Archive for REO Speedwagon

Great Albums That Were Lost in the Cassette Player

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 6, 2017 by 80smetalman

For those who have been following me for awhile, you will know that back in the early 198os, I owned a lot of cassettes due to my very limited living space when I was in the marines. Even after I got out, while I began buying vinyl again, I still bought a good amount of cassettes. My logic at the time was you couldn’t play records in the car and I need my travelling music. While cassettes had the advantage of being very compact, you could fit one in your shirt pocket, they had the disadvantage of being susceptible of destructing. They could easily get mangled in the player and often times brake. I found this extremely frustrating. While the percentage of cassettes lost was small compared to the number I owned, it still upset me when I lost one to the machine. So, as an in between the years post, I will play homage to all the great albums that were mangled by a tape player.

The famous ammo cans . I thought this would be a good excuse to put this picture in the post.

Others that succumbed but I don’t have pictures for

Slayer- South of Heaven

The Dreggs- Unsung Heroes

The Who- recorded from the radio

Copperhead

There could be more but these are the ones I definitely remember. However, other cassettes weren’t mangled in the machine but wore out another way. When played they began to have a hiss sound on them. Eventually, this hiss got louder and present on more of the tape until it was unplayable. There was the odd tape where that started but it stopped and played normal again. Unfortunately, others didn’t so here is a tribute to those cassettes that were lost in this manner.

As you can see, many a great album fell victim to the dreaded tape player one way or the other. Thank God for CDs and more modern means of listening to music as I don’t have that problem anymore.

Next post: 1984

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: Brian May and Friends- Starfleet Project

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 30, 2016 by 80smetalman

220px-Starflet3pq

Here’s another album that would have passed me by hadn’t been for MTV. The single from Queen guitarist Brian May’s album, (yes I know it’s really an EP) “Starfleet Project” was never played on radio, at least not on my local station in New Jersey and this was before it degenerated into a top forty station. I remember the video for “Starfleet.” It looked like something out of “The Thunderbirds” with the puppets and stuff. The science fiction theme to the video added to it. To be honest, I couldn’t have cared less about the video but I loved the song and thus, had to get the EP.

From the video to "Starfleet"

From the video to “Starfleet”

Now you have probably noticed that the album is from Brian May and Friends and boy did Brian choose the right friends to help him record this. He got Eddie Van Halen to accompany him on the guitar and Alan Gratzer from REO Speedwagon fame to do the honours on the drums. Those names right there should tell you that what you are about to hear is totally going to blow you away and they do.

There might only be three songs on the album but they are three memorable ones, plus the fact that the shortest of these three is still over seven minutes made “Starfleet Project” an album in my book back then. Starting with the title track, it is the more commercial of the three. Brian shows that he knows his way around a keyboard a little bit but he still does some great guitar work on the song. I had always suspected from his Queen days that he could sing and he clearly shows it here.

Track two is the more bluesy “Let Me Out.” Here, May and Van Halen really start to go to town with the solos. They are so good that I can never remember what Brian wants to be let out of. However, it’s the third track that takes you to Neptune and beyond. Here we have the two mentioned guitar greats paying tribute to another guitar god, Eric Clapton, with “Blues Breaker.” When that happens you are guaranteed nothing short of guitar heaven. For nearly thirteen minutes, Brian and Eddie go back and forth trading off guitar solos, each one as good as the last. There is a short break in the action for a bit of ivory tinkling from Fred Mandel but things go back to the blistering solos. This song alone makes the entire album a must have.

Track Listing:

  1. Starfleet
  2. Let Me Out
  3. Blues Breaker
Brian May

Brian May

Brian May- guitar, vocals, keyboards

Eddie Van Halen- guitar, backing vocals

Alan Gratzer- drums

Phil Cohen- bass

Freddie Mandel- keyboards

Roger Taylor- backing vocals on “Starfleet”

Queen might have been taking a hiatus in 1983 but Brian May wasn’t. He went well above and beyond and showed his true talents on this album.

Next post: Bob Dylan- Infidels

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.80smetalman.wordpress.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

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

 

 

 

 

 

My Top 15 Albums

Posted in Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 15, 2015 by 80smetalman

Typical me of my school days. I was always forgetting to do assignments which often got me in trouble with teachers. I almost missed the one set by a fellow blogger to list my 15 favourite albums. Looks like I’m just going to make the deadline here so don’t give me a detention. Well here they are:

sod

  1. Stormtroopers of Death- Speak English or Die

stend

2. Suicidal Tendencies

 kdbd

3. Killer Dwarfs- Big Deal

dio

4. Dio- Holy Diver

FreedomAtPointZero

5. Jefferson Starship- Freedom at Point Zero

 OneMoreFromTheRoad_LynyrdSkynyrdalbum

6. Lynyrd Skynyrd- One More From the Road

 imlad

7. Iron Maiden- Live After Death

 paranoidt

8. Black Sabbath- Paranoid

Aerosmith-Toys_in_the_Attic

9. Aerosmith- Toys in the Attic

tsyou

10. Twisted Sister- You Can’t Stop Rock And Roll

dv-ssor

11. Vaughn- Soldiers and Sailors on Riverside

hotdrise

12. Hair of the Dog- Rise

220px-Molly_Hatchet_-_Flirtin'_with_Disaster

13. Molly Hatchet- Flirtin’ With Disaster

nzhotd

14. Nazereth- Hair of the Dog

220px-REO_Speedwagon_-_Nine_Lives

15. REO Speedwagon- Nine Lives

Honourable Mentions

38 Special- Rockin’ Into the Night

Jefferson Starship- Winds of Change

Kreator- Pleasure to Kill

Van Halen- II

Dio- The Last in Line

Twisted Sister- Under the Blade

AC/DC- Back in Black

AC/DC- Highway to Hell

Pink Floyd- Dark Side of the Moon

Blackfoot- Highway Song

Damned Nation- Grand Designs

This is my list respectfully submitted on 15 September, 2015.

Great Rock Albums of 1982: Fleetwood Mac- Mirage

Posted in 1979, 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 22, 2015 by 80smetalman

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Back in 1982, music video was still very new to many artists. MTV had only been up and running for a year and there were many households throughout the USA who did not have the channel. There would have been no way that having it on any of the base televisions would have even remotely considered. Therefore, the only music video I got to see was if I happened to catch “America’s Top Ten” and that wasn’t something I went out of my way to watch, unlike “World Championship Wrestling.” So, it was just luck of the draw that I managed to catch it on one Saturday. That week, REO Speedwagon and John Cougar had the only songs I thought of any worth in the top ten but then Casey Kasem showed the video for the new single from Fleetwood Mac, “Gypsy.” I liked the song, thought the video was okay and was glad to hear that they had put out a new album.

“Mirage” is a pretty good album, the problem for me and I suppose many people, is that after putting out an album like “Rumours” five years earlier, it would always be an extremely difficult feat to measure up to. Back in 1979, I should have seen the “Tusk” album as a sign. The problem with “Mirage”  and “Tusk” for that fact is that it lacks the variety of the all time great. While listening to “Mirage,” I patiently waited for a rocking jam like “Go Your Own Way” or a killer guitar solo from Lindsey Buckingham similar to “Don’t Stop.” Plus, I don’t think it would have been too much to ask if they allowed John McVie to pump out a killer bass line like on “The Chain.” Even an amusing little ditty like “Second Hand News” would have been cool, but none of these things are present on “Mirage.”

Enough of the negative because it is still an enjoyable album. One thing that does come over from the “Rumours” album and I’ve always loved her dearly for it, is the eccentricity of Stevie Nicks. It’s her vocals on “Gypsy” that made me check out the album in the first place. She does a similar job on “Straight Back.” That is the first track where Buckingham stops being introverted with his guitar and plays a decent solo. That combination makes it the best track on the album for me.

If it was up to me, I would have left the first four tracks of this album off and started it with “Gypsy.” From there on is where the album shines with tracks like “Hold Me” and a little bit of “Second Hand News” humour on “Empire State.” The closer, “Wish You Were Here,” is where Lindsey finally gets into full swing with the guitar making it the best song contributed by Christine McVie. That track gives an all well that ends well feel to things.

Track Listing:

1. Love in Store

2. Can’t Go Back

3. That’s Alright

4. Book of Love

5. Gypsy

6. Only Over You

7. Empire State

8. Straight Back

9. Hold Me

10. Oh Diane

11. Eyes of the World

12. Wish You Were Here

Fleetwood Mac

Fleetwood Mac

Lindsey Buckingham- guitar, vocals, keyboards

Christine McVie- keyboards, vocals

Stevie Nicks- vocals

John McVie- bass

Mick Fleetwood- drums, percussion

My advice to anyone who wants to listen to “Mirage” by Fleetwood Mac is to not think about “Rumours.” The albums don’t compare and you may feel disappointed. If you listen to it with an open mind, you will find the album very much enjoyable. It was still one of the better softer rock albums in 1982.

Next post: Night Ranger- Dawn Patrol

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: REO Speedwagon- Good Trouble

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 12, 2014 by 80smetalman

220px-Goodtrouble

Many people have said that REO Speedwagon’s follow up to the highly commercially successful “Hi Infidelity” album was a disappointment. True this album wasn’t the commercial success of its predecessor but that doesn’t make it a bad album in anyway. Quite the opposite, “Good Trouble” is, in my humble view, every bit as good as “Hi Infidelity,” possibly better. So, why didn’t it sell so well? I offer this explanation. In spite of the fact that they had two very big singles on “Hi Infidelity,” they didn’t want to have every song sound like “Keep On Loving You.” Instead, they went back to their roots which made them so good during the 70s. “Good Trouble” isn’t as hard and heavy as “Nine Lives” but reminds me a lot more of their excellent “You Can Tune a Piano But You Can’t Tuna Fish” album and that album was considered their best by many, although my fave is still “Nine Lives.”

I’m getting the impression as I revisit albums from 1982 that it seems to have been the thing to have the big single as the album opener. Every album I have covered so far has done this and the same happens with this REO classic. “Keep the Fire Burning” comes and goes and does the job its meant to do. It was a top ten single during a time when the charts actually meant something to me, well a little bit. After that, REO Speedwagon unleash hell for the rest of the way. “Sweet Time” begins like it’s going to be a ballad but then some rocking guitars kick in and the rest of the song goes totally up tempo. Then, three songs later, comes my hidden favourite track, “I’ll Follow You.” That song definitely brings me back to the glory days of REO Speedwagon. It starts hard and then Gary Richrath nails a killer solo. However, as much as I have praised Gary before the guitar altar, the track allows you to hear why Neil Doughty is such a fantastic keyboardist. Most certainly underrated among keyboard players. The other tracks are no less hard rocking. “Stillness of the Night” is a prime example on this scale as Gary shreds away big time on it. Then there is the paradox of the closer and title track. It ranks right up there with any good album closer but the track was also used as the opener when they toured on the album, versatility or what? So, ignore the charts and lack of commercial success, “Good Trouble” is a great rocker of an album.

Track Listing:

1. Keep the Fire Burning

2. Sweet Time

3. Girl With the Heart of Gold

4. Every Now and Then

5. I’ll Follow You

6. The Key

7. Back In My Heart Again

8. Let’s Be-Bop

9. Stillness of the Night

10. Good Trouble

REO Speedwagon

REO Speedwagon

Kevin Cronin- rhythm guitar, piano, lead vocals

Gary Richrath- lead guitar

Neil Doughty- keyboards

Bruce Hall- bass, lead vocal on “Let’s Be-Bop”

Alan Gratzer- drums, percussion

Maybe it was down to the lack of commercial success of “Good Trouble” their next album would be a total sell out. That’s a shame because “Good Trouble” is every bit a classic rocking album and reminds me of the time when REO Speedwagon was good and not settling for being popular.

Next post: The Go Gos- Talk Show

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: Loverboy- Get Lucky

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 4, 2014 by 80smetalman

220px-GetluckyLB

Sometime halfway through my second deployment to the Mediterranean and Indian Ocean, while watching a backdated episode of America’s Top 40 with Casey Kasem, I was treated to the Loverboy hit “Working for the Weekend.” Admittedly, it didn’t quite have the knock out punch I liked about “Turn Me Loose” but it was good enough to have me make a mental note on buying it when I either got to the PX in Rota, Spain or back to the States. It also brought back memories of the previous summer and the Driftwood, even though Twinkles had left a few months before the end of 1981.

True to my word, “Get Lucky” was the first new album I listened to when I returned that summer and I wasn’t disappointed. It has just the right blend of progressive and hard rock to make it work. “When It’s Over” is more proggy but the hard rock of “Jump” takes over nicely. Other good hard rock tracks come and go after leaving their own stamp on the album. “Emotional” reminds me of classic REO Speedwagon back when they were good in the 70s. “Lucky Ones” brings back fond memories of the first album and there’s always has been something about “It’s Your Life” that I liked. The album goes out on more a progressive note with “Take Me to the Top” but it’s definitely the right closer for this album. Of all the songs on “Get Lucky,” the one that stands well above the rest for me is “Gangs in the Street.” I don’t know if it’s because it reminds me of my all time favourite film, “The Warriors” or because the video tries to make Loverboy look bad ass in an unconvincing way or probably just because I like the guitar solo. Whatever it is, the song works and is why this album is so good.

Track Listing:

1. Working for the Weekend

2. When It’s Over

3. Jump

4. Gangs in the Street

5. Emotional

6. Lucky Ones

7. It’s Your Life

8. Better Watch Out

9. Take Me To the Top

Loverboy

Loverboy

Mike Reno- vocals

Paul Dean- guitar, vocals

Doug Johnson- keyboards

Scott Smith- bass

Mike Frenette- drums

Loverboy seem to have been forgotten by many people now, not me, but back in the very early 80s, they staked their claim on the rock world with two very good albums. They were another reason why Canadian artists have never gotten the respect they deserved.

Next post: Asia

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 1981: Rick Springfield- Working Class Dog

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on May 18, 2014 by 80smetalman

220px-Working_class_dog

In the mid 1980s, I thought that Rick Springfield was one of those commercially produced artists who’s sound was out to try to please everybody. I still think that. My motivation for visiting the “Working Class Dog” album comes from elsewhere. Back in the summer of 1981, my marine buddies and I used to frequent a go-go bar outside the base called The Driftwood. During that summer, Springfield’s biggest hit, “Jessie’s Girl,” received a lot of play on the juke box. There was this one dancer, I only knew her as Twinkles, seemed to be on stage a lot when it was played and believe me, she knew how to work the stage to the song. It was just how she used to use the poles to move along with it that was eye catching and that image comes to the forefront of my brain housing group whenever I hear “Jessie’s Girl.”

The Driftwood (I can't believe I found a picture of it online)

The Driftwood (I can’t believe I found a picture of it online)

Having listened to the album again after so many years, (that’s one major plus in writing this blog) I have come to the conclusion that it isn’t the commercial rock that I associate with Rick Springfield later on in the decade. “Working Class Dog” is far from a metal album but it is an enjoyable rock album. There are some decent rock tunes on it and I’m not just talking about the forementioned famous hit. There is the more minor hit “I’ve Done Everything For You,” which is a good song on it’s own right, except Twinkles never danced to it. I also thought the title track, “Hole in My Heart” and “The Light of Love” are all in the same light; good, listenable rock tunes. However, I found the big surprise to be the penultimate track, “Red Hot & Blue Love.” This song goes against the flow of the rest of the album with a more guitar blues sound. The guitar solo is ear catching showing why Neil Geraldo doesn’t get the recognition he deserves. Once again, I find myself pleasantly surprised although my opinion of Rick Springfield’s later stuff hasn’t changed.

Track Listing:

1. Working Class Dog

2. Jessie’s Girl

3. Hole in My Heart

4. Carry Me Away

5. I’ve Done Everything For You

6. The Light of Love

7. Everybody’s Girl

8. Daddy’s Pearl

9. Red Hot & Blue Love

10. Inside Sylvia

 

rspring

Rick Springfield- vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards

Robben Ford- guitar

Neil Geraldo- guitar, bass

Gabriel Katona- keyboards

Jeff Eyrich- bass

Mike Baird- drums

Jack White- drum

Jeremiah Cox- french horn, backing vocals

Tom Kelly- backing vocals

This post has given me further ideas, there were other songs that were made to come alive when danced to by some of the ladies at the Driftwood. My mind flashes back to one named Beverly who made me appreciate REO Speedwagon’s “Take It On the Run” in a different light and there were others. The other thing was that experience has burned unique memories of certain songs and like in the case of Twinkles with “Jessie’s Girl,” got me to listen to the album more. In the case of Rick Springfield and “Working Class Dog,” it was a nice surprise.

Next post: Dire Straits- Making Movies

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