Archive for Rainbow

Great Rock Albums of 1984: Tony Carey- Some Tough City

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

Tony Carey was another great artist considered a one hit wonder by the MTV generation of the mid 1980s. In the spring and early summer of 1984, his biggest single, “A Fine Fine Day,” tore up the charts and eventually made it to number six or seven. It got tons of airplay on both radio and MTV. However, what these robots failed to understand that Tony had been rocking our world for many years before this. They didn’t know about his stint with the great Rainbow or even known that the year before, he had success with his band Planet P. Fortunately, I did and that information led me to procure his 1984 album, “Some Tough City.”

If I had been among the ignorant, the second single released from the album might have put me off buying the album. “The First Day of Summer” wasn’t bad, although there are much better tracks on “Some Tough City,” it’s just in the video for the song, he tries too hard to act like Joe Cool Rock Singer and that was a bit off putting. Now don’t get me wrong, Tony Carey has a good voice but he’s an even better musician as demonstrated on the album where he plays all the instruments. I know I have beaten the word ‘underrated’ to death on 80sMetalman but the term definitely applies to Tony.

“A Fine Fine Day” is not typical of the album. It’s a great song and it won my 1984 award for best non metal song of the year but it’s more progressive rock and Tony definitely demonstrates his keyboard skills on it. Most of the rest of the album has more of a hard rock edge to it, even “The First Day of Summer.” However, some of the more rockier songs like, “Eddie Goes Underground” and “A Lonely Life” really cook on here. A real paradox on the album is “Reach Out,” where it starts out like it’s going to be some 80s synth pop song and then really explodes into a rocker. The big surprise on it is the fact that Tony hammers out a decent guitar solo on it. He does the same, actually his guitar work is even better on the more progressive rock sounding “Tinseltown.” Let’s face it, Tony Carey is a brilliant all round musician and his talent has been ignored for far too long.

Track Listing:

  1. A Fine Fine Day
  2. A Lonely Life
  3. Eddie Goes Underground
  4. The First Day of Summer
  5. Reach Out
  6. Tinseltown
  7. Hungry
  8. I Can’t Stop the World
  9. Some Tough City
  10. She Can Bring Me Love

Tony Carey- vocals, keyboards, guitars, bass

Now my mind is going off to strange worlds from posting about “Some Tough City” by Tony Carey. I wonder if he and Ronnie James Dio ever hooked up again after Rainbow. That would have been mind blowing. It wouldn’t have been possible in 1984 because Tony was riding a huge wave of success as a result of the album and its top ten single. As for Ronnie, that will be all explained in a future post.

Jefferson Starship- Nuclear Furniture

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Great Rock/Metal Albums of 1983: Rainbow- Bent Out of Shape

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 9, 2016 by 80smetalman

220px-bent_out_of_shape_rainbow

“Bent Out of Shape” would be the last album for Rainbow as we knew them. The band would break up after the tour for the album and members would go in different directions but that’s a story for further down the line of metal history. I have heard this album called lackluster and the final nail in Rainbow’s coffin but was it that bad? I’ll be the first to admit that “Bent Out of Shape” doesn’t come up to the level of the previous Rainbow album, “Straight Between the Eyes” but I don’t think it’s a bad album one bit.

With “Bent Out of Shape,” Rainbow go towards a more keyboard dominated sound meaning it’s less hard rock than what Rainbow fans were used to. Back in the 1980s, I could see how metalheads would have found that disappointing as many were distrustful of any band who incorporated keyboards in their sound. However, David Rosenthal had been with the band for several albums and had proven himself to be a more than capable keyboardist. Proof is his efforts on the intro to “Can’t Let You Go,” strictly superb and he does smoke on “Fire Dance.” The added bonus with that song is that Ritchie Blackmore still lets you know that he can still bend the six string to do his bidding. Rainbow has always been good at the keyboard-guitar solo trade off and “Fire Dance” shows that their ability to do so hadn’t gone away. If you want further proof, listen to the two instrumentals on the album. On “Anybody There” the keyboards play a support role for Ritchie to work his guitar magic and “Snowman” is a great piece of instrumental progressive rock!

It might have been that many metalheads were put off by the single, “Street of Dreams,” which got a considerable amount of airplay on MTV before it was supposedly banned for its hypnotic clip. It would later be accused of showing bondage but that again, is for a later post. It is a commercial track without argument but it’s not bad. In fact, it’s played well. “Desperate Heart” is more of a rocker, the second hardest on the album, with “Drinking With the Devil” being the hardest. ┬áSo not everything that Rainbow had stood for for nearly a decade went out the window on the album. Besides, the closer, “Make You Move” takes things out on a hard note very well. Overall, I won’t debate that “Bent Out of Shape” is more of a commercial AOR album but I didn’t hate it then and I appreciate more now.

Track Listing:

  1. Stranded
  2. Can’t Let You Go
  3. Fool For the Night
  4. Fire Dance
  5. Anybody There
  6. Desperate Heart
  7. Street of Dreams
  8. Drinking With the Devil
  9. Snowman
  10. Make Your Move
Rainbow

Rainbow

Ritchie Blackmore- guitar

Roger Glover- bass

Joe Lynn Turner- vocals

David Rosenthal- keyboards

Chuck Burgi- drums

In spite of whether “Ben Out of Shape” is a good album, Rainbow would disappear after the album. Roger Glover and Ritchie Blackmore would go and rejoin some band they were with back in the early 1970s, you might have heard of them. Not long after, lead singer, Joe Lynn Turner would reappear with his first solo album. One thing that “Bent Out of Shape” proves was that it didn’t end the careers of the talented members who made up Rainbow.

Next Post: Black Sabbath- Born Again

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock/Metal Albums of 1983: Aldo Nova

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 19, 2016 by 80smetalman

220px-aldonova

When my household finally caught up with the times in 1983 and got MTV, the video for the big single, “Fantasy,” from Canadian rocker Aldo Nova’s debut album received a fair amount of airplay. Okay, it may not have been played as much as Big Country’s “In a Big Country” or the full twenty minute video for Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” but I saw it a good few times. Naturally, I assumed that the song was current. It was only later that I discovered that the song and the album were actually released over a year earlier. Therefore, this was another great album that came out in 1982, which I missed on account of my commitments to the military back then. It is also the reason why I am still posting it for 1983. I guess I should be grateful to MTV or else I might have missed it all together.

Even before I first saw the video for “Fantasy,” Aldo Nova was making a name for himself in metal circles back then. He supported giants Rainbow and Blue Oyster Cult on two different tours and the reports I received from my friend and my sister was that he was pretty good. That, along with the single I heard, was enough grounds to explore the debut album and what a wise decision that turned out to be.

In typical 1982 fashion, the album opens with the big single but like so many other great rock and metal albums from that year, the rest of the album carries on very well. In the case of Aldo, the tracks “Hot Love” and “It’s Too Late” keep me headbanging away. Both are great rocking gems. Then comes the power ballad, “Ball and Chain” and it is this track that has forced me to put Aldo Nova into the category of deeply under appreciated guitarists. He really rips his solo here. “Ball and Chain” also has me pondering something else. This song, along with April Wine’s “Just Between You and Me” and the Killer Dwarfs’ “Fire In Your Eyes,” has me thinking that maybe Canadian bands are the best at power ballads. Something to debate anyway.

It would have been wrong of me to say that the album picks up after the power ballad because it never really slowed down. Still, “Heart to Heart” is a great song and in metal power, I put it between the power ballad and first three tracks. Following it is what sounds for me was a definitely intended AOR single, “Fooling Yourself.” However, the chorus is quite catchy so I don’t blame him for this one. Even more so because the next track, “Under the Gun” is the best rocking track on the album complete with another great guitar solo.

The album seems to slow down a great deal after that. I wouldn’t call “You’re My Love” and “Can’t Stop Lovin’ You” power ballads, just ballads although the latter has a cool guitar solo reminding me of why I added Aldo to my ever growing list of underrated guitarists. I would like to say that the album closes with a blinder but I really can’t say that about “See the Light.” The song reminds me of something you would hear from a nightclub band. It is done very well and sounds good despite being keyboard dominated but with all the harder tracks, I found myself straining in anticipation for a power chord that never comes. It’s only Aldo’s guitar solo that saves it for me and that gets me into the song at the end. While the last three songs may not measure up to the rest of the album in my view, those other seven songs are more than enough to make this album a great one.

Track Listing:

  1. Fantasy
  2. Hot Love
  3. It’s Too Late
  4. Ball and Chain
  5. Heart to Heart
  6. Fooling Yourself
  7. Under the Gun
  8. You’re My Love
  9. Can’t Stop Lovin’ You
  10. See the Light
Aldo Nova

Aldo Nova

Aldo Nova- vocals, guitars, bass, synthesizers, keyboards

Dennis Chartrand- piano

Michel Pelo- bass

Robert Biagioni- bass

Michael La Chapelle- drums, percussion

Terry Martel- drums, percussion

Daniel Barbe- backing vocals

Dwight Druck- backing vocals

Thank God for MTV is all I can say. While their playing of the video for “Fantasy” may have misled me as to when Aldo Nova’s first album came out, it did give me the opportunity to actually discover Aldo and listen to the album. Something I will always be glad about.

Next post: Aldo Nova- Subject Aldo Nova

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Great Rock Albums of 1983: Planet P- Project

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 2, 2016 by 80smetalman

220px-Planetpproject

Who says American bands aren’t capable of making good progressive rock? Jeremy Clarkson to name one but don’t worry, he does write a column in The Sun, as does some other berk whose name I can’t remember, who insinuated a similar claim. If either of these two gentlemen were to make such a claim in my presence, I would politely guide them to the likes of Kansas, Styx and Planet P. True, the first two bands incorporated lots of hard rock and in the case of Styx, almost bordering on heavy metal but both bands also produced some great progressive rock tunes in their material. As for Planet P, this band was as progressive as anyone and this is proven with their debut album “Project.”

Planet P was the brain child of former Rainbow keyboard player, Tony Carey. I was first alerted to their existence when I heard several tracks from the album played on a rate an album radio programme. It wasn’t the hard rock/metal that I was now a devoted disciple of but I liked it.

The album opens with a bit of space rock, in the form of “Static.” It sounds enough like Pink Floyd that some people made comparisons to that band. It is a little trippy but it does haul your ears in for the rest of the album. Track two, “King For a Day” could have been released as a single. It is one of those songs capable of uniting both progressive purists and metalheads with its catchy melody and lyrics. The next few tracks are good progressive rock tracks and “I Won’t Wake Up” is very good. Then comes the song they did release as a single, “Why Me.” That is a very good song and the fact that it got to number four on the mainstream hot tracks bears testimony of this. However, the album doesn’t rest on the single. The very next track, “Power Tools” is my favourite track on this album. It is the closest they come to hard rock but it’s a catchy upbeat song.

“Send It In a Letter” is more experimental progressive rock. Great use of synthesizers are made here. It’s another space rock sounding song. “Adam and Eve” combines the best of progressive, space and hard rock and does it very well. It doesn’t settle down in one of those said genres for very long before one of the others hits you like a ton of bricks.

Before Planet P, I always knew Tony Carey to be a good keyboards player from his Rainbow days but had little experience of him as a singer. His vocals are more than sufficient on “Project.” He even harmonizes well on the song he doesn’t sing lead. Furthermore, he managed to put together a great band to back him up. Well done to Tony and Planet P!

Track Listing:

  1. Static
  2. King For a Day
  3. I Won’t Wake Up
  4. Top of the World
  5. Armageddon
  6. Tranquility Base (Only available on CD and cassette)
  7. Why Me
  8. Power Tools
  9. Send It In a Letter
  10. Only You and Me
  11. Ruby (Only available on CD and cassette)
Planet P

Planet P

Tony Carey- lead and backing vocals, keyboards, bass, acoustic guitar

David Thomas- lead vocals on “Only You and Me”

Johan Daansen- guitar

Robert Musenpichler- guitar

Helmut Bibl- guitar

Hartmut Pfannmeuller- drums, percussion

Fritz Matzka- drums, percussion

Peter Hauke- drums, percussion

Planet P not only proved that Americans (and Germans) could make some great progressive rock, the “Project” album gained them a lot of respect from metalheads and prog purists alike.

Next post: Stevie Nicks- The Wild Heart

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Great Metal Albums of 1983: Dio- Holy Diver

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 29, 2016 by 80smetalman

dio
Like with David Bowie’s and Motorhead’s 1983 albums, I was hoping to write about the debut album from Dio, in 1983, under much happier circumstances. With the passing of Dio bassist, Jimmy Bain, I feel that it should be a fitting tribute to him that I post about this iconic album now.

Jimmy Bain

Jimmy Bain

What can I say about “Holy Diver” that hasn’t already said? Probably nothing, therefore, I am going to speak about it straight from the heart and yes the pun is intended. From my first listen, I admit it wasn’t til early 1984 when I got that opportunity, til now, I was and still am completely blown away by it. No wonder it’s my fourth favourite album of all time.

Why is this album so good? Let’s start with the opener, “Stand Up and Shout.” That is one of the best album and concert opening songs of all time. A great opener will grab you by the throat and make you listen to the entire album. It’s no wonder, Dio opened with this song three of the five times I’ve seen them live.

You are the driver
you own the road
you are the fire — go on, explode

Then comes my favourite Dio song of all time, the title track. If I were running a ‘Headbanging for Beginners’ course, “Holy Diver” would be the first song I would use. This unique but catchy riff is just plain phenomenal. I still remember at the local nightspot in London for heavy metal, scores of metalheads all in a huddle headbanging away to it. The song is so easy to do that with. Not only that, there are Ronnie James Dio’s lyrics, (he was top of his game here), and Vivian Campbell just nails the guitar solo. For me, it’s always been truly an amazing song.

Between the velvet lies

There’s a truth as hard as steel

A vision never dies

Life’s a never ending wheel.

Following the title cut are two more excellent songs in the form of “Gypsy” and “Caught in the Middle.” With both songs, we see some heavy chords being struck while in sync with more of Ronnie’s lyrics.

Take a look at yourself, you might see someone you don’t know

If you haven’t already figured it out, the above lyrics were from “Caught in the Middle.” After that is what many claim to be the best non single or song that should have been released as one on the album. Anyone who has any experience of Dio will know “Don’t Talk to Strangers.” Its eerie intro followed by lyrics that can be of sound advice before exploding into pure heavy metal mania with Campbell’s solo probably being the best one on the album. There’s something for everyone to like here. It is most likely the reason why Dio has played this song all five times I’ve seen them live.

Having originally procured “Holy Diver” on cassette, I should go on about side two. However, the age of CD’s and MP3 downloads has made me stop dividing albums into sides. “Straight Through the Heart” is a very powerful rocker and maintains the standard the album sets but after that is my choice for best hidden gem on it, “Invisible.” Don’t ask me to explain why or how but I just love that song. I think it’s the way like “Don’t Talk to Strangers,” it starts melodically before hitting you over the head with more power chords. Those chords may not be quite as in your face as the other song but it does the job.

If your surface stays unbroken, then you’re a lucky man

Cause it never, never, never has for me

In the palace of the virgin lies the chalice of your soul

And it’s likely you will find the answer there.

Again, Ronnie’s lyrics are amazing, especially matched with his truly one of a kind voice. Following “Invisible” is the more known “Rainbow in the Dark,” which maybe was Dio’s most successful single. Hell, I remember in 1984, a Budweiser advert being played to this tune. This is the one song where keyboards play a major role but still, they don’t detract from the power of the song.

Now onto the closer, “Shame on the Night.” If I have to pick a least favourite track, it would have to be this one. Don’t get me wrong, it is no way a bad track, I just don’t rate it quite as high as the other eight but what it does do is close the album very nicely, I guess that’s what Ronnie had in mind with it. That is yet another reason why I think “Holy Diver” is so fantastic.

Track Listing:

  1. Stand Up and Shout
  2. Holy Diver
  3. Gypsy
  4. Caught in the Middle
  5. Don’t Talk To Strangers
  6. Straight Through the Heart
  7. Invisible
  8. Rainbow in the Dark
  9. Shame on the Night
Dio

Dio

Ronnie James Dio- vocals, keyboards

Vivian Campbell- guitar

Jimmy Bain- bass

Vinnie Appice- drums

I don’t give a flying fart as to how cliched this statement sounds but I know in my heart that Jimmy has now joined Ronnie and they are jamming away together in a better place. Probably their former Rainbow band mate, Cozy Powell has joined them and if they had any sense, they would invite Jon Lord to do the honours on the keyboards. However, I can’t think of any guitarist who has played along side of these guys who has departed from our world. Therefore, I would suggest they take Criss Oliva from Savatage as his guitar work would fit Ronnie’s vocals perfectly. Who knows, maybe they would make an album as great as “Holy Diver.”

Next post: Billy Idol

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

R.I.P. Jimmy Bain

Posted in Death, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 24, 2016 by 80smetalman
Jimmy Bain

Jimmy Bain

What is going on with 2016? January isn’t over and another great rocker is taken from us. This time it is Rainbow/Dio bassist Jimmy Bain. Details of his death haven’t been released but he was 68. Jimmy played with Rainbow from 1975-77 but he was best known for his time with Dio, especially on their first five albums. Less known is that he co-wrote with Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy on some of his solo albums.

Dio

Dio

Okay, some may say that Jimmy Bain wasn’t the legend that some of the others who have recently passed but for me, he was a part of the band that made my 1980s. Therefore, I too will be listening to some Dio and early Rainbow over the next few days and it’s probably a given which album I’ll be posting about next.

R.I.P. Jimmy Bain

 

 

 

 

Great Metal Albums of 1982: Rainbow- Straight Between the Eyes

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 1, 2015 by 80smetalman

220px-Straight_between_the_eyes

Here’s the paradox that is me. I have said many times that my favourite era of Rainbow was when Ronnie James Dio was at the mike and I will forever feel that way. However, my favourite Rainbow song of all times comes during the Joe Lynn Turner era and yep you guessed it, is from the 1982 album “Straight Between the Eyes.” That song is “Death Alley Driver.” When I heard it on the video screen at a rock bar on Okinawa, Japan, I thought, “This song kicks ass, totally.” It’s just a pure rocker and Blackmore plays possibly his best guitar solo of all time on it, pure magic.

Recently, I have been debating to myself whether or not to call “Straight Between the Eyes” a metal album. There are some songs on the album that would certainly qualify it as such like “Rock Fever” and “Power,” besides the big song I’ve already mentioned. However, there are other songs that are more progressive like the ballad like “Tearin’ Out My Heart” and keyboard oriented songs like “Stone Cold,” “Miss Mistreated,” which has a really cool keyboard intro. To add further confusion into the mix, Ritchie goes to town on the guitar on the songs here. Then there’s “Bring on the Night” that is definitely hard rock and includes more cool soloing. So, what I should be asking myself here is why the f*ck I’m worrying about what category I should or shouldn’t put this fine album in and simply appreciate it for the great album that it is. So I will.

While Ritchie Blackmore shines on the album, the rest of the band steps up just as much. Joe Lynn Turner’s vocals make those more progressive songs sound that much better but he can also belt our a rocker like “Death Alley Driver.” David Rosenthal proves a more than capable replacement for Don Airey on the keys. The intro on “Miss Mistreated” alone is proof of that. Roger Glover is the brilliant bass player that he’s always been and provides a strong rhythm section with Bobby Rondinelli. All of these elements combine well to make the album all that much better.

Track Listing:

  1. Death Alley Driver
  2. Stone Cold
  3. Bring on the Night (Dream Catcher)
  4. Tite Squeeze
  5. Tearin’ Out My Heart
  6. Power
  7. Miss Mistreated
  8. Rock Fever
  9. Eyes of Fire
Rainbow

Rainbow

Ritchie Blackmore- guitar

Roger Glover- bass

Joe Lynn Turner- vocals

David Rosenthal- keyboards

Bobby Rondinelli- drums

┬áHence lies the danger of putting music into categories. One worries too much if a band is metal, hard rock, prog rock etc and don’t enjoy the music. “Straight Between the Eyes” from Rainbow is just simply good music.

Next post: Hanoi Rocks- Oriental Beat

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