signed

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1981: Pat Benatar- Precious Time

Posted in 1980s, Books, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, soundtracks, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 24, 2014 by 80smetalman

220px-Pat_Benatar_-_Precious_Time

Kings and queens of rock music have come and gone throughout the years but it can be safely said that in 1980 and 81, Pat Benatar was the undisputed queen of rock. She ascended to the throne in 1980 on the wings of her second album “Crimes of Passion” after the previous rock queen, Debbie Harry, in my view, abdicated. The more astute among you probably realise that I never visited Blondie’s “Auto-American” album and for good reason. While “Crimes of Passion” ascended Pat Benatar to her rightful throne, her third album in 1981, “Precious Time,” kept her firmly seated there.

“Precious Time” continues on in the same hard rocking theme that made Pat Benatar a household name in rock circles. I admit, when I first heard the introduction to the opener, “Promises in the Dark,” I thought she might be going a bit softer but about thirty seconds in, the guitars take over and that Benatar sound is back in full swing. The second track is the big single, “Fire and Ice” and contains what I think is the best ever guitar solo from Neil Giraldo. “Just Like Me” and the title track are both traditional Pat Benatar rockers and the track “It’s a Tuff Life” goes quite reggae but nonetheless is a great track. In all of these tracks and the following, “Take It Anyway You Want It,” the vocals of Pat Benatar combined with the guitar of Neil Giraldo definitely work well like they did with the two albums.

Now, if they were ever to make a film from either of my books, “Rock And Roll Children” would be filled with some great concert footage, but with my latest one, “He Was Weird,” I would insist that one song from this album, “Evil Genius,” be on the soundtrack. While the lyrics of this song don’t exactly fit in with the main character in the story, the song itself would greatly add to the ambiance of the movie. The lyrics are spot on here and that helps make the song even better for me. I can’t leave out the fact that this album proves that The Beatles wrote a song that had an impact on hard rock and heavy metal. This album provided me with my first opportunity to hear the classic “Helter Skelter” covered by a great hard rock act. Here, Pat Benatar, to quote Cheryl Cole, makes the song her own and no I don’t watch “X-Factor.”

41py2BjZFcL._AA160_

Track Listing:

1. Promises in the Dark

2. Fire and Ice

3. Just Like Me

4. Precious Time

5. It’s a Tuff Life

6. Take It Anyway You Want It

7. Evil Genius

8. Hard to Believe

9. Helter Skelter

Pat Benatar

Pat Benatar

Pat Benatar- vocals

Neil Giraldo- lead guitar, keyboards, backing vocals

Scott St Clair Sheets- rhythm guitar

Roger Capps- bass

Myron Grombacher- drums

With “Precious Time,” it is easy to see why Pat Benatar was the undisputed queen of rock in 1980 and 81. Come the following year, there would be a serious challenge to her rule but that is best left for another time. In the world of hard rock, 1981 was without a doubt Pat Benatar’s year and “Precious Time” backs this up.

Next album: Frank Zappa- You Are What You Is

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

To buy He Was Weird go to: http://www.amazon.co.uk/He-Was-Weird-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1909740942/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1403623312&sr=8-1&keywords=he+was+weird

Also available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

Great Soundtracks of 1980: Up The Academy

Posted in 1980s, films, Humour, Music, Rock, soundtracks, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 14, 2013 by 80smetalman

th

There is many a film out there where the film itself wasn’t up to much but it had a kick ass soundtrack. One I covered already with “The Last Waltz” although the film itself was a concert and there are more out there which will appear here. One such film from 1980 was the film from Mad Magazine called “Up The Academy.” One doesn’t need a college degree to figure out that Mad Magazine made this film in an attempt to cash in on the success of their rival National Lampoon whose film “Animal House” is one of the forever classics. Unfortunately, there is no comparison between the two films, “Animal House” wins hands down.

This is not to say that “Up the Academy” is a bad film. Actually, I thought it was funny in many places. The film is about four teenage boys who are sent to military school by there parents on account of things the boys have done to bring dishonour to the family. One got his girlfriend pregnant and his father is a politician campaigning on the anti-abortion platform. One, played by a young Ralph Machio, is the son of a mafia kingpin and is not interested in the family business. Then there is the son of the Arabian Sheik and the pot smoking African American boy whose father is a TV evangelist. Without going into full details, the main characters immediately fall foul of the gung-ho commandant and there is a lot of funny moments as they try to get one over on him. For months after I saw the film, one of my marine buddies who I saw it with, (he went by Mooch,) would impersonate the commandant with “Say ageeen, say ageen.”

A scene from the film

A scene from the film

What stood out for me more than the laughs was all the great songs that were played in the film. Now classics like “One Way or Another” from Blondie and Cheap Trick’s “Surrender” lead a string of cool rock tunes. There are also contributions from Pat Benatar, Sammy Hagar, The Kinks, Dwight Twilley and a ten minute song from the legendary Lou Reed. Ok, they only played a small part of the song. As the case with many soundtracks, there is some unknown band that makes its mark. On this soundtrack, it is the band Blow-Up. Three of their songs appear on the album and I was impressed with all of them. The opener, “Kicking Up a Fuss” reminds me of The Ramones or The Dead Kennedys and the other two, while less punk are still good rock tunes as well. This is definitely a cool soundtrack.

Blondie

Blondie

Cheap Trick

Cheap Trick

PatBenatar-CrimesOfPassion

Track Listing:

1. Blow-Up- Kicking Up a Fuss

2. Iggy and the Stooges- Gimme Danger

3. Dwight Twilley Band- Trying to Find My Baby

4. Blondie- X Offender

5. Eddie and the Hot Rods- Do Anything You Wanna Do

6. The Kinks- Yes Sir, No Sir

7. Ian Hunter- We Gotta Get Out of Here

8. Lou Reed- Street Hassle

9. Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers- Roadrunner

10. The Boomtown Rats- Rat Trap

11. David Johansen- Girls

12. Blondie- One Way or Another

13. Cheeks- Coquette

14. Blow-Up- Local Hero

15. Sammy Hagar- Bad Reputation

16. Iggy Pop and James Williamson- Night Theme

17. Cheeks- Bony Moronie

18. Nick Lowe- Heart of the City

19. Pat Benatar- We Live for Love

20. The Babys- Midnight Rendezvous

21. Cheap Trick- Surrender

22. Blow- Up- Beat the Devil

So if you want a good laugh while rocking out to some great tunes then your task is simple. Watch “Up the Academy” and then listen to the soundtrack, it’s definitely worth it. But it does seem a shame that Blow-Up never seemed to make it big.

Next post: Great Rock One Hit Wonders of 1980

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 1980: Pat Benatar- Crimes of Passion

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on July 29, 2013 by 80smetalman

PatBenatar-CrimesOfPassion

I know I have brandished the term “Sophmore jinx” around quite a bit on this blog, although I haven’t used it for a while, but I’m afraid that I have to use it again here with the second album from Pat Benatar, “Crimes of Passion.” However, I don’t use it in a negative sense here because this album from the lady who I called the undisputed Queen of Rock in the early 1980s avoids the sophomore jinx totally. For me, even though “Heartbreaker” from the first Pat Benatar album “In the Heat of the Night” remains my favourite song of hers, the second album is even better than the first. Okay, I think it’s her best album.

At first listen, I was totally blown away by the power of the songs in the album. “Treat Me Right,” “You Better Run,” “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” and of course my favourite track of the album, “Hell Is For Children” are all hard rocking anthems that have been listened to and sung in films, stereos and keg parties. These songs alone are why this is my favourite Pat Benatar album. The rest of the album is good too, I especially love her version of “Wuthering Heights” by Kate Bush. Her voice can compete with Bush’s and the added guitars give Benatar’s version a different and likeable edge. I would also like to state that her long time guitarist Neil Giraldo has been very much overlooked. He proves he can bend a six string along with anyone.

Track Listing:

1. Treat Me Right

2. You Better Run

3. Never Want to Leave You

4. Hit Me With Your Best Shot

5. Hell Is For Children

6. Little Paradise

7. I’m Gonna Follow You

8. Wuthering Heights

9. Prisoner Of Love

10. Out of Touch

Pat Benatar

Pat Benatar

Pat Benatar- vocals

Neil Giraldo- lead and rhythm guitars, keyboards, backing vocals

Scott St Claire Sheets- rhythm guitar

 Roger Capps -bass, backing vocals

Myron Grombacher- drums

Pat Benatar ruled as the Queen of Hard Rock from 1979-83 and with albums such as “Crimes of Passion,” it is easy to understand why.

Next Post: The Knack- But the Little Girls Understand

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 1979: Olivia Newton John- Totally Hot

Posted in 1978, 1979, Music, Rock, soundtracks, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on November 19, 2012 by 80smetalman

Everybody reading this must be probably think that I’ve totally lost the plot here. Okay, I lost it many years ago but posting about an Olivia Newton John album, I must be totally bonkers. I mean she was the girl who played along side of John Travolta in “Grease.” We won’t go into some of the songs that were on that soundtrack. Even before “Grease,” ONJ was more of a country singer whose more mellower songs made the cross over into the rock charts. What I can say is that as a result of “Grease,” she wanted to shed her goody-two shoes image and so she went with a more rockier sound and “Totally Hot” was the result.

I’m not going to kid anyone into thinking this album is a total rock out, it’s not. In the rock stakes, Debbie Harry and Pat Benatar by far blow her away but I have to give her credit where it’s due, she tried. “Totally Hot” has both of my favourite ONJ songs of all time on it, “A Little More Love” and “Deeper Than the Night.” The first song does have some good rock guitar in it and of the two mentioned, it takes the number one spot. While I don’t shoot the devil horns in the air and start headbanging away to it, it is still a good song. The rest of the album is in my view more of an attempt at prog rock without the classy musicianship. Still, it is pretty good and that’s why after a long mull in the mind, I have decided to visit it here.

Track Listing:

1. Please Don’t Keep Me Waiting

2. Dancin’ Round and Round

3. Talk to Me

4. Deeper Than the Night

5. Borrowed Time

6. A Little More Love

7.  Never Enough

8. Totally Hot

9. Boats Against the Current

10. Gimme Some Lovin’

Olivia Newton John

Olivia Newton John- vocals

Mike Botts, Ed Greene- drums

David McDaniels, David Hungate- bass

Jai Winding, David Foster- piano

John Farrar, Steve Lukather- drums

Michael Boddicker- synthesiser

Steve Modaio- trumpet

Marty Grebb- alto sax

Chuck Finley- trombone

Gerald Peterson- tenor sax

Lenny Castro- percussion

The other thing I like about this album is that before it, I thought Olivia Newton John was on the skinny side for my personal tastes. But she put on some weight as well for this album and was looking good for the leather shot on the album cover. The album itself is still a decent listen.

Next post: The Jam- Setting Sons

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 1979: Pat Benatar- In the Heat of the Night

Posted in 1979, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on November 6, 2012 by 80smetalman

It’s still fresh in my mind thirty-three years later. I remember that day in late 1979 after having to get up at the ungodly hour of 3:30 in the morning because the company XO had volunteered our platoon for mess duty. Gee, that was nice of him. Anyhow, having to clear the early morning cobwebs from my head, I had the radio on when a new fresh rocking sound came blasting out of it. First there was the drum intro, followed by accompanying rhythm guitar and bass. At the end of the line came that little canny lead guitar riff, all of which set the stage for the mind blowing vocals that came along  and completely blew me out of my combat boots. A female voice, clear and powerful, totally rocked my world that day. The song was “Heartbreaker,” and I would learn sometime later, that the voice belonged to Pat Benatar.

“Heartbreaker” is still my all time favourite Pat Benatar song and it is fitting one for her first album, “In the Heat of the Night.” This album established her as the female face of rock, more rockier than Blondie and even Heart, not that I want to take anything away from either of those. For me, this album was different, in my mind, a new even raunchier hard rock and I absolutely loved it, still do.

While, “Heartbreaker” was the break through single for Pat, the rest of the album is still a good rocking listen. I also love the song “I Need a Lover” and even prefer it to the John Cougar Mellancamp version. The other songs also give it credence, like “My Clone Sleeps Alone,” which I find to be rather amusing as well. “In the Heat of the Night” thrust Pat Benatar down our throats and we haven’t been able to get her out of our systems ever since.

Track Listing:

1. Heartbreaker

2. I Need a Lover

3. If You Think You Know How to Love Me

4. In the Heat of the Night

5. My Clone Sleeps Alone

6. We Live for Love

7. Rated X

8. Don’t Let it Show

9. No You Don’t

10. So Sincere

Pat Benatar

Pat Benatar- lead vocals

Nick Geraldo- lead, slide guitars, keyboards

Scott St Clair Sheets- rhythm guitar

Roger Capps- bass, backing vocals

Glen Alexander Hamilton- drums

Maybe my old company XO did me a favour back then when he volunteered me for mess duty. Sure, I would have eventually heard the song “Heartbreaker,” but I question if it would have had the same impact as it did then. That was the song that made me go even harder into the rock and where I would one day discover the delights of heavy metal. Pat Benatar was a true rock icon from 1979 through to 1983 and it was this album that launched it.

Next post: Todd Rundgren- Back to the Bars

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