Archive for progressive rock

Great Rock Albums of 1988: Survivor- Too Hot to Sleep

Posted in 1980s, films, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 30, 2022 by 80smetalman

Sometimes I wonder if there is some sort of mathematical link between my liking an album and its chart success because I really like this album “Too Hot to Sleep” by Survivor. However, the album was not a successful album chart-wise. Survivor proved to me in 1984, with the “Vital Signs” album that they didn’t need the “Rocky” films to achieve success. It was further cemented with their previous album, “When Seconds Count.” So, I can’t figure for the life of me why this album did so poorly because I really like it or maybe that’s the reason.

“Too Hot to Sleep” borders on being heavy metal on some tracks. That was made clear on the opening track, “She’s a Star.” When I heard those power chords, I thought, “Wow, this is good!” Another point is the fact that Frankie Sullivan nails some really cool guitar solos on many songs, including the one already mentioned. Hell, looking at the video, he looks like he could be a metal guitarist. Actually all three members look pretty metal in that video. On the other hand, Survivor didn’t completely abandon the melodic rock formula which brought them fame. “Desperate Dreams” is living proof of that fact.

Like with their previous album, the title track is one that does it for me. It has that hauntingly cool acoustic guitar intro followed by the dependable vocals of Jimi Jamison and supported by keyboard work from Jim Peterik and of course a killer solo from Frank. He really goes mad at the end. The only thing needed was to turn up the guitars an octave or so higher.

“Didn’t Know It Was Love” stays in traditional Survivor territory. It reminds me of “High On You” from the “Vital Signs” album and I’m more than a little surprised that it didn’t make a dent in the singles charts. It’s a song meant for such things. Meanwhile, “Rhythm of the City” is a straightforward rocker with a great rhythm guitar riff. This song is definitely close to metal and out of all my blubbering about the guitar playing of Frankie, he’s at his best on this one. One way to describe this track is to think of “Burning Heart” from “Rocky IV” as a metal tune. No doubt, this one gets my vote for hidden gem. Talking about “Burning Heart,” “Here Comes Desire” is a song which is closer to that. It has a definite swagger to it, especially with Jim tinkling the ivories on it and a great guitar solo from Frankie.

The track that did have some chart success is the ballad “Across the Miles.” Jimi’s vocals are the key to this one although he is backed up well by the other two. “Tell Me I Am the One” is more in the 80s pop vein but the backing vocals are good and Frankie keeps it from becoming a total pop song. Things go more rock on “Can’t Give It Up.” The band is spot on with this one with some nice little guitar hooks and you get double the prizes, a good guitar solo and the song is taken out with some keyboard wizardry from Jim. The album goes out with authority with the almost power ballad like “Burning Bridges.” Was the title a metaphor of things to come? Who knows? But it does end the album well.

Historical facts I understand these days which I couldn’t fathom back then was Survivor replaced bassist Stephen Ellis and drummer Marc Droubay with studio musicians. On the tour for “When Seconds Count,” Stephen developed a stomach ulcer and was unable to play on many of the tour dates. Marc was becoming more disillusioned with the band’s shift to more pop and was eventually dismissed from the band. That’s the strange thing, I wouldn’t call “Too Hot to Sleep” a pop album, more melodic rock inching towards melodic hard rock.

Track Listing:

  1. She’s a Star
  2. Desperate Dreams
  3. Too Hot to Sleep
  4. Didn’t Know It Was Love
  5. Rhythm of the City
  6. Here Comes Desire
  7. Across the Miles
  8. Tell Me I’m the One
  9. Can’t Give It Up
  10. Burning Bridges
Survivor

Jimi Jamison- lead and backing vocals

Frankie Sullivan- guitar, backing vocals

Jim Peterik- keyboards

Additional Musicians:

Peter-John Vettesse- keyboards

Bill Syniar- bass

Mickey Curry- drums

Ian Lloyd- backing vocals

Tommy Shaw- backing vocals

Rory Dodd- additional lead vocals on “Across the Miles”

Survivor would take a hiatus after “Too Hot to Sleep” although Jimi Jamison would tour under the band’s name resulting in legal disputes. It’s a damn shame this album didn’t take off because this whole album has been a hidden gem for me.

Next post: Bonfire- Fireworks

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

To give Bruce Dickinson his well deserved knighthood, click the link: https://www.change.org/p/special-honours-committees-for-knighthoods-a-knighthood-for-bruce-dickinson

Great Rock Albums of 1987: Glass Tiger- The Thin Red Line

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 10, 2022 by 80smetalman

Glass Tiger was a band I had heard of back in the day but never got around listening to them. When I first heard the name, I thought they were going to be a glam metal band and looking at pictures of the band cemented that belief in my eyes. However, when I finally got to listen to the debut album, “The Thin Red Line,” I quickly discovered that Glass Tiger was indeed not a heavy metal band! If anything, I should have paid more attention to the genre labels on the websites I do my research on. They list the band as pop rock or light AOR and I can agree wholeheartedly with that.

This begs the question: Is the album terrible? Admittedly, if I had heard this album back in 1987, I would have never wanted to listen to it again. This is because I was totally into my metal, (not that I’m not these days), but this album would be too commercial for my liking back then. Fortunately, I am much older and wiser (pause for laughter) and am able to approach “The Thin Red Line” with a much more open mind.

Here’s the real shocker. The album starts with the title cut and the intro sounds like we’re going to be treated to some good Dio like metal. I waited for the crunching guitars to kick in but instead we get heavy synthesizers. Even with my open mind, it’s a bit of a let down. Saying that, one cannot fault the keyboard skills of Sam Reid. He leaves his trademark on every song of the album and fair dues, he doesn’t play in a bubblegum synth pop fashion which was so popular at the time. I really appreciate his skills on “Closer to You.”

Being the metalhead I am, I always have an ear out for the guitar and unlike so many synth pop bands of the era, Al Connelly’s guitar isn’t smothered in the mix. I accept the fact that he’s not crunching the power chords on each and every song but it works here. He lays down his first solo on “Closer to You” and his lead guitar intro combined with the backing keyboards of Sam, creates a haunting effect on “Looking at a Picture.” It took me several listens to realize this but the combination works well on this particular track. In fact, let me say that all five players in the band are very talented. Alan Frew is a good singer and there are some cool bass lines from Wayne Parker and Michael Hanson is a more than capable drummer.

Of course, there has to be one track which I prefer over the rest and in this case, it’s “Ecstasy.” This is the closest Glass Tiger comes to being hard rock and you get to hear more of Al’s guitar on it. Plus, he lays down a rather cool solo. “Ancient Evenings” does come second but not a very close one. The best way to describe “The Thin Red Line” is that they are Marillion, Mr. Mister and Duran Duran all rolled into one. I hear a little of all three throughout the album.

Track Listing:

  1. The Thin Red Line
  2. Don’t Forget Me (When I’m Gone)
  3. Closer to You
  4. Vanishing Tribe
  5. Looking at the Picture
  6. The Secret
  7. Ancient Evenings
  8. Ecstasy
  9. Someday
  10. I Will Be There
  11. You’re What I Look For
Glass Tiger

Alan Frew- vocals

Al Connelly- guitar

Sam Reid- keyboards

Wayne Parker- bass

Michael Hanson- drums

Additional Musicians:

Jim Vallence- additional keyboards, backing vocals

Mark Lafrance, Paul Janz, Dalbello and Sharon Lee Williams- backing vocals

Bryan Adams- backing vocals on “Don’t Forget Me” and “I Will Be There”

Keith Scott- additional guitar

Doug Edwards- additional bass on “Don’t Forget Me”

David Pickell- harmonica

Chase Sanborn, Charles Gray, Russ Little- horns

I have to admit, the album has grown on me. It took a few listens but it has. It could because my musical tastes have gone a little more melodic in my advancing years, though I still enjoy a good thrashing mosh like with Agnostic Front.

Next post: Alice Cooper- Raise Your Fist and Yell

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

To sign the petition to give Bruce Dickinson a knighthood, click the link: https://www.change.org/p/special-honours-committees-for-knighthoods-a-knighthood-for-bruce-dickinson

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Tony MacAlpine- Maximum Security

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 28, 2022 by 80smetalman

Back in 1987, it was very easy for people to accuse guitarists who made instrumental albums of trying to copy Yngwie Malmsteen. True, there are some similarities to Yngwie when I listen to Tony MacAlpine’s second album, “Maximum Security,” but I must severely stress, SOME. Track 2, “Hundreds of Thousands,” sounds like it came straight from Yngwie. And while there are more moments which may sound similar to the Swede, Tony is definitely not a Yngwie clone.

Starting with the obvious, there’s the fact that there are no vocals on the album, it’s pure instrumental. That’s the next point, Tony adds an extra dimension to his work by playing keyboards on it as well and it comes through straight away on the album’s opening track. Where his keyboard skills really shine is on the track, “Etude #4 Opus #10,” written by Chopin. You get two minutes of some fine keyboard work, thus showing Tony’s versatility.

Of course, Tony doesn’t have Yngwie’s ego, thank God. Tony has two guitarists come along and jam with him on three tracks. George Lynch of Dokken fame trades solos with him on two tracks, “Tears of Sahara” and “The Vision.” The other contributor is none other than Jeff Watson from some band called Night Ranger. You might have heard of them. Jeff plays on “”The King’s Cup” and does a super job too. This paring makes this track the best one on the album. Of course, what sticks in my weird mind the most on that particular track is that it opens with a drum roll similar to the Kreator classic, “Pleasure to Kill.” Both of these guitar wizards add an extra layer of guitar goodness for Tony.

The tracks where Mr. MacAlpine is at his fingerboard smoking best on his own, are “Key to the City” and “The Time and the Test.” It’s difficult for me to put it down in words but he just totally shreds those two tracks. Obviously, he shreds well on the others as well, “Sacred Wonder” especially. To sum it up, you get more than just an album with a guitarist playing all the way through it, you have some fine compositions here.

Track Listing:

  1. Autumn Lords
  2. Hundreds of Thousands
  3. Tears of Sahara
  4. Key to the City
  5. The Time and the Test
  6. The King’s Cup
  7. Sacred Wonder
  8. Etude #4 Opus #10
  9. The Vision
  10. Dreamstate
  11. Porcelain Doll
Tony MacAlpine

Tony MacAlpine- guitar, keyboards, bass

George Lynch- additional guitar solos (tracks 3 and 9)

Jeff Watson- additional guitar solos (track 6)

Deen Castronovo- drums (tracks 1-3, 5 and 6)

Atma Anur- drums (tracks 4, 7 and 9-11)

Not that I care about such things, “Maximum Security” was Tony’s only album to break into the charts. I am not surprised because he shows he is such a talented musician all around. It makes it more of a shame that he seemed to almost vanish after.

Next post: Motley Crue- Girls, Girls, Girls

About four years ago, I wrote a post calling for Bruce Dickinson to receive a knighthood. What I should have been doing is posting the link with every post since. I have seen the error of my ways so with every post from now until Bruce receives his gong, I will post the link to my petition here. I hope all of you, especially my British followers, will sign it.

https://www.change.org/p/special-honours-committees-for-knighthoods-a-knighthood-for-bruce-dickinson

Another petition I have started and this is not metal related is that I am petitioning the NFL to have next year’s Philadelphia Eagles v Pittsburgh Steelers game played in London. I hope you will sign that one too.

https://www.change.org/p/nfl-2022-steelers-eagles-game-to-be-played-in-london

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

Rest in Peace Ken Hensley

Posted in 1980s, Death, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on November 6, 2020 by 80smetalman
Ken Hensley

Once more, we can boldly declare that 2020 sucks Communist donkey dick! Not only are we losing so many great rockers, we are losing members of the same band. Less than two months ago, Uriah Heep and Ozzy drummer Lee Kerslake left us. Now, I must sadly announce the passing of Uriah Heep keyboardist, Ken Hensley. He was a great but underrated keyboards player for Heep all throughout the 1970s. In 1983, he joined Southern rock greats, Blackfoot and his contributions helped make keyboards in Southern rock acceptable.

Blackfoot

Rest in peace Ken!

Great Rock Albums of 1985: Joe Lynn Turner- Rescue You

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 9, 2019 by 80smetalman

220px-joelynnturner-rescue_you1

Not long ago, I heard an English friend of mine refer to Joe Lynn Turner as ‘that American pretty boy who replaced Graham Bonnet in Rainbow.’ True, Joe Lynn Turner is American and back in 1985, many ladies found him very fanciable, my sister was ga ga over him. However, the man also possesses a very good singing voice and it was only natural that after Ritchie Blackmore dissolved Rainbow to rejoin Deep Purple that Joe would put out a solo album. The result was his debut album, “Rescue You.”

Joe Lynn Turner was a victim of the 1985 belief that synthesizers were the way forward for music back then. Many of the songs on the album seem to be over dominated by it and on some of those things, I have always thought that they should have been turned down and the guitar turned up. Then the album would have been a real rocker. Don’t get me wrong, “Rescue You” is in no way an 80s synth pop album, there are some good rocking moments and on some tracks like the title track and the opener, “Losing You” you can definitely hear a bit of the old Rainbow on it. While the guitar on the title track is present, it is often obscured by the keyboard and for that song, I can’t help thinking how much I would be head banging away to it if the keyboards weren’t so dominant.

Being a typical wishy-washy Gemini, (I don’t really believe that zodiac stuff), I think there are some tracks where the keyboards do work. The prime example here is the big single from the album, “Endlessly,” which was good enough to get to 19 in the singles charts while at the same time having metalheads shaking their heads and accusing Joe of going too commercial. The keyboard intro also works on “Feel the Fire” but as the song progresses, I again think they should have taken a back seat because this is another song that could have been great if the guitars had been turned up more.

In spite of all my ramblings of too much keyboard, there are some tracks where Joe hasn’t lost touch with his hard rock roots. While the keyboards still exist on “Get Tough,” the song does rock and he also demonstrates that he has the pipes for such songs. This is another song that takes me back to his Rainbow days. In fact, the second half of the album is definitely more rock than the first. “Eyes of Love” is a fine example of this, it has a great guitar solo, but if you want concrete proof, the best track is the closer, “The Race is On.” This is the hidden gem because it just rocks with little interference from keyboards. With all my contradictions about guitars and keyboards on “Rescue You,” the one constant throughout the entire album is Joe Lynn Turner’s voice. Pretty boy or not, he has always had a great singing voice and deserves credit for it.

Track Listing:

  1. Losing You
  2. You Hearts
  3. Prelude
  4. Endlessly
  5. Rescue You
  6. Feel the Fire
  7. Get Tough
  8. Eyes of Love
  9. On the Run
  10. Soul Searcher
  11. The Race Is On

jlt

Joe Lynn Turner- vocals

Alan Greenwood- keyboards

Chuck Burgi- drums

Bobby Messano- guitar, bass, backing vocals

The problem in 1985 was that the music industry was convinced that music had to have synthesizers to be any good. This belief had an effect on “Rescue You” for Joe Lynn Turner. Despite his great singing voice and the good quality of the tracks on the album, I can’t help thinking how much better some of the tracks would have been if there was less keyboard and more guitar.

Next post: Phantom, Rocker and Slick

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1985: Marillion- Misplaced Childhood

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on November 28, 2018 by 80smetalman

For many Americans, 1985’s “Misplaced Childhood” was the breakthrough album for Marillion. Many of my countrymen and women had not even heard of the band before this. Me, I had heard of them and heard great things about them but it was this album which finally got me to get off my ass and get the album. Not only did I love the album, it also compelled me to go check out their earlier albums, a task very much to my liking.

Let’s start with the obvious. The main component in aiding Marillion’s breakthrough to mainstream was the big single “Kayleigh.” I have to admit, the song hooked me as well. It proved that good progressive rock was still around and that a band didn’t have to be all synth pop to make it. Furthermore, I have praised Steve Rothery’s guitar work on those previous albums, he continues to do good work and his work on the single shows he still could. With that said, “Kayleigh,” is not my favourite song on the album. That award goes to the second single, “Lavender” because Steve’s guitar work is even more entertaining on it. I like the way it just kind of explodes after the mellow intro on the song, great stuff.

The rest of the album is very intriguing indeed. It seems to go back and forth between short two minute tracks and  two longer tracks over seven minutes long in between a couple of more standard four minute ones. But unless you have the tracks in front of you, it can be difficult to note where one track ends and the other begins. This is probably down to me being carried away in the music that I’m not really paying attention to details like that. That was probably the good thing about having the album on cassette or vinyl back then. You at least get a break in order to change sides. When you do change sides, there is a change in focus on the album. Side one ends with the keyboard melodies of “Heart of Lothian” and side two wakes you back up with the more harder, “Waterhole” and continues with “Lords of Backstage” which combine are just over four minutes long. But no worries, the nine minute “Blind Curve” does not lessen any power and has some interesting changes to keep your attention.

Again, like I’ve said on Marillion’s previous albums, Marillion are all talented musicians, I mean very talented. Steve Rothery does what he does best on the guitar and whether it’s that or the keyboard wizardry of Mark Kelly, the vocals of Fish adapt to both and then some. The result of all of this is one great album.

Track Listing:

  1. Pseudo Silk Kimono
  2. Kayleigh
  3. Lavender
  4. Bitter Suite
  5. Heart of Lothian
  6. Waterhole (Expresso Bongo)
  7. Lords of the Backstage
  8. Blind Curve
  9. Childhood’s End
  10. White Feather
  • Tracks 4, 5 and 8 are broken up into parts

Marillion

Fish- lead vocals

Steve Rothery- guitars

Mark Kelly- keyboards

Pete Trewavas- bass

Ian Moseley- drums, percussion

Looking back, it was more of a matter of when Marillion would make the big breakthrough. They were one of those bands that both metalhead and Duranie could like without betraying their respective camps. This album was the pinnacle of that.

Next post: Jeff Beck- Flash

To download Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://c-newfreepdf.cf/olddocs/free-download-online-rock-and-roll-children-pdf-1609763556-by-michael-d-lefevre.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1985: Foreigner- Agent Provocateur

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 25, 2018 by 80smetalman

While in 1985, most of the world was excited about Foreigner releasing their first studio in nearly four years, I was a little skeptical. My skepticism was based on the logic that my final memories from Foreigner “4” was their famous ballad, “Waiting for a Girl Like You” and when my introduction to the new “Agent Provocateur” album was another ballad, I concluded that Foreigner had gone the way of REO Speedwagon and was simply content to achieve commercial success through ballads. No matter how good everyone thought “I Want to Know What Love Is” and it is a good song, I had prematurely drawn the conclusion that the new album would be mainly ballads and that Foreigner had foregone their hard rock roots which had brought them so much success in the past.

Fortunately, my sister did buy the album and gave me a listen to it and my skepticism was removed. Let me be frank, in my mind, “Agent Provocateur” comes nowhere close to classics like my personal favourite, “Double Vision,” but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad album. True, there are more ballads on here than I would have liked, the previously mentioned single and “That Was Yesterday,” another song which brought Foreigner top 40 success. Plus, “Growing Up the Hard Way,” while not a ballad is over done with the synthesizer and I can’t help thinking how much better that song would have been if there was a stronger power chord from a guitar on it. However, there is evidence a plenty on “Agent Provocateur” to show that the band hadn’t totally forgotten where they came from.

Opening track, “Tooth and Nail” dispels any ideas that “Agent Provocateur” is going to be an album of ballads. It does its job of hooking the listener and is a good steady rock track. Even though the next three tracks after are the ballads and synth pop singles, one doesn’t lose interest as that opening tracks gives hope that there is more like that on the album. “Reaction to Action” does exactly that and it has the best guitar solo on the album. Therefore, it’s awarded the hidden gem for the album. I have a theory about the track “Stranger in My Own House.” I theorize that Lou Gramm and Mick Jones worried that people like me would think this album would be chuck full of ballads, so they recorded this song with that in mind. “Stranger in My Own House” is a good hard rocking track, probably the hardest on the album with another cool guitar solo. But I think they try too hard to be hard rock with Gramm doing more screaming than singing. While it’s a cool track, I want to say to Lou, “Relax man, you don’t have to prove you can still rock.”

“A Love in Vain” may return to the ballads but there is some good keyboards work on the track and a little guitar making a good 70s style progressive rock sounding song. Maybe that one should have been released as a single as it’s better than it successor, “Down on Love” which was. This one, while not bad, has too much of an 80s synth pop sound for me. “Two Different Worlds” is a definite ballad and it sort of combines the previous two tracks without the synth pop which is replaced with a decent guitar solo. That leaves the closer, “She’s Too Tough,” and though it brings the album full circle, the song reminds me too much of the Kenny Loggins single, “Danger Zone.”

Track Listing:

  1. Tooth and Nail
  2. That Was Yesterday
  3. I Want to Know What Love Is
  4. Growing Up the Hard Way
  5. Reaction to Action
  6. Stranger in My Own House
  7. A Love in Vain
  8. Down on Love
  9. Two Different Worlds
  10. She’s Too Tough

Foreigner

Lou Gramm- lead vocals, percussion

Mick Jones- guitar, synthesizer, keyboards, backing vocals

Rick Wills- bass, backing vocals

Dennis Elliot- drums

Like with Heart, the question here is, “Was Agent Provocateur” a sell out album for Foreigner?” Okay, they did have a number one single on it and while I might not think so, many other people out there did and it’s probably why it didn’t sell as big as some of their previous. My belief on the lack of sales was that Foreigner were trying to be all thing to all people and in a 1980s society which like to put things into nice neat categories, that didn’t sit well.

Next post: Marillion- Misplaced Childhood

To download Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://c-newfreepdf.cf/olddocs/free-download-online-rock-and-roll-children-pdf-1609763556-by-michael-d-lefevre.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1985: Heart

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

Heart’s 1985 self-titled album took the band into a more mainstream direction and gained them commercial success. The album contained five singles, “What About Love,” “These Dreams,” “Never,” “Nothin’ At All” and “If Looks Could Kill,” the first four making it into the top ten. Unlike Starship though, I didn’t immediately say that Heart had sold out and became a top 40 band because there is much on this album to like. On the other hand, this album didn’t make me want to put Heart classics such as “Dreamboat Annie,” “Dog and Butterfly” nor even their previous 1983 album, “Passionworks” to one side and not listen to them anymore.

What is interesting about this album is the song arrangement. If one was a top 40 listener, they would only need to listen to the first four tracks because those were the singles. I have always been a little surprised that “If Looks Could Kill” was released as a single because I like it so much. It is a fantastic album opener. Rocky, fast with some catchy hooks, it makes you want to stick around for the rest of the album. Something a great opener should do. Track two is the successful power ballad, “What About Love.” I think that after having the greatest power ballad of all time with “Allies” from their previous album, they probably thought they were on to something. While, “What About Love” is a decent power ballad, I do like Leese’s guitar solo on it, it doesn’t come close to “Allies” in greatness. “Never” would have been better if the keyboards were toned down a little more but it’s still a good song. Then comes the single, “These Dreams,” which was and always will be known as the song Nancy Wilson sings lead. It’s a soft rock ballad and one can’t fault Nancy’s voice, it’s good nor will I make sibling comparisons here. Ann and Nancy may be sisters but they have totally different vocal styles. The irony here is that “These Dreams” was Heart’s first number one single.

Once the four singles are done and dusted, the album goes back more to Heart’s traditional harder rock roots. “Wolf” and “All Eyes” are great rockers, especially the latter which gets my award for the hidden gem for the album. The keyboards are turned down and the guitars up, something that should have happened a little more with one or two of the songs here. The power ballad “Nobody Home” provides a brief respite between the more rocking songs. I’m surprised that was never released as a single as well. “Nothin’ At All” was the fifth single from the album and second to only the opener for hard rockyness, at least as far as singles go. It even reached the top 40 in the UK. “Shell Shock” is a good closer and it contains what is arguably Howard Leese’s best guitar solo for the entire album.

Track Listing:

  1. If Looks Could Kill
  2. What About Love
  3. Never
  4. These Dreams
  5. Wolf
  6. All Eyes
  7. Nobody Home
  8. Nothin’ At All
  9. What He Don’t Know
  10. Shell Shock

Heart (Mullet City or what?) 

Ann Wilson- lead vocals

Nancy Wilson- guitars, backing vocals, lead vocal on “These Dreams,” mandolin

Howard Lesse- guitar, keyboards, mandolin, backing vocals

Mark Andes- bass

Denny Carmassi- drums

Heart’s self-titled album brought them lots of commercial success in 1985. One can’t argue with five singles, four in the top ten with one going to number one. Some might think they sold out. I never thought that and there is enough of the old Heart here on this album to counter that claim.

Next post: Foreigner- Agent Provacteur

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1542834204&sr=1-1&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great???? Rock Albums of 1985: Starship- Knee Deep in the Hoopla

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 17, 2018 by 80smetalman

Originally, I wasn’t going to post about this album. When I first heard tracks from the newly named Starship, (formerly Jefferson Starship) I thought, “OMG, how the mighty have fallen.” You see, from 1976-84, Jefferson Starship was my favourite band. Their albums during those years charted my own personal musical journey. The early albums from the mid to late 1970s, “Red Octopus,” “Spitfire” and “Earth” were much more progressive and considered by many to be mellow out rock. I never disagreed with this. However, there were even occasions on those albums, especially “Spitfire,” where they demonstrated they could rock out. That thought followed me into 1979 and then the early 80s where their albums, “Freedom At Point Zero,” “Modern Times” and “Winds of Change” were much more hard rock and I fully embraced the new sound as my own musical tastes were going harder.

Looking back to the past, some might argue that the 1984 “Nuclear Furniture” album was a sign of things to come with the Starship. It went back away from the total hard rock sound of the previous three albums but not as progressive as their 1970s ones. It had a more emerging 80s synth pop sound on some of the songs but not enough for me not to like it. Besides, the lyrics of many of the songs were more politically aware, something else I was getting into, so that album was okay. However, it was at this time rhythm guitarist and founding member Paul Kantner left the band and that would change the total dynamics of the band, starting with a law suit over the Jefferson moniker. If you remember when I posted about Paul’s passing, I stated that it was usually the songs he penned I liked the most on the albums.

In 1985, Starship appeared with the “Knee Deep in the Hoopla” album. I was curious and then I heard the first single, “We Built This City” on the radio and that was it. The lyrics might sing, “We built this city on rock and roll” but to me, a more accurate line would have been, “We built this city on top 40.” That song, established Starship as a top forty band with that song soaring in the charts. The second single, “Sarah,” was little better. The only thing that redeems it is Craig Chaquico hammers out a tidy guitar solo on it. But for the most part, I came to the conclusion in 1985 that Starship had sold out! Now, that label got banded about quite a lot back then and we can debate the semantics of it forever but what I did know was that I did not like their new sound.

Examining “Knee Deep in the Hoopla” further, it continues to be a top forty oriented synth pop album. Definitely not for me in 1985 and though I might have mellowed with age, it still doesn’t do it for me. The only songs which capture any interest for me are three of the middle ones, “Rock Myself to Sleep,” “Desperate Hearts” and “Private Room.” Kevin DuBrow from Quiet Riot fame sings backing vocals on “Rock Myself to Sleep” and that is the best song on the album for me. “Private Room isn’t too far behind but the rest of the album, with the possible exception of “Hearts of the World (Will Understand), doesn’t do it for me, even with Craig’s guitar solos.

What really angered me at the time and still does now is the reduction of Pete Sears to bass only. On those three early progressive albums, Pete shows his wizardry with the keyboards. I even equated him to the likes of Keith Emerson and Rick Wakeman back in the late 1970s. For further clarification, listen to the tracks, “Love Too Good” off the “Earth” album and “Sandalphon” from “Red Octopus” and I think you’ll be convinced. So, why in the hell did they relegate him to bass. Peter Wolf who plays keys on the album doesn’t hold a candle to Pete.

Track Listing:

  1. We Built This City
  2. Sarah
  3. Tomorrow Doesn’t Matter Tonight
  4. Rock Myself to Sleep
  5. Desperate Heart
  6. Private Room
  7. Before I Go
  8. Hearts of the World (Will Understand)
  9. Love Rusts

Starship

Mickey Thomas- lead vocals

Grace Slick- lead vocals

Craig Chaquico- guitar

Pete Sears- bass

Donny Baldwin- drums

Additional Musicians

Peter Wolf- keyboards

Les Garland- DJ voice on “We Built This City”

Kevin Dubrow- backing vocals on “Rock Myself to Sleep”

Another occurrence which annoyed the shit out of me back then was when I heard a Starship concert broadcast on the radio. During the concert, they played their classic hit “Find Your Way Back” from the “Modern Times” album. That song possesses the band’s greatest guitar intro of all times. However, when they played it at this concert, that great intro was all synthed out. For me, that was the final nail in the coffin and while I will always have great memories of Jefferson Starship, Starship can be left on the shelf.

Next post: Pat Benatar- Tropico

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